Sri Lanka Rail Tour Itinerary – Option 01 (Hill Country and South-west Coast)
On the way to Kandy, you can visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage in the morning hours and watch how the elephants bathe and eat their food. It is an interesting sight indeed, particularly for those who are fond of animals. Next, you can visit the Royal Botanical Gardens, which is just a few kms from Kandy. Here you will find a wide range of flora including orchids, spices, medicinal plants, palms and much more. This is an enjoyable picnic spot for many locals and foreigners alike. A Kandy city tour is a must, including a visit to the Kandy lake and other important sites in Kandy. In the evening, you can enjoy a cultural show with traditional Kandyan dancers to entertain you. We will then take you to Earl’s Regency for your overnight stay in Kandy. Next morning, before you depart to the central highlands, you will be taken to the Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic to obtain blessings from the Buddhist priests.
You will then proceed to the Kandy railway station for your first train ride in this rail tour Sri Lanka. Your destination from Kandy by train will be to Nanu Oya. This is a ride during which you must do nothing but sit back, relax, and enjoy the most breathtaking scenery ever! From Nanu Oya, a car will drive you to Heritance Tea Factory hotel in Nuwara Eliya. On the way, you will pass Nuwara Eliya town, where you can enjoy an evening boat ride on Gregory Lake.
The next morning, you will be transferred to Nuwara Eliya for one night. En route, you will visit the Sri Baktha Hanuman Temple in Ramboda – about 1 hr 30 mins drive from Kandy. This Hanuman deity temple was built by the Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka and special Pooja’s are conducted here every full moon day, which is witnessed by thousands of devotees.You will then freshen up at the hotel in Nuwara Eliya and visit the Gayathri Peedam in the evening. Hindu’s believe this is where Lord Shiva blessed King Ravana’s son with supernatural powers.
In Ella, it is advisable to begin your day at the crack of dawn if you want to hike to Little Adam’s Peak and get the best view at the Ella Gap. The Nine Arch Bridge is another attraction that you can visit in Ella before you return to your luxury hotel for another night.
From Ella, you will be driven to the southern city of Yala and on your way you can spend some time at the beautiful Ravana Waterfall. Upon reaching Yala, a jeep safari at the Yala National Park is a must. Jetwing Yala is the hotel we have selected for your accommodation in Yala.
Moving further towards the southern coast, Mirissa is a popular beach destination in Sri Lanka. Here you can spend plenty of time enjoying the exotic beach. Imagine Villa is where you will spend a night in Mirissa. A visit to the Weligama fish market is optional in this Sri Lanka rail tour itinerary.
Early next morning, enjoy an adventurous whale watching experience in Mirissa and then head towards the train station for your next train ride to Bentota. On this ride, you will see completely different scenery to what you saw in the hill country. Once in Bentota, visit the Turtle Hatchery and relax on a boat ride in the Madu river. You will also be taken to see the commendable architecture of Sir Geoffrey Bawa in Lunuganga, Bentota. Your overnight stay in Bentota will be at Villa Bentota.
At the Bentota train station, you can get into any train going towards Colombo and get off at the Colombo Fort. Walk around the fort area and the Pettah trading market and shop for anything that you like. Then explore the Gangarama Temple to learn about Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka. You can also visit the Manning Market in Colombo for some tropical fresh fruits and vegetables. During your Colombo city tour, don’t forget to visit the Galle Face Green, Old Parliament Building (Dutch colonial architecture), independence square and BMICH (an admirable conference hall). Hotel Tintagel is where you will spend your last night in Sri Lanka, end your journey the next day and drive towards the airport at a suitable time, depending on the time of your flight.