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Southern Province, Sri Lanka Culture & history

Our most recommended Southern Province, Sri Lanka Culture & history

From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

1. 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.

West coast Beach, River Mangroves lagoon, Wildlife boat Tour

2. West coast Beach, River Mangroves lagoon, Wildlife boat Tour

The tour starts from your hotel in Colombo or the west coast beach resort. You will be traveling along the beautiful west coast beaches while passing coconut plantations, fishing villages, and towns. You will be stopping at a few places at regular intervals. Your first stop will be at the sea turtle conservation center, where, you witness the sick and handicapped sea turtles are been treated. Later stop at Madu river for the mangrove lagoon tour. Mangroves Mangrove is one of the most important and fragile ecosystems in the world and they grow only in tropical countries such as Sri Lanka. This valuable forest cover is depleting all around the world, including in Sri Lanka, due to many factors such as climate change and human activities. Madu River estuary is a "RAMSAR wetland" and is declared a protected riverine forest. Boat safari Madu Ganga is one of the most important natural assets of Sri Lanka. It is located 70km south of Colombo on the Colombo-Galle main road. Madu Ganga is the second-largest wetland on the island, consisting of 28 islands. The number of families living on the islands is estimated to be around 250. Madu Ganga spreads over 915 hectares of wetland and harbors vast biodiversity and ecosystem. Madu Ganga wetland is fed by seven tributaries and forms the body of the wetland. The water runs through a course of land that spans 2300 hectares. It was declared a national sanctuary in 2006. A cruise on a modern motorboat is the best way to explore the natural wealth of Madu Ganga, the islands in the wetland are largely inaccessible by road. The inhabitants are also using boats and more often paddle boats as the means of transport. This tour offers a particularly appealing boat trip around Madu Ganga. The Ramsa Wetland is one of the most visited natural attractions of Sri Lanka’s west coast, with riverscapes amongst quiet thick grown islands and mangrove forests with sites of immense natural interest. There are plenty of opportunities to spot fascinating wildlife in the aquatic environment, throughout the tour. The most important asset of the fragile ecosystem of Madu Ganga is its mangrove forests. These mangrove forests provide protection for a large number of aquatic bird, animal, and plant species. The ecosystem in Madu Ganga is the home of many different kinds of aquatic plants, crabs, shrimp, fish, insects, amphibians, and other animal life including crocodiles. While on the boat tour you'll visit one of the oldest temples on the west coast of Sri Lanka, located on a secluded island. You will also get a chance to visit the mask museum and see hundreds of ancient masks and learn about their history, folklore, and use in rituals. You'll also visit a sea turtle conservation center run by volunteers. Learn about why Sri Lanka is a prime turtle nesting site and how important it is for turtle conservation. Before your tour is over, you'll get to enjoy a leisurely stroll on Bentota beach, one of the nicest beaches on the west coast. Buddhist temple, Bentota beach, spice herbal garden, Mask museum After the mangrove lagoon tour, you will be visiting the mask museum and mask carving center. Later visit Bentota beach spice and herbal garden and your tour ends with a visit to one of the most sacred Buddhist temples on the west coast.

From Colombo: Hikkaduwa Village Tour with Boat Ride & BBQ

3. From Colombo: Hikkaduwa Village Tour with Boat Ride & BBQ

Start your tour from Colombo at 9:00am where you will begin the 2 to 3 hour drive to Hikkaduwa. Stop on the way at Kosgoda where you will visit a sea turtle farm run by a non-governmental organization and maintained by volunteers. Next, visit the Ariyapala Mask Museum where you can learn about ancient masks and their part in ancient rituals, followed by the Mask Factory where you will see how these masks are brought to life through the hard work of artisans. After this, you will visit a family run gem and jewellery store and find various items at very affordable rates. Then, visit the agriculture and coir industry of Hikkaduwa, meeting a family that makes various products using coir and see the hard work they put in to make various valuable items. A very important ecological asset of the region is the Hikkaduwa lagoon. Take a boating trip on which you will discover the many avian fauna species of the region. Next up, visit one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the area. The temple is virtually free of tourists and mostly frequented by the local people. Here you can learn all about Buddhism with our local guide. After a busy day full of discovery head to Hikkaduwa beach to have a leisurely stroll and take in the sunset. Taste the most popular Sri Lankan alcoholic drink, Arrack, distilled from 100% coconut syrup.  End your tour with a barbecue dinner, consisting of fish bought from the nearby fishing harbour.

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

4. 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.

Bentota: Colombo Fishmarket and City Tour

5. Bentota: Colombo Fishmarket and City Tour

After getting picked up from your hotel in Kalutara or Bentota, head to Pettah, the oldest part of Colombo. Marvel at the thousands of stalls selling items from medicine to electronic equipment before beginning your driving tour of the city. Visit sites such as Beira Lake, Viharamahdevi Park, and Independence Square, where you can see one of the oldest examples of Sri Lankan architecture. The first stop of your visit is the Pettah fish market, which is the biggest fish market on the island featuring a concentration of hundreds of fish sellers. Enjoy a walking tour of the fish market. Afterward, head to the fort area and discover a mix of contemporary architecture and old-world charm with high-rise modern buildings built alongside medieval structures. Towards the end of the drive, visit the Colombo Historical Museum where you can see a large number of valuable exhibits. After your drive around the city, begin your walking tour. As you walk along the narrow and charming streets of the city center, learn more about Colombo's historical eras and their impact on the architectural ensemble of the city. Stroll past sights such as the Old Parliament, Gangrama Temple, and the Town Hall. Shop 'til you drop in the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct or head for lunch at one of the area's famed restaurants. Discover examples of British architecture and learn more about Colombo's history and its remarkable growth as you visit the BMICH, the Wolvendaal Church, and Colombo's most beautiful Hindu temple. Get dropped off back at your hotel in the evening.

From Bentota: Balapitiya, Handunugoda and Galle Guided Tour

6. From Bentota: Balapitiya, Handunugoda and Galle Guided Tour

Start your sightseeing adventure with a convenient pickup from your hotel and head to your first stop for the day, Balapitiya. Enjoy a boat safari down the beautiful Madu River. Take a closer look at this wetland estuary and explore its lush mangrove forests, gliding under the canopy of the forest tunnels. Take in the unique biodiversity of this region, keeping an eye out for the crocodiles and water monitors that inhabit these waters. Stop at one of the many islands to witness the locals harvest cinnamon and end your boat safari with a visit to the fish spa. Your tropical tour continues after a short break for lunch. Head to Handunugoda to visit the local tea estate. Discover the tea that this plantation is famous for, Virgin White Tea, and learn how this luxury product is made on a tour of the plantation. Next, head to Ahangama for a truly unique photo opportunity. Watch as local fishermen demonstrate on-water stilt fishing, one of Sri Lanka's most interesting traditional fishing methods. Speak to one of the local fishermen and learn how they do it. The final stop on your Sri Lankan sightseeing tour is the old colonial city of Galle. Explore the Galle Fort, one of the best-preserved fortifications in Asia. Visit the Maritime Museum, the Galle National Museum, and the local lighthouse. Stroll down cobblestone streets as you learn the history of this port city, including the periods of Portuguese and Dutch rule.

  • Guided tours
  • Private tours
  • Multi-day trips
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  • Water activities
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