A land known for its undiscovered and buried temples, its numerous Buddhist and Hindu sanctuaries and copious natural beauty, Sri Lanka should be at the top of your travel bucket list! Explore the Jewels of Sri Lanka on this comprehensive tour that offers visitors a chance to experience the best of the country in just 15 days. Discover the multicultural influences that have moulded this Indian Ocean island into a country filled with wonders; from British tea plantations, royal capitals and botanical gardens, to nature reserves and stunning beaches, Sri Lanka caters to all your travel desires.Start your adventure in Negombo, where you can explore the city to discover Sri Lanka’s colonial roots and multi-cultural vibe. Head north to Anuradhapura; this UNESCO World Heritage site is home to extensive ruins of a kingdom of the same name, and is also an important location of prayer and worship for many Buddhists, Tamils and Hindus. Climb a stairway to the clouds in Sigiriya, the Lion’s Rock – this ancient rock fortress sits 200 metres above the jungle. Explore the Horton Plains National Park, trekking through its mountains and walking by its rivers as you spot purplefaced langurs and wild boar, amongst others. Say goodbye to Sri Lanka in the capital city, Colombo, where you will feel compelled to book your next trip in this hugely diverse country after enjoying just a small snippet of it. * Elephants* Leopards* Bears* Purplefaced langurs* Wild Boar* Barking Deer
Tucan Travel are proud providers of incredible tours that cater for the adventurous souls of the world, whilst keeping one very simple thing in mind: sustainability. Their aim is to make adventure travel sustainable for the long term. To achieve this, Tucan Travel have implemented measures that respect the delicate ecosystems, wildlife and natural habitats that they are exploring, following strict rules to minimise the effects of tourist presence. They have developed waste management solutions to help recycle, repair and reuse materials, and have also introduced a carbon offset scheme that encourages the use of public transport wherever possible, further helping to minimise their carbon footprint.Many of Tucan Travel’s tours include opportunities to view local wildlife in national parks or at dedicated conservation centres. Animal welfare is big focus for Tucan Travel who even have their own policy which includes only working with suppliers who meet their animal welfare standards and offering wildlife encounters so long as it directly benefits that species. With so many sustainability initiatives and more, such as contribution to local community schemes, supporting the work of World Land Trust and LATA in Latin America, Tucan Travel are truly committed to eco-tourism and their long term target of sustainable tourism.
Your arrival day has no pre-planned activities, so take this opportunity to explore the city. Named after a nearby lagoon, among Negombo's most popular attractions are the 17th century Old Dutch fort gate, the Dutch canal and numerous old churches and fishing villages that are ready to be explored. Start your Sri Lankan adventure in a city that was once a Portuguese and Dutch trading port, showcasing the multicultural background of the island country. If you are a night-owl, watch the Kotchchikade area of the city come to life when the stars come out...
Wake up to the pungent scent of saltwater with a morning visit to the fish market, and a guided tour of Negombo. Grab your backpack and head to Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage site founded in the 4th century BC. Once the capital of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, the well-preserved site is home to a bounty of ruins and is a significant landmark for the Buddhist, Tamil and Hindu religions. After taking a historical tour of this site, get ready to trek the rock of Mihintale for a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Here you will also see the ruins of a hospital, a large monastery and ancient carvings.
Continue your journey to Polonnaruwa, stopping en route at the Aukana Buddha, a mesmerising 12-metre-tall statue of Buddha that will leave you feeling quite insignificant! Once you arrive at Polonnaruwa take a guided tour of the ruins, where you will have the chance to see the remains of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya (a Buddhist rock temple) and four statues of the Buddha. The ancient city is listed as a World Heritage Site and spreads over a wide distance, so if you have time you are encouraged to cycle the rest of the area to see as much of it as possible.
Head to Sigiriya (the Lion’s Rock) and take in the overwhelming site from a distance before attempting to climb to the top. From afar the 5th-century rock fortress rises 200 metres above the jungle; before making the gruelling ascent, take the opportunity to capture some truly unique photos! Once you reach the top, catch your breath before quickly losing it once more to the hypnotic views of the stunning surrounding landscape. Whilst you are exploring the site, make sure you locate the world-renowned frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ or ‘Cloud Maidens’ of Sigiriya.
As you travel to the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings, Kandy, stop by at Dambulla to visit a majestic cave temple. This is a location of worship which was used by monks as a meditating site. The cave temple features statues, meticulous frescoes and paintings of Buddha. Once you arrive at Kandy, you will have a short orientation tour of the area which will give you an insight into the city’s history and the many places you can visit. You will be driven around the Kandy lake, visit the town’s Bazaar (a great opportunity for souvenir shopping) and the gem museum. As the sun sets over the horizon, visit the Temple of the Tooth, where you can watch some traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
Make sure you have your waterproofs to hand, as Kitulgala has two monsoon seasons a year, making it one of the wettest regions of the country! Kitulgala might be wet, but it's also incredibly picturesque, so hopefully, you'll be lucky and the weather will stay clear... While you are here be sure to treat your taste buds to some of the delectable local delicacies. You can also visit Adam’s peak or try white water rafting in the winding river that surrounds the area.
Escape the heat of Sri Lanka with a quick stop at Nuwara Eliya, located high in the cooler hills. There is a sightseeing tour of the city included, featuring a visit to a tea plantation and factory, which leaves the rest of your time free for you to explore this beautiful place at your own pace.
Rise and shine early in the morning to visit the superb Horton Plains National Park. Nestled amongst the highest mountains of the country, surrounded by rivers and hidden amongst the clouds, this location was once a sanctuary for elephants, but although they no longer inhabit the area you can still see a wide variety of wildlife. Visitors are welcome to walk around freely here, so take this opportunity to get lost in the wild and trek through the dense vegetation of Sri Lanka's only national park!
On your way to the Yala National Park make a pit-stop at the impressive Ella and Ravana Waterfalls. This will be your only camping excursion - you'll spend the night just outside the Yala National Park, which was inaugurated in 1900 and boasts one of the widest populations of wildlife in Asia. The park not only possesses rich flora and fauna, but also contains some ancient history; a centre for past civilisations, Yala National Park is home to two historically important pilgrimage sites, Sithulpahuwa and Migal Vilhara.
Visit the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, a haven where orphaned elephant calves are cared for and rehabilitated to then be released back into the wild. Enjoy the warm, white sandy beaches, and if you go for an evening wander, keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles coming to land to lay their eggs. If you are a keen diver, why not take one of the diving tours off the coast, where you can discover a number of coral reefs and shipwrecks?
Arrive at the last stop of your tour, Colombo. You will be taken on a city tour of the capital, driving past ‘Pettah’, a bazaar full of ancient vehicles, bargains, mosques and temples, before finally arriving at a Hindu Temple. You will also have the opportunity to visit a turtle hatchery and watch as baby turtles are nursed and cared for before being released.
After a mesmerising and memorable adventure through the mountains, cities and coast of Sri Lanka, your adventure comes to an end. If you have a late flight make the most of the city as there is plenty left to discover! Alternatively, why not book post-tour accommodation and extend your Sri Lankan adventure even further?