Tailored from £4,050 per person excl. flights
10 days Kotugoda, Cultural Triangle, Tea Country, Weligama
10 days Kotugoda, Cultural Triangle, Tea Country, Weligama
Few islands in the world offer the diversity that exists in Sri Lanka. From ancient cities, to rich religious festivals, to colonial memories, to rolling tea plantations, to the best beaches in the Indian ocean, to an astonishing variety of bird and animal wildlife, and to a bustling and chaotic way of life, Sri Lanka intoxicates its visitors with its potpourri of cultures, religions, races, customs, its sheer natural beauty and its way of life. In this 10 day itinerary, with the aid of your expert Wayfairer guide, explore this incredible country as the perfect introductory holiday. I warn you now… I doubt your first trip will be your last.
You will be greeted at Colombo Airport, Sri Lanka by our friendly representative, who will brief you on your trip and guide you out of the terminal via a special VIP track to a private car park. We will load your luggage up and then we’ll be on our way.
The transfer to your accommodation,The Wallawwa, takes approximately 30 minutes. The name “wallawwa” means an old manor house, with architectural features such as columns, courtyards and verandahs. This colonial bungalow has a fascinating history that dates back to the mid-17th century and was once owned by a head chieftain of Galle.
Today, The Wallawwa has been refurbished to its original old-world charm, whilst also providing the very best in home comforts and contemporary design. The Wallawaa is the perfect place to relax after a long flight to Sri Lanka; the bedrooms look out onto the central courtyard with its tranquil water features, the swimming pool is set inside a lush private garden and the Z spa is a get place to unwind or treat yourself to a pamper.
End your evening sampling Asian fusion cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant and have an early night, ready to start your Sri Lanka adventure in the morning.
After breakfast, you will check out of The Wallawwa and head north to Sri Lanka’s famous Cultural Triangle, taking in the island’s countryside on the way.
Your first stop will be the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura, which is best viewed in the evening when the complex of monasteries, temples and pools are lit up in spectacular sunset colours. The kingdom was once the capital of Sri Lanka and originally founded by a minister named Anuradha in the 4th century. One interesting feature is the complex irrigation system, which was put in place to serve the Buddhist teachers who once resided there.
You will stay at Ulagalla Resort, a 58-acre estate next to the stunning Ulagalla Reservoir in the rural village of Tirappane. The luxurious chalets scattered across the estate offer incredible views of the surrounding woodland, including nearby paddy fields. Each chalet has a private deck and plunge pool, where you can take in the scenic vistas and enjoy the setting with the utmost privacy.
The next stop on your Sri Lanka adventure is Polonnaruwa, the second-most ancient Sri Lankan kingdom. The transfer takes around two hours after breakfast, so that you can spend the morning and afternoon exploring the ruins of Polonnaruwa.
Polonnaruwa, which was also one of the island’s former capital cities, is one of the best archaeological sites in Sri Lanka and the ancient city is a great example of the discipline of Sri Lanka’s first rulers. The site was declared a capital by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in 1070 and reunited the country under his leadership.
In the evening, you will enjoy a game drive at the Minneriya National Park. Minneriya is located in the centre of the Cultural Triangle and the park is one of the best places to see elephants in Sri Lanka. Herds of these majestic animals migrate between Minneriya, Eco and Kaudulla National Parks during different seasons, and the parks also provide an evergreen habitat for other wildlife.
No trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to the iconic Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock. The 180-metre monolith is the subject of much debate and there are many theories as to what this 5th century construction was originally built for and how it has been used over the centuries.
Some popular ideas include a palace, a rock fortress, King Kashyapa’s hidden castle, a Buddhist monastery and a mysterious eighth wonder of the world.
The next leg of your Sri Lanka tour is a journey to Hatton Tea Country, which takes approximately five-and-a-half hours to get to.
The transfer includes a short stop in Kandy, so that you can visit Sri Dalada Maligawa (the Temple of the Scared Tooth Relic), a temple located in the Royal Palace complex which claims to hold an original relic of the Buddha’s tooth.
The relic has played a significant role in politics over the centuries, as it is believed that whomever holds the relic has governance of the kingdom.
Kandy, the last capital of the old kingdom, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site because of this historic temple.
After you’ve taken in this sacred spot, we continue to Hatton to explore Sri Lanka’s Tea Country.
You will stay at Tea Trails Bungalow, an elegant property that dates to the colonial era. The classic parquet floors, open fireplaces and serene lake views offered by the superb garden suites are the perfect setting to contemplate Sri Lanka’s rich history.
As part of your time in the heart of Tea Country, you will visit a tea factory and meet with a resident planter. Learn how the 1865 coffee blight impacted the classic British cuppa, when Ceylon’s plantations were devastated, and the pioneering planters decided to switch to tea.
During your visit to the factory, you’ll be able to truly appreciate how much work goes into creating what goes into your mug at home, from the initial processing to how different types of teas are produced.
Watch how the green leaf is dried and dehumidified, provoking the chemical reaction that turns it into tea, the segmenting of different particles which produce different grades and the packing and distribution. You’ll never look at a cup of tea in the same way again!
The next stop on your journey is the gorgeous Cape Weligama, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The transfer to this area of the island takes approximately six hours by road, but you also have the option to reduce the transfer time by travelling by scheduled sea plane.
There are many wattas and wallawwas nestled in the extensive tropical gardens of Cape Weligama, varying in size and facilities. Choose from ocean views, family suites, spa facilities, butler service, in-room dining and much more. All residences offer air conditioning or overhead fans, tea and coffee, a minibar, satellite television, Wi-Fi and luxury en-suite bathrooms.
On your first full day in the south of Sri Lanka, you can learn about cinnamon production with a local cinnamon planter. Start the day with a cinnamon-infused juice before climbing to the estate (tuk-tuk transfers can be arranged, if preferred).
On the way up, follow your nose and encounter local peelers and small-holdings where extract cinnamon oil is extracted. Often, you’ll see whole families working together. Discover the uses and healing properties of cinnamon, as well as the different gradings from those who have experience in cultivating this precious spice.
In the evening, take a guided walk around the UNESCO-listed Galle Fort with your host to learn the history of the fort, the battles that took place and the traders and travellers who later resided there. The quaint cobblestone paths are home to heritage houses, antique shops and local restaurants, which serve up cuisine from all over the world.
Before you arrive in Sri Lanka, it’s likely that you haven’t had the pleasure of trying Sri Lankan cuisine before (the country’s larger neighbours often steal the spotlight in the culinary department). However, we believe that Sri Lankan food is vastly underrated and many visitors to the island come with low expectations and leave pleasantly surprised.
Sri Lanka’s most famous dish is curry with rice, which sounds simple enough but is highly complex in execution. The word “curry” describes a wide range of dishes made up of many different ingredients; vegetables sautéed in spices, boiled in coconut milk, tempered, deep fried, caramelised or even served raw with grated coconut.
You may also be unfamiliar with some of the ingredients, such as lotus root or banana blossom. Explore Sri Lanka with all your senses by visiting a local market, where you can discover the range of tropical fruits and vegetables on offer, followed by a hands-on cooking experience in a traditional wattle and daub mud hut.
Depending on your flight time, spend your final day in Sri Lanka shopping for souvenirs or relaxing, before checking out of your hotel and heading to the airport for departure (the transfer takes approximately two-and-a-half hours).
You might be feeling a little sad to leave, but filled with happy memories and stories to relay to friends and family back home. We hope you enjoy this classic Sri Lanka adventure itinerary, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the rich culture of this beautiful island.