Your day-by-day itinerary
Sigiriya, and on to Polonnaruwa
Today you’ll travel towards Polonnaruwa, and after a few hours’ drive, the giant Sigiriya rock will start to loom in front of you. In earlier times, this rock fortress, also known as the ‘Lion Rock’, was covered with hundreds of frescoes and a grand palace stood atop. Once you’ve made it to the top, you’ll get the chance to take in the stunning panoramic views of the wild green jungle, before continuing your journey to the town.
Polonnaruwa is an ancient royal city dating back almost 1000 years and has plenty of interesting sites you can explore on foot. Your hotel is in an idyllic location near the lake in nearby Girithale, and your driver can take you into the main city if you want to have a look around or visit one of the town’s amazing local restaurants.
Polonnaruwa Cycling....and Elephants!
After breakfast, your driver will take you into town where you’ll collect your hired bike and cycle around the ancient ruins at your own pace. The town was once the capital city of Sri Lanka and there are still many interesting relics leftover from this period, from palaces and bathhouses to ancient temples. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the country’s history. After you’ve pedalled your way through town, you’ll head to a small farmers’ restaurant where you can refuel with some super-authentic Sri Lankan cuisine.
In the afternoon it’s time to get back to nature, as you hop into a jeep for an afternoon of wildlife spotting. Make sure you have your camera at the ready and your eyes peeled because today you’re likely the meet the wild Sri Lankan elephants that roam here. Depending on where the elephants are today, the park ranger will either take you to Kaudulla or Minneriya National Park which are located right next to each other. As the evening draws in, you’ll return to your hotel ready for a well-earned rest.
Departure from Polonnaruwa
After breakfast today, you’ll check out of your hotel and head towards your next destination.
If you’re heading south towards Kandy then you’ll stop off at the cave temples of Dambulla, located up in the hills with sweeping countryside views. Here, you’ll find caves crammed full of statues and paintings of the kings of Anuradhapura. You’ll wander through each cave and discover fascinating statues of the grand Buddha.
Extension - 4 days / 3 nights
If you’re really interested in Sri Lanka’s history then you can extend this trip to add a night in another former capital, Anuradhapura. You’ll start by exploring the ancient ruins, the sacred tree and famous stupas which are all found in the city. The next day you’ll head to Mihintale, a sacred rock which is now a pilgrimage site. After this, you’ll continue onto Sigiriya and continue the trip above as normal. You can also visit Anuradhapura on our Leopards, Lakes and Royal Palaces trip.
£365 - per person - Standard accommodation
Combine this trip with...
Where to next? This trip goes together perfectly with these: