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Wonders of Sri Lanka

| Style: First Class | Pace: Comfortable

From a rock fortress to a royal city, experience the flavors of Ceylon – a spicy sojourn crisscrossing the Cultural Triangle, tropical rainforests, tea plantations and centuries-old spiritual sites to the beat of the Beraya and surrounded by the warm hospitality of the Sri Lankan people.

Trip Itinerary

  • Day 1: USA - Asia

    Board your overnight flight to Asia (not included).

  • Day 2: Arrive Colombo (2 Nights) Welcome to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival at Colombo Airport transfer to your hotel. This evening join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Welcome Reception with drinks and local appetizers.
    Dining: WR
    Hotel: Galle Face Authentic Accommodation
  • Day 3: Colombo Sightseeing Begin your City Tour this morning at Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya; one of the most sacred Buddhist worshipping places in Sri Lanka. Marvel at its eastern architecture, remarkable frescoes and learn of the many legends that surround this religious site. See the Old Parliament House, the Town Hall and Independence Square before making a stop at the oldest Hindu Kovil in Colombo, Sri Kailawasanthan Swami Devasthanam. This afternoon enjoy some free time to relax, explore further or take part in an Optional Experience. Later see a different and more charming side of Colombo as you drive around the city by ‘tuk tuk'. Make a stop to sample some local snacks and experience the flavors and spices of Ceylon, a Cultural Insight, before returning to your hotel.
    Dining: BB
  • Day 4: Colombo – Sigiriya (2 Nights) This morning get a deeper insight into a rather simpler lifestyle as you leave the city behind and head for the village of Horakelle. Take a walk around a tranquil garden surrounded by a coconut plantation, spices and fruit trees. A bit later meet a local villager and assist in preparing lunch, a Cultural Insight. Then continue on to your next destination the Cultural Triangle and enroute visit the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple. It is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country and renowned for its unique sculptures and large mural paintings.
    Dining: BB, L
    Hotel: Aliya Resort and Spa
  • Day 5: Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa Sightseeing This morning make an early start to avoid the heat of the day and visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress from the 5th Century which dominates the jungle from all sides. Choose to climb to the top of ‘Lion Rock' or just go up halfway to the ‘Lions Paw'. Alternatively for anyone not feeling energetic take a stroll around the gardens at the base and admire the scenery. A bit later enjoy breakfast before continuing to Polonnaruwa which was once the site of Sri Lanka's second medieval capital. The landscape is studded with sites of well-preserved archaeological importance. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening or choose to take part in an Optional Experience.
    Dining: BB
  • Day 6: Sigiriya – Kandy (2 Nights) This morning your choice of activities gives you two Cultural Insight experiences in the village of Habarana. Choose between taking part in a traditional folklore dance lesson with a Local Specialist or visit a forest hermitage to see the dwelling of a Buddhist monk and learn about the art of meditation. Continue your journey on to Kandy and on arrival check in to your hotel. Enjoy some free time this afternoon and this evening visit the Temple of the Tooth where a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is enshrined. At dusk observe a religious service (pooja) accompanied by traditional music and drumming.
    Dining: BB
    Hotel: Mahaweli Reach
  • Day 7: Kandy This morning depart the hotel by tuk-tuk and travel to the village of Katugastota to meet a Local Specialist, a senior from the village who will demonstrate how to play a beat or two on the ‘Beraya' (a traditional drum). Ancient sources reveal that these drums were used for special occasions and have become an integral part of life in Buddhist Temples. Next take a walk through the village to the home of a local family for a special Be My Guest lunch. The family lives in a small traditional house built in the late 1950's with a Kandyan style garden which has many spice trees planted for their own personal use. The staple food of Sri Lanka is rice and this is eaten for lunch with a combination of spicy curries. Engage in conversation with the family to learn all about local life in the village before returning to Kandy for some free time. This evening travel to a rural village and see a performance by a group of local school children, a Cultural Insight.
    Dining: BB, BG
  • Day 8: Kandy – Gampola - Nuwara Eliya This morning travel by train through Sri Lanka's tea country to Gampola, a fabulous way to see the hill villages and to observe the daily lives of the local people. See how Ceylon tea is made and gain an insight into becoming a discerning tea taster on a Tea Factory tour, a Cultural Insight. Learn the art of picking the tender tea shoots which is generally referred to as ‘plucking'. Take part in a tea plucking competition; it is not as easy as it looks but is great fun! For lunch enjoy a Regional Meal of ‘lamprais', rice boiled in stock accompanied by curry and baked in a banana leaf in the oven. Continue to Nuwara Eliya, dubbed the ‘Little England of Sri Lanka' and located in the misty hills of the island. The colonial atmosphere remains preserved and it resembles a British countryside complete with rose gardens, hedges and red-roofed bungalows.
    Dining: BB, RM, D
    Hotel: Grand
  • Day 9: Nuwara Eliya – Mt. Lavinia This morning drive to the West Coast of Sri Lanka for your overnight stay at the Mt. Lavinia, Authentic Accommodations, a premier colonial heritage hotel situated on a picturesque rocky peninsula alongside a sandy beach. The story of the Mt. Lavinia hotel began in the year 1805 when Sir Thomas Maitland arrived on the island to assume duties as the second British Governor and decided to build a grand country mansion for himself. He apparently fell in love with a local girl, a dancer called Lavinia and they became involved in a clandestine romance away from the disapproving eyes of the English society on the island. Lavinia's name is remembered as providing the inspiration for the name of the Governor's house and it is believed that her descendants still live in the vicinity today. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure before your Farewell Dinner this evening with your Travel Director and fellow guests.
    Dining: BB, FD
    Hotel: Mt. Lavinia Authentic Accommodation
  • Day 10: Depart Colombo Transfer to Colombo Airport for your onward flight.
    Dining: BB

Price Includes

Meal Summary

8 nights, 8 buffet breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners, On-trip transport.

Included Highlights

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Be My Guest

  • Enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan lunch with Ganga Akka at her family home in the village of Katugastota and learn about her lifestyle

Cultural Insight

  • Sample local snacks and experience the flavors and spices of Ceylon in Colombo. Meet a local villager and assist in preparing lunch. Learn the art of meditation with a Buddhist monk or take part in a traditional folklore dance lesson in the village of Habarana. Learn to become a tea taster at a local estate

Authentic Accommodations

  • Stay at one of the oldest hotels in Sri Lanka, once a Dutch villa and meeting place for gentlemen of the colonial era, today restored back to its former glory in the heart of Colombo

Local Specialist

  • in the villages of Habarana and Katugastota

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City Tour of Colombo
  • Visit the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya Temple in Colombo, the Lion Rock at Sigiriya, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy

Dates and Prices

All dates and prices subject to change. Please see for the latest discounts and departure information for this tour.
Thank you for your interest in this tour. If no dates are displaying, please call our reservations line at 1-877-622-9109 for more information

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: from $820.

Room Share: Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Special Discounts: At times we offer discounted departures. These discounts are valid for new bookings only and are not combinable with any other discounts other than our Past Traveler Discount and $100 AARP Member Discount. Other restrictions may apply, please call for details.

Visas are required for this trip. Please speak to your Travel Specialist at time of booking to assess your specific requirements. Visas cannot be issued upon entry to the country.