Sri Lanka Travel Tours

Ancient Cultures of Northern & Central Sri Lanka

Ancient Cultures of Northern & Central Sri Lanka - 11 Days Tour

This 10-day itinerary takes you off the beaten path to discover Sri Lanka’s remarkable cultural and spiritual diversity. Traveling from the little-visited northern shores to the remote forests of the southeast, you’ll seek enlightenment under the branches of Anuradhapura’s sacred Bodhi tree, tour the colorful Hindu temples of Jaffna, admire the beachfront statues of Trincomalee, and learn about life in a Vedda village—home to the island’s last indigenous forest-dwelling tribe.  

Day: 1

At the airport, you will be greeted by your chauffeur from Sri Lanka Travel Tours, who will take you to the fishing village of Negombo. Drive past the mini-port of Negombo to get to the hotel. Once in the comforts of your hotel, relax and recover from any jet lag.

Negombo, known as “Little Rome” for its strong Catholic influence, transitioned over the centuries through Dutch, Portuguese, and British colonial rule. Today, its sandy beaches, welcoming locals, meandering canals, and colorful streets make it the perfect spot to enjoy your first evening in Sri Lanka.

Day: 2

Set off from coastal Negambo to experience the inland delights of Sri Lanka.

Anuradhapura is the ancient capital of Sri Lanka and possesses the crudest monuments and all of them exhibit the ancient city’s magnificence. It is evident that the city belonged to one of the civilizations of the primal world that were technologically more advanced in all ways. You will see the Dagaba, which are sky high, just like the Egyptian Pyramids. While witnessing the Aukana Buddha statue, the Thuparama temple, and the Isurumuniya rock carvings, you will lose yourself in amazement. 

Day: 3

After breakfast we will head to explore Mihintale and other heritage sites. It is named as world first wildlife sanctuary. It was declared as wildlife sanctuary in 247 BC by King Devanampiya Tissa. 

Day: 4

Transfer north this morning to the Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka’s northernmost region. After decades of war, its densely populated city of Jaffna is once again flourishing, and it remains one of the best places in the country to learn about Tamil culture.

On today’s tour, you’ll explore the ruins of the historic Jaffna Fort, a 17th-century star-shaped fortress and the largest Dutch fort in Asia, then continue to the famous Hindu temple of Nallur Kandasamy Kovil.

The Dambakola Patuwa was used as a port in historical times. This area is considered as the place where Theri Sangamiththa landed with the Bo Sapling. According to historical records, king Devanampiyathissa (250-210 BC) visited Dambakolapatuna to welcome the guests and the Bo Sapling was later planted in Anuradapura. That’s is the most sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya. Dambakola Patuna Viharaya (Jambokola Viharaya) was built to commemorate this event.

Located in a small hamlet called Kandarodai, Kadurugoda Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple that is one of the few Buddhist temples. This temple is located on the Hunugama (Chunnakam)-Minipe (Manipai) road, about 2 kilometers from Hunugama, and has been declared an archaeological site in Sri Lanka.

Day: 5

Small in size but rich with history, the island of Nainativu (or Nagadeepa, as it is referred to in Sinhala) holds an important place in both Buddhist and Hindu history. Located just off the coast of the Jaffna Peninsula, you’ll take a scenic boat trip to its palm-fringed shores and explore both Nagadeepa Purana Viharaya, one of Sri Lanka’s holiest Buddhist sites, and Nagapooshani Amman Kovil, an ancient shrine dedicated to Shakthi, the Hindu goddess of power.  

Day: 6

Head south today towards Trincomalee, located on Sri Lanka’s beautiful northeastern coast and famed for its pristine beaches and one of the finest natural deep-water harbors in the world. Nearby, you’ll find many historic kovils (temples) that draw both Buddhist and Hindu devotees, as well as the ancient healing hot springs of Kanniya. After exploring the city’s highlights, get settled into your accommodations and spend the afternoon at the beach. 

Day: 7

Today is free for you to spend at your leisure in Trincomalee. Join a whale and dolphin watching excursion, go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, visit the historic local hot springs, or head to one of the many stunning local beaches.


Day: 8

Journey south with your driver today towards Sri Lanka’s unspoiled Uva Province, where you’ll find a small gem of a city near the banks of the Mahaweli River. Revered in Buddhist history, Mahiyanganaya is believed to be the site of Lord Buddha’s first visit to the island, with the ancient temple of Mahiyangana Maha Viharaya built here in commemoration. With spectacular views across the Central Highlands and the Knuckles Mountain Range, it’s also a perfect base for outdoor adventures—including educational excursions with the area’s native Vedda people.  

Day: 9

Tracing their history to the 6th century BC, the Vedda “forest people” are Sri Lanka’s last indigenous tribe. Learn about their culture and history with a visit to a local village, where they welcome visitors with stories of their ancient connection with the forest and demonstrations of their hunting and gathering way of life, which has changed little since the Stone Age.  

Day: 10

Head back to the hustle and bustle of modern life today, as you transfer to the metropolis of Colombo. A lively city with a fascinating history, Arab sailors once frequented these ports to trade with the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonists that occupied the city. Today, Colombo offers something for everyone.

Visit the National Museum and Zoological Gardens, or take a walk through the city’s commercial center, where grand colonial-era buildings stand alongside modern hotels. Browse the vibrant markets and bazaars in Pettah, then end the evening sampling Sri Lankan specialties at a local restaurant.


Day: 11

As all good things must come to an end, we bid you farewell as our chauffeur transfers you to the airport to meet your departure flight home.