2,500 years ago Sri Lanka was a land vibrant with vitality and a well-ordered civilization. Cities, palaces, reservoirs, parks, temples, monasteries, monuments and works of art bore testament to the character, imagination, culture, and way of life of the people of Sri Lanka. Reminders of this ancient civilization are abundantly present today. Join Essential Travel & Tours on this beautiful tour of this colorful island paradise.

Wed. Feb. 27, 2019        LAX – Dubai

There is a brief stay in stay in Dubai on the way to Sri Lanka.

Fri. March 01, 2019        Dubai – Colombo –  Anuradhapura

AYUBOWAN! – a Sri Lankan greeting, wishing you a long life. You are met early in the morning and transferred to a hotel for breakfast. After breakfast head to Anuradhapura with a short visit at Mihintale, the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Lakeside Nuwara Wewa Hotel (B, D)

Sat. Mar. 2         Anuradhapura – Ritigala –  Harbarana

Explore the sights of the once sacred capital, Anuradhapura. Visit its archeological sites and see the 2,000 year old tree taken from the tree where the Buddha gained enlightenment in India. After lunch visit the 10th century abandoned monastery of Ritigala. Also enjoy the beauty of the unique flora and fauna here. Habarana Village (B, L, D)

Sun. Mar. 3         Harbarana – Polonnaruwa – Sigriya – Harbarana                               .

Drive through a forest reserve to the medieval city of Polonnaruwa. The ruins remind one of Angkor Wat. Visit its museum, the magnificent ruins in the Quadrangle and the Royal Palace. After a local meal climb the amazing 5th century Lion Rock Fortress of king Kasyapa in Sigriya, one of the 7 World Heritage Sites of the island. On your return to Harbarana relax and enjoy a catamaran ride on the lake. Habarana Village  (B, L, D)

Mon. Mar. 4       Harbarana – Dambulla – Kandy 

A morning drive to Dambulla known for its richly painted cave temples. After lunch arrive in the lovely exotic city of Kandy. Delight in the local scene and flavor as you tour the upper lake and shopping in the market square. Partake in the evening Pooja ceremony at the famous Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka’s most highly revered temple. Earl’s Regent Hotel (B, L, D)

Tues. Mar. 5       Kandy –  Pilimatalawa – Kandy

In the morning take in the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens. Travel to the interior of the island to the mystical kingdom of Gampola – visit the Lankathilake and Gadaladeniya ancient temples. The Suriyakantha Center for Art and Culture is where Jacques Soulié lives. Discuss Sri Lanka with Jacques over lunch at the center. After lunch visit a local music and dance school. Earl’s Regent Hotel (B, L, D)

Wed. Mar. 6        Kandy –  Nuwara Eliya                                          .

On the way to Nuwara Eliya in the central highlands you stop to discover a local tea plantation. Also visit a tea factory to watch how they process the famous Ceylon Tea for export. After lunch head to the hill station known as Little England, Nuwara Eliya. After a tour of the city enjoy a stroll through the city and its market. Jetwing St. Andrews   (B, L, D)

Thurs. Mar. 7       Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains – Nuwara Eliya

It’s an early morning departure to Horton Plains National Park to transfer to a 4×4 jeep to explore one of the world’s best nature reserves. A great place to safari! Jetwing St. Andrews  (B, L, D)

Fri. & Sat.  Mar. 8 & 9            Nuwara Eliya – Ella – Yala

After breakfast board a scenic train ride to Ella. There is a brief tour of the small city of Ella before continuing on to Yala National Park. Early Saturday morning embark on a magical safari through the national park – the best place to spot leopards, sloth bears, elephants, many deer and abundant birdlife. Jetwing Yala  (B, D)

Sun. Mar. 10                 Yala – Galle – Balapitiya                                 .

After another game drive at Yala you have breakfast and continue to the Seaside town of Galle an essential port of call for Chinese, Persian, Arab and Indian traders. Overnight stay in Balapitiya. Shinagawa Beach Hotel       (B, D)

Mon. Mar. 11                  Balapitiya – Colombo                                   .

Follow your guide on a walking tour of Balapitiya. Later in the evening transfer to Colombo for an early night as you leave very early tomorrow. Taj Gateway  (B, L)

Tues. Mar. 12          Colombo –  Dubai – LAX                              .

Wow! What a unique adventure! Something to ponder as you head home.

Included in this tour
Roundtrip airfare on Emirates Airlines from Los Angeles, superior hotels listed in the itinerary, all meals listed in the itinerary (B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner), transport in an air-conditioned bus, English speaking guide, knowledgeable tour leader, entrance fees where listed, bottle water while sightseeing, train ticket and private safari vehicle.

Not included in this tour
Beverages, meals not listed on this tour, travel insurance (Tina can help you with this), gratuities, optional excursions not listed and single supplement.

A $500 deposit will secure a place for you on this trip.