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Southern Province, Sri Lanka

Architecture Tours

Our most recommended Southern Province, Sri Lanka Architecture Tours

From Kalutara: Lunuganga Estate, Turtles and Madu River Tour

1. From Kalutara: Lunuganga Estate, Turtles and Madu River Tour

Check out some of Sri Lanka’s most gripping scenery while experiencing firsthand the flora and fauna of this stunning region. Marshy wetlands, river islands, baby turtles and fish foot massages await you in this sultry, exotic wonderland. First stop: Bawa’s estate in Lunuganga. Sir Geoffrey Bawa, the renowned lawyer-turned-architect, made this place his country home and experimental lab from 1947 till his death in 1998. See the surrounding exotic gardens of this partial country inn, as well as Bawa’s many architectural additions. Next stop: Kosgoda for an exciting visit to a real turtle hatchery. Learn about the conservation of sea turtles and dip into touch pools, deep tubs of seawater where curious guests can actually handle the baby versions. Proceed to Balapitiya and enjoy a lovely boat safari on Madu River. This is a high biodiversity zone that relies on the lagoon created by the river as it flows into the Indian Ocean. See the dense mangrove forest that grows along the marshy banks of the river, as well as several free-standing islands. On one such island you will find an old Buddhist monastery. The locals work harvesting cinnamon, and here you can experience the famous fish massage at a ‘massage parlor’, or hut on stilts. Relax while the fish work their magic on your toes. Afterwards, stop for lunch on your way back to Kalutara.

Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

2. Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

After being picked up at your hotel, hop onboard your Madu Ganga Magrove boat safari and explore the Madu River. See the mangrove forests and marshlands that surround the river. Stop at a cinnamon garden, and try some of the area’s famous cinnamon. The Madu Ganga River region is home to some of the best quality cinnamon in the world as well as a flourishing cinnamon industry. Afterward, marvel at the fishermen who stoically sit atop large branches planted in the middle of the water waiting for their catch. Continue to a local Turtle Hatchery, where your guide will introduce you to the many local varieties of turtles. End your tour with a visit to the Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fort illustrates the unique interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. After discovering the fort, you will be returned to your hotel in Colombo.

From Negombo: Bentota Full-Day Tour

3. From Negombo: Bentota Full-Day Tour

Begin your day at 8:00 AM at Madu River in Balapitiya for a boat safari. For one-hour, journey through the primitive depths of the mangrove marshes. Traverse the dark and dangerous caverns, formed by the thick mangrove forests, interspersed with stretches of bright open water.  The next destination is the Kothduwa Temple. This Buddhist temple is located on the island and is known as the Kothduwa Raja Maha Viharaya. The island is within the Madu Ganga Estuary. Madu Ganga is an archipelago of fifteen different islands and a lagoon. It is believed that a Relic of Lord Buddha was once sheltered in the Kothduwa temple circa 340CE.  Enjoy lunch then visit the Lunuganga Garden. Geoffrey Bawa was one of Asia's finest architects. He passed away in 2003. Lunuganga was Bawa’s country home. It sits in an enchanting atmosphere with glorious views. It is now managed by the Lunuganga Trust. Admire the home’s features and blissfulness. It is now run as a country hotel and the proceeds go to Negombo.

From Colombo: Galle and Bentota Full-Day All-Inclusive Tour

4. From Colombo: Galle and Bentota Full-Day All-Inclusive Tour

You'll be picked up from your hotel in Negombo, Colombo, or Mount Lavinia at 7:30 AM to drive to Galle and visit the Dutch fort. The fort is a historical, archaeological, and architectural heritage monument. Even after more than 400 years, it remains intact and well maintained thanks to the extensive reconstruction work done by Sri Lanka's archaeological department. Next, you'll visit Ambalangoda, known for its exquisite collection of native masks. Many generations of artisans have carved these beautiful artifacts. Afterwards, drive on to Balaptiva for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, you'll take a boat trip on the Madu Ganga River. Discover the unspoiled beauty of the Madu Ganga estuary, a wetland ecosystem that opens to the Indian Ocean. Finally, you'll visit a turtle hatchery in Kosgoda before heading back to your hotel. Visitors can see the newborn turtles and even be a part of the process of releasing them into the sea!  

From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

5. From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

After getting picked up from your hotel in Bentota or Kalutara, begin the 3-hour journey to the Sigirya rock fortress. Here you will discover the historical and cultural values of ancient Sri Lanka and get to witness the engineering skills and artistic capabilities of Sri Lankan artisans and engineers. Wander through this vast complex and admire the various palaces, pools, gardens, and paintings. Later, head to the Dambulla Royal Cave Temple, which is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world. Marvel at the beautiful Buddhist paintings and statues housed in this cave and see for yourself why it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, visit a spice garden where you can soak up the aromas of the various traditional spices grown here such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Head back to your hotel in the evening, just in time for dinner.

Sri Lanka: 7-day Island Highlights Tour

6. Sri Lanka: 7-day Island Highlights Tour

Day 1 Meet your driver and proceed to your hotel in Dambulla. See the Dambulla Golden Cave Temple along the way. Dinner and overnight stay in Dambulla. Day 2 After a leisurely breakfast, visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the Polonnaruwa historical city. Dinner and overnight stay in Dambulla. Day 3 After a leisurely breakfast, leave for Kandy. Visit a spice garden along the way. After arrival in Kandy, enjoy a sightseeing tour and visit the Tooth Relic Temple and Royal Botanical Garden. Dinner and overnight stay in Kandy. Day 4 After an early morning breakfast, head to the Kandy Railway Station and board the train for Nuwara Eliya. Stop to visit a tea plantation along the way. Dinner and overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya. Day 5 After the breakfast, head for Yala. Visit a waterfall and the Sita Temple along the way. After arriving in Yala, enjoy an afternoon safari. Dinner and overnight stay in Yala. Day 6 After the breakfast, leave for Bentota. Visit Galle Fort, the Madu River estuary, and  the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre along the way. Dinner and overnight stay in Kalutara/Bentota. Day 7 After the breakfast leave for Colombo. Your driver will drop you off at your hotel or the airport after your Colombo sightseeing tour.

From Negombo: 8-Day Ramayana Themed Private Trip & Temples

7. From Negombo: 8-Day Ramayana Themed Private Trip & Temples

Day 01 You will be picked up from your hotel or the airport in the selected cities and greeted by your personal guide and take you to Colombo. Overnight stay at Ceylon City Hotel or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 02 You will drive to Rumassala in Galle (approx. 2 hours). It is part of the Himalaya Hill that was fallen when Mighty Hanuman was carrying it to find life-saving herbs for saving the life of both Lords Rama and Lakshmana. After this visit, you will be taken to Ussangoda (approx. 2 hours drive). It is believed that Lord Hanuman torched some parts of King Ravana’s empire and Ussanggoda is on the torched areas. Proceed to Katharagama (approx. 2 hours) and visit Kataragama shrine. It is said that God Kataragama came from India, married a Jungle Girl from Sri Lanka and lived here. Overnight at Lake Wind Resort or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 03 After breakfast, you will be driven to Ella (approx. 3 hours) where you can visit Ravana falls and Ravana Caves. The locals believe that King Ravana has lived in one of the caves above the waterfalls. On completion, you will be driven to Nuwara Eliya (approx. 2 hours), en-route visit Hakgala Botanical gardens and Seethai Amman Temple. Overnight at Camellia Lake Resort or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 04 In the morning, you will visit the Gayathri Peedam where King Ravana's son Meghanath propitiated Lord Shiva with penance and poojas and in return was granted super natural powers by lord Shiva. After this visit, we will drive to Kandy (approx. 3 hours) en-route visit Sri Bhakta Hanuman Temple - on the hills of Ramboda where Hanuman was searching for Sita. Overnight at Oak ray City Hotel or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 05 Today you can do a city tour of Kandy including visits to Botanical Garden and Temple of Tooth Relic. Overnight at Oak ray City Hotel or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 06 After breakfast drive to Sigiriya. En-route visit Dambulla Cave Temple. In the afternoon, you can climb the Sigiriya rock fortress. Overnight at Sungreen Hotel or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 07 Today you will be driven to Munneshwaram Temple and Mannavari Temple (approx. 5 hours). Munishwaram predates the Ramayana and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was located here and Mannavari Temple is the first lingam installed and prayed by Rama and till date this lingam is called as Ramalinga Shivan. Overnight at Camelot Beach Resort or Similar hotel on B&B basis. Day 08 There is no itinerary planned today. You will be driven to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo or the selected cities.

Full-day Sightseeing Tour of Colombo, Sri Lanka

8. Full-day Sightseeing Tour of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Situated on the west coast of Sri Lanka, Colombo is said to be the traditional gateway to the Orient. It is the largest city of the island and due to its vital role in the east-west sea trade dating as far back at the 5th century, it is possible to see the remnants of Moorish, Portuguese, Dutch, and British settlement throughout the city. On this full-day tour, you will be given an insiders view to the bustling metropolis and discover the many layers, which form its colorful character. During the day you will have the opportunity to visit sites including the mile-long promenade of Galle Face Green, the exclusive district of Cinnamon Gardens where you will find Independence Hall, the vibrant bazaars of Pettah, and the pristine beaches of Mt. Lavinia. Your journey will be enhanced by the many religious sanctuaries, which manifest in their variety, the peaceful tolerance of the city’s diverse inhabitants. There will also be time to investigate Colombo’s National Museum and get a real taste of the ancient, colonial and modern influences, which make up the city. To keep you refreshed and revived, there will be a delectable lunch overlooking the sea at the Galle Face Hotel and an afternoon tea in the extraordinary restaurant of Colombo Fort, which was once a Dutch hospital.

From Colombo: Private 2-Day Sri Lanka Highlights Trip

9. From Colombo: Private 2-Day Sri Lanka Highlights Trip

Start your private tour around the magical island of Sri Lanka at Colombo International Airport. Meet your knowledgeable local driver and guide and get transported to your hotel in Colombo. Get a good night's sleep before embarking on your tour. After breakfast the following morning, head to an elephant orphanage in a small village and meet some of the gentle giants native to Sri Lanka. Learn how the center rehabilitates young elephants who have been displaced and readies them for re-entry to their natural habitat. Then head to the city of Kandy to tour a spice and herb garden. Get to know some of the most important local spices, including coriander, chili, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg, and their uses. Afterwards, check out the fruits of some other local industries, including gem crafting, woodcarving, and batik. Finally, visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was built in the 16th century as the place of veneration and protection for Buddha’s sacred tooth. Walk through the beautifully embellished passageways and elaborate halls painted in red, cream, and black. Lounge against delicately carved pillars and marvel at the assortment of golden statues while your guide explains the historical and artistic significance of the temple. Return to your Colombo hotel afterwards.  On your second day, journey first to a turtle hatchery on the island's southwestern coast. Come face to face with these fascinating creatures and learn about their intricate life cycle. Then head to the Madu River for a boat safari. Pass through secret passages created by the mangrove trees and let your guide introduce you to the wonders of this flourishing ecosystem. After, continue on to Galle and explore the ancient colonial city where the Portuguese and Dutch made their headquarters at various points in history. Return to your hotel in Colombo. After breakfast, check out from the hotel and get transported back to the Colombo airport if you'll be leaving Sri Lanka after the tour.

Galle: Madu River and Galle Fort Guided Tour with Boat Trip

10. Galle: Madu River and Galle Fort Guided Tour with Boat Trip

Join this guided trip that combines a visit to Galle Fort, the UNESCO-listed ancient medieval capital of Southern Sri Lanka, with a riverboat trip on the Ramsar wetland of Madu, where you can immerse yourself in a mangrove forest, animals, and birds. After hotel pickup, your vehicle makes the journey southward along the spellbinding west coast beaches to Balapitiya and Galle. The old capital of southern Sri Lanka, built by the Portuguese in 1505, is the most popular tourist attraction in Southern Sri Lanka. Galle attracts thousands of travelers, food lovers, beach lovers, and shoppers every day. The Galle Fort is the best-preserved colonial fort in Asia. This ancient site is full of well-preserved houses, palaces, hotels, shops, restaurants, museums, and other constructions. On arrival, set out on foot with your guide who will lead you around the rampart and along the twisting narrow cobble streets laid out by ancient constructors. Marvel at an ancient church built more than 250 years ago. On the return journey, hop on a boat in the Mad River estuary, which is a Ramsar wetland comprised of 64 islands. The extent of the Madu River wetland is 915 hectares, and it harbors multi-varied bio-diverse eco-systems. 

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What people are saying about Southern Province, Sri Lanka

I highly recommend using apple vacations agency when you visit Sri Lanka! They offer a wide range of tours and packages to fit a variety of budgets. Our guide Niraveen and driver were on time and accommodating. This full day tour was lovely and enjoyable! Loved visiting the turtle hatchery center, the boat ride through the mangrove, and the place they took us for lunch was superb! Really trustworthy company!

The guide showed up on time in the morning and he was very polite and informing. They took us to a very nice restaurant for lunch near the ocean and the food was delicious. Whole tour was satisfying with very nice views, herbal garden visit and boat tour on Madu River.

This was a day so well spent! With lots of places and experiences included along the way, our guide (Aron I believe was his name…hope I’m not mistaken) was so accommodating. Definitely recommend this one for a one day trip outside of Colombo!

We had a private trip to the South coast including Hangunagoda tea plantation and Galle, our guide Ranjitha was knowledgeable and courteous throughout. I would recommend this trip.

Versatile excursion and transport smoothly along the highway.