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Maldives - Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Sights (5 days)

Sri Lanka Sights from £440 pp*

Day 1 - Visit Dambulla en route to Sigiriya

From the airport we drive to Dambulla, where a great series of caves have been turned into temples (dating from the 1st century BC). We will visit five separate caves, which contain a large number of Buddha images and a few sculptures of Hindu Gods. This World Heritage Site is visited by crowds of worshippers. Finally we continue to Sigiriya (no meals provided today). Overnight hotel. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 2 - Visit Polonnaruwa

This morning we explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which reached its height of glory in the 12th century. The city still has many interesting and spectacular buildings and monuments. There is the Royal Palace Group with its Audience Hall, Bathing Pool and Quadrangle - a very compact collection of ruins. Close by is the Circular Relic House, a curious round structure with a beautifully preserved ‘moonstone’ carved at the foot of a flight of steps. Another famous feature of the deserted city is the group of carved images of the Buddha known as Galvihara. Here there are four colossal figures, all of which are hewn out of solid granite. The Reclining Buddha is no less than 14m long! Overnight hotel. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 3 - Sigiriya; drive to Kandy

A morning climb brings us up to the redoubtable Sky Fortress. The ruins of this 5th century fortress are one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions, a stupendous sight to behold and a feat of consummate engineering skill. A switchback series of steps and steel stairways (sometimes steep and challenging) ascend to the top. Halfway up, tucked beneath a sheltering overhang of rock, are the famous frescoes - the Sigiriya Damsels, their colours still glowing. Magnificent views can be enjoyed from the summit of the rock palace (200m high). On the way to Kandy we stop to visit the woodcarving centre at Naula and a Spice Garden. Finally we reach Kandy where our hotel is situated a short distance from the heart of this lovely mountain town. Overnight hotel. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 4 - Kandy

Lying in the mountains 112km northeast of Colombo, Kandy is, in climatic terms, a world apart due to its altitude of 500m above sea level. The town was captured by the British as late as 1815, and is known more for its cultural and spiritual importance rather than its history. Buddhists from all over the world come to this delightful old highland town, specifically to visit the Temple of the Tooth, the Dalada Maligawa. The costly jewelled shrine of the Holy Tooth (said to be 3.5cm long by 1cm thick and Buddha’s left canine) is kept in the upper floor of the original building. This relic was brought from India 1,500 years ago and every year, at the time of the August full moon, it is paraded round the town with great pomp and circumstance. During this ten-night festival of Perahera, the Tooth (or a simulacrum) is borne along on a richly caparisoned elephant, surrounded by saffronrobed monks and Kandyan dancers. Kandyan dancers can also be seen performing every night at one or two locales around town. This morning’s sightseeing includes attending the Temple of the Tooth Ceremony and a visit to the Peradeniya Botanical garden. Your afternoon will be free to continue your exploration of this charming mountain town. Overnight hotel. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 5 - Onto Colombo for your return flight

Return to Colombo for your flight to the UK. Breakfast. 

* Sample price indication based on 2 sharing and subject to change.