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The Full Experience - Heritage Holidays Sri Lanka

Treat yourself to one of the best heritage holidays Sri Lanka has to offer with The Full Experience! This is an extensive tour that takes you across the country to help you discover varied facets of its ancient past.

day Location/Route duration Overnight
Day 01 Colombo to Sigiriya Three nights in Sigiriya Value: Amaya Lake
Signature: Heritance Kandalama
Day 02 Sigiriya Second night in Sigiriya Value: Amaya Lake
Signature: Heritance Kandalama
Day 03 Sigiriya Last night in Sigiriya Value: Amaya Lake
Signature: Heritance Kandalama
Day 04 Sigiriya to Kandy Two nights in Kandy Value: Earl's Regent
Signature: Earl's Regency
Day 05 Kandy Last night in Kandy Value: Earl's Regent
Signature: Earl's Regency
Day 06 Kandy to Adam’s Peak Spend the night at Adam’s Peak Slightly Chilled
Day 07 Adam’s Peak to Nuwara Eliya One night in Nuwara Eliya Value: Araliya Green Hills
Signature: Tea Factory
Day 08 Nuwara Eliya to Ella Two nights in Ella Value: Ella Mount Heavens
Signature: 98 Acres
Day 09 Ella Last night in Ella Value: Ella Mount Heavens
Signature: 98 Acres
Day 10 Ella to Tissamaharama One night in Tissamaharama Value: Jetwing Yala
Signature: Cinnamon Wild
Day 11 Tissamaharama to Colombo Two nights in Colombo Value: Mirage Colombo
Signature: Cinnamon Grand
Day 12 Colombo Last night in Colombo Value: Mirage Colombo
Signature: Cinnamon Grand
Day 13 Transfer to airport for departure
Kandy Esala Perahera "Procession"

The Kandy Esela Perahera, which is also known as The Festival of the Tooth is a unique religious and cultural event that takes place every year in July. The procession features many dancers, drummers and elephants, who parade through the streets paying homage to the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha which is housed in the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is known as the Sri Dalada Maligawa is in the sacred city of Kandy. It houses the tooth relic of Lord Buddha and is an important shrine of Buddhist worship. The annual procession known as the Kandy Esala Perahera marks an important day in the Sri Lankan calendar.

Adam's Peak

Adam’s Peak, which is locally known as Sri Pada, is the fifth tallest mountain peak of Sri Lanka. The “sacred footprint” that is found at the peak is believed to be that of Lord Buddha’s. Many devotees ascend the mountain to pay homage to the sacred footprint during the Sri Pada season.


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.

Dambulla Cave Temple

The Dambulla Cave Temple is known to be the best-preserved and largest cave temple complex that is found in Sri Lanka. With over 80 documented caves spread across the vicinity, the Dambulla Cave Temple has rightfully earned its name as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 153 statues of Lord Buddha can be found in this temple which is also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla.

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.

Wander Through History in Kandy

Visit the Suriyakantha Centre for Art and Culture, and delve deep into the fascinating annals of European and Sri Lankan history. Housed in the Naranwala Walawwa, an 18th century Dutch-style colonial manor house, the centre represents a unique effort between a Frenchman and Sri Lankan, to showcase talent from eras past.

Explore the vast repository of local and European works over the course of two to three hours and understand the richness of Kandyan culture. Observe the various manuscripts, furniture, handicrafts, artworks and photographs on display. Located near the town of Kandy in Sri Lanka’s Central Province, Suriyakantha is open to visits between 08:00am and 04:00pm, throughout the year.

Kandy Four Temple Loop Tour

Spend half a day exploring four of Kandy’s famed medieval temples. Join your personal archaeologist on an informative, 3.5 hour coach tour of the Degaldoruwa, Embekka, Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya Buddhist temples. Feast your eyes on the magnificent Kandyan murals on the ceiling of Degaldoruwa Temple. Witness the wonderful fusion of Buddhist and Hindu culture at Gadaladeniya Temple.

Take in the exquisite craftsmanship of the woodwork at Embekka Temple. Observe the traditional Sinhalese design of the Lankatilaka Temple, and discover the inscriptions carved into the rocks. Setting off in the morning is ideal, as the tour involves approximately 1.5 hours of travel to / from your hotel.

Hot Air Ballooning around Sigiriya

Create lasting memories with a truly magical hot-air ballooning experience. Set off into the skies in the cool of the day and enjoy an exhilarating hour in the air. Take in famed sights such as the iconic Sigiriya Rock and enjoy the beauty of the verdant landscapes that blanket Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle.

Your flight starts bright and early at 06:00am, after a briefing on safety regulations. Upon landing, a range of mouth-watering refreshments awaits you. You will then head back to the launch site. The entire activity takes three hours and you will receive a certificate of completion. This experience is available from locations such as Sigiriya, Dambulla and Kandalama.

Adams Peak Night Walk

Ascend over 5,000 steps to the summit of Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka’s most venerated mountain. Looming over Maskeliya’s horizon at a height of 2,250 metres, it has been a unique symbol of reverence for more than a millennium, thanks to the gigantic footprint carved into its peak. The Buddhists believe it to belong to Lord Buddha; the Hindus proclaim it to be Lord Shiva’s; while to the Muslims and Christians, it was left by Adam.

You can make the journey to the summit at any time of the year. However, to witness the annual pilgrimage made by thousands of worshippers, visit between December and May. Begin the five-hour ascent at 02:00am and reach the peak just in time to witness a majestic sunrise.

Day 01

Ayubowan! A warm welcome to our Island Nation!
On arrival at the Colombo Airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel in Sigiriya (approx. five hours drive).

Evening at leisure! Overnight in Sigiriya.

Day 02
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 (associated with Lord Buddha attaining enlightenment) 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.
Drive on to Mihintale (15 minutes).
Mihintale x
Better known as the cradle of Buddhism, during the reign of King Devanampiya Tisse (250-210 BC), Mihintale is one of the foremost pilgrimage sites during Poson Poya, which falls in June; to commemorate the introduction of Buddhism. It's beautiful tranquil setting, with its frangipani tree lined flights of 1850 steps linking its many ruins, rocky hills & dagobas are awe-inspiring. The oldest recorded nature sanctuary is located here.
Evening at leisure! Overnight in Sigiriya.

Your tour begins with a visit to Sri Lanka’s first ancient capital - Anuradhapura (approx.1.5 hours drive).

Day 03
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.
Drive to Polonnaruwa (approx. 1.5 hours drive).
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.
Evening at leisure! Overnight in Sigiriya.

An exciting day awaits you. You will first climb the famous Rock Fortress at Sigiriya.

Day 04
Dambulla – The Golden Temple (UNESCO World Heritage site) x
At the heart of the cultural triangle, lies Dambulla known for its famous Golden Rock Temple, a most impressive cave monastery and one of the largest in South Asia. Of the 157 Buddha statues found in the five dimly lit grottos, 73 were gold plated at the behest of King Nissanka Malla, the 12-century monarch. Its walls decorated with some of the finest murals in the country are a showcase of sacred Buddhist art at its finest.
Drive south to Kandy (approx. three hours drive), en route you will pass through the town of Matale.
Matale x
A region famous for its spices, the town lies in the heart of the island in a broad fertile valley at an elevation of 300m. The road north of town is lined with dozens of spice plantations, (which welcomes visitors) where vanilla, cinchona, jackfruit, cocoa and cardamom thrive. The area is also famous for kohila (a type of watercress) and small mild chillies.
Continue your journey through rural Sri Lanka.
Kandy (UNESCO World Heritage Site) x
The Hill Capital of Sri Lanka (the last Kingdom of the Sri Lankan Kings) nestled in a valley in the Highlands and locally referred to, as "Nuwara" meaning The Great City. A picturesque town by the side of a miniature lake, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. Visit one of the only natural reserves within city limits, the beautiful Udawatta Kele famous for its avifauna and the sacred Sri Dalada Maligawa.
Check-in to your hotel and spend your evening at leisure! Overnight in Kandy.

Set off to Dambulla (approx. 1.5 hours drive)

Day 05
Embekke Devale x
Built in the 14th century, the Embekke Devale is best known for its intricate carvings, towering pillars and other structures. The temple is located eight miles from Kandy.
Lankatilleke Raja Maha Vihara x
Also built in the 14th century on the summit of a large rock with views of the Hantana mountain range, Lankatilake Raja Maha Vihara is one of the most splendid architectural structures from the Gampola Kingdom.
Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara x
Built by King Buwanekabahu IV in the year 1344, the ancient Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient monastery that is well worth a visit.
Visit the Temple of the Tooth in time for the 06:30pm ceremony followed by a cultural dance performance.

Your morning will begin with a tour of three of Kandy’s oldest temples, all of which are a great testament to ancient Kandyan architecture; the Embekke Devale, Lankatilleke and Gadaladeniya.

Day 06
Adam’s Peak x
Sri Lanka’s most celebrated pilgrimage site, Adam’s Peak stands at 2243m, making it the fifth highest peak on the island. It is also a revered site of all the major religions, as it’s believed to hold the footprint of Lord Buddha by the Buddhists, Lord Shiva by the Hindus and Adam by the Christians and Muslims. The ascent to Adam’s Peak is usually made by night, which gives you plenty of time to reach the summit to observe a spectacular sunrise. Beware it can be very cold at the summit! The accommodation at Adam’s Peak is basic.
Recommend adequate rest the previous night of the climb and a day to relax after.

Today, your adventure will take you to Adam’s Peak. The tour is planned as a late-night expedition to the summit. Ensure sufficient time is provided for the uphill trek. (approx. five hours drive)

Check-in at the hotel and spend a relaxing evening in preparation for your climb.

Day 07

Perched high up in the hills, Nuwara Eliya sits like a sentinel overlooking tea country on all sides. Piduruthalagala, Sri Lanka's tallest peak is only a short distance away. A replica of English country towns with their lush greenery and a profusion of gorgeous flora, Nuwara Eliya is touted as "Little England" with its Victorian houses, a golf course, Lake Gregory, a racecourse and Hakkgala Gardens.

The average temperature is around 15.9C.

Spend the evening at leisure! Overnight in Nuwara Eliya.

Day 08

After a leisurely breakfast continue your journey to Ella. Evening at leisure! Overnight in Ella.

Day 09
Bogoda Bridge and Temple x
Believed to be the world’s oldest wooden bridge that is still in use. Dating back to the 1600’s, the Bogoda Bridge was built across the Gallanda Oya and used as an ancient route connecting Badulla and Kandy. The bannisters and railings are supported by eleven elegantly carved pillars which holds the bridge across the river.
Dowa Cave Temple x
King Valagamba is believed to have used this temple cave complex, nestling in a valley off Bandarawela, as his sanctuary. A lovely ornamental gateway at the temple leads you to a 38ft image of Lord Buddha sculptured from a rock. Paintings belonging to the Kandyan era depicting various folktales (Jataka stories) are to be found.
Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara x
Known to be one of the 16 most sacred places of worship for the Buddhists on the island. The shrine was constructed in the 4th century AD, and locals believe that the Buddha’s lock of hair along with some sweat that had turned into pearls is housed inside the temple. The Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara is in the heart of Badulla.
Evening at leisure! Overnight in Ella.

Today you will spend the day visiting the following historical religious sites.

Day 10
Buduruvagala x
Dating back to the 10th century AD, this complex and its collection of seven statues is believed to belong to the Mahayana School of Thought. The streak of orange that’s left on the statue of Lord Buddha, suggests the statues were once brightly coloured. To the right of the Buddha statue is the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, a Buddhist mythological figure and to the left, his consort Tara, the female figure in a thrice-bent posture, painted in white.
Maligawila x
At Maligawila, located about 15km to the south of Monaragala, is the site of several important archaeological pieces, including its famous free-standing 11.5m (36ft) colossal Buddha statue dating back to the 7th century. Carved out of a single piece of crystalline limestone, it is the world's tallest free-standing Buddha figure. The statue was destroyed and restored in 1990.
Dambegoda x
The second statue of Buddha, believed to be the Maithree Natha Bodhisattva, who is also identified as the Avalokithesvara Bodhisattva (a deity who lives amongst humans to help the regular people to attain salvation) is located at Dambegoda.
Evening at leisure! Overnight in Tissamaharama.

You will have an early start to Tissamaharama, visiting en route Buduruvagala, Maligawila and Dambegoda. (approx. five hours drive).

Day 11
Wewurukannala Vihara Temple x
Located in Dickwella, the Wewurukannala Vihara Temple is divided into three segments, with the oldest dating to the era of King Rajadhi during his reign from 1782 to 1798. The temple is notable for housing a giant seated statue of the Buddha. Towering to a height of 160ft, the statue rises above ordinary life on earth.
Continue along the coast or take the Southern Expressway to Colombo (0500 hours). Overnight in Colombo.

After a leisurely breakfast head towards Dickwella to the Wewurukannala Temple.

Day 12
Colombo x
Colombo is the commercial hub of the island connecting 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.
Visit the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara in the afternoon.
Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya x
Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya is one of the most sacred historic sites for the Buddhists in the city. Lord Buddha is said to have visited this holy site in the eighth year following his enlightenment, which was his third and last visit to Sri Lanka. This beautiful shrine located close to the Kelani River presents one of the most panoramic views of its tranquil and calm surroundings.
Overnight in Colombo.

Morning at leisure with an option of a city tour of Colombo!

Day 13

We will take you to the airport, to arrive two-three hours before your flight home.
If time permits, we recommend a massage either Ayurveda or spa – a perfect finale to

your holiday before your flight!

Safe journey!

Add on

  • Hot Air Balloon Rides
  • Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
  • Royal Botanical Gardens
  • 3 temple loop
  • Monks alms-giving ceremony
  • Spice identification contest
  • Kandyan cultural performance
  • Kandy architectural walking tour
  • Through the eyes of an artist
  • Local culinary programs
  • Jewellery making programs
  • Kandyan traditional clothing dress-up
  • Brass making educational program
  • Historical buildings tour of Nuwara Eliya
  • Trekking from Pattipola to Ohiya

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 ( with us via FB: or Twitter on


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Discover the diversity of Sri Lanka’s heritage!