A Cultural Journey Through Sri Lanka

Few islands in the world offer the diversity of Sri Lanka; from ancient cities and colonial memories, to rolling tea plantations and some of the best beaches in the Indian ocean. This 9 day itinerary will take you through the cultural heart of Sri Lanka and give you a unique experience of the islands’ culture.

Day 1: Arrive in Sri Lanka

Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport you will be met and assisted by our Airport Representative who will then drive you to the Wallawwa Hotel. Check in, unpack and relax. There is a great spa for those interested in relieving the tensions of the flight.

Stay: The Wallawwa

Day 2: Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle

The journey begins with the exploration of some of Sri Lanka’s ancient cities and archaeological sites. The Cultural Triangle is home to 4 of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in Sri Lanka.

In the late afternoon, you will head to Ulagalla Resort, near the town of Thirappane where you can enjoy your private pool and indulge in a spa treatment. The surrounding area has many trails, ideal for both walking, biking and horse riding.

Stay: Ulagalla Resort

Day 3: Archaeology and Nature: Sigiriya, Pollonaruwa and Minneriya Park

The day starts early, but it’s worth it! Your guide will lead you through ancient pleasure gardens to visit the fortress of Sigiriya built on top of a huge boulder in the 5th century. Sigiriya is renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

You can enjoy a light lunch and cool down after the morning club in the pool at the Sigiriya Rest House which overlooks the rock fortress.

In the afternoon we will visit Polonnaruwa, which was the second capital and the seat of government from the eleventh to the thirteenth century. Constant invasions by southern Indian warrior tribes meant that the city was abandoned and Dambadeniya became the new capital. It was not until the nineteenth century that the citadel was rediscovered by English explorers.

Only an hour away from Polonnaruwa you will find the Minneriya National Park, which covers 8,890 hectares and consists of a mixed forest of evergreen shrubs, a favourite habitat for animals, which include leopards, deer and wild elephants.

The park’s main feature is the former reservoir or tank built by King Mahasen in the third century AD. During the dry season from June to September, this is a fantastic place to watch herds of elephants come to graze and bathe. It has recently been discovered that the park witnesses the largest elephant gathering in the world during these months. You can also see huge flocks of birds, including cormorants and painted storks that come to fish in the shallow waters.

Stay: Ulagalla Resort

Day 4: The Spice Road to Kandy

En route to Kandy you will visit a spice garden and learn about the origins, production and health benefits of popular spices before sitting down for lunch at Ena de Silva’s private estate in the hills above Matale. Here you will see first hand the famous fabrics produced by her cooperative, reminiscent of the banners that she made to hang on the front of Sri Lanka’s parliament building.

You will spend the night at the Kandy House, which is a 200-year-old aristo palazzo gone 21st-century It blends minimalist lines, atypical antiques and quirky strokes of color around a central courtyard, with just eight romantic individually designed rooms, named after indigenous butterflies.

Stay: The Kandy House

Day 5: High Tea

The train ride from Kandy to the heart of Sri Lanka’s Tea Country is one of the most scenic train rides in Asia. As you meander out of Kandy, dense jungle opens into cloud forest, with undulating vistas of immaculate tea bush carpets in between.

On arrival at Tea Trails you will be greeted by your butler who will attend to anything you need while you watch the sun go down over the mountains and the lakes.

Stay: Tea Trails

Day 6 - 7: Tea plantations

A ‘Tea Experience’ is offered providing interesting insights into the growth and manufacture of tea (Sri Lanka’s most famous crop) by visiting a tea plantation followed by lunch on the verandah of the Tea Trails.

You will then head up to the ridge between both valleys to take in the spectacular views and admire Adam’s Peak. It is variously known as Adam’s Peak (the place where Adam first set foot on earth after being cast out of heaven), Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint, left by the Buddha as he headed towards paradise) or Samanalakande (Butterfly Mountain, where butterflies go to die).

Stay: Tea Trails

Day 8: Colombo

After a hearty breakfast, you will travel west to Colombo and experience the modern day capital with a local resident, Mark Forbes.

The final evening will be spent at the Ministry of Crab. Dharshan Munidasa, in partnership with two of Sri Lanka’s best known faces – cricketers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene owns what is conceieved to be the best place in the world to sample the renowned Sri Lankan crab. Occupying prime space in the landmark Dutch Hospital complex, the restaurant specializes in serving enormous crustaceans that would otherwise be whisked away to more prosperous consumers in Singapore and Malaysia.

Stay: The Wallawwa

Day 9: Departure

At a pre-arranged time your chauffer guide will take you to the airport for your departure.


Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrive in Sri Lanka The Wallawwa
Day 2: Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle Ulagalla Resort
Day 3: Archaeology and Nature: Sigiriya, Pollonaruwa and Minneriya Park Ulagalla Resort
Day 4: The Spice Road to Kandy The Kandy House
Day 5: High Tea Tea Trails
Day 6 - 7: Tea plantations Tea Trails
Day 8: Colombo The Wallawwa
Day 9: Departure


Colombo Sigiriya Polonnaruwa Kandy Tea trails Colombo

From USD 4,500 per person based on two people travelling

Notes on our prices

  • This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
  • Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
  • Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
  • This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant