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  • Sri Lanka
  • Splendours of Sri Lanka by Rail with Colombo Extension

Splendours of Sri Lanka by Rail with Colombo Extension

13 Day Escorted Rail Journey With 3 Day Extension

Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean
Challenging Pace

Explore this fascinating city at your own pace. Colombo is the commercial capital of the island. Its streets are alive with colourful shops and markets, while temples and mosques reflect its multicultural heritage.

2020 Dossier

2021 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • Spend some time at leisure in Colombo
  • Visit bazaars and temples on a city tour of Colombo
  • Enjoy a wildlife safari through a National Park
  • Enjoy the lush hill country of Nuwara Eliya
  • Explore the ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress
  • Lord Buddha's Relics at the Sacred Temple of the Tooth
  • Embark on five rail journeys through verdant countryside
Train
Coach
Boat
Airplane
Walking
1
Number of nights

This map is for the main tour only

Itinerary

Day 1
UK to Colombo

Depart London on your overnight flight to Colombo.

Day 2
Colombo

Dinner

On arrival into Colombo, meet your tour guides and transfer to the world-famous Mount Lavinia Hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure before re-joining your group for tonight's welcome dinner.

Day 3
Colombo

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning learn about Mount Lavinia Hotel's 200-year history including a hidden tunnel network, a concealed passageway leading from this former governor's residence to the house of his secret lover. Later, experience your first atmospheric rail journey to the 'Ocean City' of Colombo, passing crashing waves along Sri Lanka's rugged coastline, arriving in time to navigate Pettah's swarming Bazaars, selling everything from mouth-watering cuisine to decorative jewellery. Marvel at the intricately designed Hindu temples which rub shoulders with this busy commercial region, before wandering past an array of chic restaurants and cafes in the recently restored courtyards of the Old Dutch Hospital. Return by coach to Mount Lavinia Hotel.

Day 4
Colombo to Mirissa

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, travel by train to the fortified city of Galle and begin an orientation tour at the impressive UNESCO world heritage site of Galle Fort, famed for being Asia's largest remaining fortress by European Occupiers. Gain a fascinating insight into Sri Lanka's historical developments at Galle's National Museum and visit the distinctive Dutch Church enclosed within this excellently maintained landmark before boarding a train to the quaint coastal town of Mirissa. Starting at Coral Beach, stroll across the idyllic crescent of golden sand, crossing the crystal-clear waters of Mirissa, Parrot Rock and Bandaramulla, to bask in a golden glow as you watch the sunset from Coconut Tree Hill.

Day 5
Mirissa to Tissamaharama

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Enjoy the morning at leisure, or alternatively spot an energetic pod of whales in the depths of the Indian Ocean on an optional enthralling whale watching excursion. Early afternoon travel to Hummanaya blowhole in Dikwella and listen to the captivating whirr of wind, whistling through a submerged cavern before watching a gush of seawater bursting out of this intriguing phenomenon. Continue onwards to the pilgrimage destination of Kataragama and if time permits bask in the tranquillity of Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, home to over 150 species of bird. Tonight, immerse yourself in religious extravagance with a visit Kataragama Temple and witness vivacious puja's unfolding before your eyes. Please note: activities may not be available due to seasonal changes. Optional Whale watching excursion £80pp - Nov-Apr

Day 6
Tissamaharama

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning, take in the incredible sights of Tissamaharama's rural landscape moulded largely by water and shrubland and later admire the picturesque views over the still waters of Weerawila Lake, whilst feasting on a tasty lunch from its peaceful embankments. Next, embark on an enthralling jeep safari through Yala National Park, the most popular protected area in Sri Lanka. Listen to the mighty roar of the wilderness and tuneful chanting of soaring birds whilst exploring the park's rocky pathways and narrow bends, looking out for roaming elephants, sloth bears and leopards.

Day 7
Tissamaharama to Nuwara Eliya

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Following breakfast, pass misty hillsides, peppered with brightly dressed tea pickers on the journey to Nuwara Eliya. A walking tour of the district often referred to as 'Little England' due to its colonial-era buildings, incorporate a visit to the rippling waters of Gregory Lake, a wander through Victoria Park's flourishing gardens and a brief trip to the modest looking Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Retire to tonight's hotel at Araliya Green Hills.

Day 8
Nuwara Eliya

Breakfast

From the dizzying heights of 5,400 feet above sea level, delight in the brilliant colours of Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Originally established in 1861 as an experimental cultivation land, this transformed public garden now houses a staggering 10,000 species of flora, including an extensive variety of orchids and roses. Return to Nuwara Eliya Golf Club for lunch and enjoy the serenity of this mountainside retreat with a gentle stroll over the 18-hole course towards the adjoining Hill Club, to replenish with a fresh cup of Tea (at a fee). Retire to tonight's hotel for an optional Spa treatment.

Day 9
Nuwara Eliya to Kandy

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Nestled in the midst of verdant countryside, travel past lustrous tea plantations and thundering waterfalls on one of Sri Lanka's most charming rail journeys from Nuwara Eliya (Nanu Oya) to Kandy/ Peradeniya. On arrival, weave through the bustling arts and crafts centre and through a labyrinth of glistening jewels within Kandy's gem museum before heading to the city's most sacred monument, the Temple of the Tooth to observe a multitude of white-robed devotees offering their prayers to the revered relic, concealed within an ornate golden casket. Conclude today's sightseeing tour with a refreshing cup of tea at the historic Queens Hotel (at a fee).

Day 10
Kandy

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Early morning, depart Kandy for a day excursion, behold the megalithic Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a dramatic 5th-century rock citadel, towering 200-metres above the treeline. Step behind the gargantuan lion paws which have been hewn into the rockface, to climb up a staircase leading to the remarkable granite peak, taking a moment to absorb the stunning panoramic vistas overlooking lily-pad covered moats and royal gardens beneath. Learn about Sigiriya Rock's enigmatic history as you gaze at frescoes and well-preserved paintings in a museum at the foot of this immense landmark before an optional excursion later today offers an interesting insight into how traditional spices are grown and produced on the fragrant green fields of Matale.

Day 11
Kandy

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Explore Kandy at your own pace this morning, or alternatively, experience Sri Lanka's spiritual charm on an optional excursion to discover Embekke Temple's iconic dark wooden structure and Gadaladeniya Temple's emblematic seated golden Buddha statue, majestically positioned beneath a Makara Thorana. Alternatively, hike to Riverston, ascending along a rugged track on a quest to catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring views over Knuckles Mountain Range from the summit. Relax with an optional spa treatment at your hotel this evening.

Day 12
Kandy to Negombo

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Board the train to Ragama, twisting through luscious green hillsides and local rural villages, transferring to tonight's hotel upon arrival. Re-join your group this evening for a farewell dinner.

Day 13
Negombo to the UK

Breakfast

This morning, transfer to Colombo for your return flight to the UK.

View Full Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Mount Lavinia Hotel

More info
Dates
Price (per person)
Dates available
March 2021
from £2,238
1 Date
19th Mar - 1st Apr
£2,238
May 2021
from £1,888
1 Date
20th May - 3rd Jun
£1,888
June 2021
from £1,738
1 Date
3rd Jun - 17th Jun
£1,738

Important Information

A visa is required for entry into Sri Lanka. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote "Mercury Holidays". The cost of the visa is from £63. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are only valid for 3 months from the date of issue. Therefore, we recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however, please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time. Alternatively, you can visit The High Commission of Sri Lanka at 13 Hyde Park Gardens, London, W2 2LU. Please note: If you have chosen to add the 'Kerala Beach Stay' or 'Highlights of Kerala' extension to the end of your tour, you will need to obtain an Indian visa prior to your UK departure. The Travel Visa Company offers a service which takes can take up to 15 working days at busy times. The cost is approximately £134. Alternatively, you can apply for your own visa. You can apply in person or by post to the Indian Embassy in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7DU. There are also regional centres elsewhere in the UK. Full details on the process can be found on the Indian Embassy website www.in.vfsglobal.co.uk.

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. 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 Holidays 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.

Flight and Airport Information Your initial flight is to Colombo International Airport with Sri Lankan Airlines (UL), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3. Each passenger is entitled to 30kg of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage of 5kg not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm in size and 1 personal item such as a handbag. Final flight details and weight restrictions will be confirmed on your e-ticket and final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.

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, www.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, & includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches & trains. Please note there are approximately 1300 steps to Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Please note the climb to the view point of the Hummanaya Blowhole is a steep uphill ascent of approx. 200m. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 6, and the maximum will be 10. If in the unlikely event there are less than 6 (Minimum Number) people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date, then you may be asked to change to a different date and 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.

The currency in Sri Lanka is the 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 Sri Lanka should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.

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 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour. Tipping is customary in Sri Lanka. Tips will be collected by your guide at the end of your tour for your convenience. We would recommend approximately £3-5 per person per day for the driver and assistant and £4 per person per day to the guide. If you do not tip in the local currency, it is asked that you do not give coins as they difficult to exchange.