Heritage Tour of Sri Lanka

8 - 22 Sep 2019
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

Welcome to Sri Lanka, a small island crammed full of treasures, with no fewer than eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mystical ruins, jungles, gleaming white tropical beaches, national parks with huge herds of elephants and fleet leopards, vivid green mountains and mouthwatering cuisine. As if that wasn’t enough, its seas are home to dolphins, turtles and the largest colony of blue whales on the planet.

On this heritage tour you will travel from the colonial capital, Colombo, to the ancient cultural heartland of the island, through jungles to the the coast at Trincomalee and through the highlands of Nuwara Eliya. Along the way there is a wide range of visits providing real insight into Sri Lankan history and society as well as ample free time to relax by the pool, join optional activities or explore at your own pace.

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Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, John and Susi Richardson

John and Susi Richardson

Professor John Richardson is Emeritus Defence Professor of Primary Care and General Practice. He has led study tours worldwide and was a medical escort to parties of veterans on journeys of remembrance for the Royal British Legion. He has also run many history of medicine battlefield tours. He has visited 80 countries and worked in 41 of them as a doctor. John has previously led tours for Jon Baines to China, Central Asia, India, Turkey, Central America, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Namibia, Ethiopia, Indo-China and Burma. He has also given lectures and led on cruises. 

Susi Richardson has travelled widely across the world either as an expedition nurse, or as a nurse on war grave pilgrimages for the Royal British Legion, co-tour leader for Jon Baines Tours, or accompanying her husband on his British Army medical officer postings. Five generations of her Shakespear family served in India on her grandmother’s side, and three generations of Cooke family on her grandfather’s side, covering almost continuously two hundred years of the history of British India in a variety of roles and occupations. Susi has led a number of tours to India, in Vietnam and on cruises.

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Itinerary at a glance

  • 8 Sept (Sun) Colombo: Arrive Colombo and transfer to the Galle Face Hotel. Welcome dinner at the hotel’s Veranda Restaurant
  • 9 Sept (Mon) Colombo: Sightseeing tour of Colombo, including the Old Dutch Hospital and bustling market area. Enjoy a foot massage at the Ayurvedic Hospital and travel by rickshaw back to the hotel. Dinner at Upali’s by Nawaloka
  • 10 Sept (Tues) Colombo / Habarana: Drive to Habarana. Visit the elephant orphanage in Pinnawela on the way and have lunch while watching the elephants in the river. Arrive and check into the Cinnamon Lodge Habarana. Options to visit the spa or take a short wildlife and nature trek of the region
  • 11 Sept (Wed) Habarana: Visit the legendary sky citadel of Sigiriya. The 'Lion Rock' is famous for its frescoes of 'Celestial Maidens'. Visit a local village and school. Take part in a cookery demonstration using many spices, followed by a delicious lunch. Afternoon at leisure
  • 12 Sept (Thurs) Habarana: Option to visit the ancient site of Ritigula, including the historic Ayurvedic Hospital, or at leisure. Visit Minneriya National Park late afternoon and see large herds of elephants and huge flocks of birds
  • 13 Sept (Fri) Habarana / Trincomalee: Visit Polonnaruwa, the island's medieval capital between the 11th and 13th century. Built alongside a large ancient artificial lake, there are well-preserved ruins of palaces, bathing pools, stupas and exquisite rock sculptures. Continue to Trincomalee and at leisure at Trinco Blu by Cinnamon
  • 14 Sept (Sat) Trincomalee: Explore the historic and cultural attractions of the area, including Fort Frederick, the Maritime and Naval History Museum, Hoods Tower Military Museum and the war cemetery
  • 15 Sept (Sun) Trincomalee: Early morning option to go whale and dolphin watching (sightings not guaranteed), followed by full day at leisure
  • 16 Sept (Mon) Trincomalee / Kandy: Drive to Kandy, visiting the cave temples of Dambulla en route. Visit the spice plantations of Matale, which grow nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper, and enjoy a delicious Sri Lankan lunch. Arrive Kandy and transfer to the Cinnamon Citadel and at leisure
  • 17 Sept (Tues) Kandy: Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. See the blessing ceremony with drums, trumpets and brightly clothed monks performing rituals. Explore Kandy, including the historic Garrison Cemetery followed by drinks at the Suisse Hotel (the former home of Lord Mountbatten). Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight
  • 18 Sept (Wed) Kandy: Visit the beautifully landscaped Kandy War Cemetery. Continue to the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya, including plantations of coffee, tea, rubber and cinchona, and the orchid house along with its medicinal herbal section. See the former HQ for Allied Forces SE Asia in WWII. Visit the gemstone market and gem workshops and at leisure
  • 19 Sept (Thurs) Kandy / Nuwara Eliya: Scenic train journey across the highlands to Nuwara Eliya. Check into the Grand Hotel and orientation tour of the colonial hill station
  • 20 Sept (Fri) Nuwara Eliya: Visit the Somerset Tea Estate and their clinic. At leisure. High tea in the garden of the Grand Hotel. Dinner at the Hill Club
  • 21 Sept (Sat) Nuwara Eliya / Colombo: Drive to Colombo. Arrive and transfer to the Galle Face Hotel. Farewell dinner at Paradise Road Gallery Café
  • 22 Sept (Sun) Colombo: Depart for the airport

Tour cost

Ground only cost is US $3,712 pp sharing (excl international flights and transfers)

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