Things to do in Central Province, Sri Lanka

Our most recommended things to do in Central Province, Sri Lanka

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

1. Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

From Kalutara: Sigiriya Rock and Dambulla Cave Full-Day Tour

2. From Kalutara: Sigiriya Rock and Dambulla Cave Full-Day Tour

Explore two of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO-listed highlights on a privately guided day trip to Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock from Kalutara. You will be starting your tour at 0600 hrs from your hotel in Colombo, where you will be picked up your chauffeur. Ensure that you bring a packed breakfast with you, if you are unable to have your meal at the hotel. The first stop on your itinerary will be the Dambulla Cave Temple which you will reach by approximately 1000 hrs. (Travel Time 4 to 4 ½ hrs) View Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to the atmospheric Dambulla Cave Temple (Entrance Fee Per Person USD 11), a Cliffside cave complex packed with Buddha images and frescoes. Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, dating back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Look at the hundreds of figurines of Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the five main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, Cave of the Great King and the Great New Monastery. See the giant golden Buddha Statue just a little distance outside the cave complex. At approximately 1230 hrs you will be have lunch at a place of your choice (At your own expense) and reach Sigiriya by 1400 hrs and visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. (Travel Time 35 to 45 mins) Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka's single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization, thought to be once the epicenter of the short lived kingdom of Kassapa. Climb the 5th century AD rock fortress, Sigiriya, where the King Kasyapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion that is quite appropriate for its name, ' the Lion Rock'. View the beautiful unfading murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. Walk through the tunnels leading to the palace as you get a feel for times long past. You will be finishing the tour at 1700 hrs and returning to your hotel in Kalutara by approximately 2200 hrs. En-route you may stop at Restaurant at your choice and have dinner.

Kandy: Sigiriya Fortress & Cave Temple All-Inclusive Tour

3. Kandy: Sigiriya Fortress & Cave Temple All-Inclusive Tour

Following early morning pick-up from your hotel in Kandy, travel by chauffeur-driven vehicle to Sigiriya. Upon arrival, climb the rock fortress of golden-hued granite, chosen by King Kasyapa at the site for his new capital. Get stunning views of the surrounding plains, which in the rainy season can turn into a delightful water garden. Continue to the Dambulla cave temple complex, built by the 1st-century King Walagambahu as a site of worship after his exile from Anuradhapura. Enjoy lunch before the drive back to Kandy, and stop at the spice garden in Matale en route. 

Sri Lanka: 1-Hour Mega Zip Line Adventure in Ella

4. Sri Lanka: 1-Hour Mega Zip Line Adventure in Ella

Your guide will pick you up at 98 Adventure Park, Ella. The equipment will be provided, as will be your instructor and support crew. Cocooned within Sri Lanka’s Badulla District is an inviting haven, filled with an abundance of natural beauty and a cool climate.  Ziplining here is one of the best things to do in Ella, home to an abundance of breathtaking backdrops. Ella allows both the laidback as well as the curious at heart to voyage through some of Sri Lanka’s most cherished destinations.  Situated 3,415 ft. above sea level and 200 kilometers east of the capital of Colombo, this cozy hamlet offers numerous floral and faunal species coupled with towering mountain ranges and scenic waterfalls. Get a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful hills of the island.

Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

5. Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

Explore the best of Sri Lanka with this tour to the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, rolling tea tea plantations in Ella, the chance to see wild elephants in the Udawalawa National park. Have your hotels, dinners, and breakfasts arranged for you in this fantastic tour package. Day 1 - Be welcomed by your guide at the Colombo International Airport where your guide will take you to your hotel in Colombo. Day 2 - Journey from Colombo to Sigiriya after getting your negative test results and eating a filling breakfast. Visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Relax before heading to the ancient rock fortress Sigiriya before having dinner and staying at a 4star hotel in Sigiriya. Day 3 - Travel to Kandy after a hearty breakfast to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which holds the most important Buddhist relic in Sri Lanka. Take some time to unwind in your hotel before proceeding to see the amazing flora at the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. Eat dinner and stay overnight at a four star hotel in Kandy. Day 4 - Next, have a full breakfast before heading to Ella to walk among the lush tea plantations. Learn more about the colonial history of Sri Lanka and take in the stunning landscape views. Return to your hotel in Ella for dinner and to rest. Day 5 - After breakfast, drive to Udawalawa National park where you can spot elephants in their natural habitat.

From Kandy: Nuwara Eliya by Train

6. From Kandy: Nuwara Eliya by Train

Start your tour at 7:30 AM from your hotel in Kandy, where you will be picked up by your chauffeur. You will be taken you to the Kandy or Peradeniya railway station at approximately 8:00 AM, depending on respective availability.  The train departs at approximately 8:30 AM. Enjoy a scenic ride of about 3 hours through some of the most beautiful highland countryside areas in Sri Lanka. See the vast green hills of the tea plantations and spot the picturesque villages with misty mountain backdrops. Enjoy the amazing sights of intimidating mountains, deep and dark woodlands, and magnificent waterfalls as they go by your window.  Arrive at Nanuoya at 12:15 PM where your guide will meet you at the station, which has been serving Nuwara Eliya for over a century. After you stretch your legs a little, your guide will take 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 13:30 PM, enjoy lunch at a restaurant of your choice at your own expense. Afterwards, your guide will show you the most important sights of the town, including Lake Gregory. See the timeless post office and take the opportunity to buy a few as souvenirs. Begin the journey back to Kandy by approximately 3:00 PM. Whilst en-route, visit the picturesque Ramboda Falls and the Blue Field Tea Factory where you would see where the world-famous “Ceylon Tea” is manufactured. Learn more about the history of the factory, which was founded in 1824. After this, depart at 5:00 PM to finish the return journey to Kandy, where you will be dropped back at your hotel at approximately 19:30 PM.

Kandy: All Inclusive City Tour

7. Kandy: All Inclusive City Tour

Be picked up from your accommodation at 8:00 AM. Your first stop will be the Giragama Tea Factory. Here, you will see the sorting, grinding, and drying tools and then the packaging machines. Learn how tea is processed from shiny green leaves to the contents of your tea bag. After enjoying a cup of high grown processed tea, set out to explore the plantation.  Continue your tour and head to the Botanical Garden of Peradeniya, which is renowned for bundles of varieties of plants including orchids, spices, medicinal plants, and palm trees. Then, visit the Bahirawakanda Buddha statue known as big Buddha, which is one of the most scenic places in the city. At 1:00 PM, take a break to enjoy lunch at Oak Ray restaurant. After Lunch, visit the wood carving factory and gem lapidary. Then, be driven to Kandy Lake, which was built by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1807. It is one of the major highlights in the city and the drive is a scenic and memorable ride.  At 4:00 PM, witness a cultural show in one of the many theaters available in the Kandy city. Then, visit the Temple of the Tooth. To the Buddhists of Sri Lanka and around the world, Kandy is one of the most sacred sites as it is the home of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. You will be returned to your hotel for 7:00 PM.

From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

8. From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

After pickup from your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, drive to Dambulla. Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site then spend overnight in Sigiriya. On day two get an early start and drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Polonnaruwa. Take a cycling tour through the well-preserved ancient city to see the beautiful stupas or dagobas, moonstones, parks, buildings and stunning statues. In the afternoon, you will be taken to the 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya, regarded as one of the Wonders of World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend overnight in Sigiriya.   On day three after leisurely breakfast, visit an archetypal Sri Lankan village. Experience a bullock cart ride, see traditional cultivation methods, enjoy a boat ride and an authentic Sri Lankan lunch at a village house. After lunch, continue to Kandy, stopping at a wood carving center and a spice garden in Matale. Upon arrival, take a city tour of Kandy including a visit to the temple of the sacred tooth relic, upper lake drive, the market square, and more. Spend overnight in Kandy.     After breakfast on the fourth day, you will depart from Kandy and be driven back to your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, or dropped off at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.

Sri Lanka hill country train trip, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya 2-day

9. Sri Lanka hill country train trip, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya 2-day

Two memorable days to cover major tourist attractions in Sri Lanka's hill country. The tour includes the two most important cities in the hill country, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. The tour starts with Kandy city and walking tour to visit the tooth relic temple, Kandy market, handicraft center, Peradeniya botanical garden, and Kandyan cultural show. The tour also includes many other highlights of the ancient capital of Kandy and the English colonial hill station of Nuwara Eliya. Detailed Itinerary Day 1: Colombo – Kegalle – Kandy You’ll depart Colombo after breakfast and make a stop at a spice garden on the way to Kandy. You will be able to take part in a walking tour of the spice/herbal garden and learn about the spices and herbs that grow in Sri Lanka. Spices and herbs are being used in Sri Lankan kitchens as well as in Ayurveda medicine/indigenous medicine. However, a large part of the spices is exported. Kandy was the last kingdom of ancient Sri Lanka and is the most picturesque city on the island, nestled in the mountains and surrounded by tea plantations. Of Sri Lanka’s 3 botanical gardens, the gardens at Peradeniya are the largest, spread over 60 hectares and featuring more than 8,000 different species of trees and plants. After, visit the Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy and enjoy dinner and a typical Sri Lankan Cultural Show of Drum Dancing music, and fire walking. Overnight in Kandy. Day 2: Kandy – Nuwara Eliya – Colombo After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll begin the journey back to Colombo via Nuwara Eliya. You’ll have a chance to appreciate the awe-inspiring scenery on the way to Nuwara Eliya, as you travel through valleys, into the mountains, and past beautiful patches of forest. Nuwara Eliya is the highest of Sri Lanka’s 3 hill stations, situated at over 6,000 feet above sea level. Known as Little England, it is where the British colonists built themselves a home away from home. Follow the winding road that leads to the hill country through tea plantations, beside the waterfalls that cascade down the hills, and into misty valleys. You’ll have the opportunity to visit a tea factory and sample a cup of unblended, fresh Ceylon tea, before continuing back to Colombo.

Dambulla: Cave Temple and Village All-Inclusive Tour

10. Dambulla: Cave Temple and Village All-Inclusive Tour

You will begin your day as you are picked up by tuk-tuk and driven to the Cave Temple of Dambulla. Once there, you will be able to explore the complex of five caves, with over 2,000 square meters of painted walls and ceilings. The cave temple has the best-preserved ancient paintings found in Sri Lanka. Containing over 150 images of the Buddha, the highlight is the colossal figure of Buddha carved out of rock, which spans 14 meters. Following some time exploring the cave, you will arrive at the rural village of Dambulla and start the the bullock cart ride. Passing some wonderful paddy fields and other countryside attractions, you will arrive at a beautiful lake where you will experience an unforgettable traditional catamaran ride. Throughout your tour you will also enjoy an authentic Sri Lankan village lunch. Later on at 3:00PM, you will be returned back to your hotel by tuk-tuk.

Frequently asked questions about Central Province, Sri Lanka

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Other Sightseeing Options in Central Province, Sri Lanka

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What people are saying about Central Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 157 reviews

Very reliable tour pickup operator. No drama, I been contacted via WhatsApp 1 day before , driver was already at my hotel lobby 15 mnt before the pick up time. Good condition and nice car and the driver are polite and good at communication and everything are clear and reliable. Must book when you are in Colombo

The driver (Kenneth) was very accommodative and managed our tight schedule very well. He even went the extra mile and helped us to see more than what we had initially agreed — with his help we were able to visit the Ranweli spice garden, which was the cherry on top.

Tolle Tour und sehr empfehlenswert für Teeliebhaber! Deen hat immer wieder Stops für Fotos eingelegt und uns alles gezeigt. Wir durften auch selbst Tee pflücken. Sehr interessant war die Führung durch die alte Teefabrik (leider darf man hier keine Bilder machen).

Great tour, guides and service. Everything was on time and smooth. The national park was beautiful. The only complaint we have is that it's more expensive than if we'd have just arranged with local tour operators.

Had excellent time, tour operators are second to none Driver Chris excellent fit for the job we are lucky to have him as driver and guide Me and my wife thanked Chris thousand times