A tour of Southern Sri Lanka

An ideal tour for nature lovers featuring dramatic views and superb mountain scenery of the Hill Country and Southern Coast. Visit tea estates, historic temples, and shrines and see leopards on a safari at the premier game reserve of Yala National Park.

Touring Style - a private tour with your own driver who also acts as your guide.

Best time for this tour: December to April.

Prices are seasonal, include hotels, breakfast, professional touring and transfers. Starts from:

GBP 627 per person sharing a twin room, Standard Class Hotels

GBP 853 per person sharing a twin room, Superior Class Hotels

GBP 1181 per person sharing a twin room, Deluxe Class Hotels.

International airfares are extra..

A tour of Southern Sri Lanka at a glance
  • Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Galle
  • Day 2: Visit Mulgirigala Rock Temple and Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary
  • Day 3: Tissamaharama Temple and Yala National Park
  • Day 4: Buduruwagala and Ella
  • Day 5: Scenic train to Nuwara Eliya
  • Day 6: Scenic train to Kandy. Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary and temple of the Tooth
  • Day 7: Departure or beach extension
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Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Galle

Meet on arrival and transfer to Galle en route visiting a Devil Mask factory.  Galle, the southern capital where classic Dutch architecture meets a tropical setting.

In the afternoon, leave with your guide for an-depth Fort tour. Walk the Dutch-haunted streets listening to the creaks of wooden saloon doors and observe how European architecture mingles with South Asian traditions. Flanking the old gate is the Zwart Bastion and the lighthouse standing 18 feet in its glory next to the Point Utrecht Bastion. This Dutch bliss is painted with streets that spread in a rectangular grid pattern pierced with houses carrying Dutch colonial style verandas. Overnight in Galle.

Overnight in Galle.

Distance and journey time: 152 km, approx. 3 hrs

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Day 2: Visit Mulgirigala Rock Temple and Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary

Proceed to visit the Mulgirigala Rock Temple at Tangalle. This ancient temple is perched on an enormous boulder more than 200m high. The temple complex consists of ancient murals, a recumbent Buddha statue, and several cave temples. You will then visit the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, one of Sri Lanka’s oldest bird sanctuaries and home to many species of resident as well as migratory shorebirds.

Overnight in Tangalle.

Distance and journey time: 80 km, approx 2.30 hrs

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Day 3: Tissamaharama Temple and Yala National Park.

Continue to the historical Tissamaharama Temple and participate in the pooja at Kataragama Shrine. Afterward, you will be transferred to Yala National Park for an afternoon safari. There are herds of elephant, sloth bear, spotted deer, jackal, extensively populated birdlife as well as the highest density of leopards in the world.

Overnight at Yala.

Distance and journey time: 117 km, approx 2.30 hrs

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Day 4: Buduruwagala and Ella

After breakfast, you will be driven to Buduruwagala to see the Mahayana Buddhist Images. After the visit, a leisurely drive to Ella, a quaint hillside village offering the most amazing view in all of Sri Lanka, Ella is ideal for leisurely treks.

Some activities you may like:

Visit a Tea Factory for a fascinating tour.

Ella Rock - Hiking up Ella Rock is one of the most popular treks to do in Ella, but is also far more challenging than the easy climb up Little Adam’s Peak. The summit is 3,300m above sea level, and 1,000m higher than Ella town. The view from the top is one of the most spectacular in Sri Lanka. You need to allow 4-5 hours. Walk along the train tracks for about half an hour and begin the ascent up the slope through fruits fields and a tea plantation. A local guide is recommended and available en route.

Little Adam’s Peak - This is a scenic and easy hike with sensational views from the top of Little Adam’s Peak. Take a gentle stroll through a tea estate before ascending a short stretch of winding steps up to the top of the peak. From the top, there is a spectacular panorama featuring Ella Rock, rolling tea fields and the Ella gap. Plan to reach the summit for sunset.

Nine Arch Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in Sri Lanka and is a stunning example of the incredible engineering prowess behind the island’s railway system. It is a 30-metre-high viaduct with dramatic, high arches.

Overnight in Ella.

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Day 5: Scenic train to Nuwara Eliya

In the morning proceed to Ella Train station to board a scenie train bound for Nuwara Eliya This will be 4-hour scenic train journey. Upon arriving at Nanu Oya station, you will be transferred to your hotel for overnight. 

Nuwara Eliya, Little England, studded with colonial bungalows, hedgerows & one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in the world. A hike through the green grass and red-brick walls presents breath-taking views of a buzzing countryside hamlet. Drive through green valleys of the hill country pierced by endless waterfalls & dotted by tea pluckers draped in bright coloured saris.

Overnight in Nuwara Eliya.

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Day 6: Scenic train to Kandy

Hop back on the train for the scenic 4 hour journey to Kandy.On arrival, you will be met by your driver for a transfer to your hotel.

Take an early afternoon walk around Kandy Lake and visit the British Garrison Cemetery housing the graves of early British colonials.

Your evening tour will take in the main attraction of the Temple of the Tooth, where a tooth relic of Lord Buddha is enshrined. A pooja (religious service) is held at dawn, midday, or in the evening, accompanied by traditional music and drumming. Daily Kandyan dance performances are held in town by the Temple of the Tooth at 6.30 pm.

Overnight in Kandy. 

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Day 7: Departure or beach extension

Make an early morning visit to Kandy's local market before visiting the magnificent Kandy Botanical Gardens. Walk through its immaculately designed lawns, pavilions and an octagon conservatory on foot or a cattle-drawn carriage. Do not miss the orchid house & giant Java fig tree. On completion of the visit, proceed to Pinnawala to visit the Elephant Orphanage.

Departure. Why not extend your stay on one of the fabulous beach resorts in Sri Lanka?

Distance and journey time: 101 km, 3 hrs 

 

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Highlights

Ella: stunning hill country

Set along a single street meandering down a gentle slope, the village is a delightful piece of colonial era England in the middle of Sri Lanka’s stunning hill country.

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Galle: Interesting and Charming

Set within a chain of imposing, 17th Century bastions on Sri Lanka’s south western tip, Galle Fort, the city’s old Dutch quarter, is a wonderfully preserved, historically important UNESCO site l

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Horton Plains National Park: The Central Highlands

Formed of a an eerily silent plateau over 2000m above sea level, the diverse landscape of the Horton Plains National Park is mirrored by the fabulous variety of endemic trees, flowering plants and wildlife.

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Kandy: Lake town and Temple of the Tooth

One of the most sacred of Buddhist places, and final capital of the Sinhalese kings, UNESCO listed Kandy is also one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful cities.

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Nuwara Eliya: Tea Country

Set picturesquely south of Kandy among rolling hills of tea, the colonial era hill station is a delightful fusion of timeless Sri Lankan, and British, tradition.

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Tangalle: south coast beach

Located facing the Indian Ocean on the island’s south coast, Tangalle is best known for its pristine soft-sand beaches and safe bathing. In addition, it offers both cultural and natural attractions.

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Yala National Park: Leopard Country

Yala National Park, located in the south east of the country is remarkable for its variety of habitat, and unique eco-system regulated by the north-east monsoon.

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Accommodation

Ella, Boutique
98 Acres Resort & Spa

Located in Sri Lanka’s scenic hill country, the resort and spa is set within a picture perfect tea estate in Ella, Bandarawela, with stunning panoramic vistas across the lush green terraces.

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Galle, Luxury Boutique
Galle Fort Hotel

Located within the historic UNESCO listed Galle Fort, the hotel is an imposing and characterful former Dutch 18th Century gem merchant’s mansion and warehouse

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Galle, Luxury Boutique
The Fort Printers

Located within the 16th Century UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle Fort, The Fort Printers is a former mansion dating to the Dutch colonial period, its distinctive high ceilings and large windows being added during the British administration.

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Kandy, Boutique
The Kandy House

Set within lush, tropical gardens, the palatial ancestral villa, dating to 1804, and held at the time to be ‘an act of defiant decadence’ stands today a breath-taking fusion of 19th and 21st Century luxury and style.

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Kandy, Superior Class
Cinnamon Citadel

Located on a picturesque bend of the Mahaweli River, against a backdrop of green, mist shrouded mountains, the hotel is an oasis of elegance and calm.

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Nuwara Eliya, Unique Hotel
Tea Factory

Located high in Sri Lanka’s scenic hill country, the converted property looks out over wide vistas of tea terraces, lush green in colour, mist shrouded and magical.

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Nuwara Eliya, Superior Class
The Grand Hotel

Located almost 6000ft up in Sri Lanka’s central highlands, the former colonial era property is set in its own exquisite gardens within a fold of the tranquil, mist shrouded hills of Nuwara Eliya.

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Nuwara Eliya, Standard Class
Jetwing Warwick Gardens

Set on a six acre estate, in the tranquil and picturesque hill resort of Nuwara Eliya, Warwick Gardens is a former bungalow dating to the British colonial era enjoying a cool and refreshing climate, and panoramic mountain and valley vistas of neighbouring Ambewela.

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Tangalle, Deluxe Class
Anantara Peace Haven Resort Tangalle

Set amid a coconut plantation on a golden crescent of sand on the Indian Ocean, the resort’s location is both tranquil and secluded.

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