Fly into Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo before heading for the historic Cultural Triangle cities of Polonnaruwa and Kandy, where you can see Buddhist temples, ancient capitals and even a relic of Buddha. From here, head into tea country at Haputale, exploring Sri Lanka’s countryside, Diyaluma Waterfalls and a quieter pace of life. Travel back to cosmopolitan Colombo to experience Sri Lanka’s nightlife before embarking on an epic beach adventure on the white sand beaches of the luxurious Maldives.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Sri Lanka, Maldives
Polonnaruwa, Colombo, Haputale, Kandy
Activity Activity Luxury, Beach, Culture
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Historic markets and modern malls in Colombo

Historic markets and modern malls in Colombo

Day 1–2 in Colombo

Cosmopolitan Colombo is more than just the gateway to Sri Lanka. Here, you can learn about Sri Lanka’s multi-ethnic history, with churches, mosques and temples all in a line, street food with influences from around the world, and shopping in a mix of ancient markets and huge malls in Pettah.

Don't miss

Sample diverse Sri Lanka cuisine

Sample diverse Sri Lanka cuisine

From Jaffna crab curry to breakfasts of hoppers (fermented rice crepes), Sri Lankan food has a distinct identity depending on where you visit.

Visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa

Visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa

Day 3–5 in Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka, a thriving centre of commerce and religion. Today, visitors can explore the site’s archaeological treasures, including the Sacred Quadrangle and a number of temples. Combine your trip with a visit to the nearby Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

Don't miss

Get lost in the caves of Dambulla

Get lost in the caves of Dambulla

Explore the five main caves of Dambulla stuffed with statues of Buddha and Hindu gods. The walk up offers great views of Sigiriya Rock.

See Buddha’s tooth in Kandy

See Buddha’s tooth in Kandy

Day 6–7 in Kandy

Central Kandy is one of Sri Lanka’s most significant religious sites, being home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – a tooth from Buddha himself. The golden-roofed temple is actually part of the Royal Palace complex, which includes several museums and temples. Look out for the annual perahera festival, when the tooth is paraded around the city by 65 decorated elephants.

Explore the lesser-visited tea country of Haputale

Explore the lesser-visited tea country of Haputale

Day 8–10 in Haputale

The hillside town of Haputale is a little-visited stop on the train route into tea country from Kandy to Ella. Surrounded by tea plantations, this is the perfect place for a hike through Sri Lanka’s countryside away from the crowds. Take a side-trip to Diyaluma Waterfall to see the country’s second-highest waterfall, complete with three sets of pools to soak in.

Don't miss

Train to tea country

Train to tea country

Take the rickety train through the hills to the village of Ella, where you can enjoy hiking, waterfalls and — of course — tea.

Return to Colombo

Return to Colombo

Day 11 in Colombo

Transfer to Colombo for a night in the capital before your flight to the Maldives tomorrow.

Relax in luxury in the Maldives

Relax in luxury in the Maldives

Day 12–16 in Maldives

Made up of more than 1,100 individual islands, the Maldives is home to arguably the world’s finest beaches. There are literally hundreds of fine white powder beaches jutting up against an impossibly blue Indian Ocean. But it’s what’s in the water that makes the Maldives truly special.

The archipelago’s clear waters teem with marine life, lively corals and underwater caves waiting to be explored by intrepid divers. Look for schools of brightly coloured tropical fish, manta rays, turtles and sharks — all in water so warm that wetsuits normally aren’t necessary.

The Maldives isn’t just about the ocean. Recent changes have allowed locals to open independent guesthouses, allowing travellers to explore the islands beyond the big resorts. Island-hopping is now possible, opening up the Maldives to a whole new type of travel.

Don't miss

Go snorkelling at Banana Reef

Go snorkelling at Banana Reef

This protected, banana-shaped reef in the North Male Atoll was the first dive site to be discovered in the Maldives. Here, you can swim through caves and dramatic cliffs alongside sharks, barracuda, parrotfish and plenty more. With dive depths between 5-30m, Banana Reef is popular with both beginner and experienced divers.

Where to stay

Superior

Lake Lodge

Situated next to the Beira Lake in Colombo's city centre, Lake Lodge is a small, smart and multifunctional hotel, offering 12 spacious double rooms, fabulous views across the lake and the city beyond and a breezy open-air restaurant.

Superior

Rosyth House

Initially built in 1926, but completely refurbished in 2010, Rosyth House is an excellent addition to the range of converted planter’s bungalows that are on offer in Sri Lanka’s beautiful hill country. Situated at 1,000 feet above sea level in a working tea and rubber estate, 10 minutes from the provincial market town of Kegalle and only two and half hours from the airport, it is far more accessible than almost all of the other bungalows in the tea-growing region.

Deluxe

Four Seasons Kudu Huraa

Located on its own private island lies the Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, with an exotic village-like atmosphere, the resort is surrounded by bougainvillaea, birds of paradise and frangipani flowers. Comprising of 38 lagoon bungalows, 57 beach pool bungalows and an expansive Royal Beach Villa, the resort offers guests a variety of activities, including diving, sailing and snorkelling, while the large freshwater pool is perfect for those after a little more peace and quiet.

Deluxe

Ceylon Tea Trails

Tea Trails combines modern boutique luxury with the plantation bungalow experience. Surrounded by working tea estates, at an altitude of just over 5000 ft, Tiensin, Castlereagh, Norwood and Summerville are located at different points around the lovely Castlereagh reservoir deep in the tea growing Bogowantalawa region of the hill country.

Book this itinerary

This route booked with one of our specialist tour operators may cost between £3,350 and £5,650pp. Pricing varies by accommodation class, and can be tailored to suit your budget.

Pricing is typically inclusive of hotels, transfers, meals, and all guided excursions and activities.

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Contact us now and we'll connect you with a specialist tour operator with more information on how to tailor and book this itinerary.

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