1. Watching for wild elephants in Lahugala National Park
  2. Exploring the crescent-shaped Arugam Bay
  3. Relaxing in placid Pasikudah
  4. Admiring the spectacular views from Sigiriya
  5. Riding the rails to impossibly pretty Ella

Day 1: Colombo to Kandy

Transfer to Kandy – Sri Lanka’s lakeside cultural capital – after landing in Colombo. En route, visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a 24-acre sanctuary home to one of the world’s biggest captive elephant herds. Overnight at Randholee Luxury Resort.

Day 2: Kandy

Explore the 60-acre Peradeniya Botanic Gardens before discovering the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is said to hold one of the Buddha’s teeth. Later, there’ll be time to witness a local cultural dance performance. Overnight at Randholee Luxury Resort.

Day 3: Kandy to Ella

Travel down to Peradeniya and catch the train Ella. Arguably Sri Lanka’s – perhaps even the world’s – prettiest rail journey, there’ll be numerous opportunities to marvel at tea estates and the peaks of the Central Highlands. Overnight at 98 Acres Resort.

Day 4: Ella

Spend a full day at leisure in Ella, a small hill-country town that charms all who visit. Admire the views through Ella Gap, visit the nearby Ravana Falls or take a two to three-hour walk to the top of Little Adam’s Peak. Overnight at 98 Acres Resort.

Day 5: Ella to Arugam Bay

Head west to Arugam Bay, taking a safari at Lahugala National Park – home to as many as 150 wild elephants in July and August – en route. On arrival on Sri Lanka’s east coast, what’s left of the day is spent at leisure. Overnight at Kottukal Beach House.

Day 6: Arugam Bay

Today is the first of two full days at leisure in Arugam Bay, a crescent-shaped stretch of sand and a favourite among surfers. Quiet and largely unspoilt, it’s a world away from the larger resorts on the west coast. Overnight at Kottukal Beach House.

Day 7: Arugam Bay

Take a stroll along the beach, a swim in the waters of the Indian Ocean or a bike ride inland during your second day in Arugam Bay, when there’ll be plenty of time to sample delicious seafood at one of the oceanfront cafes. Overnight at Kottukal Beach House.

Day 8: Arugam Bay to Pasikudah

Travel up the coast to Pasikudah ahead of a further two full days by the beach, passing pretty villages and miles of golden sands en route. On arrival, marvel at one of Sri Lanka’s most serene waterfront getaways. Overnight at Sun Aqua Pasikudah.

Day 9: Pasikudah

With blissfully clear water that seems endlessly shallow – this is, in fact, one of planet’s lengthiest stretches of shallow coastline – your first full day in Pasikudah is best spent on the beach or in the super-safe sea. Overnight at Sun Aqua Pasikudah.

Day 10: Pasikudah

If you can resist the call of the beach, perhaps consider a jungle, mountain or underwater excursion. If the sickle-shaped sands prove too tempting, spend your final day on the east coast soaking up the sublime surroundings. Overnight at Sun Aqua Pasikudah.

Day 11: Pasikudah to Sigiriya

Head back inland towards the rock fortress Sigiriya, arguably Sri Lanka’s landmark sight, visiting the ancient structures of Polonnaruwa – Sri Lanka’s ancient capital – en route. The rest of the day is spent at leisure. Overnight at Aliya Resort & Spa.

Day 12: Sigiriya

Start today with the spectacular climb to Sigiriya’s flat-topped summit, positioned some 200 metres above the surrounding countryside. Later, learn about various aspects of rural Sri Lankan life by visiting a nearby village. Overnight at Aliya Resort & Spa.

Day 13: Sigiriya to Negombo

Head south-west to Negombo, a seaside town a few miles north of Colombo and practically adjacent to the airport. After taking in the sunset – weather permitting, of course – your final evening in Sri Lanka is spent at leisure. Overnight at Jetwing Beach.

Day 14: Negombo

Proceed to Bandaranaike International Airport for your return flight home.

Activities to consider

  • A special, locally prepared lunch on day 12
  • An elephant-back safari on day 12
  • Excursions from Arugam Bay
  • Excursions from Pasikudah

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