Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle

Short Tour - Cultural Triangle

Our cultural triangle tour explores kingdom’s dating back over 2,000 years across the major ruin sites in Sri Lanka . We explore the history of Sri Lanka as we trace the various kingdoms that ruled Sri Lanka until the British defeated the last kingdom in Kandy. Our short tours of Sri Lanka allow you to explore each of the different landscapes, cultures, history and wildlife of this beautiful island nation in more detail. Our short tours can be taken individually or joined together to give you the experience you desire.  These experiences depart any day and include the exclusive use of a guide who will ensure you and your travel companions receive an experience that is all about you.

We include multiple-night stays in destinations to ensure you aren’t rushed off your feet. This allows you to add your own adventures to the already very generous inclusions list. To allow you to tailor the holiday to your level of comfort, we offer a choice of hotels in each destination from luxury resorts to boutique hotels. Our itinerary is a starting point, which we will customise just for you during the booking process. As our short tours are just for you, if you book, we will deliver with guaranteed departures. Our guarantee means you can book your holiday in the confidence it will go ahead.


This tour of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle includes such a great variety of experiences that it is bound to appeal to people with a wide range of interests. It’s for anyone who loves learning more about the history of Sri Lanka and history buffs will enjoy the journey back in time from modern times to colonial remnants and relics from thousands of years ago.

Many of the experiences are outlined in the day-to-day program below, with further details on separate pages for each tour day. For a quick overview, here is a snapshot of what is included in the program:

  • Anuradhapura major sacred sites entry and guided tour.
  • Polonnaruwa major sacred sites entry and guided tour.
  • Sigiriya sacred sites entry and tour including rock climb.
  • A jeep safari in either Minneriya or Kaudulla National Parks.
  • Authentic meal at a family restaurant on the outskirts of Polonnaruwa.
  • Dambulla cave temples entry and guided tour.
  • Entry and guided tour of the major sacred sites at the Temple of the Tooth Relic.
  • Tea museum tour experience, including a cup of local tea.
  • Entry to the Botanical Gardens outside Kandy.

Cultural Triangle Itinerary

Day 1: Ancient Cities and Traditions

Our first morning starts with a journey from the beachside resorts of Negombo or the merchant city of Colombo to dry Anuradhapura. We travel past villages that come to life when locals celebrate religious festivals on what would otherwise be a quiet Sunday morning. Today’s trip ends in the original capital of Sri Lanka: Anuradhapura. We enjoy a leisurely lunch before embarking on a tour of Sri Lanka’s cultural origins. We take a guided tour of sacred sites, exploring stupas that were once some of the tallest constructions on the planet. After watching locals perform current day offerings at one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites, our first day comes to an end.

Detailed Itinerary: Tour Anuradhapura’s Ancient Cities and Traditions
Hotel Options: Heritage Hotel or Ulagalla Resort
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 2: Anuradhapura Exploration

Today our guide takes you deeper into the ruins to explore places often overlooked by visitors to this large site. You have the option of ditching the car and cycling around the ruins in the morning to get a closer look at the history of the city. In the afternoon, we explore the birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism at Mintale’s rocky outcrop monastery which is where Buddhism was first established in the country. 

Detailed Itinerary: Tour Anuradhapura’s Ancient Cities and Traditions
Hotel: Heritage Hotel or Ulagalla Resort
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 3: Polonnaruwa Palaces and Sri Lankan Cuisine

Our journey today explores Polonnaruwa as we trace the steps of kings across ancient ruins. The ruins we explore today are younger than those in Anuradhapura, making it easier to imagine how the palaces once rose into the sky. We wander ruins of palaces, shrines and temples of the old capital of Sri Lanka. Exploring can build up an appetite, so we visit a local home turned restaurant to experience some authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. We enjoy the local food against a scenic backdrop of farms and rice fields. The afternoon is yours to explore the new or old cities of Polonnaruwa before travelling to Sigiriya when you’re ready for some sleep.

Hotel: Hotel Sigiriya or Heritance Kandalama
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 

Day 4: Sigiriya Rock

Visiting the impressive Sigiriya rock fortress, we enter the stairs between the giant stone Lion Gate, of which only the paws remain, and make our way up to the palace ruins perched on top of the flat rock. We admire ancient rock art and impressive engineering feats as we explore this sacred and unique part of Sri Lankan history. After an early morning climb, we return to our hotel for breakfast and take some time out to relax by the pool or take a stroll in the nearby village to escape the midday heat. As the sun begins to fall, we transfer to Minneriya National Park for a jeep safari in search of elephants. The elusive leopard, crocodiles and a plethora of native birds come out from the jungle as the sun sets. Guests travelling in September and October may witness the annual elephant gathering with hundreds of elephants grazing in the park.

Detailed Itinerary: Sigiriya Rock and Ancient Caves
Hotel: Hotel Sigiriya or Heritance Kandalama
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Kandy – the last kingdom of Sri Lanka

On our journey to Kandy, we visit the stunning rock caves in nearby Dambulla, each containing a different representation of Buddha. As we approach Kandy, we visit a commercial spice farm and learn about the spices that once enticed many traders to Sri Lanka. Our arrival in Kandy allows guests to explore Sri Lanka’s last kingdom. Kandy resisted both the Portuguese and Dutch before falling to the British empire in 1815. The capital of each kingdom before Kandy protected the Buddha’s tooth relic within the palace complex. As the last kingdom, Kandy remains home to the Buddha tooth relic, a most precious and sacred site in Sri Lanka. We explore the Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy’s most visited site. The afternoon and evening are open to guests to discover some of the British contribution to the region or the remains of the Kingdom of Kandy.

Detailed Itinerary: Kandy, Sri Lanka’s Last Kingdom
Hotel: Cinnamon Citadel or The Kandy House
Meals: Breakfast [/tg_accordion]

Day 6: Tour Concludes

Although the tour program of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is complete, your trip doesn’t need to end just yet. For those wishing to explore Kandy or the surrounding Knuckles ranges further, we can arrange add-on accommodation. Return transport to Colombo is provided by private car if required. For those who wish to experience the Sri Lankan railways we can also add a rail transfer to Colombo.

Meals: Breakfast.


What’s included and not included in this tour of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is pretty clear, we think. We like to keep things simple, so you won’t find page after page of terms and conditions (although we are required to have some to protect both you and us).

For this program, we include 5 nights’ accommodation at the hotels chosen by the guests at each destination. If we say we include an activity in the itinerary above, then we include it. Optional activities or what we suggest you could do in your free time are just that – optional and not included – although we have tried to include as much as possible so you get the best experience possible.

July 2024

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If you want to chat about our tours or your holiday, book a consultation using the calendar above. For all other enquiries, feel free to give us a call on:

0407 859 456

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