Perched on a rocky outcrop, the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya rises high above Sri Lanka‘s rainforest canopy. These are the ruins of the fifth-century King Kasyapa’s home and palace, with superb water gardens and paintings. And the location is truly incredible…
Lion Mountain is a vast 200m-high rock that juts up out of the middle of a plain. Getting up there now is tricky enough, with its steep steps and gangways; building a huge fort there must have been near impossible. From the top there are simply breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. There’s a certain sense of foreboding as you step between the paws of a huge lion carved into the rock to enter the site. Under the deep green and red leaves of the Indian rose chestnut trees below, giant golden Buddhas gleam, peacefully guarding eye-poppingly colourful cave temples.
15 DaysfromUSD 2,749
Guided Group (Excl. Flights)
Spend two weeks exploring the delights of this diverse island
Because some people worked very hard to make me feel like this! SURESH: our guide to heaven. Keep the fire in your eyes and in your heart Suresh! You inspired us all SURANGA: my guardian angel as I was riding up that mountain! I wouldn’t have made it without you ! SAMAN: the man who kept us all hydrated and risked his life standing in the middle of busy roads to show as the way GAYAN : my ‘light” in the dark! Driving with patience and a smile on your face behind my slow bike! DHARME: thank you for getting us there and back safe! Thank you for the hours of waiting for us . Thank for the smiles! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
I have recently returned from the most incredible walking trip in Sri Lanka. The walks were very diverse, up mountains, through rainforests and around serene lakes. We also explored the cities, beaches and National Parks (where we were lucky enough to see a Leopard!). Our leader, Ruwan, was first class – he was very organised, friendly, told us interesting stories about the culture and history and took us to meet lots of local families, who were all lovely. I couldn’t speak of this trip more highly.
We travelled in February 2023 and there was no evidence of shortages of fuel or food and the people were very friendly and welcoming so please don’t hesitate to visit Sri Lanka in Comfort! The hotels we used were always clean and well-maintained with comfortable beds, air-conditioning (except for Bandarawela), and extensive buffets so there is plenty of choice for all palates. Aliya Hotel in Sigiriya was my favourite with a large infinity pool with views of Sigiriya Rock in the distance. The optional game drive on Day 3 was really worthwhile as we saw several groups of elephants feeding, as well as having a solitary male take a run at our jeep to add to the experience. We saw many bird species including plenty of peacocks. On the game drive in Yala we only saw a couple of solitary tuskers as the herds were at that time in areas of the park which were not open to the public. No leopards spotted in Yala but plenty of birds, a crocodile, water buffalo, a mongoose and wild boar. We could not do the optional white-water rafting as the hydro electric plant had scheduled maintenance so we did not visit Kitugala or do the jungle walk. There doesn’t currently seem to be a plan B for that day on the tripnotes. Also there were not enough people in our group who wanted to do the optional boat trip to do whale watching – it was very expensive -so that did not take place which was disappointing for those who were looking forward to the possibility of seeing whales. The walk on Horton Plains was excellent – a great day being out in the open with spectacular views from World’s End and Little Worlds End. Some of the terrain was bouldery so would recommend walking boots rather than trainers. We spotted some giant tree squirrels and monkeys in the trees as well as birds of prey. We did spend a long time waiting for the train to Bandarawela and it was very full so not easy to get a seat with a view of the spectacular descent. The visit to see the ceremony at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy is not to be missed. There are crowds and crowds of pilgrims all jostling to get a glance of the inner chamber when the moment comes for the monks to open it – not for the claustrophobic! Interesting to witness the dedication of the Buddhist followers. Kandy is in a beautiful location surrounded by hills – the views from the hotel are stunning and there is a lovely rooftop pool. The Dutch Fort of Galle looked very interesting but would have been better to visit earlier in the morning as it was so hot when we arrived there and a number of the group were not inclined to walk around so we did not have much time to explore. I think if the Trip Notes specified a walking tour led by the guide then this might make it more of a scheduled activity. The beach resort wasn’t really safe for bathing – red flag was always up! The beach was small so you could not walk far. There are surely better options! I had some fabulous food – tried lots of different curries. Hoppers for breakfast are fab!