A tour of Sri Lanka's Hill country

Enjoy a tour through misty mountain peaks, picturesque waterfalls, and sprawling tea estates in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. Visit National Parks and Nature Reserves and go on scenic train journeys through spectacular scenery.

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, touring and transfers. Starts from:

GBP 645 per person sharing a twin room, Standard Class Hotels

GBP 742 per person sharing a twin room, Superior Class Hotels

GBP 932 per person sharing a twin room, Deluxe Class Hotels.

International and domestic airfares are extra.

A tour of Sri Lanka's Hill country at a glance
  • Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Kandy
  • Day 2: Visit Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
  • Day 3:Scenic train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
  • Day 4: Day trip to Horton Plains
  • Day 5: Scenic train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella
  • Day 6: Travel to Colombo and departure
A tour of Sri Lanka's Hill country Image 1

Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Kandy

Meet your driver/guide on arrival and transfer to Kandy - the World Heritage Site is the last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings. Depending on your arrival time, you may also choose to travel on the train to Kandy. This is a spectacular and dramatic drive past a ring of mountains, and hairpin bends as you climb deeper into the hills.  

Overnight in Kandy

Distance and journey time: 101 km, 3 hrs

A tour of Sri Lanka's Hill country Image 2

Day 2: Visit Royal Botanical Gardens

Make an early morning visit to Kandy's local market before visiting the magnificent Kandy Botanical Gardens. Talk a 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. 

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 3:Travel from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

In the morning transfer to Kandy train station for a scenic train ride to Nanu Oya. This railway journey from Kandy to the highlands, climbing uphill up to 6,000 ft above sea level, is one of the greatest rail journeys in the world. On arrival at Nanu Oya, meet your driver and transfer to your hotel in Nuwara Eliya

Drive through green valleys of the hill country pierced by endless waterfalls & dotted by tea pluckers draped in bright coloured saris. Or rent a bike for a gentle ride along the banks splashed by the waters of Lake Gregory. 

Overnight in Nuwara Eliya.

Distance and journey times:

Kandy to Nanu Oya by train: 4 hr

Nanu Oya to Nuwara Eliya: 15 mins by car

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Day 4: Day trip to Horton Plains

Horton Plains, UNESCO World Heritage Site, trekking paradise & Eco-tourism hideout in the heart of the isle, painted with unending stretches of green pastures marks one of the healthiest wet montane evergreen forests in Sri Lanka. With an altitude above 7000ft, the plateau sweeps to a robust 3169 hectares sheltering flora and fauna varieties that may be found nowhere else on earth. As the tributary of Belihul Oya - Bakers Falls – thunders down rocks head along the 9km trekking path - across the frost-covered grass - to feel the icy-cold wind against your face. You may even gaze down World's End, a head-spinning 3700ft drop towards the Southern end or drive carefully through herds of sambar deer, shy to human touch & birdlife chirping across the plains. If you're cautious enough you may be greeted by the sights of a grunting wild boar, a pouncing fishing cat, otters or even the 'Spotted-Ghost that haunts the plains', the Sri Lankan Leopard!

Distance and journey time: 29 km, 1 hour each way

A tour of Sri Lanka's Hill country Image 5

Day 5: Scenic train to Ella

In the morning proceed to Nanu Oya Railway station to board a train bound for Ella This will be a 4-hour scenic train journey. Upon arriving at Ella railway station, you will be transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay. A quaint hillside village offering the most amazing view in all of Sri Lanka, Ella is ideal for leisurely treks. 

Your guide is at your disposal for the day. Some suggestions 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.

Distance and journey times:

Nanu Oya to Ella by train: 4 hrs.

Ella Railway Station to town: around 5 minutes

Day 6: Travel to Colombo / Airport

Depart for Colombo for some shopping time or transfer straight to the airport for your departure.  Why not extend your tour to relax in some of the fabulous beach resorts that Sri Lanka offers?

Distance and journey time: 206 km, 6 hrs

 

Not quite right? This itinerary is just to give you an idea of what is possible. Need some more inspiration? Please get in touch at 01473 214305 or email to sales@eastravel.co.uk.   We welcome your questions. We're here to help!

Highlights

Adam's Peak: Sri Lanka's holy mountain

Adam’s Peak, rising over 7000ft above the lush green hill country of south west Sri Lanka is shrouded not only in cloud but legend, and deep religious belief.

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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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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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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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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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