Things to do in
Central Province, Sri Lanka

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Our most recommended things to do in Central Province, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

1. 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.

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Sigiriya: Rock Fortress Guided Walking Tour

2. Sigiriya: Rock Fortress Guided Walking Tour

Enjoy a guided walking tour of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, one of the most important attractions on Sri Lanka's cultural triangle. In the company of an experienced guide, explore the fort and its important historical monuments. During the tour, discover the most important areas in the fort complex and enjoy a detailed and informative commentary about each area from your guide. Start your walking tour at a picturesque miniature water garden and finish at the eastern gate of the Sigiriya archaeological site. Along the way, visit miniature water gardens, swimming pools, and boulder gardens. You will also have the opportunity to admire fresco paintings, the 'Lion's Paw' and other ruins at the summit of the rock.

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From Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Private Day Tour

3. From Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Private Day Tour

Take a full day excursion out to Sigiriya, where you'll visit two fascinating sites: the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a cave complex full of Buddhist imagery, and Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a massive column of rock turned into a fortress. After pickup at 7:00 AM from your hotel in Kandy, head out of the city towards the first site. On the way, admire Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to this atmospheric cliff side cave complex packed with Buddhist imagery and frescoes.   Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, which dates back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Guatama Buddha. Admire the hundreds of figurines of the Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the 5 main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, the Cave of the Great King, and the Great New Monastery, as well as the giant golden Buddha statue just a little distance outside of the cave complex.   At noon, enjoy lunch at a restaurant of your choice before traveling approximately 45 minutes to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigirya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization. Climb the 5th-century rock fortress and walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion (which give the fortress its name, “The Lion Rock”). View the beautiful unfaded murals that brought Sigiriya its fame, climb the steep staircase to the terraced gardens, and walk through the tunnels throughout the palace. You’ll get an eerie feeling of times long past.   Finish your tour at 5:00 PM, at which point you’ll head back to Kandy to be dropped off at around 8:00 PM. Stop en route to have dinner at a restaurant of your choice.

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From Colombo: Full-Day Pinnawala and Kandy Tour

4. 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.

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From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

5. From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

Begin the tour by meeting your tour leader in Colombo and set off for the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. After exploring the history museum of Polonnaruwa, discover the ruins of the ancient city. Later, check in to a 3-star hotel in Sigiriya for your overnight stay.  The next morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Set off for the Dambulla golden cave temple which was the site where a king of Anuradhapura took refuge from the South Induan invasion in the 1st-century BC. Learn about how when the king recaptured the region 13 years later, he converted the caves into a monastery and gifted it to the Buddhist monks. After this, head over to the ancient Sigiriya Rock, where a 5th-century prince who had committed patricide made it his hideout. Also make a stop at the Pidurangala ancient cave temple. At the end of the tour you will be returned to Colombo and dropped off at the start point.

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Colombo: Colombo Airport (CMB) and Kandy City Transfer

6. Colombo: Colombo Airport (CMB) and Kandy City Transfer

Enjoy a relaxing and comfortable private transfer between Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) and your hotel in Kandy. Your chauffeur will meet and greet you at the airport arrival lobby, holding a placard displaying your name for easier identification. From there, your chauffeur will proceed with escorting you and your luggage to your vehicle (Toyota Prius/Toyota Allion/Toyota Premio/Toyota KDH Mini/Toyota KDH/Honda Vezel/Honda Fit Shuttle). If you are unable to locate your chauffeur, a support team will be on hand which you can contact 24/7. The journey will take approximately 3-4 hours depending on the traffic and weather conditions, and covers a total distance of 226 kilometers. Your driver will take the safest and most comfortable route for the journey, using their expertise to limit the travel time. You can feel free to let you chauffeur know in case you need to stop for refreshments or emergencies, and at the conclusion of your tour, you will be assisted with your luggage before being bid farewell.

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From Ella: Shuttle to Mirissa/Galle with Udawalawe Safari

7. 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. Later in the morning, enjoy a picnic breakfast. Then, at the end of your 3-hour safari adventure, switch back to the comfortable, air-conditioned car for the ride on to Mirissa where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.

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From Kandy: Nuwara Eliya by Train

8. 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.

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Kandy: Day Trip from Colombo

9. Kandy: Day Trip from Colombo

Benefit from pickup at your hotel in Colombo, and then relax in air-conditioned comfort on the journey to Kandy. Visit the Temple of the Tooth on arrival to see the sacred tooth of Buddha, a symbol of status that proved the worthiness of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka. Admire the beautiful architecture of the palace and look at the golden figurines in the shrine. Then, explore some of the ancient crafts by traditional artisans, including gems, wood carving, and batik. Watch craft demonstrations and buy souvenir gifts before lunch at a local restaurant at your own expense. Continue to the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya, and go for a stroll in the 147-acre grounds. See over 4,000 different species of plants, including an exclusive collection of orchids, spices, and medicinal plants. Learn the history of the 19th-century gardens, and see famous plants such as the cannonball tree, giant fig tree, and 40-meter tall Burma bamboo.

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Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

10. Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

Explore the best of Sri Lanka with this tour to the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, rolling tea tea plantations in Ella, the chance to see wild elephants in the Udawalawe National park. Have your hotels, dinners, and breakfasts arranged for you in this fantastic tour package. Day 1: Be welcomed by your guide at the Colombo International Airport where your guide will take you to your hotel in Negombo. Take a PCR-test on arrival in the hotel and enjoy a delicious dinner and a comfortable overnight stay while awaiting your test results. Day 2: Journey from Colombo to Sigiriya after getting your negative test results and eating a filling breakfast. Visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Relax before heading to the ancient rock fortress Sigiriya before having dinner and staying at a 4star hotel in Sigiriya. Day 3: Travel to Kandy after a hearty breakfast to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which holds the most important Buddhist relic in Sri Lanka. Take some time to unwind in your hotel before proceeding to see the amazing flora at the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. Eat dinner and stay overnight at a four star hotel in Kandy. Day 4: Next, have a full breakfast before heading to Ella to walk among the lush tea plantations. Learn more about the colonial history of Sri Lanka and take in the stunning landscape views. Return to your hotel in Ella for dinner and to rest. Day 5: After breakfast, drive to Udawalawe National park where you can spot elephants in their natural habitat.

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What people are saying about Central Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 126 reviews

Excellent experience. Suitable with time during the train journey and during the remaining trip. Experienced a lot of old English history. The pick-up from the hotel also worked perfectly. Our guide Dushan Munasighe was absolutely excellent perfect English o also expert. Took us to all the places listed in the tour and more. Top guy

CJ was a fantastic, knowledgeable guide who patiently answered all my questions. He went out of his way to ensure my comfort and convienience. The trek up to the top was absolutely worth it! One of my highlights in Sri Lanka.

This is a must do activity in Sri Lanka. Amazing view of endless nature in Sigiriya, but also a lot of other small activities on the way there and back.

The Tour was really good and the driver gave a lot of explanations and was very friendly. I recommend this tour, I had a very nice day.

Very pleasant sunny day, with superb explanations. Lunch in a great spot, perfect day, thank you!