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SRI LANKA'S CULTURAL TRIANGLE

This introductory tour to Sri Lanka, ideal for the first time visitor as well as those who want to get beyond the beaches, begins with a couple of nights in the island's busy capital, Colombo, and continues on to the 'Cultural Triangle'. Anuradhapura is a breathtaking and important historical site, where Buddhism first came to Sri Lanka, and was the country's capital for 1300 years. The atmospheric medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, on the shores of a large lake, has numerous scenic ruins including the awe-inspiring Buddhas of Gal Vihara. Kandy was the last capital before the British took over in 1815, and remains an important religious centre, being home to the temple of the tooth. Accommodation is top of the range with an option of altering to mid-range hotels.

Days 1, 2 Colombo
Arrive in the afternoon and transfer to the Cinnamon Grand Hotel for two nights; enjoy a sightseeing of Colombo.

Days 2, 3, 4 Habarana
Drive to Habarana, for three nights at the Heritance Kandalama, a stylish hotel built into the side of a rock face, overlooking the Kandalama Reservoir. Visit Anuradhapura, the Sigiriya Rock - a steep climb - and the ruins of Polonnaruwa.

Days 5, 6 Kandy
Drive to Kandy, visiting Dambulla; stay at the Theva Residency, a boutique property overlooking the town and the surrounding hills, for two nights. Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic, enjoy a cultural show; also visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, with the chance to see baby elephants being bottle fed. Later visit the famous botanical gardens at Peradeniya.

Day 6 Negombo
Drive back to the coast today, for a night's stay at the luxury Jetwing Beach Hotel.

Day 7 Return
Transfer to Katunayake airport for the flight back.

Price indication: $1200 to $1500 per person for a private tour for two.