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A treasure trove of ancient kingdoms, cultural wonders & vibrant wildlife

The Cultural Triangle served as the heartlands of early Sinhalese civilisation. Stretching from the three great capitals, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy, the area is strewn with an extraordinary collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura was Sri Lanka’s first capital. Founded in 380 BC, it is renowned as one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities.

Anuradhapura is the spiritual core of the Cultural Triangle and the city is peppered with monasteries, temples and ancient pools. Many religious sites are still in use and you’ll observe saffron-robed monks performing ancient Buddhist ceremonies.

Visit the sacred Bo tree of Sri Maha Bodhi, believed to be the oldest living tree in the world and the place where Buddha received Enlightenment. Explore the enormous dagoba of Jetvana, said to be the highest in the world.

Polonnaruwa was the second capital city and its remains are one of the best preserved archaeological sites on the island, providing a fascinating insight into medieval Sri Lanka.The city is a complex park of hundreds of ancient structures, temples, tombs and stupas, making it a delight to explore.

Nearby is Sigiriya, known as Lion Rock, one of Sri Lanka’s most famous sites. The spectacular natural column of rock rises from the tree-dotted plains, soaring to nearly 200m in height.

The enormous rock’s flat surface houses the remains of an ancient civilisation built in the 5th century, thought to be the palace and fortress of the Kassapa Kingdom. You can climb the rock to explore the mystical ruins, water garden and cave shrines.

Take a trip to the local village of Hiriwadunna. This authentic experience offers the unique opportunity to interact with local Sri Lankan villagers and learn about village life, especially their respect for nature.

In the evening, enjoy a game drive at the Minneriya National Park, one of the best parks in Sri Lanka to see wild herds of elephants as they migrate between national parks.

The tropical forests and lush wetlands are home to an abundance of wildlife and you can spot deer, monkeys, sloth bears, birdlife and even leopards.

Other impressive sites include the magnificent cave temples of Dambulla, the largest and best preserved cave temple of Buddhist sculptures and paintings, and Mihintale, the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

The Cultural Triangle holds an abundance of historical wonders and magnificent wildlife, making it a truly memorable experience for anyone who visits Sri Lanka.

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to speak with our Asia Travel Specialists and begin planning your private & bespoke Cultural Triangle tour


Best times to visit Cultural Triangle

The best time to visit Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle is during the dry season of January to March. The days are warm and sunny, and the pleasant temperatures are perfect for packed days of exploring. April to September also brings dry, sunny weather, however the temperatures rise to the mid-30 degrees celsius. If you don’t mind the heat, this is still a great time to visit.

We recommend sightseeing early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat, and relaxing in your luxury accommodation during the midday sun. Most sites are open until 6:00pm, so you can resume exploring in the cooler evening. The monsoon season runs from October to December, bringing sporadic downpours, while July to October is the best time to see the migration of wild elephants at Minneriya National Park.

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to speak with our Asia Travel Specialists and begin planning your private & bespoke Cultural Triangle tour


Accommodations in Cultural Triangle

Ulagalla Resort is a 58-acre luxury estate situated on the tranquil Ulagalla Reservoir in the rural village of Tirappane. You will stay in a chalet complete with private decks, plunge pools and stunning views across the reservoir; while the luxurious Water Garden Sigiriya is a 35-acre retreat with views of the iconic Sigiriya Rock. The hotel is beautifully furnished, designed by renowned Sri Lankan architect Channa Dasawatte, inspired by the ancient water gardens of Sigiriya.

Talk to the team

Find out more and tailor your perfect trip with the help of
our specialist team on +44 117 313 3300