This luxurious 14-day Sri Lanka itinerary will take you to the island's most important religious, historic and natural sites. You'll see remnants of ancient civilizations and visit intricately-adorned Hindu and Buddhist temples, some of them millennia old. On this tour you'll also see more recent history preserved in the inland cities of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, home to colonial vestiges and stunning mountain scenery. You'll also take safaris through Sri Lankan wilderness, seeing the country’s protected areas and spotting a wide range of wildlife including elephants, monkeys and deer. Each night of your trip, you'll stay in a luxury resort, relaxing in style after a full day exploring Sri Lanka's treasures.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
You'll begin your luxury 14-day tour of Sri Lanka in the capital of Colombo. On your arrival, you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Colombo has a great range of luxury accommodation to choose amongst. In the evening, you are free to enjoy dinner at your hotel, or find a restaurant in the city center serving spicy Sri Lankan curry.
This morning you will make your way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Anuradhapura, around 4 hours away. Along the way, you'll visit Puttalam, 80 miles north of Colombo, and home to Munneswaram Hindu Temple. This elaborate tribute to Shiva dates back to 1,000 CE and still hosts major religious festivals. You'll reach Anuradhapura in the afternoon, where you'll set off on a sightseeing tour of this ancient city. Major sites here include remnants of the ancient kingdom – stupas, a moonstone, the Abayagiri Dagoba Theravada Buddhist monastery and the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, a tree said to have grown from a branch of the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Proceed to Sigiriya, where you will stay this evening.
After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, you'll depart for the ancient city of Polonnaruwa – another UNESCO World Heritage Site, 80 minutes away. Here, you'll see 12th-century palace ruins, religious and royal statues, stupas and more. For a proper understanding of the site, you'll visit the Archaeological Museum. For lunch, enjoy an authentic Sri Lankan meal with a family in the local village. Next, you have the option to take an elephant ride through the jungle of Habarana. In the evening, you'll visit Dambulla Cave Temple, a sacred site with cave shrines containing ancient statues and paintings. Most caves feature effigies of the Buddha, but some pay tribute to Hindu gods, such as Vishnu and Ganesh. There are five main caves, the oldest dating back to the 1st-century BC. Return to relax at your hotel.
Today you'll leave the hotel early to explore Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Sigiriya, which means Lion Rock in Sinhalese, is a revered site with a long, fascinating history. Its surrounds are believed to have been inhabited since prehistoric times and the rock itself was once the site of a monastery. It features frescoes, water gardens and fountains, as well as the Lion Gate – huge stone paws that guard the staircase to the top. For lunch, you'll dine in a local restaurant, and in the afternoon you'll see the striking Namal Uyana and forest – the largest ironwood forest in Asia – and the striking pink quartz mountain.
After breakfast at the hotel, you'll make your way to Trincomalee (around 2 hours' drive), a major port city that overlooks the stunning Trincomalee Harbor. Here, you will visit the Koneswaram Temple, a medieval Hindu temple complex that sits atop a cliff at the edge of the sea. Next, you'll see the Kanniya Hot Water Wells, where locals bathe in square, shallow wells full of hot spring water. In the afternoon you have free time to spend on the beaches of Trincomalee. The coastline here features wide sandy shores and bright blue waters, perfect for a romantic afternoon stroll before you settle into your hotel in Trincomalee for the night.
Today you'll see the Girihandusaya Buddhist Temple, just north of Trincomalee in the small Tamil village of Thiriyai. The temple houses what may be the oldest dagoba – Sinhalese for stupa – in the world. Next, you'll take a trip to Pigeon Island, where you can enjoy leisure time exploring the protected coastline here. Pigeon Island is located in one of Sri Lanka's two National Marine Parks, and is actually two rocky islets – one of which is surrounded by coral reefs. A variety of turtles and rock pigeons call this area home - you may be lucky enough to spot some. In the evening, return to your beachside resort in Trincomalee.
Today you’ll head to the picturesque hillside city of Kandy, the second-largest city in Sri Lanka - around 3.5 hours' drive. En route, you'll visit the Spice Garden to learn all about the health – and taste – benefits of herbs and spices often used in Sri Lankan medicine and cuisine, such as turmeric, citronella grass, vanilla, cocoa, and cinnamon. Whet your appetite by observing a cooking demonstration, then enjoy lunch in a rice paddy in tranquil Kamatha. After that, visit the wonderfully-elaborate Hindu Temple in Matale. In the evening, you'll see one of Kandy's most famous sites – the Temple of the Tooth Relic, said to hold a piece of the Buddha's tooth. Tonight, you'll stay overnight in Kandy.
Enjoy another day in Kandy today. You'll visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, just outside of Kandy, featuring meticulously-tended gardens with more than 4,000 species of plants, including a wide range of orchids. In the afternoon, you'll enjoy more sightseeing in Kandy, then be treated to a cultural show with traditional music and dance. Spend another night in your luxury Kandy hotel.
Today you'll depart Kandy for the scenic colonial hill town of Nuwara Eliya, some 2 hours away. This beautiful outpost of waterfalls and tea plantations is located at the foot of Pidurutalagala, Sri Lanka’s highest mountain. Here, you'll visit one of the area's many tea factories and enjoy a walking tour through parks, gardens and colonial squares. Today you'll check into a hotel in Nuwara Eliya – for an authentic colonial ambience we recommend the Grand Hotel, with its Tudor-style façade and lush, green lawns. Enjoy a romantic dinner in the garden, or stroll the streets to find a cozy local restaurant. Be sure to sample some local orange pekoe tea.
Get an early start today as you head out to Horton Plains National Park for a picnic breakfast. This nature reserve is home to the famous "World's End", a precipice with a vertical drop of more than 2,600 feet. This verdant, mountainous area is crisscrossed by numerous walking trails where you can enjoy the pure mountain air and some of Asia’s most lush scenery. You'll spend the day here exploring the grasslands and the forests, spotting Sri Lankan Sambar Deer and a wide array of birdlife, and seeing unique flora such as the famous "twisted trees" – a result of prevailing strong winds. In the evening, enjoy a relaxing night at the colonial Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya.
Today you'll leave the hotel for the 2-hour drive to Yala. Along the way, you'll pass through Ella on a spectacular journey through mountainous scenery, past waterfalls and through emerald-colored forests. This afternoon, embark upon a safari in the Yala National Park, the second-largest park in the country and a wildlife sanctuary, home to leopards, Sri Lankan elephants and a vast array of waterbirds. The park comprises wetlands, monsoon forests, scrub, grasslands and beaches, supporting a range of different ecosystems.
Today you will make your way to the old port town of Galle, around 3.5 hours' drive. This beautiful fort city was colonized by the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British, and its colonial ramparts still remain, achieving UNESCO World Heritage status for the city. Here, you will visit Mulkirigala Rock Monastery, a rock temple complex with intricate frescoes, stone stupas and hidden Buddha statues. Next, visit another prolific religious site, the colorful Wewurukannala Temple. This temple site houses graphic dioramas of "Buddhist Hell" and various other mythological scenes, painted statues of Hindu gods and Buddha statues showing different stages of enlightenment. Tonight, check into your hotel in Galle.
After a gourmet breakfast in your hotel, you'll explore the Dutch Fort with its mix of Dutch and Portuguese colonial architecture. Here, you'll find the Galle National Museum, where you can view old military artifacts, turtle shell ornaments and native handicrafts. After a leisurely half-day tour of the fort, you'll head to the Rhumasala and Yatagala Temples in the afternoon. Yatagala Buddhist Temple is a fascinating site, more than 2,300 years old, built around boulders and carved into rocks. Exploring this site, you'll discover moss-covered Buddha statues hidden between boulders, and a sacred Bodhi tree. Conversely, Rhumasala is a modern temple, a gift from Japan that overlooks the water towards Galle. Tonight, enjoy the final night of your journey in night in your luxury resort in Galle.
Today, enjoy breakfast at your hotel, before driving 3 hours to the airport to catch your departing international flight.
The dramatic and sultry Tintagel property is located in central Colombo, close to Colombo Town Hall, National Art Gallery and Sinhalese Sports Club. The hotel was previously home to three of Sri Lanka’s political leaders, making it an important structure of national heritage. This unique and intimate hotel boasts ten high-ceilinged suites with timber floors, lavishly decorated with a unique blend of color, texture and atmosphere. The spacious bathrooms feature rain showers, bathtubs and large vanities. All rooms include complimentary WiFi, LCD TV screens with DVD/CD players, a minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities and Egyptian cotton bedding. Selected suites come with a private courtyard or a balcony. There are a range of dining facilities including an alfresco restaurant, a chic indoor restaurant offering international cuisine, a private dining room and a bar with black leather lounges and bronze tables. Other facilities and services of the hotel include a spa with optional in-room service, swimming pool, gym, steam room, library and courtyard.
In prime position next to the lake and nearby Buddhist shrine, Uga Residence screams old-world elegance in modern Colombo. Nestled on a verdant avenue, this perfectly-appointed Victorian mansion offers an escape and some peace and quiet within the bustle of the city. Guests can relax in their luxurious suites, bedecked in rich materials and textures, or on their private terraces; alternatively, they may enjoy tranquil walks in the shady gardens. Relaxation and reinvigoration are close at hand with massages available on request and the hotel pool awaiting with cooling waters in a sunny courtyard. A la carte dining is a sumptuous affair at the poolside restaurant, where guests may begin with a cocktail from the adjacent bar and continue with wine from the cellar to accompany the gourmet delights on offer.
Located just six kilometers away from the historic Sigiriya Rock, Water Garden Sigiriya resort provides visitors to Sri Lanka with world-class comfort and second to none service. With one and two bedroom options, the resort's 30 villas are chicly designed, spacious, and imbued with an air of mystique thanks to their secret gardens and private plunge pools. Havens of relaxation and excellently positioned to observe the lush outdoors and roaming wildlife, the villas are also equipped with such modern comforts as flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi, and coffeemakers. The expansive resort property can be traversed via a traditional buggy, swimming across the outdoor pool, or aboard a helicopter from the resort’s helipad that provides aerial tours of the adjacent countryside. Master chefs cater to diverse appetites with dishes from around the world at the outdoor dining sites and traditional indoor venue. Quality is ensured with an emphasis on organic produce and imports from top quality suppliers. At the resort's spa, various treatments can be enjoyed including renowned Balinese massages. On-site, there is plenty to keep guests entertained with activities as diverse as billiards, biking, and archery while travel off the premises to explore such nearby attractions as the ancient cities of Dambulla, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa is easy and convenient.
Nestled amongst reed beds and paddy fields on top of a man-made lake lies Jetwing Vil Uyana, a premier luxury eco resort in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. Hailed by Harper's Bazaar as the "best eco luxury hotel in Sri Lanka," this one-of-a-kind resort comprises 36 dwellings that merge sophisticated modern comforts with ecological rural simplicity. Located on a property that spans 28 acres, the resort's structures have been carefully placed to best allow the surrounding nature to thrive, inducing 36 species of butterfly, 120 species of bird, and 20 species of mammal that regard the resortas home. Guests can attempt to identify all the species from the comfort of their dwellings or participate in any of the various wildlife observation tours organized by the resort’s staff. Magnificent views of Sigiriya rock are also offered from the resort's fine dining restaurant serving Eastern and Western dishes alike. There is also a café for light bites and a fully stocked bar. Strategically located, getaways to elephant gatherings at Minneriya National Park, a wildlife safari at Wilpattu National Park, and other tours of nearby natural wonders and cultural relics are easily accessible. The resort itself is equipped with a spa, yoga treatments, gymnasium, coffee makers, Wi-Fi, and more.
The resort boasts a sumptuous spa, fitness center, business center and library. The stylish contemporary rooms, which have a tropical jungle style, feature atmospheric lighting, large windows, a comfy seating area, cable TV, an en-suite bathroom, bathrobes and a hairdryer. Free WiFi runs throughout the whole establishment. Guests can expect to sample a fine selection of local and international dishes at the onsite restaurant. Room service is also available upon request. Friendly staff, great facilities and close proximity to all that Trincomalee has to offer are three great reasons you should stay at Jungle Beach Resort.
From the cozy Nilaveli Beach property, guests can gaze out to the pristine white sands and azure waters stretching far into the distance. Those looking for a blissful tropical heaven, far away from the cares of everyday life are guaranteed a slice of undisturbed paradise at this hotel. The hotel offers water sports, an outdoor pool, a secluded garden and beach and easy access to the vibrant city's must-see destinations. The well-appointed, light and airy rooms feature hardwood furnishings, a mini bar, DVD/CD player, air conditioning, fans and toiletries. The in-house restaurant serves a variety of local Indian and Western Halal dishes. a private barbeques on the beach can also be arranged.
Returning to the golden era of colonial British safari explorers, Leopard Trails offers the jungle experience in comfort and luxury, as the intrepid adventurers of the 1800s enjoyed it. Romantic and elegant, their tented camps are located in two of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful national parks, Yala and Wilpattu. While the former is famed for its roaming leopards, the latter draws nature enthusiasts for its populations of deer, sloths, bears, elephants and a solid contingent of leopards of its own. A stay at Leopard Trails allows guests to retreat to their beautifully-appointed canvas safari tent at night, to emerge in the morning, well rested and right in the midst of glorious flora and fauna. Delicious meals, meanwhile, are cooked freshly and served al fresco for a complete sense of immersion in nature.
Set right on the coast in southern Sri Lanka, Chena Huts occupy seven acres of the rainforest and dunes beyond Yala National Park, so its 14 cabins are surrounded by unspoilt beauty and natural wonders. With the ocean on one side and the country’s oldest natural reserve on the other, to stay here is to utterly escape into nature. In thatched huts with private pools, guests will find a little oasis of comfort and convenience, where crisp bed linens and wifi come as standard and flamingos and storks wade in the lake nearby. Nautical-themed Basses restaurant offers fine dining on the beach or in romantic private locations, and the poolside bar serves cocktails from behind a waterfall. Guests seeking a little pampering during their stay in paradise can retreat to the spa for a range of indulgent treatments, to heighten the sense of peace and tranquility.
Adjacent the world famous Yala National Park that is home to a dense population of leopards lies the Wild Coast Tented Lodge Yala, overlooking the shimmering blue waters of the Indian Ocean. A consortium of Dutch, English and Sri Lankan designers devised the the resort's man-made structures that seamlessly blend into the surrounding landscape. The premises 28 tents form the shape of a leopard's paw print when seen from above. The room's interiors fuse colonial expedition chic with contemporary design innovations. Teak floors and canvas walls mixed with dark leathers and metallic hardware bring these rooms to the forefront of fashion while air-conditioning and Wi-Fi guarantee guests’ comfort. At the Dining Pavilion and natural beach garden, guests can enjoy gourmet safari cuisine with a Sri Lankan flair. The resort is also equipped with a free-form swimming pool and luxurious spa. The resort offers vehicular tours to the furthest corners of Yala National Park while expert naturalist guides are on hand to discuss all flora and fauna that emerges such as elephants, sloth bears, and leopards.
Located in the center of a preserved 17th-century Dutch Fort, the sumptuous Amangalla resort is also a beautifully restored UNESCO World Heritage site that perfectly captures the charm of the historic trading port of Galle. Amangalla has 17 rooms, eight suites and the Garden House, a two-story house with treetop views. Rooms are decorated in a style that blends luxurious contemporary amenities with a perfectly rendered colonial-era aesthetic. Sri Lankan curry and other traditional dishes are served in the dining room, and the Veranda is a cool spot to have a drink during the day; the fort's Zaal (Dutch for Great Hall) serves light meals and a classic afternoon tea. The pool is located in the resort's gardens and has five shaded pavilions where you can relax post-swim. A library with Internet access houses information on Sri Lanka and the history of the Fort. The Baths, Amangalla's spa, offers Ayurvedic massage, hydrotherapy pools, and a steam room and sauna, among other treatments. There is also a garden pavilion for yoga practice or meditation. There is no fitness center. The resort is roughly a four-hour drive from Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).
Spend 10-days exploring the best of Sri Lanka from the cultural triangle, to tea country, and down to its sandy southern coast. You’ll stay in some of Sri Lanka’s most luxury hotels, as you explore Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Dambulla, spot wild elephants on a safari, travel tea country by railway, and learn about turtles at a sanctuary.
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Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
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Here is a small selection of the kind words our guests have said about us, as well as features by journalists and travel writers.