Welcome to The Ancient Cities

For more than a century archaeologists have been slowly stripping the many layers of history from this overgrown landscape. The rock fortress at Sigiriya, the monumental dagobas (stupas) of Anuradhapura and the refined carvings of Polonnaruwa are but a few of the sites now ranking as national treasures. Home to four Unesco World Heritage Sites, this ‘Cultural Triangle’ is a heaven for amateur archaeologists and historians.

Besides the amazing ruins, save time for the national parks, which teem with elephants and outstanding birdlife, and try to visit at least one off-the-beaten-track temple site.

Top experiences in The Ancient Cities

Travel guides

Starting at $24.99

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The Ancient Cities activities

$85 Cultural & Theme Tours

Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Temple Full-Day Tour

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Sigiriya World Heritage Site, Sigiriya, Central ProvinceVisit Sigiriya lion rock fortress and admire the marvels of ancient architectureDuration: 3 hoursStop At: Dambulla Cave Temple, Habarana, North Central ProvinceComplex of cave temples with Buddha images and statuesDuration: 1 hour

$30 Cultural & Theme Tours

Full-Day Kandy Highlights Tour

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy, Kandy District, Central Province the holding place of the sacred tooth relic of Buddha which has been enshrined on the island since the 4th century.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Kandy View Point, Kandy, Kandy District, Central Provinceyou can see the amazing city view on this kandy view point.Duration: 15 minutesStop At: Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, Kandy District, Central ProvinceThe location of the finest of its kind in Asia Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, the finest of its kind in Asia, the largest of the botanical gardens of Sri LankaDuration: 2 hoursStop At: Kandy Lake Club - Cultural Dance Show, Kandy, Kandy District, Central ProvinceSri Lanka, a country rich with culture & tradition offers a very vibrant and unique show of Sri Lankan traditional dances, in the form of Kandy cultural show. Duration: 1 hour

$30 Outdoor Activities

Private Tour: Udawalawe National Park Safari

Meet up at the gate of Udawalawa National Park in Udawalawa and start this safari adventure. Udawalawe is undoubtedly one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild Asian Elephants throughout the year. Usually you will have better chance to spot herds of elephants if you choose morning departure. There are about 500 elephants in the park and they often roam in herds of up to 100. Udawalawe National Park is unique in terms of consistency in numbers of elephants roaming the park. If you choose afternoon departure, you will have great photographic opportunities of capturing the mesmerizing sunset with your camera.You may spot other animals in the park including water buffalo, wild boar, spotted deer, sambur deer, jackal, samber, black-naped hare, mongooses, bandicoots, foxes, the endemic toque macaque and gray langers. If you are lucky you might be able to see a leopard and other smaller cats, such as fishing cat and jungle cat. When the tour ends, you will be taken back to the departure point. • Please Advise which safari would you like to go on when you making the booking for Half Day Safari. SKU:  LK50010100

$60 Cultural & Theme Tours

Full-Day Private Sigiriya and Dambulla from Kandy

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Sigiriya World Heritage Site, Sigiriya, Central ProvinceUnesco world heritage siteDuration: 3 hoursStop At: Dambulla Cave Temple, Habarana, North Central ProvinceCave temples complex of Buddhist monks. Unesco world heritage siteDuration: 1 hour

$60 Private & Custom Tours

Kandy Private Tour by Car: Tea Plantation, Botanical Garden

Get picked up from your hotel in Kandy at 7am and travel by an air-conditioned car to Giragama, approximately 40 minutes away. On arrival at Giragama, you will visit a tea plantation 1,673 feet (510 meters) above sea level. Tea was first planted in Sri Lanka in 1824 at the Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, when a few plants were brought from China. Your will spend an hour exploring the the plantation and factory before leaving climbing back into your vehicle and heading to Peradeniya, approximately 30 minutes awayThe Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya is renowned for its variety of orchids. Spend 45 minutes strolling around the gardens, which have more than 4,000 species of plants, including of spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. The next stop on the tour is a gem lapidary and wood-carving center. Some of Sri Lanka's most sought-after items are precious and semi-precious gemstones such as moonstones, cat’s eyes, tourmalines, garnets, blue sapphires and red rubies. You will see all of these and more at the gem museum and gem outlet. At 12:30pm the tour breaks for a one-hour lunch at Oak Ray Regency Restaurant before heading to Bahirawakanda temple, whose 80-foot (24-meter) high Buddha statue can be seen from everywhere in Kandy city. The temple was built on the Bahirawa Kanda or Gnome Mountain, which is the subject of many legends about the sacrifice of beautiful virgins.Continue to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, a 17th-century temple within the Royal Palace grounds which is believed to house the left upper canine of the Lord Buddha himself. Every day this precious relic attracts white-clad pilgrims bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani. After an hour at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, enjoy the scenic views of Bogambara Lake as you drive to Kandy center for a 45-minute cultural show. The vibrant show tells the story of Sri Lanka's culture and history through traditional dance and costumes. At  6:30pm, You will be dropped off at your hotel, where the tour ends.

$60 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Day Trip: Nuwara Eliya from Kandy by Train

Start your tour at 7:30am from your hotel in Kandy, where you will be picked up by your chauffeur. Ensure that you bring a packed breakfast with you if you are unable to have your meal at the hotel.  Your chauffeur will transport you nearby to the Kandy or Peradeniya railway station at approximately 8am (station chosen is subject to ticket availability).Your train will leave between 8:30am-8:45am. Your guide will assist you to get onto the train for your train journey. Your train journey takes you on a scenic ride through some of the most beautiful highland countryside areas in Sri Lanka. Watch the brilliant greens carpets of the tea plantations. See the picturesque villages with misty mountain backdrops pass by. Peer through drizzle and mist to look at the magical landscapes of Hill Country. Enjoy the amazing sights of intimidating mountains, deep and dark woodlands, and magnificent waterfalls as they go by your windows. Total travel time on the train is expected to be between 3-3.5 hours.You will reach Nanu Oya at 12:15pm. Your guide will meet you at the Nanu Oya station, which has been serving Nuwara Eliya for over a century. After you stretch your legs a little, your guide will transfer you to Nuwara Eliya. Enjoy the thrilling half hour drive up the winding road. Enjoy walking through the streets with their pretty little cottages, quaint villas and beautiful mansions. Thereafter at approximately 1:30pm, you will be having lunch at a place of your choice. Afterwards, your guide will show you the most important sights, dependent on the time constraints. You will get to see Lake Gregory. You will also be going to the timeless old post office and can send a beautiful postcard home if you like, or even buy a few as souvenirs.Thereafter proceed back to Kandy by approximately 3pm. En-route visit the Ramboda Falls and Blue Field Tea Factory where you would see how the world’s famous “Ceylon Tea” is manufactured. Expected travel time is 1-1.5 hours.In 1824 a tea plant was brought to Ceylon by the British from China and was planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya for non-commercial purposes. James Taylor was a British citizen who introduced commercial tea plantation in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). He arrived to Sri Lanka in 1852 and settled down in Loolecondera estate in Kandy. Today even people who have never heard of Sri Lanka are familiar with Ceylon tea, which is known for its quality. Later that evening leave from the tea factory by approximately 5pm and return back to the hotel completing your excursion by 7:30pm

The Ancient Cities in detail