Enjoy uniquely distinctive and inspirational insights and authentic experiences with history and cultural tours in Sri Lanka brought to you by Silvertree. Learn about fascinating prospects with the heritage sites and battlefields – a worthwhile journey towards the world we find today.
On arrival, you will be greeted by Silver Tree representative and transferred to the hotel in Sigiriya. Spend the rest of the day relaxing.
In the early morning, visit the rock fortress of Sigiriya. It was built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century on top of a vast 200m granite rock. It took the king seven years to build Sigiriya and the site was abandoned after ten years of occupation when the king, defeated by his brother, committed suicide. Although it is a steep climb, the views and frescoes are definitely worth the effort. Sigiriya is best visited first thing in the morning or just before sunset when it is cooler and less crowded.
Take a tour of a local village nearby, enjoying the walks through paddy fields and the cool breeze. It is an opportunity to get acquainted with the typical village life, as you meet village folk and their families. You will engage in cookery demonstration along with a bullock cart ride. Just after the bullock cart ride, you will also have a boat ride. End the day with an authentic Sri Lankan lunch.
You will then visit Minneriya National Park. Located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, the 8,890 hectares of Minneriya National Park consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to Samar deer and elephants. However, the central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3 rd. century AD by King Mahasena). This tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants that come to bathe and graze, as well as the huge flocks of birds that come to feed in the shallow waters.
Return to the hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast, depart to the ancient city of Anuradhapura. The ruins of Anuradhapura are one of South Asia’s most incredible sights. There is a rich collection of archaeological and architectural wonders here including enormous dagobas (brick stupas), ancient pools and crumbling temples, built during Anuradhapura’s thousand years of rule in Sri Lanka.
After a lunch break, continue to Mihintale, a prominent mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It is believed to be the meeting place between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
Return to hotel for overnight.
After breakfast, you will head to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. It replaced the kingdom of Anuradhapura and became the second capital of ancient Sri Lankan kings. Three kings dominate the chronicles of the city and the period. The city reached a dazzling but pitifully brief zenith in the 12th century and though ravaged by invasion in the centuries that followed, much evidence remains of the old grandeur and glory. Within a rectangle of city walls stand palace buildings and clusters of dagobas, temples and various other religious buildings. A scattering of other historic buildings can be found to the north of the main complex.
On your return journey, you will stop at the Ritigala monastery. This Buddhist monastery dates back to 1 BCE. This peaceful hike takes you through a lush green forest on the mountain.
Return to hotel for overnight at hotel.
After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and proceed to Kandy.
En route we will stop at the famous Cave Temples of Dambulla which was built by King Valagambahu in the 1st century BC. Perched upon a gigantic granite outcrop, which towers more than 160m above the surrounding land, the caves are completely covered by ancient frescoes depicting religious and secular scenes. Protected within the caves are hundreds of statues of Buddha, many carved out of the rock itself, of which the largest is the 15m long reclining Buddha
We will also visit a spice plantation in Matale where a variety of spices such as cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg are grown. Sri Lanka produces world-class spices. The industry was introduced to the island by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
Arrive in Kandy which was the last Singhalese kingdom. It is a charming city with the most important Buddhist temple in the country. The city is surrounded by an ancient artificial lake and is nestled amidst rolling hills that are covered by forests and tea plantations.
Kandy is a great place to buy gemstones too. Sapphires of all colours, rubies, tourmalines and spinel’s can all be found here. Visitors are also invited to have a look around their workshop, where they will be able to see the design, and cutting, polishing and setting processes.
Check in to the hotel for overnight stay.
Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha in the late afternoon.
Ever since it was founded in the 16th Century, it has housed one of the most sacred relics of Buddhism – a tooth of Buddha collected from his funeral pyre and which is now protected within the gold-roofed Temple of the Tooth.
At 1600hrs witness a cultural dance show.
Return to the hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast, you will leave to Pinnawala Millennium Elephant Foundation. After a delightful elephant walk experience, continue to the city of Colombo. Check in at the hotel and relax for the rest of the day.
After breakfast, enjoy a city tour and shopping experience or just wind down and relax. Check-out of the hotel at noon. Depart to the airport when it is time for your flight. Late check-out can be arranged based on availability or advance notifications.