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ABTA and ATOL Protected
Escorted Tours

Splendours of Sri Lanka by Rail


Route:
  • UK
  • Colombo
  • Mirissa
  • Tissamaharama
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Kandy
  • Negombo
  • UK
Tour Pace:

13 DAYS from £1519pp

Tour Highlights
  • Visit bazaars and temples on a city tour of Colombo
  • Enjoy a wildlife safari through a National Park
  • Enjoy the lush hill country of Nuwara Eliya
  • Explore the ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress
  • Lord Buddha's Relics at the Sacred Temple of the Tooth
  • Embark on five rail journeys through verdant countryside

or call us on 0800 781 4893

Splendours of Sri Lanka by Rail

See Sri Lanka from a different perspective on a rail adventure uncovering it's most unique and breathtaking sights and cultural attractions. Spot leopards at Yala National Park, reflect upon the sacred nature of Buddhism at the Temple of the Tooth and marvel at ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Soak up the local culture and take one of Asia's most scenic rail journeys from Kandy to Ella past rolling tea plantations and idyllic villages.

Tour Itinerary

1
UK to Colombo

Depart London on your overnight flight to Colombo.

2
Colombo

On arrival into Colombo, meet your tour guides and transfer to the world-famous Mount Lavinia Hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure before re-joining your group for tonight's welcome dinner.

  • Dinner
3
Colombo

This morning learn about Mount Lavinia Hotel's 200-year history including a hidden tunnel network, a concealed passageway leading from this former governor's residence to the house of his secret lover. Later, experience your first atmospheric rail journey to the 'Ocean City' of Colombo, passing crashing waves along Sri Lanka's rugged coastline, arriving in time to navigate Pettah's swarming Bazaars, selling everything from mouth-watering cuisine to decorative jewellery. Marvel at the intricately designed Hindu temples which rub shoulders with this busy commercial region, before wandering past an array of chic restaurants and cafes in the recently restored courtyards of the Old Dutch Hospital. Return by coach to Mount Lavinia Hotel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
4
Colombo to Mirissa

After breakfast, travel by train to the fortified city of Galle and begin an orientation tour at the impressive UNESCO world heritage site of Galle Fort, famed for being Asia's largest remaining fortress by European Occupiers. Gain a fascinating insight into Sri Lanka's historical developments at Galle's National Museum and visit the distinctive Dutch Church enclosed within this excellently maintained landmark before boarding a train to the quaint coastal town of Mirissa. Starting at Coral Beach, stroll across the idyllic crescent of golden sand, crossing the crystal-clear waters of Mirissa, Parrot Rock and Bandaramulla, to bask in a golden glow as you watch the sunset from Coconut Tree Hill.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
5
Mirissa to Tissamaharama

Enjoy the morning at leisure, or alternatively spot an energetic pod of whales in the depths of the Indian Ocean on an optional enthralling whale watching excursion. Early afternoon travel to Hummanaya blowhole in Dikwella and listen to the captivating whirr of wind, whistling through a submerged cavern before watching a gush of seawater bursting out of this intriguing phenomenon. Continue onwards to the pilgrimage destination of Kataragama and if time permits bask in the tranquillity of Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, home to over 150 species of bird. Tonight, immerse yourself in religious extravagance with a visit Kataragama Temple and witness vivacious puja's unfolding before your eyes. Please note: activities may not be available due to seasonal changes.
Optional Whale watching excursion £80pp- Nov-Apr

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
6
Tissamaharama

This morning, take in the incredible sights of Tissamaharama's rural landscape moulded largely by water and shrubland and later admire the picturesque views over the still waters of Weerawila Lake, whilst feasting on a tasty lunch from its peaceful embankments. Next, embark on an enthralling jeep safari through Yala National Park, the most popular protected area in Sri Lanka. Listen to the mighty roar of the wilderness and tuneful chanting of soaring birds whilst exploring the park's rocky pathways and narrow bends, looking out for roaming elephants, sloth bears and leopards.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
7
Tissamaharama to Nuwara Eliya

Following breakfast, pass misty hillsides, peppered with brightly dressed tea pickers on the journey to Nuwara Eliya. A walking tour of the district often referred to as 'Little England' due to its colonial-era buildings, incorporate a visit to the rippling waters of Gregory Lake, a wander through Victoria Park's flourishing gardens and a brief trip to the modest looking Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Retire to tonight's hotel at Araliya Green Hills.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
8
Nuwara Eliya

From the dizzying heights of 5,400 feet above sea level, delight in the brilliant colours of Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Originally established in 1861 as an experimental cultivation land, this transformed public garden now houses a staggering 10,000 species of flora, including an extensive variety of orchids and roses. Return to Nuwara Eliya Golf Club for lunch and enjoy the serenity of this mountainside retreat with a gentle stroll over the 18-hole course towards the adjoining Hill Club, to replenish with a fresh cup of Tea (at a fee). Retire to tonight's hotel for an optional Spa treatment.

  • Breakfast & Breakfast
9
Nuwara Eliya to Kandy

Nestled in the midst of verdant countryside, travel past lustrous tea plantations and thundering waterfalls on one of Sri Lanka's most charming rail journeys from Nuwara Eliya (Nanu Oya) to Kandy/ Peradeniya. On arrival, weave through the bustling arts and crafts centre and through a labyrinth of glistening jewels within Kandy's gem museum before heading to the city's most sacred monument, the Temple of the Tooth to observe a multitude of white-robed devotees offering their prayers to the revered relic, concealed within an ornate golden casket. Conclude today's sightseeing tour with a refreshing cup of tea at the historic Queens Hotel (at a fee).

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
10
Kandy

Early morning, depart Kandy for a day excursion, behold the megalithic Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a dramatic 5th-century rock citadel, towering 200-metres above the treeline. Step behind the gargantuan lion paws which have been hewn into the rockface, to climb up a staircase leading to the remarkable granite peak, taking a moment to absorb the stunning panoramic vistas overlooking lily-pad covered moats and royal gardens beneath. Learn about Sigiriya Rock's enigmatic history as you gaze at frescoes and well-preserved paintings in a museum at the foot of this immense landmark before an optional excursion later today offers an interesting insight into how traditional spices are grown and produced on the fragrant green fields of Matale.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
11
Kandy

Explore Kandy at your own pace this morning, or alternatively, experience Sri Lanka's spiritual charm on an optional excursion to discover Embekke Temple's iconic dark wooden structure and Gadaladeniya Temple's emblematic seated golden Buddha statue, majestically positioned beneath a Makara Thorana. Alternatively, hike to Riverston, ascending along a rugged track on a quest to catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring views over Knuckles Mountain Range from the summit. Relax with an optional spa treatment at your hotel this evening.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
12
Kandy to Negombo

Board the train to Ragama, twisting through luscious green hillsides and local rural villages, transferring to tonight's hotel upon arrival. Re-join your group this evening for a farewell dinner.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
13
Negombo to the UK

This morning, transfer to Colombo for your return flight to the UK.

  • Breakfast

Your Meals

Breakfast is always a western style and served in the hotel each morning. Lunch will be taken in local Sri Lankan restaurants with dinner at your hotel. A variety of restaurants are visited giving you the chance to experience a range of dishes and flavours. Drinks are not included. Please note: Please take cash for drinks in the hotels as cards are not always accepted.

Important Information

Visas

A visa is required for entry into Sri Lanka. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa for you on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The cost of the visa is from £48. The visas take around 10 working days to issue and are only valid for 3 months from the date of issue. We therefore recommend that you apply for your visa 8 weeks before travel, however, please be aware that your passport will be required for the application so make sure that you will not need it during this time. Alternatively, you can visit The High Commission of Sri Lanka at 13 Hyde Park Gardens, London, W2 2LU. Please note: If you have chosen to add the 'Kerala Beach Stay' or 'Highlights of Kerala' extension to the end of your tour, you will need to obtain an Indian visa prior to your UK departure. The Travel Visa Company offers a service which takes can take up to 15 working days at busy times. The cost is approximately £114. Alternatively, you can apply for your own visa. You can apply in person or by post to the Indian Embassy in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7DU. There are also regional centres elsewhere in the UK. Full details on the process can be found on the Indian Embassy website www.in.vfsglobal.co.uk.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

Payment

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £49pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Flight Information

Flight and Airport Information
Your initial flight is to Colombo International Airport with Sri Lankan Airlines (UL), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 3. Each passenger is entitled to 30kg of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage of 5kg not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm in size and 1 personal item such as a handbag. Final flight details and weight restrictions will be confirmed on your e-ticket and final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.

Health and Vaccinations

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

Physical Accessibility

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, & includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches & trains. Please note there are approximately 1300 steps to Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Please note the climb to the view point of the Hummanaya Blowhole is a steep uphill ascent of approx. 200m. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

Group Size

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 6, and the maximum will be 10. If in the unlikely event there are less than 6 (Minimum Number) people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date, then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

Tour Guide

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip.

Currency Information

The currency in Sri Lanka is the Rupee, LKR. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of Sri Lanka. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in Sri Lanka should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.

Personal Expenses

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £100 - £200 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour.
Tipping is customary in Sri Lanka. Tips will be collected by your guide at the end of your tour for your convenience. We would recommend approximately £3-5 per person per day for the driver and assistant and £4 per person per day to the guide. If you do not tip in the local currency, it is asked that you do not give coins as they difficult to exchange.

Tour Dates & Prices

Depart UKArrive UKPriceBook Now
2019 Dates
2020 Dates
10 Jan 202022 Jan 2020£2059.00Book Now
17 Jan 202029 Jan 2020£2059.00Book Now
21 Feb 202004 Mar 2020£2099.00Book Now
06 Mar 202018 Mar 2020£2069.00Book Now
20 Mar 202001 Apr 2020£2049.00Book Now
24 Apr 202006 May 2020£1909.00Book Now
01 May 202013 May 2020£1809.00Book Now
22 May 202003 Jun 2020£1659.00Book Now
05 Jun 202017 Jun 2020£1519.00Book Now
19 Jun 202001 Jul 2020£1659.00Book Now
18 Sep 202030 Sep 2020£1949.00Book Now
02 Oct 202014 Oct 2020£1949.00Book Now
30 Oct 202011 Nov 2020£1999.00Book Now
06 Nov 202018 Nov 2020£2049.00Book Now
20 Nov 202002 Dec 2020£2049.00Book Now

Included in the Price

  • Local English-speaking Guides
  • Scheduled Flights from the UK.
  • All internal travel including air-conditioned/heated transportation.
  • Accommodation, meals as specified and entry fees to all sights.
  • All airport taxes and security charges.

Additional Expenses

  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Any meals not specified in your itinerary
Itinerary Changes:

The order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions or for operational purposes. For this reason, we have indicated approximate times only. Your local guide will inform you of any schedule changes as they are informed of them. Some road construction and/or weather conditions may lengthen the driving times. Our intention is to adhere to the day to day itinerary as printed; however, the order of events and sightseeing may vary according to local conditions.

What to expect

Fact File
Currency

Sri Lankan Rupee

Average Flying time

10-14 hours

Spoken languages

Sinhala, Tamil, English

What to pack
  • Sunglasses, Sunscreen and hat in summer
  • Warm clothing and thermals in winter
  • Long trousers and a top with sleeves (required when entering any religious sites)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Camera and charger
  • An electric plug converter - the electricity in Sri Lanka is 230 volts and is a 3 round pin plug or a UK plug
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Loo paper for public WCs
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Binoculars
  • Personal first aid kit
  • Small day pack for excursions
  • Waterproof, lightweight jacket
  • Lightweight clothing
Tour Map
Splendours of Sri Lanka by Rail Route Map
Tour Dossiers
Extensions
  • Sri Lanka
    Extend your tour with a Sri Lanka Beach Stay

    4 nights from £349pp

    View
  • Kerala
    Extend your tour with a Kerala Beach Stay

    4 nights from £399pp

    View
  • Maldives
    Extend your trip with a Maldives Beach Stay

    4 nights from £799pp

    View
  • Maldives
    Extend your trip with a Maldives 7 night Beach Stay

    7 nights from £1129pp

    View
Here to help
  • 0800 781 4893 (free)

  • 0333 321 3144 (mobile friendly)

Extensions

Extend your tour with a Sri Lanka Beach Stay
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Colombo
  • Mirissa
  • Tissamaharama
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Kandy
  • Negombo
  • Kalutara
  • UK

Extend your stay with an extension to the wonderful beach resort of Kalutara on the north west coast of the country. Indulge in a calming massage or relax by the beach before returning to the UK. Choose a hotel from our handpicked options or speak to our reservations team about our entire range of hotels available.

4 nights
from £349pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension
Extend your tour with a Kerala Beach Stay
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Colombo
  • Mirissa
  • Tissamaharama
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Kandy
  • Negombo
  • Kerala
  • UK

Extend your tour with a relaxing beach stay in the Indian State of Kerala. Relax in the popular resort of Kovalam, known locally as the paradise of the south, amongst the coconut groves for which the town is famous.

4 nights
from £399pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension
Extend your trip with a Maldives Beach Stay
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Colombo
  • Mirissa
  • Tissamaharama
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Kandy
  • Negombo
  • Maldives
  • UK

Indulge yourself with a fabulous extension to the Maldives. Arriving at Male airport you will be transferred to your hotel by speed boat for four nights of pure bliss. Enjoy spectacular views of the bluest seas from all directions whilst you unwind and relax on this island of paradise.

4 nights
from £799pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension
Extend your trip with a Maldives 7 night Beach Stay
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Colombo
  • Mirissa
  • Tissamaharama
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Kandy
  • Negombo
  • Maldives
  • UK

Indulge yourself with a fabulous extension to the Maldives. Arriving at Male airport you will be transferred to your hotel by speed boat for four nights of pure bliss. Enjoy spectacular views of the bluest seas from all directions whilst you unwind and relax on this island of paradise.

7 nights
from £1129pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension