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Sri Lanka's Ancient History & Wildlife Wonders

18 days from £8,100 per person

For such a small island, Sri Lanka is bursting at the seams with history, heritage, culture and wildlife. From the ancient lost city of Anuradhapura to the ruined citadel of Sigiriya, one can experience the crucible of Sinhalese life from a bygone era at every turn. What's more, Sri Lanka is home to some of the best wildlife and birdlife experiences in the whole of Asia.

Begin your journey in Sri Lanka's beating heart of culture, traditionally referred to as The King’s Land, or today known as the Cultural Triangle. The once great and ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa serve as important reminders of the golden age of early Sinhalese civilisation. Anuradhapura was the island's medieval capital from the 3rd century BC to 933 AD, and today the great ruined city is dotted with magnificent palaces, vast monasteries and monumental pagodas. Polonnaruwa was Sri Lanka's second capital, and the ruins here are more compact, but no less absorbing. Sigiriya is the spectacular rock citadel and possibly one of Sri Lanka's most extraordinary and mesmerising sights. Climb to the top for commanding views over the flat plains below for a chance to really get to grips with the scale of the historical sight. In the southern heartlands, the sacred city of Kandy was the last royal capital of Sri Lanka, and is still home to the island’s most revered Buddhist relic, the Temple of the Tooth.

The second half of this itinerary will focus on Sri Lanka's amazing wildlife and bird watching opportunities. Sri Lanka’s rich biodiversity and untouched natural habitats have been protected and nurtured for generations. Both ancient and contemporary Sri Lankan rulers have made it a priority to preserve the land and its wildlife, where hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles and birds call the island home. Gal Oya, on the eastern reaches of the island, has rather a mythical air about it; it is home to forest-dwelling tribes and swimming elephants, and has always been relatively difficult to get to. However, once there, the most eco-luxe lodge awaits in the form of Gal Oya Lodge. Venture further east still to Kumana National Park, Yala's much less frequently visited neighbour. Here whilst you camp out under the stars, it's not rare to spot a leopard or elephant. Kumana Mobile Tented Camp has the best guides and naturalists in the business, and the camp is comfortable and the food delicious - it is guaranteed to be the most special and unique wildlife experiences on offer!

Finally, end your trip in Galle, the old colonial Dutch fort, which withstands the age of time. Small and buzzing with a friendly local atmosphere, one can spend the days languidly walking the streets of the fort, or merely enjoying the sunshine in a cafe and watching the world go by. It is also the ideal spot to base yourself for a spot of whale watching. These gentle marine giants can be spotted off the coast of Mirissa from the beginning of November to the end of April, when the ocean water is warm and calm.

This luxury holiday is purely a suggested itinerary; it can be booked as it is or used as a starting point for creating your very own tailor-made tour. If you are feeling inspired and would like to see similar trips, take a look at our collection of Sri Lanka itineraries.


Itinerary details

18 days from £8,100 per person

KUMANA National Park Sri Lanka 28 KUMANA National Park Sri Lanka 28
SRI LANKA - Sigiriya Overhead SRI LANKA - Sigiriya Overhead
SRI LANKA - Sigiriya Monks Lion Rock SRI LANKA - Sigiriya Monks Lion Rock
SRI LANKA - Sigiriya Rock SRI LANKA - Sigiriya Rock
Sigiriya Sri Lanka Sigiriya Sri Lanka
Sigiriya Sri Lanka 1 Sigiriya Sri Lanka 1
Kalundewa Retreat Dambulla Sri Lanka 11 Kalundewa Retreat Dambulla Sri Lanka 11
Kalundewa Retreat Dambulla Sri Lanka 22 Kalundewa Retreat Dambulla Sri Lanka 22
Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya Sri Lanka 28 Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya Sri Lanka 28
SRI LANKA - A Walk With Vedda Gal Oya Sri Lanka SRI LANKA - A Walk With Vedda Gal Oya Sri Lanka
Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya Sri Lanka 13 Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya Sri Lanka 13
Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya Sri Lanka 6 Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya Sri Lanka 6
Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya National Park Sri Lanka 2 Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya National Park Sri Lanka 2
Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya Sri Lanka 7 Gal Oya Lodge Gal Oya Sri Lanka 7
Kumana Mobile Tented Camp Kumana Sri Lanka 9 Kumana Mobile Tented Camp Kumana Sri Lanka 9
Kumana Sri Lanka 14 Kumana Sri Lanka 14
Kumana Sri Lanka 15 Kumana Sri Lanka 15
KUMANA National Park Sri Lanka 23 KUMANA National Park Sri Lanka 23
KUMANA National Park Sri Lanka 37 KUMANA National Park Sri Lanka 37
KUMANA National Park Sri Lanka 4 KUMANA National Park Sri Lanka 4
galle-overview galle-overview
locals-galle locals-galle
Whale Watching Sri Lanka TTG Luxury (1) Whale Watching Sri Lanka TTG Luxury (1)
SRI LANKA - Galle fort SRI LANKA - Galle fort

Key

7.873053999999999,80.77179699999999,6
Travelling is like flirting with life. It's like saying, 'I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.
Lisa St. Aubin de Teran

Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India

From our Instagram

In #Japan, the lesser-known plum tree (‘ume’ #梅) blossoms in February - March 🌺
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Visit at this time to admire these special flowers and beat the crowds that swarm the country during cherry blossom peak season 🌸
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Atmospheric rural villages, mirror-still lakes and gracious locals sum up #Myanmar (#Burma) for us 🌅
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📸 courtesy of @zayyarlin84
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From mid May to mid October, The Ultimate Travelling Camp’s wonderful #ChambaCamp in #Thiksey (#Ladakh) will be open! 🏞
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Our specialists stayed at this one-of-a-kind luxury tented camp last year and adored it - we guarantee that you will too 🏕
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Staying at the beautiful @GalOyaLodge means you will experience one of Sri Lanka’s lesser-known National Parks at its very best 🌿
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Take a boat safari here to see swimming elephants and a striking sunset 🐘🌅
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‘Traditionally to welcome the coming of spring, this joyful festival is filled with colour, music, dancing and great energy’ @the_ampersander
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Monks in #Myanmar (#Burma) 🇲🇲
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Buddhism runs strong through the country’s veins - not only are 90% of the Burmese Buddhist, but many children are monks in training and call ancient monasteries home 🧘🏽‍♂️
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Cascading rice terraces greet you in #Ubud 🍃🍃🍃
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Balinese women make daily offerings of vibrant flowers and fruit to the gods 🍊🍐🍌🍎🌺💐
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Spot mighty lions in #SouthAfrica’s game reserves with the help of our expert guides 🐾 🇿🇦
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(📸 @chris_fischer_photography)
Set within an inviting oasis of elegant palms and eucalyptus trees, #Amanbagh stays true to its name 🍃(‘Peaceful garden’ in Sanskrit and Hindi) 🇮🇳
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One of @jamesjayasundera’s favourite hotels in the world, #Ampersand believe that there’s no better place to enjoy rural #Rajasthan than this luxurious idyll
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