About the journey

This 14-day Grand Tour whisks travelers from mountain views and tea estates to beautiful sandy beaches embracing a cross-section of cultural attractions, city tours, national parks and wildlife encounters.

We invite you to experience the unique sights, sounds, history and culture that make up modern-day Sri Lanka. Allow us to take you on a fabulous Grand Tour from temperate mountains and tea estates to stunning sandy beaches washed by the warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean.

From the moment we greet you at the airport, you will travel in style as our VIP guest with your own personal chauffeur-guide. Visit cave temples and palaces, forts and markets, gardens and tea estates, national parks and turtle hatcheries, staying in hand-picked hotels within your chosen budget. We offer a range of optional add-on adventures such as riding an elephant, scuba-diving, attending a cultural show or joining a whale-watching trip to enable you to create your own bespoke mini-experiences within our Grand Tour.

Benefit from our local knowledge and years of experience as we offer you the chance to see and do things that independent travellers do not even know exist! We arrange reservations at a top Colombo restaurant for your fabulous Welcome Dinner and organise access to genuine conservation centres off the usual tourist trail. Our carefully planned itinerary of this Summer Grand Tour includes the beautiful beaches on Sri Lanka’s East Coast to avoid the southwest monsoon rains that typically affect the southern and western beaches from May to October.

Our group-buying power and established local contacts allow us to reserve the very best seats for your scenic railway trip, secure the lowest possible prices at hotels, and allow you to travel in safe hands with our reputable chauffeur-guides. All you have to do is arrange your flights then sit back and allow us to transport you on the trip of a lifetime with our Summer Grand Tour in Sri Lanka. Here a taster of what each day will hold.

Itinerary

Day01

Your personal driver/guide will greet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel in Colombo. We look forward to personally entertaining you at a memorable Welcome Dinner.

Day02

Head south to Tissamaharamaya or Yala taking in a Turtle Hatchery, Mask Making Workshop and the city of Galle along the way.

Day03

An early start with a dawn safari in Yala National Park is followed by stops at an elephant transit camp and at the Uda Walawe National Park en route to Embilipitiya or Uda Walawe.

Day04

Head into the mountains of Nuwara Eliya and tour a working tea factory.

Day05

Travel first class on one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world! Your driver will meet you at Peradeniya station and deliver you safely to your Kandy hotel.

Day06

Explore the sights, shops and gardens of Kandy independently before attending an optional cultural show in the evening.

Day07

Enjoy the scenery on the drive to Sigiriya, Habarana or Dambulla. Stops include a Spice Garden and the Dambulla Cave Temple.

Day08

A day in Polonnaruwa will include a guided tour, a trip to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the chance to ride an elephant!

Day09

Swap mountain jungle for golden sands as you head to Sri Lanka's east coast city of Tricomalee. There's time for a guided tour of Anuradhapura and some hot water wells too.

Day10

Explore the sights of Trincomalee including the beautiful natural harbour, Fort Frederic and Lover's Leap.

Day11

Chill out by the pool, relax on the beach or join a snorkelling and diving trip to Pigeon Island National Marine Park. Whale and dolphin-spotting trips are also available for wildlife lovers.

Day12

Chill out by the pool, relax on the beach or join a snorkelling and diving trip to Pigeon Island National Marine Park. Whale and dolphin-spotting trips are also available for wildlife lovers.

Day13

Enjoy the changing scenery as you are driven back through the hill country to Negombo or Katunayaka.

Day14

Transfer to the nearby airport with a last farewell to this beautiful country. We know you'll already be making a promise to return!

Day01

Colombo

Your exciting Sri Lankan Grand Tour starts the minute you touch down at Bandaranaike Airport where your personal English-speaking chauffeur/guide will be waiting to greet you with a beaming smile! Enjoy your first glimpses of the beautiful countryside and city suburbs as you are transferred in air-conditioned comfort to your hotel in Colombo, about an hour away. We will schedule a morning or afternoon city tour of Colombo to introduce you to the colonial architecture and bustling streets of our lively capital city.

In the evening you will be our guest at a Welcome Dinner; the ideal opportunity for you to learn more about Sri Lanka and ask questions about your upcoming Grand Tour. Please let us know your dining preference from the following 5 options:

1. Experience authentic Sri Lankan Jaffna cuisine at a high-end restaurant in Colombo

-OR-

2. Enjoy non-traditional food in a private club frequented by members of the elite social classes of Colombo

-OR-

3. Visit a high quality restaurant that specializes in the very best fish and seafood from our shores

-OR-

4. Experience typical Sri Lankan street food at a more typical restaurant frequented by Sri Lankan locals

-OR-

5. Your choice of restaurant in Colombo. If you have a particular favourite in mind just let us know and our agent will make reservations for your memorable welcome dinner.

After a memorable meal, we will be happy to introduce you to some of Colombo’s vibrant night life before you retire to your hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Day

Day02

Tissamaharamaya or Yala

Wake refreshed and enjoy an early breakfast before departing for Tissamaharamaya or Yala. You will quickly discover the benefits of having your own personal driver/guide who will answer questions and show you points of interest as you journey around Sri Lanka’s central, southern and eastern provinces in VIP comfort and style. Break your journey with a visit to a Turtle Hatchery and help release baby turtles into the ocean as part of a successful eco project to boost survival rates for these vulnerable species. Visit the Mask Makers at Ambalangoda if you wish, before continuing south to the ancient port city of Galle. The 16th century UNESCO-listed Fort Complex offers wonderful views from the ramparts. Enjoy the refreshing sea breeze as you continue on your journey along the scenic coastline to Tangalle, stopping for a visit at the natural seawater blow-hole. Your exciting 7-hour drive will end at your overnight hotel in Tissamaharamaya or Yala.

Day03

Embilipitiya or Uda Walawe

The promise of an exciting dawn safari should lure you from your bed before sunrise! Experience the special magic of seeing elephants, water buffalo, birds and possibly elusive leopards and sloth bears roaming wild in the Yala National Park. The quiet hours around sunrise are the best time for animal-spotting before other visitors arrive and the light is perfect for getting some wonderful photographs. Head back to your hotel for breakfast at 10am then sit back and relive your adventures so far as you are driven to Uda Walawe. We arrange for you to visit a local elephant transmit camp which demonstrates how man and elephants can live together in harmony. Unlike the better-known Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, this is a unique opportunity to support a genuine conservation project which rehabilitates and feeds young elephants before releasing them back into the wild. More thrilling wildlife encounters are on the agenda when you join an afternoon safari in the Uda Walawe National Park. Your overnight stay will be at nearby Embilipitiya or Uda Walawe. Total driving time on this action-packed day is likely to be 2.5 to 3 hours total.

Day04

Nuwara Eliya

A steady 4.5 to 5 hours’ drive is planned as you are transported into the more temperate hill country around Nuwara Eliya which is famous for its tea plantations. Learn where your morning cuppa originates with a tour of a working tea factory and perhaps pick up some souvenir teas to take home with you. Your overnight stay will be at a charming hotel in “Little England”, as Nuwara Eliya is known, and when you see the British colonial architecture and manicured gardens you will understand the nickname!

Day05

Kandy

You will be wowed by the treat in store for you today as you journey to Kandy on one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world! Your first class seats are reserved and the trip includes lunch, free wifi and unlimited tea and coffee during this spectacular four-hour trip of a lifetime. Enjoy the stunning scenery as you trundle at a sedate pace through the mountains to Peradeniya station. The familiar face of your driver-cum-guide will be waiting to meet you at the station and transfer you the short distance to your hotel in Kandy.

Day06

Kandy

After breakfast, the lake city of Kandy will be waiting to show off its wonderful cultural attractions. A must-see is the beautiful Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) before setting off to explore the shops and sights on your own. You may choose an optional visit to the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens for a small entrance fee. The 147-acre site has over 4000 species of tropical trees, bushes and plants including medicinal plants, spice trees, bedding plants and a showy collection of exotic orchids. Arrange for your driver to meet you at a prearranged time for transport back to the hotel. Relax and enjoy the hotel’s amenities before heading out to a Cultural Show in the evening. This optional activity costs an additional modest fee and showcases beautiful costumes, singing, dancing, drumming and fire walking.

Day07

Sigiriya, Habarana or Dambulla

A more leisurely day is planned as you depart after breakfast on a scenic 3.5 to 4 hour drive to Sigiriya, Habarana or Dambulla. Along the way you may choose to stretch your legs with a stroll around a Spice Garden and see where cocoa, coffee, nutmeg and other spices originate. There is no charge for this optional activity. The World Heritage Dambulla Cave Temple is well worth getting your camera out for. Carved into a series of underground caves, this well-preserved temple and pilgrimage site is over 2200 years old and has many Buddhist statues and wall paintings. Your day’s activities come to an end when your driver delivers you to your chosen hotel in Sigiriya, Habaraba or Dambulla.

Day08

Sigiriya, Habarana or Dambulla

After breakfast, your driver will transport you at a leisurely pace to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. We arrange a guided tour of this former royal city for you accompanied by an informative English-speaking guide. Learn about the traditional moonstone entrances as you tour temples, palaces and sites such as the Lankatilaka Temple, Shiva Delawalaya and the extensive 12th century rock carvings at Gal Vihara. We can arrange an optional Elephant Ride in Habarana for those wanting an authentic Sri Lankan experience with these gentle creatures and their mahouts. A climb up the carved steps of the massive Sigiriya Rock Fortress (Lion Rock) will reveal some amazing carvings and frescoes. Return to your hotel by car for a final stay in this area which is steeped in ancient culture and history.

Day09

Trincomalee

Depart after breakfast for the scenic drive through lush rainforest jungle to the ancient city of Anuradhapura. It was the political and religious capital of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for 1300 years. The well preserved palaces, monasteries and monuments come to life on your guided tour of this fascinating UNESCO-listed city. Next, sit back and relax on the journey east to the beautiful white sandy beaches at Trincomalee (total driving time today will be 4.5 to 5 hours). We include a stop at the seven hot water wells of Kanniya along the way. Check into your hotel, which will be your home for the next three nights as your Grand Tour changes gear from lush green mountains to beautiful beaches and Indian Ocean views.

Day10

Trincomalee

After breakfast, your driver will drive you into Trincomalee town, known locally as Trinco which has one of the largest and most beautiful natural harbours in the world. Visit the Portuguese-built Fort Frederic and the historic Commonwealth War Cemetery. Head to Lover’s Leap, high on the Swami Rock promontory, and hear the story behind its name. Enjoy a visit to a Hindu Temple Complex and admire the elaborately decorated gateway and bell tower. During the afternoon you are free to relax as you wish after your 2-2.5 hour excursion, perhaps with a swim in the hotel pool or reading a book on the local beach.

Day11

Trincomalee

Plan to do as much or as little as you please during your two car-free days on the beach at Trincomalee. Snorkelling and diving trips can be organized or you may prefer to join a thrilling whale and dolphin-watching trip. You can relax by your hotel pool, head to the beach, or arrange a trip by boat to a private island for a true castaway experience. A popular trip for visitors to Trincomalee is a visit to Pigeon Island National Park, a scuba diving area with over 100 species of corals, 300 species of colourful reef fish, Hawksbill turtles and the occasional reef shark.

Day12

Trincomalee

Plan to do as much or as little as you please during your two car-free days on the beach at Trincomalee. Snorkelling and diving trips can be organized or you may prefer to join a thrilling whale and dolphin-watching trip. You can relax by your hotel pool, head to the beach, or arrange a trip by boat to a private island for a true castaway experience. A popular trip for visitors to Trincomalee is a visit to Pigeon Island National Park, a scuba diving area with over 100 species of corals, 300 species of colourful reef fish, Hawksbill turtles and the occasional reef shark.

Day13

Katunayaka or Negombo

Depart from this ocean paradise after breakfast and sit back for the full day’s drive (6.5 to 7 hours depending on road conditions). Enjoy new sights and dramatic scenery as you journey through the mountains to Negombo, on the west coast. You will appreciate the advantage of having your own private vehicle and chauffeur, allowing you to stop for refreshments or take photographs at points of interest along the way. You may see logging elephants at work, roadside stalls selling fresh peanuts or piles of fresh pineapples to tempt you. Arrive at your hotel at Katunayaka or Negombo late afternoon.

Day14

Airport

All good things must come to an end, and your Grand Tour of Sri Lanka is about to conclude. Your driver will collect you one last time to drive you the final short journey to the airport where you are recommended to check-in 3 hours before your scheduled departure. We know you will have many unique and wonderful memories of your Grand Tour of Sri Lanka to take home with you, along with your photographs and souvenirs. Having tasted just some of what this beautiful country has to offer, we hope you will plan to return soon and take another VIP tour to see yet more of what Sri Lanka has to offer.

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