24 Photos
  • Sri Lanka
  • Jewels of Sri Lanka with See the Highlights of Kerala

Jewels of Sri Lanka with See the Highlights of Kerala

9 Day Escorted Tour With 5 Day Extension

Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean
Intermediate Pace

Why not continue your trip beyond Sri Lanka with a mini tour of the beautiful Indian state of Kerala from 439pp. This 4 night extension includes a tour of Cochin, one of India's major ports and trading centres and an overnight trip on an authentic Keralan Houseboat.

2020 Dossier

2021 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • Authentic Keralan Houseboat Trip
  • Thekkady Hill Station Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Periyar Lake
  • Cochin City Tour
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Dambulla Rock Temple
  • City Tour of Kandy and Galle
  • Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya
  • Tea Factory and Plantation
  • Safari through Yala National Park
Number of nights

This map is for the main tour only


Day 1
UK to Colombo

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Colombo International Airport.

Day 2
Colombo to Dambulla


On arrival you will be met by your local guide and transferred to Dambulla which will take approximately 4 hours. The rest of your evening at leisure.

Day 3

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Depart in the morning to explore the stunning Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a World Heritage Site dating back to the 5th century AD. Also known as the 'Lion Rock', it is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the jungle. Following lunch continue on to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa which was once a royal capital of the Sinhalese kingdom and is over 1000 years old. It was chosen as the capital as it was advantageously positioned to safeguard against possible attacks from the southeast, as well as supposedly having fewer mosquitoes! Here you can admire the ruins of the Royal Palace and wander around the Gal Vihara, famous for its splendid carved Buddha statues. Please note: photography is prohibited in parts of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Prohibited areas will be clearly signposted.

Day 4
Dambulla to Kandy

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, visit the Dambulla Rock Temple, where the impressive caves contain over 2000sq metres of painted walls and ceilings which were once gilded by the ancient King to mark his place of worship. You will then travel to Kandy en route visiting a spice garden followed by lunch and check in at your hotel. Continue to the famous Temple of Tooth Relic in the afternoon - Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic and one of the holiest shrines in the Buddhist world. After dinner relax whilst watching an eclectic cultural show, where performers will dazzle you with ornate costumes and traditional dances.

Day 5

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today you will travel to the beautiful botanical gardens in Peradeniya, boasting more than 4,000 species of trees, plants, orchids and creepers. Next, a highlight of this tour is a trip to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, established in 1975 to care for abandoned and wounded elephants. Witness these magnificent creatures in close quarters and see elephants being fed, bathed and trained by the wildlife authorities. This evening enjoy a city tour of Kandy, including the bazaar and arts and crafts centre and a gem museum. Kandy was the last capital of the ancient kings and after defending themselves for over three centuries from the Dutch and Portuguese it finally fell to the hands of the British in 1815.

Day 6
Kandy to Yala

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Leaving Kandy you will stop in Giragama to visit a tea plantation before continuing to Nuwara Eliya where you will participate in a walking tour of the town. Your journey continues through Sri Lanka's striking scenery to your hotel near Yala.

Day 7

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The morning is at leisure before your exciting jeep safari around the magnificent Yala National Game Park, the largest national park in Sri Lanka with a unique ocean front setting. The park is home to elephants, wild boars, buffaloes, bears, deer and crocodiles as well as a number of migratory and indigenous birds. You may even spot a leopard!

Day 8
Yala to Mount Lavinia

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Following breakfast, you will arrive in Galle, once the chief port of Ceylon and the centre of the Dutch regime in the 17th century. A city tour lets you discover the majestic Galle Fort and the surrounding historic buildings which reflect the Dutch heritage which once reined the country. Travel north for your final night at the world famous Mou

Day 9
Colombo to Cochin


Depart Sri Lanka in the morning for your flight to Cochin in India's beautiful southern state of Kerala, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 10
Cochin to Alleppey


Today you will board a traditional houseboat which will be both your transport and accommodation. This leisurely cruise takes you through the winding backwaters of Kerala, meandering through the beautiful lagoons, rivers and canals whilst enjoying the local food and stunning rural scenery of the surrounding villages.

Day 11
Alleppey to Thekkady


Disembarking your houseboat after breakfast, your tour continues with a drive through the spectacular countryside. Journey on to Thekkady, a stunning area located high in the Cardamom hills containing tea gardens, rubber, coffee and pepper plantations. Following lunch, a visit to a plantation and spice market await you.

Day 12
Thekkady to Cochin


A highlight of Thekkady is the Periyar National Park, India's largest wildlife sanctuary. Board a boat at Periyar Lake where you can view various species of wildlife and enjoy picturesque scenery. Proceed to Cochin for a city tour to see the impressive Chinese fishing nets, before taking a ride through the village roads in a tuk-tuk. You will see the Mattanchery Duch Palace and St. Francis, the oldest European church in India.

Day 13
Cochin to the UK


Depart after breakfast for your return flight to the UK.

View Full Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Price (per person)
Dates available
January 2021
from £2,208
4 Dates
7th Jan - 20th Jan
14th Jan - 27th Jan
21st Jan - 3rd Feb
28th Jan - 10th Feb
February 2021
from £2,168
2 Dates
4th Feb - 17th Feb
18th Feb - 3rd Mar
March 2021
from £2,168
4 Dates
4th Mar - 17th Mar
11th Mar - 24th Mar
18th Mar - 30th Mar
25th Mar - 6th Apr
April 2021
from £2,138
2 Dates
14th Apr - 27th Apr
28th Apr - 11th May
May 2021
from £1,888
3 Dates
5th May - 18th May
12th May - 25th May
19th May - 1st Jun
June 2021
from £1,688
3 Dates
2nd Jun - 15th Jun
9th Jun - 22nd Jun
23rd Jun - 6th Jul
July 2021
from £2,238
2 Dates
7th Jul - 20th Jul
21st Jul - 3rd Aug
August 2021
from £2,238
2 Dates
4th Aug - 17th Aug
18th Aug - 31st Aug
September 2021
from £2,068
4 Dates
1st Sep - 14th Sep
15th Sep - 28th Sep
22nd Sep - 5th Oct
29th Sep - 12th Oct
October 2021
from £2,068
2 Dates
13th Oct - 26th Oct
27th Oct - 10th Nov
November 2021
from £2,168
3 Dates
4th Nov - 17th Nov
11th Nov - 24th Nov
18th Nov - 1st Dec


The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Hotel Casino
2 nights
Kochi, Kerala
More details
1 nights
Alleppey, Kerala
More details
View More

Tour Reviews

Gwendoline Aldred

19 Feb 20

Very happy with all the hotels

D Lindsay

13 Feb 20

Tour manager Ernest was 5 star the best!

Susan Garside

12 Feb 20

All hotels on tour were clean and comfortable with good food and very helpful, friendly staff.

Bridget Tanti

27 Jan 20

All 4 hotels were lovely and the staff were very efficient and helpful. Improvements may be suggested for Chaarya Resort where the Wifi was poor and, over all, vegetarian meal options were relatively limited.

Jacqueline Goodhew

23 Jan 20

Lovely clean hotels , great food, polite staff. Excellent overall.

Graham Reeves

25 Apr 19

Nice hotels used throughout

Rhian Jones

12 Apr 19

beautiful, good value for money

Leslie Wilkinson

06 Apr 19

The hotels we stayed ranged from good to excellent. The staff at each hotel were polite, friendly and welcoming. The checking in process was smooth and efficient and we were highly satisfied with the rooms chosen for us. We particularly liked the Amaya Hills Hotel and the Mount Lavinia Hotel.

Monika Wallace

03 Apr 19

All the hotels were very clean, the service was friendly,excellent and all in beautiful surroundings

Elizabeth Watson

30 Mar 19

The hotels selected were amazing and surpassed our expectations. Each one was very different with its own character and the locations were perfect. Standard of accomodation was excellent as was the service and the food.

Leanne Puddefoot

27 Mar 19

All hotels had a very easy check in system, they were all clean and had a good choice of food, my favourite was Amaya Hills, the view and service was amazing and could not fault it.

Bruce Hester

26 Mar 19

Good choice of 4 star hotels

John Dowe

06 Mar 19

A mix of tranquillity and beautiful sights, from the balcony and terrace. We would thoroughly recommend this tour and the hotels to anyone. Anyone who complains about any aspect of the whole holiday ought to "get a life". Brandy, our guide, deserves special mention. Throughout the whole trip, he kept everyone together and catered for everyone's needs, much to the annoyance of one couple in particular. He obviously is very experienced, loves his country and its people, and has a wealth of knowledge. He was very informative, had time for everyone and never stopped smiling. Great bloke !!!! The driver and helper were much the same, and you have to admire the way the driver handled that bus, particularly in the mountains, and on busy streets, where, sometimes, it seemed that the population wanted to turn themselves into "bonnet mascots" on his bus. Well done to them all !!!

Wendy Wood

02 Mar 19

Each hotel was excellent, all offering a different experience in terms of environment and settings. The quality of food was good and a wide selection of food.

Kate Franklin

13 Feb 19

All hotels were high standard with excellent service. They also seemed to highly value Mercury guests. We were very impressed with the overall efficiency of the organisation of 'pick ups' and hotel check-ins. Also all drivers were very friendly and courteous as well as being good drivers, with comfortable vehicles, on roads that appeared chaotic at times and very busy.

Marie Southgate

25 Jan 19

No problems with the hotels

John Cheong

11 Dec 18

All hotels were good, with large clean rooms; friendly and helpful staff; and with a good choice in the buffet at breakfast and dinner sufficient to suit all tastes.

Joanne Cockram

12 Oct 18

All very clean and above standard.. Extremely pleased

Huw Jones

04 Oct 18

Really 1st class hotels throughout, the best standard of many escorted tours I have been on.

John Rickman

03 Oct 18

The first and last hotels on the escorted tour were the best. The Amaya lake the best and we would have liked to see more of it. The mount Lavinia second best.

Bernadette James

03 Oct 18

All good with Amaya Lake our favourite - excellent facilities.

John Bailey

29 Sep 18

All hotels were excellent.

Andrew Ok

28 Sep 18

Amaya lake and Hills were fantastic hotels with excellent lacations, rooms, service and food. Chandrika Hotel good. The world famous Mount Lavinia Hotel had the wow factor from the outside and lobby area and excellent food

John Ketchell

08 Sep 18

All 5 hotels used were excellent with good food and generally great service.

Margaret Coe

06 Jul 18

All very good, excellent rooms, good food, excellent service! Very good swimming pools!!!!!

Philip Walton

16 May 18

All hotels excellent as expected, service couldn’t have been better. Only issue could do with mosquito nets in bedrooms.

David Watt

06 Apr 18

Excellent quality hotels, just a shame that so much was crammed into the tour that we didn't always get a chance to fully enjoy them. We often arrived late to the hotel, just in time for evening meal, and then have to set the alarm very early for the following morning.

Terrence Winters

01 Mar 18

Overall excellent tour only comment would be length of time travelled on some excursions could include refreshment stops and more information regarding clothing and customs etc

Brian Burton

01 Mar 18

all the hotels we stayed in were excellent, with really friendly staff and nice food

Pam Jones

04 Feb 18

All hotels offered high standards of cleanliness, comfort & food. We loved Amaya Lake with the little lodges & Mount Lavinia was still so Colonial with exceptional cuisine.

Viola Maile

30 Nov 17

The first 3 hotels were good but the last one - Mount Lavinia was excellent.

Ian Webb

11 Nov 17

All excellent, but it was a pity we always arrived early evening at most of the hotels so we could not usually explore the hotel and grounds properly

Martyn Hall

10 Oct 17

Good quality hotels in Sri Lanka

Peter Edwardson

05 Jul 17

all hotels 10/10 just not a enough time spent at each hotel more like B&B short each days activity and have 3 days not 2 at each of first three hotels plus 1 night at the last hotel total 10 nights

Bryan Jackson

18 Jun 17

Upgrades given 2 hotels.

Jayne Avards

06 Apr 17

All the hotels were excellent - though very little time in each to only eat and sleep whilst touring.

Christine Hughes

02 Apr 17

I thought whoever had chosen the hotels had chosen them carefully. They were a special experience.

Ben Mnyama

09 Feb 17

Mixed from good to excellent. Otherwise not bad at all.

Pauline & James Welch

29 Nov 16

Excellent holiday, many thanks. The standards are much better than might have been expected for the price.

Anthony Meachin

26 Oct 16

Overall a very good package - with a beach extension. Food and rooms in all the hotels were very good. Mount Lavinia was great.

Elena Zomer

24 Oct 16

Excellent choice of hotels and restaurants, my first time away with Mercury but definitely not the last, great trip! Thank you :) The hotels were all very beautiful and of very high standards, I have no complaints as they were very clean with lovely big rooms, great staff, delicious buffets etc.

Valerie Donnan

27 Sep 16

An excellent trip. The tour guide made the whole thing a wonderful experience, he went out of his way to make the trip enjoyable for everyone.

David Woodhead

27 Sep 16

The tour was first class. Special thanks to our guide and driver.

Linda Copeland

27 Sep 16

Our guide was excellent, very knowledgeable and friendly and he made the tour very fun, polite and exciting. Our driver and helper were excellent too. I shall be booking more tours now. Amazing!

Evelyn Mckenzie

27 Sep 16

I would definitely recommend and use Mercury Holidays again.

Amanda Richards

13 Jun 16

Just returned from a beautiful holiday in Sri Lanka and The Maldives. Would like to inform you that our escorted holiday in Sri Lanka was made special by one of your guides. Sam Samarakoon. He is an asset to Mercury Holidays & his knowledge of the country is amazing. He is also funny and made sure all our transfers took place without any problems. Great holiday, lovely man.

Gordon Paul

09 Jun 16

It was our 40th wedding anniversary during the holiday and the recognition of this throughout the trip made this a very special holiday for both of us. Thank you

James Paul

31 May 16

It was our 40th wedding anniversary during the holiday and the recognition of this throughout the trip made this a very special holiday for both of us. Thank you.

Carl Mason

29 Mar 16


Anthony Sear

29 Mar 16

Would like to have spent more time in first hotel as very tired after journey and it was in a beautiful place but we had no time to enjoy it. All staff and the service in all hotels were great.

Christine Reeve

02 Mar 16

all to a good standard apart from the service in the restaurant at governors hotel, mount lavinia .for a prestigious hotel this was somewhat of a let down.

Sarah Sampson

20 Feb 16

All the hotels were first class.

Jacqueline Shilson

15 Dec 15

All hotels were absolutely spotlessly clean, food was good and staff friendly. Lovely visits.

Sheila Scholes

26 Nov 15

In the main the hotels were very good with a good choice of food and comfy beds! The beach stay hotel was very good except that because the air conditioning was on 24\7 the rooms felt damp and sometimes had an unpleasant smell. all they needed was a good blow through of fresh air - maybe whilst being cleaned by the hotel staff. Otherwise a lovely stay.

The executive chef, Aloysious at the Hotel Suda Araliya is excellent!

Pamela Hoult

09 Oct 15

All the hotels were exceptionally good. The service was good and the food very enjoyable. We couldn't fault anything.

Michael Rainer

07 Oct 15

All hotels were first class and beyond our expectation. The staff and service was fantastic.

Susan Palmer

03 Apr 15

All hotels during the escorted tour were first class in every way. Fantastic rooms and facilities, excellent choice of food at all meals.

Sally Kennis

22 Dec 14

Our second visit to this hotel and they have made a lot of improvements. Most rooms have been upgraded but the best thing is the great, friendly staff. Rooms are large and cleaned everyday with clean sheets, towels etc. We shall certainly return for another relaxing holiday.

Paul Stickley

19 Dec 14

Hotel staff were excellent. We had to fly home 3 days early due to illness at home, the hotel staff were very helpful.

Carol Turff

02 Dec 14

All the hotels we stayed at were of a very high standard. We were pleasantly surprised!! Some variations at each hotel of course but overall for the holidays the hotels were good.

Show more

Important Information

A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for travel to India. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The cost of the visa is approximately £96 per person. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 30 days before your proposed travel date and takes around 10 working days to issue. It is only valid for a 30 day single entry stay from the date of arrival. When calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa.

You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Direct is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices: <br /><br /> <table class="basic" cellspacing="0"><thead><tr><th><b>Age in Years</b></th><th><b>Up to 64</b></th><th><b>65 - 74</b></th><th><b>75 - 85</b></th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td>Up to 17 days cover</td><td>£39</td><td>£75</td><td>£129</td></tr></tbody></table> For all persons 86 years and over, please contact us for insurance prices. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24 hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Direct will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £49pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

All flights are operated by Sri Lankan Airlines. Each passenger is entitled to 20kg of hold luggage & hand luggage of 5kg not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm in size. Flight times are for guidance only & subject to change. These timings are for the Jewels of Sri Lanka tour only and may vary. If you have booked an optional add on please contact our reservations department for more information.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches. Please note there are approximately 1,300 steps to Sigiriya Rock Fortress. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

There is no minimum number of travellers for this extension however the main tour passenger numbers will apply for the main part of the tour. If in the unlikely event there are less than the required number of people booked on your main tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. A full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

The currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of Sri Lanka. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in these destinations, should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. Therefore, it is very important that you budget carefully.<br /><br />The currency in Kerala is the Indian Rupee (RS). The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of Kerala. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in these destinations, should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. Therefore, it is very important that you budget carefully.

Tipping is common practice and seen as a way of life in Sri Lanka. It is customary to tip both your driver and guide 200 rupees (approximately £1) per person per day.

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £100 - £200 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!