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Exploring Sri Lanka

Train Tour of Sri Lanka

PRICES FROM £1680 PER PERSON

Exploring Sri Lanka by rail can be a wonderful experience. It offers the chance to step back in time, interact with the Sri Lankan people and travel at a gentle pace through some stunning scenery.

Our Train Tour of Sri Lanka covers the hill country and south west coast where train travel works well and we have a wonderful local support team to ensure that bookings and delays are dealt with seamlessly. You will have a personal driver with you at all times to transport your luggage, transfer you from each station to your accommodation and facilitate excursions. We have combined this level of service with some charming colonial style accommodation to set the mood and create a relaxing, memorable holiday.

Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Sri Lanka

Land in Sri Lanka and transfer to the Galle Face Hotel to rest and acclimatize. Founded in 1864 this is the 5th oldest hotel in Asia and has hosted an endless list of political figures and Hollywood stars. Admittedly the exterior is a little tired these days, but the recently refurbished rooms are very comfortable and the faded glamour only adds to the feel.

Day 2 - Train Journey from Colombo to Gampola

The following morning your driver will collect you from the hotel and transfer you to Colombo Station. There you will board the 09:45am train to the Kandy. You will disembark at Gampola just past Kandy and spend two nights at a charming plantation bungalow called Ellerton.

Day 3 - Exploring Kandy & the Temple of the Tooth

We recommend a Kandy City tour later in the day so that after the Botanical Gardens and Commonwealth War Cemetery you can experience the Temple of the Tooth in the early evening. We also recommend a drink at the outrageous Helga’s Folly. Former guests of this eccentric abode include Laurence Olivier and the Stereophonics.

Day 4 - Train Journey from Gampola to Banderawela

From Gampola reboard the train and travel through stunning valleys of tea, vegetable terraces, planation estates and past waterfalls until you reach the colonial hill town of Banderawela. From the station you have a 30 minute drive to The Ceylon Tea Bungalows where you will stay for three nights.

Day 5 - Lipton's Seat Viewpoint

In exchange for a very early 5.30am start, we will take you up to Lipton’s Seat Viewpoint, one of the most magnificent views in Sri Lanka. Named after Sir Thomas Lipton who would apparently come here to gaze out over his vast estates, the area is surrounded by pretty tea gardens and the Dambetenna Tea Estate. The Factory is also worth a visit.

Day 6 - Excursion to Ella

A short drive from Banderawela is the picturesque village of Ella. The village is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, the best of which is Ravana Falls. There is also a gentle 1.5 hour walk to Mini Adam’s Peak viewpoint.  Enjoy lunch at one of the relax cafes in town or we’d recommend 98 Acres Hotel for something slightly more upmarket.

Day 7 - Train Journey from Matara to Galle

From the hill country you have to travel to the south coast by road. You can break the journey with lunch and a swim on the idyllic Hiriketiya Beach, before picking up the railway in Matara. You then have a 1 hour journey to Galle, where you will transfer to Fort Bazaar inside the UNESCO Galle Fort.

Day 8 - Day at Leisure in Galle

Spend the day as you please. You could explore the Fort’s 16th century architecture, gift shops and restaurants. Eat gelato as you walk around the Fort’s ramparts. Watch a cricket match in Galle stadium. Take a bicycle ride through the paddy fields, a whale watching cruise along the coast or a visit to the turtle hatchery in Harabaduwa.

Day 9 & 10 - Train Journey 4 - Galle to Bentota

To finish your trip you can catch the coastal train from Galle to Bentota. Here you can enjoy 2 nights rest and relaxation on the beach at Rock Villa. Sunbath, swim, surf, go deep sea fishing, learn to waterski etc.. before your driver returns to transfer you to the airport on Day 11.

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PRICES FROM £1680 PER PERSON

Exploring Sri Lanka by rail can be a wonderful experience. It offers the chance to step back in time, interact with the Sri Lankan people and travel at a gentle pace through some stunning scenery.

Our Train Tour of Sri Lanka covers the hill country and south west coast where train travel works well and we have a wonderful local support team to ensure that bookings and delays are dealt with seamlessly. You will have a personal driver with you at all times to transport your luggage, transfer you from each station to your accommodation and facilitate excursions. We have combined this level of service with some charming colonial style accommodation to set the mood and create a relaxing, memorable holiday.

Colombo
There is only one word to describe Colombo and that is hectic! It can be fun with a handful of good shops and restaurants to explore but we wouldn't overly recommend it as the first point of call for newcomers to Sri Lanka. It isn't a must see. More
Kandy
Kandy is 3 hours from Colombo and the religious heartland of Sri Lanka. It was made a world heritage site in 1988. The city's main attraction is the Temple of the Tooth, home to Sri Lanka 's most precious Buddhist relic which becomes the focus of a fortnight long festival known as the Perahera each July. Other points of interest include the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, Royal Botanical Gardens and the Commonwealth Cemetery. More
Negombo
Originally a fishing town the long beaches of Negombo are nowadays dominated by tourists who like the short transfer times from Colombo International Airport. With a few good hotels, Negombo is a popular jumping off point for visitors but it is by far the most touristy town in Sri Lanka and so may not appeal to everyone. More
Bentota
Bentota is just 2 hours from the airport and as such has a good range of facilities such as watersports and local restaurants. There are a number of larger hotels along the main beach, but your likely to have the smaller beaches to yourself. The area is ideal for families with elephant rides on the beach, banana rides year round and Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery nearby. More
Hikkaduwa
Hikkaduwa is traditionally a surfer town and so has a number of laid back beachfront bars and restaurants, as well as two of the only discos on the island. We have a few accommodation options in Hikkaduwa and recommend it as a day trip from both Bentota and Galle for the glass bottom boat and chance to swim with turtles in the bay. More
Galle Fort
The Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its Dutch colonial past and makes a great day trip from a coastal villa. It has a real cosmopolitan feel due to boutique gift shops and hotel restaurants, mixed with Moorish, Portuguese, Dutch and British history. It is possible to stay in the fort and definitely fun for a few nights. It is approx 3 hours from the airport.
Adam's Peak
Adam's Peak at 7500 ft high is the most famous physical feature in Sri Lanka and a place of pilgrimage. Sri Lankans come mainly in the month of April to pay their respects to the mountains deity Sumana, while foreigners come to admire the sunrise. The climb takes several hours and is done at night, therefore only suitable for the physically fit. More
Yala National Park
Yala National Park on the southeast tip of the island is the most well known of Sri Lanka 's 15 wildlife reserves. Yala is prime leopard spotting territory, especially in August when the area is at its driest, but it is also home to a healthy population of elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles, wild boar, buffalo, jackal and an abundance of bird life. More
Ella
Ella has one of the best views in Sri Lanka - through the Ella Gap to the Kirinda Lighthouse on the coast 1000m below. Ella can be reached by road or rail, 7 hours from Colombo. Home to some lovely waterfalls, working tea estates and mini Adam's Peak you can happily spend a few nights in this charming little hill town. More
Kitugala
Home to the Kelani River, Kitugala is a pretty riverside village dedicated to white water rafting, canyoning and kayaking. More
Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay on the east coast of Sri Lanka is a surf paradise, popular with backpackers during the months of April - September. Best avoided in the off season when most of the local businesses close down. More

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