Day 1: Arrive Colombo, Sri Lanka
Arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport. After clearing customs and immigration, meet your A&K representative and transfer to your hotel in nearby Negombo.
Day 2: Thirappane | Cave-Temple Complex
Drive to Thirappane, situated in Sri Lanka’s monument-rich Cultural Triangle region. Enjoy lunch upon arrival at your luxury boutique hotel. Proceed to Dambulla, where you explore the Dambulla Temple (Golden Temple), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover its Buddhist mural paintings and more than 150 Buddha statues. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this continuously operated cave monastery — which features five sanctuaries — is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. Return to your resort, where you enjoy dinner this evening.
Day 3: Anuradhapura | Sacred City
After breakfast, drive to the sacred city of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient city is believed to have been established by a cutting from the “tree of enlightenment,” the Buddha’s fig tree, brought there in the third century BC by Sanghamitta, founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned aft er it was invaded in 993. Hidden in dense jungle for many years, it’s now possible to explore the site’s palaces, monasteries and monuments firsthand. After a traditional vegetarian lunch, continue to Mihintale, a mountainous peak where Buddhism was introduced. Return to your hotel and spend the rest of the Day at leisure.
Day 4: Sigiriya | “Lion’s Rock”
Enjoy your morning at leisure exploring the resort’s organic garden, cycling around the property or partaking in a relaxing spa treatment. After lunch, explore the ancient galleries and staircases at Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its ruins are off set by a commanding granite boulder, “Lion’s Rock,” built by King Kassyapa I in the fifth century. Return to your hotel for dinner.
Day 5: Trincomalee | Coastal Beauty
After breakfast, bid farewell to your hotel and transfer to Trincomalee, the site of your luxurious coastal resort. Experience the Tamil culture of Trincomalee, visited by Marco Polo himself. See its postcard-worthy natural harbors, Nilaveli Beach and Kinniya Hot Springs. Then, discover Trinco town’s harbor and fort, and visit Koneswaram Temple, a classical-medieval Hindu temple complex. Return to your hotel.
Day 6: Kandy | Heady Spices
Transfer to Habarana, where you stop for lunch and enjoy an optional Ayurvedic massage. This afternoon, visit Matale and a local spice garden to learn how aromatic cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and pepper lured ancient traders to the island. Continue on to your hotel in Kandy.
Day 7: Kandy | Temple of the Tooth
Begin the day at the Royal Botanical Gardens, seeing its impressive orchid collection accompanied by a Sri Lankan botanist. Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure. At dusk, visit the revered Sacred Temple of the Tooth; built during the 17th century, the UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooks picturesque Kandy Lake. See how its two-story inner shrine is fronted by two large elephant tusks, and watch the sunset over its golden roof. You may also have an opportunity to see the thevava (offering), when flowers, sweet meats and curries are bestowed in honor of the Tooth Relic.
Day 8: Ella | Landscape by Train
Spend the morning at leisure, perhaps shopping for Sri Lankan sapphires near your hotel. Transfer to the Peradeniya station and take a scenic train ride through the highlands to Ella, passing lush green tea plantations, mist-covered mountains and waterfalls. Check in to your luxurious boutique hotel, tucked into hill country on a tea estate. Spend the remainder of the day relaxing.
Days 9-10: Yala National Park | Thrilling Game Drives
Take time to explore your resort’s grounds and surrounding tea plantations. Then, transfer to your rustic lodge bordering Yala National Park. The next morning, take a game drive in the park, which boasts one of the highest concentrations of leopards in the world, along with sloth bears and 215 species of birds. Return to your eco-friendly accommodations and unwind. Later, set out on an afternoon safari, followed by dinner.
Day 11: Galle | Historic Fort
Drive to Galle, pausing for lunch en route. Stop to see the famous Stilt Fishermen, who still use an age-old fishing method to bring in their daily catch. Set out on an evening walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Galle, visiting its Dutch fortress.
Day 12: Galle | Tea Experience
Spend a full day at leisure enjoying the amenities on offer at your hotel.
Day 13: Colombo | Discovering Colombo
After a morning at leisure, drive to the capital city of Colombo, and take a walking tour with a Colombo native. Experience Pettah Bazaar, and visit the Old Dutch Museum, former home to Count August Carl Van Ranzow.
Day 14: Colombo | Island Architecture
Set out to explore the city this afternoon, visiting the Colombo Museum and Gangaramaya Temple.
Day 15: Depart Colombo
Transfer to the airport and board your homebound flight.