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Home » Destinations » Asia » Sri Lanka » Riviera Travel Grand Journey from Sri Lanka to the Maldives
Experience Sri Lanka’s stunning landscapes, including paddy fields, coconut groves, and more, as you make your way to the Dambulla cave temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the iconic Sigiriya Rock, known as ‘Lion Rock,’ and continue your adventure to Kandy, where you’ll visit the Temple of the Tooth and the Royal Botanical Gardens. Next, take a scenic train ride to Nuwara Eliya, known as ‘little England.’ Encounter young elephant orphans at the Elephant Transit Home before heading to Yala National Park, famous for its diverse wildlife.
Continue your journey to Colombo, with a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle. Fly to Malé, the Maldivian capital, and board the Yasawa Princess for a week of Maldivian paradise. Enjoy activities like beach visits, snorkelling, and fishing under the stars.
Golden Temple Dambulla
Immerse yourself in the rich history of the Golden Temple Dambulla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sacred City of Kandy
Explore the sacred city of Kandy and visit the revered Temple of the Tooth, believed to house a relic of Buddha’s tooth. Stroll through the enchanting Royal Botanical Gardens.
Embark on a guided tour of Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress with a 5th-century Royal Palace and Citadel. Challenge yourself with a guided climb to the summit for breathtaking views.
Nuwara Eliya Tea Tour
Experience the charm of Nuwara Eliya as you delve into the local tea-growing areas. Savor the flavours of Ceylon tea during a guided tasting.
Elephant Transit Home
Witness the heartwarming feeding time at the Elephant Transit Home, a sanctuary for orphaned elephants supported by the Born Free Foundation. Learn about their journey to reintroduction into the wild.
Maldivian-style Line Fishing
Try your hand at traditional Maldivian-style line fishing under a starlit sky. Experience the tranquillity of a sunset cruise in the vast Indian Ocean.
Malé, the World’s Smallest Capital
Discover the charms of Malé, the world’s smallest capital city, and soak in its unique atmosphere.
Arrive at the airport for your flight to Colombo.
Arrive in Colombo and check into your hotel.
Today, your Sri Lankan adventure unveils breathtaking countryside vistas, featuring scenic paddy fields, water buffalos, resilient farmers, coconut groves, pineapple plantations, working elephants with mahouts, and dense jungles intertwined with vast lakes.
Explore the remarkable 1st-century Dambulla cave temples, a UNESCO World Heritage site. These five caves, nestled in a colossal granite outcrop and accessible via steps, showcase well-preserved frescoes and over 150 Buddhist statues. Amidst the cave’s dim light, surrounded by serene painted statues, one can easily grasp the profound awe it has inspired across generations.
This morning, explore the iconic Sigiriya, also known as ‘Lion Rock,’ a towering 600ft granite structure with sheer cliffs, housing the remnants of a 1,500-year-old royal palace. The site, encircled by a moat and ramparts, features water gardens, ancient buildings, and caves.
Approaching Sigiriya, admire exceptional ancient murals called the ‘cloud maidens,’ portraying jewelled, elegantly dressed women offering lilies and lotus flowers. Facing you stands the imposing final entrance to the palace, once featuring a colossal lion’s head, now reduced to two menacingly extended front paws guarding the palace. Note that reaching the top involves climbing numerous steps, typically manageable for those with regular mobility. The afternoon offers leisure time to enjoy the hotel’s pool and amenities.
This morning, depart Sigiriya for Kandy, known for its exquisite spices. Along the way, explore a captivating garden featuring indigenous plants like pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Upon reaching Kandy, the former royal capital, you’ll enjoy a two-night stay with dinner at the scenic four-star Cinnamon Citadel Hotel, nestled beside the Mahaweli River and surrounded by serene, forested hillsides. The hotel boasts a riverside pool, a graceful lobby with columns, and an inviting bar and restaurant.
In the evening, immerse yourself in the vibrant and skilful traditional dance performances that Kandy is renowned for.
Kandy’s lively streets bustle with activity. At its centre lies a picturesque lake and the revered Temple of the Tooth, believed to house a relic of Buddha’s tooth, making it Buddhism’s holiest shrine in Sri Lanka. During the visit (today or tomorrow morning), you might witness one of the many ceremonies. You’ll also explore the magnificent Royal Botanical Gardens, established over 150 years ago and spanning 150 acres, featuring a vast array of plant species and mature tropical trees. While wandering through well-maintained gardens, encountering exotic birds and trees commemoratively planted by Edward VII, George VI and Princess Anne. Additionally, the gardens house Lord Mountbatten’s World War II headquarters.
Today, depart Kandy and board a train at Peradeniya Station bound for Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya. During the journey, the landscape transforms from lush tropical jungle to towering pine forests and vast expanses of tea plantations, creating a stunning vista. You’ll arrive in Nuwara Eliya, known as ‘little England ‘, due to its high elevation of nearly 7,000 feet, spring-like climate, parks, and golf course. Your one-night stay is at the four-star Golden Ridge Hotel, nestled on a 5-acre ridge.
This morning, bid farewell to Sri Lanka’s hill country as you make your way to Yala National Park in the southern region of the country. Around midday, reach the Elephant Transit Home, located within Udawalawe National Park, and supported by the UK’s Born Free Foundation. Here, you can witness the heartwarming sight of young elephant orphans receiving their daily feed.
Start your day early to the tropical ‘dawn chorus.’ As the morning mist clears with the rising sun, embark on a jungle exploration in 4×4 vehicles to witness the diverse wildlife. Yala National Park offers a rare opportunity to spot leopards, which are the park’s most thrilling attraction. Additionally, Yala is home to elephants, saltwater crocodiles, wild boar, sloth bears, monitor lizards, and a wide array of bird species.
Today, travel to Colombo, making a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle, renowned for its 16th-century Dutch fort. In the late afternoon, reach the four-star superior Kingsbury Colombo for an overnight stay.
Transfer from your hotel to Colombo airport for a 1hr 25min flight to Malé, the Maldivian capital. Upon arrival, board a traditional Maldivian wooden boat called a dhoni to reach the Yasawa Princess, your cozy home for the week. At an evening welcome meeting, get briefed on the week’s itinerary, meet fellow guests and crew members. Savor a complimentary pre-dinner cocktail while witnessing the first of many stunning Indian Ocean sunsets.
Itinerary 1 – Kalhuhuraa Sandbank
Experience your first cruise day by crossing the Vaadhoo channel to the South Malé Atoll. The ship’s tender offers morning and afternoon trips to the picturesque Kalhuhuraa sandbank—an excellent opportunity for sunbathing and lagoon swimming, complete with beach umbrellas for those seeking shade.
Begin your cruise with a short trip northwest to Hurasdhoo, a serene, uninhabited island featuring a white sandy beach. Enjoy your first encounter with the underwater world through snorkelling or simply relax on the beach and swim in the Indian Ocean. The ship’s tender offers morning and afternoon trips to this beautiful island.
Itinerary 1 – Rannalhi Island
Embark on a brief cruise within the atoll, visiting exquisite, secluded spots for relaxation, swimming, snorkelling, or unwinding on the sundeck while admiring the expansive Indian Ocean.
Itinerary 2 – Embudu Deserted Island
Short cruise to the western atoll edge to reach charming, deserted Embudu Island. Tender trips in the morning and afternoon offer easy access to snorkelling, where you may spot Eagle rays or turtles. Alternatively, relax on the long beach in the middle of the Indian Ocean
Itinerary 1 – Alimatha Sandbank
Early today, cross the channel to Vaavu Felidu Atoll. The ship’s tender offers morning and afternoon trips to the exquisite Alimatha sandbank – you can opt for one or both. Enjoy white sandy beaches, wade in the turquoise lagoon, snorkel on the reef, or take a leisurely barefoot stroll. In the evening, the ship’s staff can arrange additional activities like night snorkelling at the Alimatha house reef, where you can spot nurse sharks, stingrays, trevallies, and other nocturnal marine creatures (additional fees apply).
Itinerary 2 – Raiydhigaa Island & beach BBQ
After a leisurely morning cruise, reach Raiydhigaa Island, a picturesque paradise with white sands, coconut trees, and crystal-clear waters. Enjoy accessible snorkelling by the reef and a picnic lunch on the island. In the evening, savor a memorable beachfront barbecue with music and dancing under the starlit sky.
Itinerary 1 – Anbaraa Island & Beach BBQ
This morning’s leisurely cruise brings us to the charming Anbaraa island. Snorkelling by the reef is easily accessible, and lunch is a delightful picnic on the island. The evening promises to be a highlight, featuring a meticulously prepared beachfront barbecue, accompanied by warm Maldivian hospitality.
Itinerary 2 – Alikoi Rah Sandbank
Centred in Ari Atoll, Alikoi Rah sandbank is a snorkeler’s paradise with a vibrant house reef teeming with colourful fish, turtles, and rays. In the evening, enjoy a captivating sunset cruise to the nearby Maaya sandbank,
Itinerary 1 – Oshagali Sandbank
This morning, sail across the channel to the Ari Atoll. You’ll have the opportunity to visit Oshagali Finolhu, a beautiful sandbank with a breathtaking sea-green lagoon and an encircling reef, creating an ideal snorkelling paradise. There will be morning and afternoon visits to this exquisite location.
Itinerary 2 – Maayafushi Sandbar
Venturing to the northern edge of Ari Atoll, visit Maayafushi, a large sandbar known for abundant seabirds. This stunning sandbar features a sea-green lagoon and a surrounding reef, creating an ideal snorkelling destination, with morning and afternoon visits.
Itinerary 1 – Ariadhoo Desert Island
Continue your cruise to Ariadhoo, an uninhabited island. Enjoy the sandy shores, ocean swimming, or snorkelling to discover marine life. This area is known for whale shark sightings, and you can opt for a guided boat excursion to see them for a small local fee. The Maldives offers year-round encounters with these gentle giants. In the afternoon, explore the inhabited island of Maamigili for a glimpse of local life and shopping opportunities.
Itinerary 2 – Malé
This morning, cross Alihuras Kandu Ocean channel, making a stop for a final dip at a sandbar on the way to Malé. Upon arrival, the dhoni offers an informal guided tour of the world’s smallest capital city.
After breakfast, fly to Malé for the return flight home via Colombo.
Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo
The four-star Kingsbury Hotel in central Colombo offers a range of amenities, including a pool, spa, restaurant options, fitness centre, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The 229 contemporary air-conditioned rooms are well-equipped. The hotel is conveniently located near Galle Face Green and The Dutch Hospital Precinct, making it a convenient stopover before your flight from Colombo to Malé.
Chaarya Resort and Spa, Tissamaharama
This hotel offers comfortable rooms with balconies or terraces, air conditioning, TV, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests can enjoy local and international cuisine at the restaurant, relax in the Cozy Bar, and access a small fitness room, outdoor pool, and spa. Located 30 minutes from both Yala National Park and Kataragama, the hotel is set in lush surroundings, making it an ideal base for exploring the area.
Habarana Village by Cinnamon, Habarana
The four-star Habarana Village by Cinnamon features an open-air restaurant, lounge bar, outdoor pool, Azmaara spa, and gardens with a jogging path ideal for wildlife sightings. The 108 air-conditioned rooms, set in detached and semi-detached cottages, offer amenities such as a shower, hairdryer, safe, minibar (local charges apply), cable TV, tea/coffee-making facilities, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Located by Habarana Lake, the hotel is set in 27 acres of scenic grounds.
Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy
The recently renovated four-star Cinnamon Citadel Hotel offers a range of amenities including a riverside sun terrace, a large pool, multiple dining options, a fitness center, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The 121 comfortable air-conditioned rooms feature a shower, hairdryer, minibar (local charges apply), safe, TV, and a balcony overlooking the river. The hotel is peacefully situated on a bend of the Mahaweli River, offering stunning forested hill views.
Golden Ridge Hotel, Nuwara Eliya
The four-star Golden Ridge Hotel offers a range of amenities, including a swimming pool, spa, lounge, restaurant, fitness center, and terrace. All rooms feature a balcony and amenities such as a TV, safe, tea/coffee facilities, mini-bar, rainfall shower, hairdryer, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel is situated in the cool mountainous region with scenic views and tea plantations.
Arie Lagoon Hotel, Negombo
The four-star Arie Lagoon offers amenities such as a 24-hour front desk, lounge, restaurant, fitness center, two pools including one with a swim-up bar and lagoon view, a separate bar and wine lounge, spa, and gym (additional charges may apply). Each room features natural wood furniture, a shower, hairdryer, safe, minibar (extra charge), cable TV, tea/coffee maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
MS Yasawa Princess
The Yasawa Princess features 28 cozy cabins across four passenger decks, offering a bar, restaurant, small spa area, sun deck, forward observation lounge, and easy access to islands and sandbanks via a dhoni and tender. All-inclusive meals include generous breakfast and dinner buffets, along with lunch or island picnics. A self-service tea and coffee station is available throughout the day, and there’s a newly added aft swimming platform for water access. Beach towels are provided, and Wi-Fi is available at an extra charge. The ship houses a fully staffed PADI dive centre offering various courses and packages.
*All transfer times listed here are approximate and dependent on traffic.
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Explore the remarkable cities, ancient temples, and breathtaking natural wonders of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, and Kerala.
Once described by Marco Polo as ‘the finest island in the world’, Sri Lanka is known for its remarkable countryside and ancient ruins. Discover both on this tour before relaxing on the pristine beaches of Pussikudah
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