Sri Lanka and the Maldives
On this two-week sojourn, combine the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka with the luxurious Robinson Crusoe idylls of the Maldives; drinking tea straight from plantations, visiting several UNESCO World Heritage Sites and diving with manta rays along the way.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Immerse yourself in Sri Lanka's rich heritage visiting several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in The Cultural Triangle
- Indulge in an opulent afternoon tea after learning all about the plant on a tour of Sri Lanka's tea plantations
- Dive with manta rays in the Maldives' remote Laamu Atoll
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When To Travel
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Day 1: Leave the UK
Your overnight flight to Sri Lanka leaves London in the evening and takes just under ten hours.
Day 2: Colombo
Your international flight lands in Colombo at around lunchtime. Once you have cleared customs and collected your luggage, you will be met by your driver and privately transferred to your hotel.
Once you have checked in, either relax into your hotel or set out to explore Sri Lanka's bustling capital city. Sporting leafy boulevards, colonial architecture and buzzing markets, Colombo is a colourful introduction to Sri Lanka's melting pot of cultures.
Day 3: Sigiriya
This morning you will be privately transferred to Sigiriya, which should take around four and a half hours depending on traffic.
After you have arrived at Sigiriya, spend the remainder of the day relaxing at your hotel or exploring the local area. We recommend visiting Minneriya National Park for an evening safari to spot large herds of wild elephants, buffalo, deer and dry zone birds in the jungle.
Day 4: Sigiriya
This morning you will pay a visit to the dramatic Sigiriya rock, whose vertical walls soar upwards from the ground.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the stunning rock fortress can be climbed via a 1,200 steps for 360-degree views over the surrounding jungle. Explore the palace ruins before clambering back down in time for a well-earned lunch.
Spend the afternoon relaxing back at your hotel, whether sunbathing by the pool, indulging in a spa treatment or taking a stroll around the surrounding countryside.
Day 5: Polonnaruwa
Today tour the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Located an hour and a half from Sigiriya, this UNESCO World Heritage site was the royal capital for three centuries but today is a sprawling complex of impeccably preserved ruins.
Discover the four sections of the city with your private guide, learning about the fascinating royal palaces, monuments and relics that make this a fascinating insight into the ancient world.
- Spend the day exploring the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ruins were once the greatest sacred city in Sri Lanka, providing another fascinating insight into ancient times with palaces, monuments and monasteries dotting the area.
Day 6: Kandy
After a leisurely breakfast you will be privately transferred to the cool colonial city of Kandy. Heading West, the journey should take around three and a half hours, stopping by Dambulla Cave Temple, the most extensive cave temple complex in Sri Lanka and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Formerly the country's capital, Kandy boasts beautiful mountainside scenery, a rich heritage and a wealth of significant cultural landmarks, including the Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka's most significant shrine.
Spend the day exploring the city, walking around its winding colonial streets, central lake and sprawling Botanical Gardens, refuelling on a famed local Sri Lankan curry in between.
Days 7 – 8: Hill Country
This morning, after a leisurely breakfast you will catch the train to the tea hills. The journey should take around an hour, passing through endless rolling tea plantations and tropical jungle. You will be met at the train station and privately transferred to your hotel.
Spend the next couple of days at leisure in your hotel or exploring the local landscape, hiking nature trails, visiting picturesque villages and drinking in Sri Lanka's most beautiful scenery (and its tea - after all, Lipton's tea was launched in the Hill Country's Haputale Mountains).
Cool down back in your hotel's pool before sipping on cocktails as you watch the sunset over the tea plantations.
Day 9: Hill Country
This morning, wake up with tea straight from the farm as you take a tour around the local plantations.
Start the day sitting in the observation carriage of the train to the tea plantations for unforgettable sunrise views over the landscape, before learning all about the tea and its production process, finishing your tour with an opulent feast of cucumber sandwiches, scones and loose leaf tea.
Day 10: Maldives
Today it is the end of your time in Sri Lanka as you fly to the paradise islands of the Maldives.
After a relaxing morning you will be privately transferred back to Colombo (approximately four hours' journey time) in plenty of time for your flight. The flight takes around an hour and a half, arriving in Male International Airport in no time at all.
Once you have cleared customs, a representative from Six Senses Laamu will greet you and escort you to the Island Aviation Lounge for your seaplane to the resort. The flight will take 50 minutes, gliding over the characteristic turquoise waters and pearl drop islands of the archipelago.
You will be spending the next six nights at Six Senses Laamu. The only resort located in the Maldives' Southern Atoll, staying at Six Senses Laamu is akin to truly getting off the radar. Once you've checked into your room, spend the rest of the day at leisure, exploring this private island paradise and dipping into its surrounding aquamarine seas.
Days 11 – 14: Six Senses Laamu
Spend your days indulging in island life, whether it's strolling along great swathes of pristine beach, feasting on picnics on deserted islands, taking a private sunset cruise or unwinding in the signature Six Senses Spa. For a dose of local culture, you can opt to embark on a local island-hopping tour whilst for the active, surfing lessons on the Ying Yang breaks will entice.
Underwater, the diving is some of the best in the Maldives, with the recently discovered manta cleaning station, Hithadhoo Corner, around 10 minutes by boat from the resort. The Manta Trust is also stationed on the island, so you can learn all about these graceful giants following your dive. Aside from manta rays, there are plenty of other dive sites to explore, including drift dive sites, drop offs and gentle slopes. There's also a well-preserved house reef to dive and snorkel straight from the beach.
Day 15: Hometime
Today, after breakfast, it's sadly time to depart for your flight home. You will be transferred back to Male in good time for your flights home. The morning flight to Colombo takes roughly an hour-and-a-half and your bags are checked through all the way to London. The lunchtime direct flight takes 12-and-a-half hours, arriving back into London in the evening.
Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.