Sri Lanka is a country with one of the oldest cultures in the world and Sri Lanka has a large number of historical monuments which is a part of every Sri Lanka heritage tour. Sri Lanka inherits a very colourful heritage its own. Ancient temples, advanced water management system that follows the principals of hydraulic and trigonometry, Palaces, Forts, stupendous pagodas (Stupa), beautiful paintings that depict various stories, intricate wood carvings, and Gigantic rock-cut Buddha statues are some of the evidences from the flourishing culture that managed by Sri Lankan kings; all boast with pride of Sri Lankan royal tradition backed by Buddhist ideology. From Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Tissamaharama to Jaffna and Trincomalee; every spot has its own cultural legacy and worth of exploring in a heritage expeditions of Sri Lanka.
What places should I visit on a Sri Lanka heritage expedition?
Sri Lanka heritage tours organized by Seerendipity tours is a part of our effort to showcase rich Sri Lankan legacy to the locals as well as foreign travellers. Venturing on a Sri Lanka heritage tour is the best way to feel the grandeur of Sri Lankan culture, once echoed far and wide in the world. You can live up to the type of comfort level that the Royal family experienced with our luxury Sri Lanka heritage tour that includes five-star accommodation and transportation in a modern luxury vehicle.
Even though visiting museums is part of the heritage tours of Sri Lanka heritage tour may or may not includes the museums, all depends on the availability of time. Usually, the priority is given to visit cultural monuments rather than visiting museums, therefore visiting museums subjected to the availability of time. Visiting the museums located within historical places does not cost you extra money, however, unavailability of time prevents you from visiting them. If you go a for a short Sri Lanka heritage tour such as 2 days cultural triangle tour, or one day Sigiriya and Dambulla tour, it will be a daunting task to find time to visit museums. However, if you plan a one-week Sri Lanka heritage tour you will be able to find time to visit museums in cultural cities.
Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour-4 days
- Anuradhapura historical city
- Polonnaruwa historical city
- Sigiriya Rock
- Dambulla golden cave temple
- The tooth relic temple
- Entire ground transportation an air-conditioned and modern vehicle
- All entrance fees
- English speaking tour guide
- 3 nights accommodation with daily breakfast and dinner
Sketch of the program
- Day 1 Colombo-Anuradhapura-Dambulla-Habarana
- Day 2 Sigiriya-Polonnaruwa
- Day 3 Habarana-Kandy
- Day 4 Kandy-Colombo
Most monuments in the cultural sites are in dilapidated condition and difficult to ascertain how it appeared in the past. If you can find the time to visit the museum along with the monuments it is a wise decision as it allows you to witness the models of the monuments that sit in the cities. Don’t restrict the monuments into the stones and brick structures, they have much more important than that because they are examples of engineering skills an artistic value of ancient civilization.
Thus, whatever you expect from your Sri Lanka heritage trip, Seerendipity tours offer you a personalized tour that carefully crafted to meet your expectations. Just get in touch with our local staff, who are very knowledgeable about designing Sri Lanka tour packages, they are more than happy to help you. Most importantly we do not charge anything to help you to plan not only the Sri Lanka heritage trip but also any type of Sri Lanka tour.
Sri Lanka is a cultural melting pot with many cultures and religious groups, all of them enjoy a rich historical past. Diverse traditions and cultures in the hand, Sri Lanka lures travellers from all parts of the world. Sri Lanka heritage tours drive you beyond the luxurious façade of travel and into an authentic experience. Here is an 8 days Sri Lanka heritage tour that enables you to see the crumbling monuments in the culture along with many other unforgettable experiences.
Important sites packed with this heritage expedition of Sri Lanka,
Anuradhapura: First capital of Sri Lanka
If it is a Sri Lanka heritage trou it is difficult to forget this archaeological zoo. Anuradhapura is the most historical city on the island dates back to 3rd century BC, it was the ruling capital of Sri Lankan monarchy for more than 1000 years. The archaeological city occupies more than 40sq km in the dry north-central province of Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its historical value. Anuradhapura harbours some of the important historical and religious monuments such as Ruwanweli pagoda (stupa), sacred Bo tree better known as Sri Maha Bodhi as well as many other monuments. Some of the monuments are stupendous and they were among the biggest structured in the world, Eg. Jetawanarama had been the 3rd biggest structure in the world, which had been 122 metres (400 ft) in height, ut was as big as the 3rd Pyramid in Giza, it was built by King Mahasen (273–301).
What to explore- Historical Museum, Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanweli Pagoda, Thuparama, Jetawanrama, Samadhi Buddha and twin ponds.
How to reach: Anuradhapura lies in the north-central province of Sri Lanka about 200 km from Colombo. The journey from Colombo and many west coast beaches takes around 4 hours to reach the historical city. Inland airport of Anuradhapura is the gateway to the historical site for passenger who travels to Anuradhapura by air. There is plenty of availability of buses from all parts of the island to Anuradhapura but train transport available only from Colombo.
Weather: Anuradhapura sits in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, where the rainfall is scarce. The average temperature in Anuradhapura hovering around 35°C, but there can be warmer days during the drought and temperature can go up to around 40°C.
Polonnaruwa: Second capital of Sri Lanka
Polonnaruwa had been the second capital of Sri Lanka (1056 AD–1236 AD), and it is a place to some remarkable monuments belong places, audience halls, hospitals, parks and temples. Unlike in Anuradhapura, here the visitors can see a few Hindu monuments along with Buddhist temples and other monuments and shows the influence of Hinduism prevailed in the city. The city is smaller pampered to Anuradhapura but packed with monuments, the majority of them are Buddhist religious sites.
What to explore- Polonnaruwa archeological museum, Parakrama samudra, Audience hall, Parakrama palace, Gal Viharaya, Vatadage and Thuparama.
How to reach: Polonnaruwa can be easily reached from Colombo and all other major cities on the island. Plenty of buses available to reach Polonnaruwa from Colombo but it would be a bit difficult to reach Polonnaruwa by train and only a few daily trains available to reach it.
Sigiriya: Oldest landscaped Garden on the island
Visiting Sigiriya is in the bucket list of every foreign traveller in Sri Lanka and it is the most popular iconic tourist attraction the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. This UNESCO world heritage is one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world dates back to 5th century AD. The art gallery with tempera paintings at Sigiriya depicting figures of ladies are very popular in the world, these paintings were invented by the ancient artisans using natural paintings. A Large number of paintings were destroyed over the last several centuries due to the wrath of rain, wind and sun rays. At present only, few paintings are remaining and they are in good shape with bright colours.
What to explore- Sigiriya archaeological museum, Pidurangala temple, Sigiriya fortress.
How to reach: The easiest way to reach Sigiriya is by road, air transportation is also available on-demand with far higher rates compared to road transport.
Dambulla golden cave temple: one of the oldest cave temples in the world
Dambulla cave temple hides a large number of Buddhist religious paintings dates back to 1st century BC. It is believed that temple had provided shelter to the Sri Lankan in 1st century BC during an invasion. Later the King managed to get the throng back and converted the natural caves into an impressive Buddhist temple. There are 5 natural caves in the temple hidden in the rocky outcrop, where the visitors can see more than 150 Buddha statues, God figures and a statue of a king. The temple is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is a must-visit the place on the Sri Lanka heritage tour.
Explore: There are five caves to be visited at the site.
How to reach: The temple lies near the Dambulla city and it is an only distance away from Dambulla. Road transport is the best way of reaching this historical temple. Air transportation is also available on request.
Kandy: Tooth relic temple
The tooth relic temple of Kandy considered being the most sacred Buddhist temples on the island, which houses the left eye tooth of Buddha. The Annual ceremony of Esala ceremony that takes place at the tooth relic temple, is one of the biggest celebrations on the island. The yearly procession marks the arrival of left eye tooth of Buddha in the country (2nd century AD). This is another religious event that participated by a half a million spectators from all around the world. The pageant hit the street for 10 consecutive night in the month of July/August, which participated by hundreds of elephants, drummers, flautists, and dancers.
What to explore- Tooth relic temple, International Buddhist museum, Kandy lake, Royal botanical garden.
How to reach: Kandy is the hub of Sri Lankan road network, it is well connected with all parts of the island. Rail transportation from Colombo is also available and daily many trains plying between Kandy and Colombo.
Kataragama: God’s own country
Kataragama is popular among the Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims but it is not a popular attraction for foreign travellers. However, it is well worth investing your time to explore this magnificent temple. It is one of the best places to see the devotion of Sri Lank people to its religion. The temple is a classic example to show the religious harmony among the Hindus and Buddhist, where you see the Hindu temples, as well as Buddhist temples, brushing their shoulders each other. However, this south coast locality not only popular for cultural and historical wealth but also for natural wealth. It reflects many leading wildlife reserves such as Yala national parks, Kumana national park and Udawalawe national park.
What to explore- Kataragama temple, Yala national park, Kumana national park, Kirinda temple.
How to reach: Kataragama can be conveniently reached from all major cities. The air transportation is also available on request however reach the temple by train as the southern railway track is not extended up to Kataragama, however, you can make ¾ of the journey by train and rest by bus, by using the Matara bound trains from Colombo.
Galle: The city with Dutch colonial heritage
Galle is another UNESCO world heritage site due to the presence of Galle Fort. The fort is the most important historical monument in the city, dating back to the 15s. It is an architectural masterpiece, where you find thousands of structures in old Dutch architecture. The entire complex is turned to a small old European city by building a high-rise wall around it. The Dutch governor (1656-1796) and high-rank Dutch official lived in the Fort. Today Dutch fort is the most important tourist attraction in the south coast and attracts thousands of visitors every day. From stunning palm-fringed beaches, colonial structures, flavoursome cuisines and vibrant art, Galle has a lot to explore.
What to explore- Galle Fort, Hikkaduwa beach, Whale watching Mirissa and the temples.
Food: southern Sri Lankan coastal cities such as Galle and Hikkaduwa are also popular for fishing and producing a large portion of Sri Lankan fish plate. Local seafood specialities coming from south coast considered being some of the most delicious recipes on the country and don’t fail to sample a seafood dish if you happen to travel to southern Sri Lanka.
How to reach: Galle is well connected with all major cities on the island and can be reached by bus, train or plane.
Sri Lanka heritage tour in a nutshell
Duration: 7 nights – 8 days
Locations: Colombo – Anuradhapura – Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa – Dambulla – Kandy – Nuwara Eliya – Katargama – Galle- Colombo
Detailed Itinerary of Sri Lanka heritage tour
Day 01: Arrive Colombo – Jaipur (35 km- 45 minutes)
The tour starts in Colombo as of most Sri Lanka round tours, you will be welcome by your tour guide and take you to the Colombo hotel where you can take a rest after a long flight. Overnight Hotel- Colombo
Day 02: Arrive Colombo – Anuradhapura (200 km- 4 hours 30 minutes)
After the breakfast starts the journey to Anuradhapura. You will reach Anuradhapura toward the mid-day. Make the lunch break before proceeding to the historical city. After some rest & lunch start the Anuradhapura city tour and visiting historical monuments. Later proceed to the hotel in Sigiriya for overnight stay. Overnight Hotel- Sigiriya
Day 03: Sigiriya-Polonnaruwa (58 km- 1 hour)
After early morning breakfast at hotel leave for Sigiriya rock fortress before it is getting too hot and crowded. The Rock fortress is only 10 minutes away from your hotel. After the hike at Sigiriya rock make a rest at your hotel. In the afternoon leave for Polonnaruwa historical city, where you explore historical monuments and visit the historical museum. Overnight Hotel- Sigiriya
wildlife exploration with your heritage expeditions Sri Lanka
The Minneriya and Kaudulla national park are very popular places for spotting wild elephants in Sri Lanka. Both national parks are located within the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka giving easy access to the travellers, who stay in Sigiriya. You can make the evening jeep safari at one of the national parks mentioned above at your own cost.
Adding Village tour to your heritage expeditions in Sri Lanka
You also can take part in the village, which is also an optional excursion to the remote village of Hiriwadunna in Habarana. The tour includes a visit to a farms land, paddleboat tour in the village lake and bollock cart ride. The tour also includes a cooking class with lunch, where you cook a delicious Sri Lankan meal with our female chef. You can move freely around the village and enjoy the evening.
Day 04: Sigiriya – Dambulla – Matale – Kandy (90 km / 2 hours)After leisurely breakfast leave for Kandy, En-route stop at Dambulla golden cave temple and spice garden. You will be making a stop at Matale Muttumari Amman temple, which is a modern Hindu temple. The temple does not have a much historical value however it is a popular Hindu temple in the area. Overnight Hotel- Kandy
Day 05: Kandy
There is a lot to see and do in the city of Kandy and it has a very rich colonial heritage. After the leisurely breakfast in this beautiful city, you will be visiting Peradeniya botanical garden and downtown Kandy. Later after the lunch visit Kandyan cultural show and tooth relic temple. Overnight Hotel- Kandy
Day 06: Kandy – Nuwara Eliya (75 km / 3 hours
After the breakfast proceed to the Kandy railway station, where you board the Nuwara Eliya bound train. Today you are going to experience one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. The rail track from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya is full of beautiful scenery and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery as the train slowly moves across the mountain valleys. In the afternoon visit tea factory and Seetha temple, which is another historical city connected to Ramayana. Overnight Hotel- Nuwara Eliya
Add a little bit touch of nature to your heritage expeditions of Sri Lanka
Visiting Horton plains national park is available as an optional activity today and you can explore this natural jewel after arriving Nuwara Eliya. If you choose to visit Horton plains national you will be heading to national park first and later proceed to the hotel. Horton plains national park is one of the last remaining cloud-forests on the island, and it has its own unique atmosphere. The park considered to be a super biodiversity hotspot and a large number of Fauna and Flora of the park is endemic. Some of the rare animal species such as slender Lorries still can be spotted here.
Day 07: Nuwara Eliya – Kataragama (140 km/ 03 hours)
After the breakfast leave for the hotel in Kataragama, En-rouet visit temple of Kataragama. Later in the day safari at Yala national park, which is an optional activity and the tour is arranged upon request. Overnight Hotel- Kataragama
Day 08: Kataragama – Galle – Colombo (295 km/ 4 hours)
after the breakfast hit the Colombo Kataragama main road which lies along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. You will be travelling along beautiful beaches of the southern coast, where you can make occasional stops to take photos and dip your foot in the warm water. You will reach the Galle Fort just afternoon, where you make the lunch break. After the lunch, you are free to explore the Fort your own with a walking tour in the fort. If you wish to accompany the guide, he will kore than happy to do that. Later proceed to the hotel in Colombo or to the Colombo international airport.
Optional activities on the west coast for the heritage expeditions of Sri Lanka
Western coast beach areas are full of activities and sightseeing, you can also visit few more interesting places on your journey to Colombo.
Optional activity: Boat tour at Madu river estuary
This Ramsar wetland is located between Colombo and Galle near the km post of 118 from Colombo. Madu River estuary is one of the 2 Ramsar wetlands on the island and one of the best places for boating in Sri Lanka. Usually, the boat tour at Madhu lasts about 2 hours, during which you will encounter many avian fauna species and animals such as crocodile, land monitor, monkey. Madu River estuary is also home to a large extent of mangrove forest.
Optional activity: Visiting Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary
Exploring Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary is another optional activity that can be done on this Sri Lanka heritage tour. Hikkaduwa marine sanctuary is valuable ecological assets of Sri Lanka, where it is possible to see coral reefs, sea turtles, and a large number of exotic fish species with seagrass. Most importantly you do not need to jump into the water as you explore the underwater corals and fish species, because you can rent a glass-bottom boat at Hikkaduwa and conveniently explore the underwater world from the boat.
Optional activity: Visiting mask museum
Mask Museum of Ambalangoda is located between Bentota and Hikkaduwa is popular for wood carving in Sri Lanka. Ariyapala mask museum is a place to see many hundreds of masks and some of them are many centuries old.