Places in Sri Lanka

12 Days: Colombo - Sigiriya - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya - Yala - Galle

The Trehan Journeys Difference

UWHS = UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 1

VIP Arrival Services

Day 2
Colombo - Sigiriya

Scenic Drive to Sigiriya

Day 3

Fortress in the Sky (UWHS)

Lion Gate

Dambulla Cave Temples (UWHS)

Optional Batik Craft Visit

Day 4
Sigiriya - Kandy

Scenic Drive to Kandy

Temple of the Tooth Relic

Sacred Sites of Kandy (UWHS)

Sri Lankan Dance Performance

Day 5
Kandy - Nuwara Eliya

Drive into Cloud Forest

Central Highlands (UWHS)

Day 6
Nuwara Eliya

Tea Picking Experience

Nuwara Eliya Post Office

Lovers Leap Waterfall

Optional Hikes

Day 7
Nuwara Eliya

Optional Horton Plains National Park

St. Clair’s Falls

Hakgala Botanical Garden

Victoria Park & Museum

Gregory Lake & Park

Optional Seetha Amman Temple

Day 8
Nuwara Eliya - Yala

Incredibly Scenic Train Journey

Very Scenic Drive

Yala National Park

Day 9

Morning Private Wildlife Safari

Afternoon Private Wildlife Safari

Day 10
Yala - Galle

Morning Private Wildlife Safari

Scenic Drive to Galle

Day 11

Maduganga River Cruise

Turtle Hatchery

Galle (UWHS) Historic Walk

Day 12
Galle - Colombo

Drive to Colombo Airport

VIP Departure Services

Day 1. Arrive at Colombo

Overnight – Uga Residence

Most flights arrive late at night, and hence this itinerary is designed to include the arrival night at a top boutique luxury hotel that is convenient to both the airport and your journey the next morning. If you have a morning or early afternoon arrival on a shorter regional flight, the itinerary can be facilitated with a direct drive to Sigiriya. For guests arriving on long distance flights, we recommend considering time to recuperate from jetlag, and in winter, having the arrival day also serve as insurance against international flight delays and cancellations.

You are greeted at the Colombo Airport and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are now driven to your wonderful hotel and assisted with your check-in. Welcome to one of our planet’s most exotic destinations, the verdant subtropical island of Sri Lanka. Home to awe-inspiring sights, both natural and historic, Sri Lanka offers rich cultural traditions that are highlighted by the genuine warmth of its people. Spectacular oceanfront regions blend with lush misty highlands that are dotted with plantations, including regions that grow some of the world’s finest tea, spices, and other crops. Its many jungles are home to hundreds of fascinating animal and bird species, and offer unmatched opportunities to observe leopards and other fauna in their natural surroundings.

Day 2. Colombo

Overnight – Uga Residence

Drive to Sigiriya. This morning you will join your Sri Lanka Connoisseur Guide and proceed on the stunning drive to your boutique luxury lodge near the surreal rock fortress of Sigiriya (Lion Rock), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive in in the early afternoon and you are assisted with check-in to your beautiful villa.

Water Garden.  Among the highlights of Sigiriya’s main attractions are its ‘Water Gardens’, and this is the name and inspiration for your lodge. The lodge’s villas are surrounded by numerous lagoons and lush tropical foliage, and many areas offer wonderful views of Sigiriya Rock. Service and cuisine are also exemplary at the lodge. You are at leisure to enjoy the facilities and views of your wonderful resort for the rest of the afternoon – the lodge offers walks and bike rides, archery, croquet, and a lot more within its campus.

Day 3. Sigiriya

Overnight – Water Garden

Fortress in the Sky. Prepared to be awed as you proceed to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sigiriya. Although the Sigiriya Region has had a human presence for about 5000 years, the first signs of mankind on the rock are of Buddhist Monks from the 3rd Century BCE. The nation’s capital was moved here in the 5th Century CE and the resulting citadel was developed into an impregnable fortress, with features that made the city within one of the world’s best planned cities of its time.

Lion Gate. About halfway up the rock is the famous Lion GateOn Sigiriya’s summit are the foundations of the spectacular palace and garden, including a swimming pool. At one time the gigantic rock had incredible frescoes covering its massive sheer walls, but today, the only known ancient work of Sinhala secular painting has survived in the form of beautiful life-sized frescoes of ladies on one of the citadel’s stairways. Explore the ancient structure and its many attractions until it is time to head back down and break for lunch.

Dambulla Cave Temples. After lunch you will enjoy an exploration of the Dambulla Cave Temples, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The largest and best-preserved ancient cave temples in Sri Lanka, the five main large temples (out of a total of about 80 caves) mainly contain amazing statues of the Lord Buddha, and vivid murals and frescoes depicting the life of the Buddha cover about 23,000 sq. feet of the caves. These wonders inside the caves were created in the 1st Century BCE and are still an active place of pilgrimage for local and visiting Buddhists.

Optional Batik Craft Visit. On the way back to your lodge, you have the option to stop at a local Batik manufacturing center. You will get to observe each fascinating stage of the process of creating the fabrics. The people at the facility will make a bit of an effort to try to sell you some of their creations after you finish observing the process, but this is not required.

Day 4. Sigiriya - Kandy

Overnight – Kings Pavilion

Scenic Drive to Kandy. You are assisted with your check-out and you will proceed on the scenic drive to Kandy. Some of the world’s highest quality spices are grown in this part of Sri Lanka. You have the option to stop at the Sri Lanka Government operated National Spice Garden before you reach Kandy. At the garden you will experience a guided walk through the plantation with the knowledgeable staff illuminating the many facets of the spices grown here.

Spice Country. Traders from all over the world have come to Sri Lanka to traders for these spices, some of which were then more precious than gold. Among the scores of spices are fragrant clove, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, black pepper, and even western favorites such as chocolate and vanilla.

Arrive at Kandy, the picturesque capital of the hill country and the historical bastion of Sri Lankan Buddhism. The town is spread over lush rolling hills and the valley surrounding Kandy Lake and the famous temple. It is Sri Lanka’s center of Buddhism, as well as the island’s center of traditional arts and crafts.

Temple Of The Tooth Relic. Visit the home to Sri Lanka’s most important religious treasure. This famous temple is purported to be the abode of a tooth relic from the Buddha. It is believed that the relic was smuggled into Sri Lanka hidden in the hair of an Indian princess during the 4th century CE. The Temple of the Tooth Relic became Sri Lanka’s most prized religious treasure a long time ago, and it is still Sri Lanka’s most visited pilgrimage site for Buddhists.

More Kandy. After you have eaten lunch, you will check-in to your boutique luxury lodge. Located on a forested hilltop, the lodge offers verdant gardens and excellent cuisine and service, while being located a short drive from Kandy’s attractions. In the late afternoon you can enjoy your wonderful lodge, or visit one of the other attractions in Kandy before the Sri Lankan cultural show you will enjoy this early evening. These attractions can include Kandy’s famous Botanical Gardens, Kandy Market, and the arts and crafts center.

Sri Lankan Dance Performance. This evening you will experience a performance at the Kandy Lake Club. The forty-year-old dance theatre’s signature show is about an hour long and includes 12 different Sri Lankan dance forms, all well-choreographed and extremely colorful. In our opinion, unlike most tourism focused cultural performances, this is a genuinely interesting experience.

Day 5. Kandy - Nuwara Eliya

Overnight – Heritance Tea Factory

Drive into the Cloud Forest. In the mid-morning you will embark on an even more scenic drive. Your destination is Nuwara Eliya, the coolest region in Sri Lanka – temperatures range from the low fifties to the high sixties throughout the year. You will enter a cloud forest region as you approach Nuwara Eliya, and these clouds put on quite a show every day, starting in the late morning in places like Horton Plains National Park, and continuing with afternoon displays around Nuwara Eliya and your hilltop hotel.


World’s Finest Tea? With an elevation starting above 6000 feet, it is Nuwara Eliya’s cool weather that attracted Sri Lanka’s British rulers a in the 18th Century. Known as Little England, the area still has a number of interesting colonial structures from the 19th Century. But the main attractions are obviously the tea plantations and incredible scenery. Nuwara Eliya is a once in a lifetime experience for tea lovers as some of the finest tea in the world is grown here.

Nature at its Finest. The Nuwara Eliya Region is a breathtaking undulating landscape of lush mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and tea plantations. Check-in at your elegant historic hotel upon your arrival at Nuwara Eliya. Built about 90 years ago as the new factory for the region’s premier tea producer, the structure has been carefully recrafted into an elegant hotel that still houses some of the factory’s fascinating equipment.

More Nuwara Eliya. You are surrounded by the mountaintop hotel’s picturesque tea plantations as they spread downwards on the slopes. Smiling plantation workers picking tea leaves will greet you as you explore. A light to medium jacket is recommended at Nuwara Eliya, and your guide can take you to Bale Bazar (winter market) which partially caters to tourists who land here without warm clothing. The bazar is worth visiting and there are inexpensive jackets that you can later donate, if you want. During your stay, we recommend walks in your hotel’s gardens and tea estate while taking in the amazing views of the Nuwara Eliya region.

Dining at Your Hotel. Please note that your Nuwara Eliya lodging, with its English roots, has a little bit of a dress code for dinners. Men need pants and shoes (casual is fine), and women should avoid short dresses and shorts, as well as tops with spaghetti straps. We strongly recommend dinner in their small specialty train carriage restaurant – please let us know if you would like us to make reservations.  

Day 6. Nuwara Eliya

Overnight – Heritance Tea Factory

Tea Picking Experience. After breakfast this morning the hotel staff will assist you with donning your tea plucking apparel (saris for the ladies and sarong like garments for gentlemen) – this is optional. You are preparing for a morning of tea picking, sorting, and processing (in the Mini Tea Factory), and the activities will now commence. Please take the time to read –

Nuwara Eliya Post Office. After the tea experience and freshening up, you will head downhill to visit some of Nuwara Eliya’s attractions. Besides the tea plantations, you will be driving by lush terraced fields of high-altitude crops such as strawberries, some potato varieties, and other vegetables. Your first stop will be at the historic Nuwara Eliya Post Office. Constructed by the British in 1894, this red brick two storey Tudor building is a treat both outside and inside. From the post office your guide will take you for a walk through some of the charming historic sections of the town.

Lovers Leap Waterfall. Next up, and on the way back to your hotel, is the Lovers Leap Waterfall, named after a local tale of a prince and his beloved. For those who are so inclined, there is the option to hike up to the top of the waterfall for a great view. After the waterfall you will head back to your hotel to enjoy the late afternoon and sunset show put on by the clouds as they change colors.

Day 7. Nuwara Eliya

Overnight – Heritance Tea Factory

Flexible & Optional Day. This is a flexible day, with your guide available as per your preferences. It can also be removed, thereby shortening the itinerary by 1 day. Besides enjoying the extensive facilities and incredible views of your lodging, we recommend that you consider the following options for this day:

Horton Plains National Park: FULL DAY ACTIVITY. The second most visited site (after the tea plantations) in the Nuwara Eliya Region, this is a bit of a drive and a very early morning start is recommended to avoid the clouds that roll in later. There are moderate treks that can be enjoyed to various viewpoints (such as World’s End) and waterfalls (such as Baker Falls). Roundtrip treks usually take from 3 to 4 hours, and there are nice views to be enjoyed at different places in the national park.

St Clair’s Falls: HALF DAY ACTIVITY. The waterfall is also a bit of a drive from your hotel, but for many visitors the scenic drive is more than worth it. The wide waterfall cascades down various stone terraces.

Hakgala Botanical Garden. The second largest botanical garden in Sri Lanka has over 10,000 species of plants and the best time to catch the blooming flowers is during spring. The hundreds of varieties of orchids and roses are one of the main attractions.

Victoria Park & Museum: This public park is located in town and offers unique avian life as well as a small museum that illustrates the park’s journey over the last couple of centuries. Gregory Lake & Park: A small wetland area converted into a lake by the British, this is a good option for families as it offers boating (including swan boats) and other activities such as horse riding. As in all of this region, the surrounding views are wonderful.

Seetha Amman Temple: Located near Haggala Botanical Gardens, this recently constructed temple is of special significance to Hindus. As detailed in the Ramayan, it marks the location where King Ravan imprisoned Goddess Sita after he kidnapped her.

Day 8. Nuwara Eliya - Yala

Overnight – Uga Chena Huts

Most Scenic Train Journey. In the mid-morning you are driven to the railway station for one of the most amazing train rides on our planet. You will travel in first class on a train that is scheduled to depart in the late morning – please note that trains are often delayed in Sri Lanka and your guide will stay on top of this. We recommend you get a packed snack from your lodging for this journey. Breathtaking views throughout this 3-hour and 10-minute journey make the train ride a joy for all travelers.

More Incredible Scenery. You will disembark at Ella and stop at a viewpoint with a surreally beautiful view of mountains and valleys and you can break for lunch if you so desire. Now comes yet another incredibly scenic drive as you head to Yala National Park. Yala is Sri Lanka’s most visited National Park, and for very good reason. There is a vast array of wild and avian life in the park, but the star of the show is the largest concentration of the elusive leopard on our planet.

Check-in to your luxurious eco-resort upon your arrival at Yala. This exclusive retreat blends seamlessly into its natural surroundings, offering a unique blend of comfort and wildlife adventure. The resort features individual huts, designed with a rustic yet elegant aesthetic, providing both privacy and panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness. Each hut is equipped with modern amenities and an outdoor private plunge pool.

Day 9. Yala

Overnight – Uga Chena Huts

Morning and Afternoon Private Safaris. You will enjoy morning and afternoon wildlife jeep safaris into the park today. The terrain of the park varies greatly, changing to dense jungle as you go inland from the coast. Besides the gorgeous leopards, you will observe scores of exotic birdlife, including some very rare species such as black necked storks. Massive crocodiles are all over, and there are good chances of seeing the Sri Lankan Elephant, sloth bear, wild water buffalo, and a lot more.


Meals and More. All three meals are at your beautiful lodge today. Besides the safaris, your chauffeur/guide is available to you at pre-arranged times for local excursions.

Day 10. Yala - Galle

Overnight – Amangalla

Morning Safari. You will enjoy a morning wildlife jeep safari into the park today. Check-out by noon and enjoy lunch at the lodge’s restaurant before proceeding on the scenic drive to Galle. Much of this journey will skirt the ocean and both panoramic vistas and small towns offer reasons to stop along the way.

Arrival at Galle. You will pass the coastal area where stilt fisherman used to practice their trade – this activity is no longer practiced but, unfortunately, some agency’s stage the activity for their travelers. Arrive at the historic UNESCO World Heritage City of Galle and check-in to your historic hotel. This elegant establishment, housed in a building that dates back over 400 years, is situated within the walls of the Galle Fort and the hotel’s architecture and decor reflect the rich colonial heritage of the area, blending Dutch and British influences from the colonial era. The interiors of Amangalla are a testament to its historical significance, featuring polished teak floors, antique furnishings, and high ceilings.

Day 11. Galle

Overnight – Amangalle

Maduganga River Cruise. This morning you will head to the nearby town of Balapitiya and your embarkation jetty for a river cruise on the Madu River. The estuary of the Maduganga River is a complex coastal ecosystem of mangroves and islands and one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka. Your cruise will allow you to experience this unique ecosystem, and you will go by scores of exotic birds, animals, and reptiles.


A typical moment may have monkeys frolicking on the trees on the riverbanks, and cormorants, egrets and kingfishers prancingly eyeing the water for prey, while a water monitor lizard glides slowly by your boat. There are around 64 islands and lagoons in the river. These range from a tiny speck housing a deserted shrine, to an island with 250 families that is connected to the mainland with a very long footbridge.

Turtle Hatchery. A recommended stop later this morning is at a Turtle Hatchery where the operating non-profit is focused on saving the lives of sea turtles whose parents lay eggs on the beach. Most of the sea turtle breeds on this planet are represented on this part of Sri Lanka’s coast and the hatchery retrieves their eggs (and pays the locals for them) before the eggs are poached for other purposes. You will see turtles of many types, from large, fully grown specimens to tiny, just born creatures in a tank. If you are fortunate, you may actually see a hatching where a large number of turtles make their way out of the sand that their eggs were buried in.

Galle Historic Walk
. Experience a slow walk through the historic UNESCO World Heritage citadel of Galle. The walk itself is not that long and the duration depends on how long you choose to stop at attractions There is evidence that cardamom was being shipped from here as early as the 14th Century BCE, and it is said that King Solomon acquired ivory, peacocks, and other treasures from here.


Portuguese, Dutch and More. What you will experience starts with the Portuguese arrival in the 15th Century CE, followed by the Dutch takeover about a century later. Besides the views from the massive fort walls, significant attractions include the National Maritime Museum, the historic St Mary’s Cathedral, and a large temple dedicated to Lord Shiv. There are delightful cafes, restaurants, bars and general stores in historic colonial buildings, and it is easy to be transported to colonial times as you explore the charming town and its unique architecture and ambiance.

Day 12. Galle - Colombo - International Flight

Drive to Colombo. You are assisted with your check out of your resort any time before noon and you are now at leisure with your chauffeur/guide until your airport drop-off in Colombo.

Possible Activities. Time permitting, you can choose to enjoy more of the Galle region or a city tour of Colombo. The largest city and commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is located on the west coast and is a busy and vibrant city. Colombo has a mixture of various architectural styles spanning centuries of its past. Many colonial buildings influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and British exist alongside structures built in Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Indian and contemporary architectural styles.

Our services end at Colombo airport.

Destinations Lodgings
Uga Residence – Park Suite
Water Garden – Superior Deluxe Villa with Plunge Pool
Kings Pavilion – King’s or Queen’s Suite (Only 1 of Each Available)
Nuwara Eliya
Heritance Tea Factory – Flowerdew Suite (Only 1 Available)
Uga Chena Huts – Cabin
Amangalla – Verandah Chamber

Winter 24/25 Availability is Limited
High Season Pricing Not Incl. Dec 20 – Jan 5
Please call us at 512 387 1111
Or send us Your Preferred Dates below

# of Guests
Price Per Person

2 Guests (1 Suite/Room/Villa)


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4 Guests (2 Suite/Room/Villa)


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8 Guests (4 Suite/Room/Villa)


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Prices subject to change until booked.

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