Taste of Sri Lanka

Explore the cultural and natural highlights of the Emerald Isle, including its capital, spectacular Sigiriya Rock and the cave art of Dambulla. Immerse yourself in the cultural sites of Kandy, wander quiet villages and meet the locals, and savour delicious Sri Lankan cuisine.

Price Includes

8 nights hotel accommodation
Breakfast daily, one lunch and one dinner
Transport in air-conditioned vehicles
Small group touring
Entrance fees
English speaking tour leader 
Return transfers

Travel Dates
11 November 2018 
17 February 2019 
17 March 2019 

Prices
November departure 
Was            $2809* per person 
Save              $100* per person 
Now            $2699* per person

February and March departure 
Was             $2879* per person 
Save              $100* per person 
Now            $2779* per person

Bonus

Save up to $100* per person

Room/Cabin information
Standard Room
Offer Ends

20 Sep 18,

unless sold out prior. Availability limited.

INSIDER JOURNEYS
Destinations
Product itinerary

Itinerary

DAY 1    SUNDAY    ARRIVE COLOMBO
Upon arrival in Colombo you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Tonight meet your tour leader (or local guide) and your fellow travellers for welcome drinks and a tour briefing. Please note, it is common for international flights to arrive in Colombo late at night, so your tour briefing may take place tomorrow.

ACCOMMODATION 2 nights
RAMADA COLOMBO (OR SIMILAR) - Deluxe Room
30 Sir Mohamed Macan Markar Mawatha
Colombo 03
Tel: + 94 11 2422001

DAY 2    MONDAY    EXPLORE COLOMBO
Today we explore Sri Lanka’s bustling capital. A fascinating mix of old and new, colonial and modern, religious and secular, Colombo has been an important trading centre since the 5th and 6th centuries and reflects the colourful history and culture of the nation. Explore Fort, home to many of Colombo’s iconic buildings like the Grand Oriental Hotel and the Old Dutch Hospital. 
Insider Experience - Local: explore some of Colombo’s most iconic areas by foot including the Fort and Pettah, a vibrant and crowded street market area where everything from televisions to chillies are sold wholesale and retail. 
We also visit one of the city’s kovils, the Hindu temples of the Tamil trading community, before finishing the religious spectrum of the city at the Gangaramaya Temple – one of the capital’s favourite places of worship with an incredible collection of religious artefacts and ornate décor inside and out. 
In the afternoon enjoy some free time to relax or explore. Perhaps walk the city’s famous Galle Face Green and watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean, joining the locals at this very popular evening institution. Breakfast included

ACCOMMODATION
RAMADA COLOMBO (OR SIMILAR) - Deluxe room

DAY 3    TUESDAY    COLOMBO TO ANURADHAPURA
This morning depart early by road from Colombo as our journey heads north into the island’s spiritual heart.
 Insider Experience - Local: stop at the fishing and beach town of Negombo to see the town’s famous fish market, the Llelama, where traditional boats haul in their catches for sale – a little on the nose but a fascinating  sight. 
We may also be able to see the process of toddy tapping, producing a popular local alcoholic beverage produced from palm trees, as we head on to Anuradhapura, our base in the country’s rich Cultural Triangle. A capital for over a thousand years, and with a history dating back some 2,500 years, Anuradhapura is a superb introduction to Sri Lanka’s great cultural heritage. These days a collection of ruined and active temples and palaces spread across beautiful park-like countryside, it retains a serene and picturesque quality. Arriving mid-afternoon, we settle into our hotel. Breakfast included

ACCOMMODATION 2 nights
PALM GARDEN VILLAGE HOTEL (OR SIMILAR) - Chalet
Puttalam Road
Pandulagama, Anuradhapura
Tel: + 94 25 22 23961 / 62

DAY 4    WEDNESDAY    ANURADHAPURA AND MIHINTALE
We start this morning with a visit to the ancient complex of Mihintale, birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism. Note – there are some steep steps here but those not wishing to climb can explore the base of the site and take in the views. 
In the afternoon, take an exploration of some of Anuradhapura’s main sites. This will include the revered Sri Maha Bodhi, the world’s oldest authenticated tree which has been worshipped and guarded here for over 2,000 years since its original cutting was brought from India where the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under its sheltering branches. Also see the ruined columns of the Brazen Palace and the Thuparama Dagoba (pagoda), perhaps the oldest Buddhist structure in the world. 
Insider Experience - Unique: this evening we visit one of Anuradhapura’s most revered Buddhist temple sites where a fantastic atmosphere is created by the many visiting pilgrims coming to pray under the huge dome of Ruwanwelisaya Dagoba. Breakfast included

ACCOMMODATION 
PALM GARDEN VILLAGE HOTEL (OR SIMILAR) - Chalet

DAY 5    THURSDAY    ANURADHAPURA TO SIGIRIYA
Insider Experience - Local: this morning after departing Anuradhpura we stop at a village near Habarana for an insight into Sri Lankan rural life. Taking local bullock carts, we are shown aspects of farming life and will also have the chance to try a simple local lunch prepared in village style featuring typical local ingredients which may include eggplant, yam, green banana, okra and others. We may also have the chance to take local boats through a beautiful local waterway where fishing eagles make their home.
In the afternoon take a tour of the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa. Here we focus on the remains of the Royal Palace complex and the impressive neighbouring Quadrangle, which retains some palace structures, and the superb standing and reclining Buddha images at the Gal Vihara, still revered by local people. 
Afterwards we continue on to our hotel at nearby Sigiriya, in the shadow of Sri Lanka’s most iconic sight. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

ACCOMMODATION 2 nights
HOTEL SIGIRIYA (OR SIMILAR) - Superior room
Sigiriya
Tel: +94 66 4930500/1/2/3

DAY 6    FRIDAY    EXPLORE SIGIRIYA
This morning we explore the incredible rock of Sigiriya. Ancient monastery or palace, its possibly two millennia of history hidden in myth and legend, the view of the rock alone is breathtaking. Climbing the steps of the rock even more so – this is a steep climb involving several thousand steps. Those not wanting or able to climb may enjoy the fine park-like water and boulder gardens at the base, which offer more views of the rock. For climbers, the first treat is the superb apsara frescoes about half way to the summit. A final ascent through two enormous rock lion’s paws brings you to the summit, with its rock foundations and sweeping views of the jungles and countryside around. 
Note: the climb is only suitable for those with good fitness; plenty of water and sun protection should be carried. 
In the afternoon enjoy free time to relax by the hotel pool - or join your tour leader and local guide for a visit to the deserted forest monastery of Ritigala, with its famously ornate ‘urinal stones’. Breakfast and dinner included

ACCOMMODATION
HOTEL SIGIRIYA (OR SIMILAR) - Superior room

DAY 7    SATURDAY    SIGIRIYA TO KANDY
Departing Sigiriya we continue the short distance to Dambulla. Home to one of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated collections of Buddhist art, the cave temples here are a gallery of beautiful religious sculpture and painting. The 5 hilltop caves hold dozens of Buddha images and vast colourful frescoes. 
Note: the climb to the caves is on wide stone steps which are relatively even but the climb is hot and takes around 15 minutes or so. Those not wishing to climb may stay at the base of the hill. Later visit a tropical spice garden, learning of the many culinary and medicinal plants which are grown in the island’s rich hill country. Here we will also stop for a local lunch. Afterwards we continue up into the central hills and Sri Lanka’s second city Kandy, set amidst forested peaks and with a character all its own. Relax in the fine grounds of your hotel in the late afternoon. Breakfast and lunch included

ACCOMMODATION 2 nights
HOTEL SUISSE (OR SIMILAR) - Deluxe room
30 Sangarajah Mawatha
Kandy
Tel: + 94 81 2233024-5

DAY 8    SUNDAY    EXPLORE KANDY
We start early today with a visit to the ornate Temple of the Tooth. The temple houses Sri Lanka’s most revered relic, a tooth of the Buddha, and we visit for one of the daily pujas (prayer ceremonies) which Sinhalese Buddhists regard as the ultimate worship. Pilgrims from all over the Buddhist world flock to the temple, regarded as one of the holiest in the religion, for an opportunity to be close to the temple’s revered relic. 
Insider Experience - Taste: if you wish to try a typical, delicious Sri Lankan breakfast, join your guide for a visit to a nearby local cafe to see how the locals take their morning meal - and sample some delicious typical local breakfast snacks if you wish, or just a refreshing cup of local tea.
Later we take a city tour of Kandy, including the lovely lakeside drive and colourful central market area, as well as one of the local crafts centres. Kandy’s gem museum features an interesting display of this major island industry, with displays featuring the various stages in gem production.
In the afternoon, drive the short distance beyond town to the verdant Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. Favoured by Sinhalese kings and the British colonial rulers, the gardens feature a spectacular and colourful collection of exotic tropical plants as well as a huge colony of fruit bats. 
This evening enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow group members to reflect on your adventures on this beautiful island. Breakfast and dinner included

ACCOMMODATION
HOTEL SUISSE (OR SIMILAR) - Deluxe room

Helloworld Terms & Conditions

*Conditions apply. Prices correct as at 3 September 2018 but may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency change. Offers subject to availability. Agents may charge service fees, rates vary. Payments by credit card will incur a surcharge.  Airfare not included.  A non-refundable deposit of $200 per person required 5 days after issuance of an invoice. Additional deposits may be required depending on the policies of the Third Party Travel Provider. Any additional deposits will be advised at the time of booking or on the invoice. Full payment is due and payable 65 days prior to the scheduled date of departure from Australia and will be notified to you in your confirmation of booking. Offers may be withdrawn without notice and are not combinable with any other offers unless stated. Please check all prices, availability and other information before booking. Insider Journeys and Helloworld Travel booking terms and conditions apply, see in store for details.