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Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle and East Coast

10 days Guided Tours

Virgin Holidays' view

Sri Lanka’s east coast is still a bit of a secret so get there before the crowds and explore this stretch of pristine beachfront. Explore the Cultural Triangle with your very own local driver/guide, including a climb of Sigiriya and a safari in Minneriya, before relaxing on the beach or enjoying the water based activities this coast has to offer, including whale watching.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Colombo

Arrive in Colombo this morning, where you will be transferred to Negombo (approximately 20 minutes) to check-in at the Jetwing Beach or similar (4V option) or The Wallawwa or similar (boutique option). The rest of the day is at leisure. (D)

Day 2: Negombo to the Cultural Triangle

After an early breakfast depart for Habarana by road (approximately 5 hrs), upon arrival enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Commonly referred to as the ‘Cultural Triangle’, the central plains area boasts of temple ruins and ancient cities combined with national parks and glistening reservoirs. The area boasts an enthralling visit for wildlife and cultural lovers alike. En-route you have the option to stop over at the highly recommended Dambulla Cave Temples and in the afternoon we recommend an enjoyable visit to Polonnaruwa (additional cost), the medieval and ancient capital of Ceylon. Highlights include the Royal Palace complex including the Kings Palace and Audience Hall and the Quadrangle with its concentration of ancient heritage. Also view the spectacular Gal Vihare complex of four massive images of the Buddha, cut from a single slab of granite, a magnificent example of ancient Sri Lankan rock carving. Enjoy 3 nights at the Habarana Village by Cinnamon or similar (4V option) or Ulugalla Resort by Uga Escapes or similar (boutique option). (B,D)

Day 3: Sigiriya and Minneriya

An early start today as we visit the magnificent site of Sigiriya Rock. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Sri Lanka's major attractions, highlights include the water gardens, the mirror wall with ancient graffiti, the lion platform and the summit of 1.6 hectares, which was completely covered by buildings during the period of Sigiriya's glory. In the afternoon, you will drive to the Minneriya National Park* (approximately 30 minutes). Sitting amidst Habarana and Polonnaruwa, the 8,890 hectares of Minneriya National Park consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to favourites such as elephants and sambar deer. The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rd century AD). During the dry season (June to September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze, as well as the huge flocks of birds that come to fish in the waters. Overnight Habarana Village by Cinnamon or similar (4V option) or Ulugalla Resort by Uga Escapes or similar (boutique option). (B,D)

*Depending on the elephant movement, you may visit the nearby Kaudulla National Park or Hurulu Eco Park instead.

Day 4: Cultural Triangle

Today is at leisure or you could add an optional tour (additional cost) to Anuradhapura. Overnight Habarana Village by Cinnamon or similar (4V option) or Ulugalla Resort by Uga Escapes or similar (boutique option). (B,D)

Day 5: Cultural Triangle to the East Coast

Today you will drive toward to east coast to Trincomalee (approximately 2 hours). Trincomalee (also referred to as Trinco) has always been an important eastern town throughout Sri Lanka's history. This vibrant town is best known for its harbour, the biggest natural harbour in the world, which has seen the ships of the Portuguese, Dutch and British, among others, over the centuries. Enjoy 5 nights on the beach at the Trinco Blu, by Cinnamon or similar (4V option) or Jungle Beach Resort by Uga Escapes or similar (boutique option). (B,D)

Days 6-9: East Coast beaches

Days at leisure to enjoy the beaches and activities on Sri Lanka’s East Coast. Overnights at Trinco Blu, by Cinnamon or similar (4V option) or Jungle Beach Resort by Uga Escapes or similar (boutique option). (B,D)

Day 10: Depart for Colombo

This morning, transfer to Trincomalee airport for the scenic flight back to Colombo (approximately 1 hour flight). A road transfer (approximately 7 hours) is also available at a reduction. You can either connect directly for your onward flight arrangements, or you can extend to the southern beach resorts or add a night in Colombo. (B)

Meals: B=Breakfast, D=Dinner

Dates & prices

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour Options

The first day of the tour is at leisure so allows you enough time to arrive and relax, if you have time we recommend adding a couple of extra nights on the beach before your tour. After the tour you can extend to Nuwara Eliya or a safari in Yala, alternatively you can extend your stay on the beaches of Sri Lanka or the Maldives.

Time difference

GMT +5 hours 30 minutes (summer) +6 hours 30 minutes (winter)

Tour inclusions

  • Air-conditioned transport with private driver/guide
  • Sightseeing as detailed, including entrance fees and still camera fees
  • Accommodation and meal inclusions as mentioned
  • Road taxes, parking fees, fuel surcharges and porterage at airports.

Tour exclusions

  • International flight, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips and gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary.

Optional excursions

  • Visit to Polonnaruwa on Day 4

Accommodation

Occasionally due to availability or other circumstances we may need to substitute one or more of the hotels with that of a similar standard.

Journey times

Sri Lankan roads are windy and there are few highways so journey times between destinations can be very long and those listed in the itinerary are approximate. If optional excursions are added or ad hoc visits are required this may add extra time on the roads. This tour have been designed by our destination experts so we have tried to build in free time to relax and added internal flights where we think cutting journey times may improve your experience.

In some instances you may want to add an internal flight to cut transfer times, please ask your Virgin Holidays agent.

Language

English is widely spoken in Sri Lanka.

Visa requirements

Holders of UK Passports will require a visa to visit Sri Lanka. This must be obtained in advance for US$30.00 and can be completed at: http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa

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