Central Province, Sri Lanka
Day Trips

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Our most recommended Central Province, Sri Lanka Day Trips

From Ella: Shuttle to Mirissa/Galle with Udawalawe Safari

1. 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. In the Morning/Afternoon, enjoy a packed meal. Then, at the end of your 3-hour safari adventure, switch back to the comfortable, air-conditioned car for the ride on to Mirissa/Weligama/Unawatuna or Galle where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

2. 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.

From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

3. From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

Explore two of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO-listed highlights on a privately guided day trip to Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock from Colombo. Start with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Colombo. Make your first stop at the Dambulla Cave Temple. View Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to the atmospheric Dambulla Cave Temple, a Cliffside cave complex packed with Buddha images and frescoes. Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, dating back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Look at the hundreds of figurines of Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the five main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, Cave of the Great King, and the Great New Monastery. See the giant golden Buddha Statue just a little distance outside the cave complex. Go to Sigiriya to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Climb the 5th century AD rock fortress, Sigiriya, where King Kassapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion that is quite appropriate for its name, the Lion Rock. View the beautiful unfading murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. Go through the tunnels leading to the palace as you get a feel for times long past.

From Ella: Transfer to Mirissa/Galle & Yala Safari Day Trip

4. From Ella: Transfer to Mirissa/Galle & Yala Safari Day Trip

Combine a transfer from Ella, Haputale, or Bandarawela from Mirissa or Galle with a thrilling day trip to Yala National Park. Experience the immense biodiversity of this park on this Sri Lankan animal safari and stop to eat a delectable packed meal. Be picked up from your accommodation in Ella, Haputale or Bandarawela. Relax and take in the local scenery on the drive to Yala National Park. Board an an open-topped safari jeep to get the best views and photo angles. See the animals during the day when they are the most active. Watch for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, water buffalos, and a large variety of bird species. Get some great shots of these magnificent creatures. Hear about about the wildlife and get photography tips from your local guide. Let your guide show you the spots where the animals are likely to congregate. Have a nice packed meal before heading back to your air-conditioned car for the ride to your accommodation in Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatuna or Galle.

From Kandy: Nuwara Eliya by Train

5. 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.

From Colombo: Full-Day Pinnawala and Kandy Tour

6. From Colombo: Full-Day Pinnawala and Kandy Tour

Start your journey at 0600 hrs from Colombo and proceed to Kandy, pausing at Pinnawala for a visit to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This is the home for young elephants who have been displaced from their natural habitat at Pinnawala village in the Sabaragamuwa province of Sri Lanka. Now housing 70 elephants, Pinnawala is home to the largest group of captive elephants in the world. Next, visit Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, renowned for its variety of ornamental, decorative & medicinal plants, more than 4000 species. This garden is best known for its collection of orchids, the largest in Asia. Thereafter, visit the Temple of the Tooth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the 16th century as the place of veneration and protection for Lord Buddha’s sacred tooth. Walk through the beautifully embellished passageways and elaborately painted halls. Lounge among delicately carved pillars and be amazed by the beautiful golden statues. Followed by a lunch break at a location of your choice. Cultural Dance Show - Be escorted to a performance of the traditional Kandyan dance, accompanied by tumultuous drumming. Dances include the cobra dance, mask dance, the Ginisisila, showing power over fire. This entire frenetic and colorful spectacle climaxes with the amazing fire-walking act. Finally, you will begin your journey back to your hotel in Colombo at approximately 1930 hrs. En-route, you will stop at Ambepussa (restaurant of your choice) and have dinner.

Kandy: Sigiriya Fortress & Cave Temple All-Inclusive Tour

7. Kandy: Sigiriya Fortress & Cave Temple All-Inclusive Tour

Following early morning pick-up from your hotel in Kandy, travel by chauffeur-driven vehicle to Sigiriya. Upon arrival, climb the rock fortress of golden-hued granite, chosen by King Kasyapa at the site for his new capital. Get stunning views of the surrounding plains, which in the rainy season can turn into a delightful water garden. Continue to the Dambulla cave temple complex, built by the 1st-century King Walagambahu as a site of worship after his exile from Anuradhapura. Enjoy lunch before the drive back to Kandy, and stop at the spice garden in Matale en route. 

Kandy: Historical Three Temples All-Inclusive Tour

8. Kandy: Historical Three Temples All-Inclusive Tour

Visiting three of the most ancient and historically important temples that are within an easy walking distance to one another is a memorable expedition for a heritage lover. The three temples (Embekke, Lankathilaka, Gadaladeniya) have been built in the 14th century before the Kandyan Kingdom was fully established. This tour finished at approximately 12:30 PM, when you are returned to your hotel.  Be picked up at 8:00 AM from your hotel lobby in Kandy. Arrive at your first temple by 9:00 AM. Embekke is a crafted work of wooden dedication. Look at the pillars or drum hall with unique designs on each side. Appreciate the care and effort in shapping swans, peakcocks, wrestlers, dragons and more. Hear about the history of this temple, and the importance it has represented for the culture. Visit Lankatilake Temple by 9:45 AM. Lankatilake is perhaps the finest temple in the district. An impressively solid-looking structure built on a huge rock outcrop and painted a pale blue rather than the usual white.  Then next visit Gadaladeniya Temple, built on a rocky outcrop and covered with small pools, the temple is reached by a series of steps cut into the rock. This Buddhist temple with a Hindu extension is a similar age to the Lankatilake Temple and the Embekka Devale.

From Kandy: The Temple Run Tour

9. From Kandy: The Temple Run Tour

Spend a day immersed in Sri Lankan history: see a series of very different temples in the morning, followed by a visit to the sacred Temple of the Tooth. After pickup from your hotel at 8:00 AM, head to your first stop: Embekke Temple. Admire the exquisitely-carved wood panels that cover the pillars, walls, and roof of this unique temple. Then, leave for Gadaladeniya Vihara, a temple built just before Embekke in the early 14th century. Feast your eyes on the magnificent giant golden Buddha statue. Your next stop will be Lankatilaka Temple, built in the same period as the Gadaladeniya Temple by the same king. Admire the temple's palace-like architecture; the image house is especially beautiful.   Next, head to Degaldoruwa Cave Temple, a temple built into a cave in a large rock. See the colorful Buddhist paintings from the Kandyan era which entirely cover the inside of the temple. After soaking in these fascinating and beautiful temples, head back to Kandy City at around 1:00 PM. Back in Kandy, break for lunch at the restaurant of your choice. Afterward, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Temple of the Tooth. This temple was once a royal palace complex and houses what is said to be a tooth of Buddha. Discover the complex's royal roots with white, gold, and wooden architecture. Get dropped off back at your hotel at 5:00 PM, just in time for dinner.

From Negombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

10. 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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What people are saying about Central Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.0 / 5

based on 19 reviews

Really good experience! At one of the attractions we should have visited, there was a really long queue and too many people, so our guide was good at coming up with a lot of other options we could see if we wanted. All the experiences were quite exciting! Our guide also found some great eateries along the way with really nice views each time. He was good at assessing when he was needed as a guide and when it was better for us to be alone and she stayed close by (eg at the restaurants). On the slightly long drive, he was also good at explaining what we saw when we looked out the windows and in general what Sri Lanka was like.

We had a very good experience. Everything went smooth - driver arrived on time and our tour to Dambulla Temple, Sigiriya Rock and a Spice Garden was successful and fun. We were also taken to breakfast and lunch and our special requests regarding places to eat were welcomed and accepted. Definitely recommended.

Very quiet pleasant and punctual transfer. The safari was great, we were said to be really lucky and saw all the wild animals and, above all, a lot of different elephants.

Roads are safe, easy to reach from Colombo. Must seen place. Dont miss out spice gardens and wear long sleeves for the temples. Strongly recommend it.

Was great! Saw a lot of animals and the guide was super excited to show us everything he could! Highly recommend.