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Nulla porttitor accumsan Culture & Literary Festival Sri Lanka

Go back in time to discover the ancient wonders of the mystical island of Sri Lanka! Cultural holidays designed to include a foray into literature and other related experiences.

day Location/Route duration Overnight
Day 01 Arrival and drive to Colombo One night in Colombo Value: OZO Colombo
Signature: Uga Residence
Day 02 Colombo to Wilpattu One night in Wilpattu Value: Wilpattu Safari Camp
Signature: Leopard Trails
Day 03 Wilpattu to Sigiriya Two nights in Sigiriya Value: Sigiriya Jungles
Signature: Water Gardens
Day 04 Sigiriya Last night in Sigiriya Value: Sigiriya Jungles
Signature: Water Gardens
Day 05 Sigiriya to Galle Two nights in Galle Value: Galle Fort Hotel
Signature: KK Boutique
Day 06 Galle Last night in Galle Value: Galle Fort Hotel
Signature: KK Boutique
Day 07 Departure to the airport
Wildlife sanctuaries

Sri Lanka is an island that is teeming with flora and fauna with a large number of endemic species. This island will truly delight nature lovers. There are currently 61 sanctuaries which include Maduganga, Wilpattu North, Yala, Minneriya, Udawatta Kele and Rummassala.

Galle Dutch Fort

Galle Dutch Fort is a proud structure that still stands tall and mighty in southern Sri Lanka. Built by the Portuguese over 400 years ago, the fort was fortified by the Dutch, upon their invasion of the island. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visited and admired by many, all through the year.


Polonnaruwa became the capital of the island after the fall of the Anuradhapura kingdom. The kingdom prevailed from the 11th century till 1310 CE. Many famous ruins can still be found near Polonnaruwa that date back to its glory days. The Hindu influence on the island started taking prominence during this period.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Built by King Kasyapa (477 to 495 CE), the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress stands as a testament to the grandeur of Sri Lanka’s glorious past. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it features stunning boulder and water gardens and world-famous frescoes. At the summit, you’ll find the ruins of the king’s palace and a breath-taking view of the surroundings.

The Anuradhapura Kingdom

The glorious Anuradhapura kingdom was the very first empire that was established on the island. Gallant kings who are still revered in the island today ruled the whole country from this proud city. Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka during this era, which was formed by 377 BC and fell after an invasion in 993 BC.

Cycling Tours around Galle

Enjoy guided cycling tours in the district of Galle. Hop on a mountain bike and cycle along the 12 km Paddy Trail from Wijaya Beach. Over the next 1.5 hours, ride past picturesque paddy fields and enjoy a relaxing break at a quaint open-air eatery. Up for a challenge? Choose the 30 km Paddy and Lake Trail, which lasts two to three hours. It extends past the paddy fields, towards the gorgeous waters of Koggala Lake.

For a more indulgent experience, pick the 18 km Kahanda Kanda Ride. Partake in lunch or cocktails as well as have a swim at the Kahanda Kanda boutique hotel. Tours start early in the mornings or late afternoon. A tuk-tuk escort will follow with drinks and your belongings.

Galle Fort Walk

Discover the cultural and architectural legacy of Galle, inherited from the Portuguese and Dutch colonialists from centuries past. Familiarise yourself with its streets, as your experienced tour guide narrates intricately woven folktales, that have been passed down through generations. Observe the local practice of stilt fishing and pay a visit to highlights such as the iconic Galle Fort.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is the last European-built fortress still standing in southern Asia. Watch with bated breath as daring cliff divers spring themselves off the citadel’s walls and plummet into the waves below. The tour lasts two hours and starts early morning or in the afternoon.


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Day 01
Colombo x
Colombo is the commercial hub of the island and connects several parts of the country, such as the north, south, east and hill country by a fine system of roads and railways. The heady mixture of Asian anarchy, colonial charm and modern progress defines its impressive character. Towering skyscrapers, retail stores, parks, restaurants and bars coupled with sacred shrines of the major faiths and religions can be found in this vibrant city. Settle into your hotel, rest and relax from your journey. Local attractions: Navam Perahera (1st Mar 2018 – tickets should be pre-booked) / street food festival – Hotel Fairway (first weekend of every month) / Nelum Pokuna Art Street / shopping at Barefoot Gallery & Jazz Brunch every Sunday / seafood dinner at the Ministry of Crab / street food at Galle Face Green / authentic Sri Lankan meal in the beautiful setting of ‘Thunapaha on the Edge’- Waters Edge Hotel / Japanese cuisine at Nihonbashi or at the Dutch Hospital.


A warm welcome to Sri Lanka! Your chauffeur from Holidays by Design will be present at the arrivals lounge to greet you and assist you to your vehicle.
You could change your currency before departing the airport as this may come handy during your holiday.
A short drive from the airport will take you to your hotel in Colombo (45 minutes).

Day 02
Munneswaram Temple x
Munneswaram Temple comprises a collection of five temples, which is believed to have been in existence since 1000 CE and associated with tales from the Ramayana. We recommend you stop for lunch at Anantaya Resort – do check out its picturesque spa! En route to Wilpattu, you will pass by the salt pans in Puttalam. Feel free to ask your chauffeur to make a quick stop if this is of interest to you. Your destination will be the buffer zone of the national park. You may either opt to spend time at leisure in the campsite or set out on the afternoon safari.
Wilpattu National Park x
Often referred to as the Land of Lakes, the Wilpattu National Park spans a large area, which extends to the border of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, which in turn makes it the largest park on the island. The park is home to sloth bears, elephants, deer and birds, ideal for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. This evening you will join the “Bush dinner” arranged at the campsite.

After breakfast, you will drive to Wilpattu (four hours). Your first stop will be at the Munneswaram Hindu Temple.

Day 03
Anuradhapura x
Anuradhapura (UNESCO World Heritage site) is an ancient capital and the first kingdom of Sri Lanka for nearly 1500 years. Second only to the pyramids of Giza, the dagobas, are an amazing work of architecture in honour of Buddhism. The sacred Sri Maha Bodhi Tree (related to Lord Buddha attaining enlightenment under it) is said to be the oldest recorded tree in the world (2,250 years). The Ruwanwelisaya is one of the world’s tallest dagobas built in 140BC. Settle into your hotel and unwind from your journey. Rest of the evening at leisure. Local attractions: a tour of the Ancient dagobas in Anuradhapura beautifully lit up at night is a surreal experience - no crowds and very tranquil / exotic cocktails at Graffiti Bar – Jetwing Vil Uyana / afternoon hike to the Aligala Caves / spend the evening with the locals at Purangama Village / visit the animal rehabilitation centre at the Heritance Kandalama

Breakfast will be served at the main restaurant. En route to Sigiriya, you will visit the UNESCO sites of Anuradhapura.

Day 04
Polonnaruwa (UNESCO World Heritage site) x
Polonnaruwa a UNESCO World Heritage site, blending both culture and religion is the second recorded ancient kingdom in Sri Lanka. The city rose to prominence between the 11th and 13th Centuries AD and peaked during the reign of King Parakramabahu the Great. The iconic reservoir, the Parakrama Samudra, is the best example of the advanced irrigation engineering and construction during ancient times which has stood the test of time and remains operational even today. We recommend lunch at Lake House restaurant - built in 1870 as a circuit bungalow for British government agents, the Queen of England patronized the Lake House during her visit. Caressed by the waters of one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, it’s beautiful setting inspires you to ponder on the marvels of this medieval capital. With lunch done, you will set off on a jeep safari into the Minneriya National Park (45 minutes).
Minneriya National Park x
Set amidst a beautiful landscape, the park is located ten minutes east of Habarana. Its central attraction is its ancient reservoir constructed by King Mahasena. Rated, as the World’s 6th greatest wildlife spectacle by Lonely Planet, “The Gathering”, the world’s biggest meeting of Asian elephants in the wild is the principal attraction at Minneriya, which is an extension of the elephant corridor that connects with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa National Parks. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening.

This morning you will have an early start to make the most of your day. An early breakfast could be arranged, or the hotel will be delighted to arrange a picnic breakfast.

Your first stop will be at the UNESCO sites in Polonnaruwa (50 minutes), you could either choose to cycle to the UNESCO sites or your guide will be happy to accompany you.

Day 05
Sigiriya (UNESCO World Heritage Site) x
The most extraordinary of all Sri Lanka’s medieval capitals, this ancient ruin once belonged to King Kasapa. A lover of beauty, he ruled Sigiriya for 18 years, transforming the surroundings into a thing of wonder. Its extensive network of gardens, reservoirs and other structures including the unique plumbing system stand witness to the grandeur of this architecture. It’s a 200m climb to the top, offering a magnificent view at the summit.
You have two options for travelling to your next destination. Take the domestic flight to Colombo (one hour) and drive to Galle (1.5 hours) or drive to Galle (six hours).
You will be heading to Galle via the southern expressway (1.5 hours). Do feel free to speak to your chauffeur if you wish to make a quick stop at the service area at the halfway point of the highway for a snack.
Settle into your hotel, rest and relax from your journey. You may choose to have dinner in your hotel or dine out at one of the many restaurants in the Fort area – an experience in itself.
Local attractions: a visit to a Virgin White Tea Factory / a spa treatment at Spa Ceylon – Galle Fort / fusion cuisine by Chef Malcolm - Bedspace Unawatuna / exotic cocktails & nightlife - Happy Banana (Saturdays only) / Indian cuisine at the Indian Hut & pizza at Wijaya Beach / Minute by Tuk tuk Café / street food by the Ramparts or simply explore the cobbled streets of the Fort scattered with art galleries, bars & coffee lounges.

Breakfast will be served at the main restaurant.
We recommend you visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress early this morning; the sunrise from its peak is quite spectacular. Coconut water and cold towels will be arranged on your return.

Day 06
Galle (UNESCO World Heritage Site) x
The port city of Galle has flourished from its origins into Sri Lanka's fifth main and popular city. At the heart of the city lies the Dutch Fort. Dutch administrators and those in their service lived within the Fort protected by its city walls and the ramparts by the sea. Its massive archway entrance gives it a medieval air and appears magically time warped, with its red tiled colonial period villas and open verandas facing the cobblestone streets.
High tea at the Fort Bazaar hotel is an experience you are sure to enjoy.

Breakfast will be served at the main restaurant.

Spend today attending the literary festival or stroll through the busy streets of the Galle Dutch Fort with your chauffeur guide, absorbing its history.

Day 07

We will take you to the airport, to arrive two-three hours before your flight home.

Add on

  • A list of a few activities you may want to add on to your experience:
  • In and around Colombo– Tea tasting in Colombo / night cycle tour of the city with a street food dinner / diving to explore shipwrecks in Mount Lavinia.
  • In and around Sigiriya – Climb the Pidurangala mountain; less crowded, stunning views and less expensive / trek to the Ritigala monastery / safari to the Minneriya National Park / lunch and village experience at Hiriwaduna.
  • In and around Galle – Mask making at the Art Village / Hike in the Sinharaja forest reserve / Rumassala walk / turtle hatchery / tea tasting at a working tea factory / cycling.

What to Pack!

  • Socks – as footwear must be removed when visiting places of worship. You could be walking on heated paving, gravel or cement. Also, shoulders and knees should be covered.
  • Footwear – choose comfy shoes - sneakers, sandals or similar.
  • Shawl – to cover your shoulders or dress up!
  • A sweater or light jacket if you plan to visit the Hill Country.
  • Sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, travel umbrella or lightweight raincoat.


  • All drive times are approximate and subject to road conditions
  • Alcohol is not served on “poya days” (full moon) and other days prohibited by the Government.
  • The standard check-in time is 14:00 at hotels.
  • The standard check-out time is 11:00 from hotels.
  • Gratuity: tour guides & drivers are tipped at the end of the tour.
  • Online visa application link:
  • Purposeful Tourism: Your support: one USD from every booking supports a cause.
  • Holidays by Design terms and conditions (
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Witness the diversity of Sri Lanka’s culture!