Central Province, Sri Lanka
Viewing Points

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Our most recommended Central Province, Sri Lanka Viewing Points

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

1. Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

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From Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Private Day Tour

2. From Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Private Day Tour

Take a full day excursion out to Sigiriya, where you'll visit two fascinating sites: the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a cave complex full of Buddhist imagery, and Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a massive column of rock turned into a fortress. After pickup at 7:00 AM from your hotel in Kandy, head out of the city towards the first site. On the way, admire Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to this atmospheric cliff side cave complex packed with Buddhist imagery and frescoes.   Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, which dates back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Guatama Buddha. Admire the hundreds of figurines of the Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the 5 main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, the Cave of the Great King, and the Great New Monastery, as well as the giant golden Buddha statue just a little distance outside of the cave complex.   At noon, enjoy lunch at a restaurant of your choice before traveling approximately 45 minutes to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigirya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization. Climb the 5th-century rock fortress and walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion (which give the fortress its name, “The Lion Rock”). View the beautiful unfaded murals that brought Sigiriya its fame, climb the steep staircase to the terraced gardens, and walk through the tunnels throughout the palace. You’ll get an eerie feeling of times long past.   Finish your tour at 5:00 PM, at which point you’ll head back to Kandy to be dropped off at around 8:00 PM. Stop en route to have dinner at a restaurant of your choice.

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From Ella: Shuttle to Mirissa/Galle with Udawalawe Safari

3. From Ella: Shuttle to Mirissa/Galle with Udawalawe Safari

After 5:00 AM pick-up from your hotel in Ella, Haputale or Bandarawela, head for Udawalawe National Park, where you'll switch to an open concept safari jeep in order to have the best views. An early morning start ensures you'll see the animals during one of their most active times of day. See herds of elephants for sure and have fun watching for crocodiles, monkeys, water buffaloes, various endemic birds species and much more. Along the way, you'll learn about and observe the natural habitats of the local wildlife while you snap some amazing photos. Later in the morning, enjoy a picnic breakfast. Then, at the end of your 3-hour safari adventure, switch back to the comfortable, air-conditioned car for the ride on to Mirissa where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.

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From Kandy: Nuwara Eliya by Train

4. From Kandy: Nuwara Eliya by Train

Start your tour at 7:30 AM from your hotel in Kandy, where you will be picked up by your chauffeur. You will be taken you to the Kandy or Peradeniya railway station at approximately 8:00 AM, depending on respective availability.  The train departs at approximately 8:30 AM. Enjoy a scenic ride of about 3 hours through some of the most beautiful highland countryside areas in Sri Lanka. See the vast green hills of the tea plantations and spot the picturesque villages with misty mountain backdrops. Enjoy the amazing sights of intimidating mountains, deep and dark woodlands, and magnificent waterfalls as they go by your window.  Arrive at Nanuoya at 12:15 PM where your guide will meet you at the station, which has been serving Nuwara Eliya for over a century. After you stretch your legs a little, your guide will take you to Nuwara Eliya. Enjoy the thrilling half-hour drive up the winding road. Enjoy walking through the streets with their pretty little cottages, quaint villas, and beautiful mansions. Thereafter at approximately 13:30 PM, enjoy lunch at a restaurant of your choice at your own expense. Afterwards, your guide will show you the most important sights of the town, including Lake Gregory. See the timeless post office and take the opportunity to buy a few as souvenirs. Begin the journey back to Kandy by approximately 3:00 PM. Whilst en-route, visit the picturesque Ramboda Falls and the Blue Field Tea Factory where you would see where the world-famous “Ceylon Tea” is manufactured. Learn more about the history of the factory, which was founded in 1824. After this, depart at 5:00 PM to finish the return journey to Kandy, where you will be dropped back at your hotel at approximately 19:30 PM.

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From Negombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

5. From Negombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

After being transported in private car with local English speaking tour guide from Negombo, you will reach your first destination: Sri Lanka's largest rock, Dambulla Cave Temple, which is built on a 600-foot high rock at an elevation of 1118 feet from sea level. It is home to the worlds most acclaimed cave complex of magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and shapes from the 2nd-century BC to the Kandyan era of the 18th-century.  Your second visit is to Sigiriya Rock, a site of historical and archaeological significance dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 meters (660 feet) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa for his new capital. Finish your day with a tour to see the crafts of the traditional artisans in Sigiriya, including wood carvers and batik makers. Learn about the process of their work and purchase some great souvenirs.  At the end of the trip, your guide will take you back to your hotel in Negombo.

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Horton Plains National Park Tour & Scenic Train Ride

6. Horton Plains National Park Tour & Scenic Train Ride

Get picked up from your hotel at 5:45 AM and drive to the railway station for a scenic train ride to Ohiya station. Arrive at 8:30 AM where you will be picked up and transferred to Horton Plains National Park. When you arrive, begin your walk along the park's nature trails to a viewpoint known as World’s End with your guide. Walking through the narrow paths will be really interesting as you pass grasslands and interspersed with patches of thick forest, rocky outcrops, filigree waterfalls, and misty lakes. The surprising diversity of the landscape is matched by the wide variety of wildlife. The World's End Viewpoint is a sheer cliff, with a drop of about 4,000 feet (1,200 m). Nearby, you will also find the Baker Falls, a 20-meter cascade of water named after Sir Samuel Baker, a famous explorer. Admire the stunning views, relax and enjoy a packed lunch. At 2:30 PM you will be taken back to your hotel, arriving at approximately 4:30 PM.

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Kandy: Temples, Gardens & Cultural Show City Highlights Tour

7. Kandy: Temples, Gardens & Cultural Show City Highlights Tour

Enjoy a full day of Kandyan culture that takes you from gardens to temples to a cultural show. Start your day with hotel pickup at 9:00 AM in Kandy and head to your first stop, the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya. These gardens have a long history dating back to the British Era, and were used during WWII as Allied Forces Headquarters for the Asian Region. Now, the garden houses thousands of beautiful plant species, so you’ll want to spend the full 2 hours allocated here wandering the gardens.   Afterwards, continue on to visit the Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara in Bahiravakanda. This monastery on a hill is used as a meeting center for National and International Buddhist Relations, and boasts a giant Buddha statue that can be seen from all over Kandy. Climb up to reach a viewpoint that gives you the ultimate panoramic views of Kandy and take some photos.   Return to Kandy for lunch, where you’ll be given approximately an hour of free time. In the afternoon, visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Temple of the Tooth. This temple has a burgeoning history spanning several centuries and is the home of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha. Formerly a palace complex for Kandyan kings, these beautiful buildings show their royal roots through their architecture.  At 4:30, enjoy a spectacular Kandy Cultural Show, which will give you the opportunity to watch various traditional Kandyan dances and acts, such as the demon dance, the fire dance, and much more. Once the show is over, you’ll be returned to your hotel at around 5:30, completing this full day.

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From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

8. From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

After pickup from your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, drive to Dambulla. Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site then spend overnight in Sigiriya. On day two get an early start and drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Polonnaruwa. Take a cycling tour through the well-preserved ancient city to see the beautiful stupas or dagobas, moonstones, parks, buildings and stunning statues. In the afternoon, you will be taken to the 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya, regarded as one of the Wonders of World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend overnight in Sigiriya.   On day three after leisurely breakfast, visit an archetypal Sri Lankan village. Experience a bullock cart ride, see traditional cultivation methods, enjoy a boat ride and an authentic Sri Lankan lunch at a village house. After lunch, continue to Kandy, stopping at a wood carving center and a spice garden in Matale. Upon arrival, take a city tour of Kandy including a visit to the temple of the sacred tooth relic, upper lake drive, the market square, and more. Spend overnight in Kandy.     After breakfast on the fourth day, you will depart from Kandy and be driven back to your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, or dropped off at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.

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From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

9. From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

After getting picked up from your hotel in Bentota or Kalutara, begin the 3-hour journey to the Sigirya rock fortress. Here you will discover the historical and cultural values of ancient Sri Lanka and get to witness the engineering skills and artistic capabilities of Sri Lankan artisans and engineers. Wander through this vast complex and admire the various palaces, pools, gardens, and paintings. Later, head to the Dambulla Royal Cave Temple, which is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world. Marvel at the beautiful Buddhist paintings and statues housed in this cave and see for yourself why it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, visit a spice garden where you can soak up the aromas of the various traditional spices grown here such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Head back to your hotel in the evening, just in time for dinner.

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Sri Lanka: 1-Hour Mega Zip Line Adventure in Ella

10. Sri Lanka: 1-Hour Mega Zip Line Adventure in Ella

Your guide will pick you up at 98 Adventure Park, Ella. The equipment will be provided, as will be your instructor and support crew. Cocooned within Sri Lanka’s Badulla District is an inviting haven, filled with an abundance of natural beauty and a cool climate.  Ziplining here is one of the best things to do in Ella, home to an abundance of breathtaking backdrops. Ella allows both the laidback as well as the curious at heart to voyage through some of Sri Lanka’s most cherished destinations.  Situated 3,415 ft. above sea level and 200 kilometers east of the capital of Colombo, this cozy hamlet offers numerous floral and faunal species coupled with towering mountain ranges and scenic waterfalls. Get a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful hills of the island.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Central Province, Sri Lanka

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What people are saying about Central Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 39 reviews

Excellent experience. Suitable with time during the train journey and during the remaining trip. Experienced a lot of old English history. The pick-up from the hotel also worked perfectly. Our guide Dushan Munasighe was absolutely excellent perfect English o also expert. Took us to all the places listed in the tour and more. Top guy

Very nice day tour. The temple in Dambulla is very worth seeing. The Löwenfels is also worth a visit, but admission is expensive. My driver tried very hard and explained a lot. He also stopped at many vantage points and responded to individual requests.

CJ was a fantastic, knowledgeable guide who patiently answered all my questions. He went out of his way to ensure my comfort and convienience. The trek up to the top was absolutely worth it! One of my highlights in Sri Lanka.

This is a must do activity in Sri Lanka. Amazing view of endless nature in Sigiriya, but also a lot of other small activities on the way there and back.

The Tour was really good and the driver gave a lot of explanations and was very friendly. I recommend this tour, I had a very nice day.