Sri Lanka – The Viceroy Special

Wednesday 27th February to Tuesday 12th March 2019
14 - Days


Prices from: £5050


Explorer Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as ‘The finest island in the whole world’. On this fabulous holiday you’ll explore the wonders of this idyllic paradise by steam train.


Departure Date: 27-Feb-2019
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Your specially chartered ‘Viceroy Special’ will be hauled by British-built Edwardian steam locomotives of the classic 4-6-0 type and comprises two very comfortable air-conditioned lounge cars and a restaurant and bar car. You’ll stay overnight at the best possible hotels as you travel around the island, past mountain forests, cascading waterfalls, valleys and rivers. There’s an abundance of exotic wildlife too, and Indian elephants roam free in their natural habitat. You’ll visit many ancient sites highlighting the rich 2,500 years’ heritage of the island, including sacred cities and temples containing relics of the Buddha, and discover the tea plantations, botanical gardens and glistening lagoons that have delighted visitors for centuries. With plenty of time for relaxation on unspoilt palm-fringed beaches too, this magnificent tour offers an unrivalled diversity of highlights appealing to every possible taste.

Wednesday 27th February
Fly to Colombo
You arrive at London Heathrow for a mid-morning indirect flight to Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo.

Thursday 28th February
Steam train from the Airport to Kandy via Elephant Orphanage
You arrive at Colombo Airport early in the morning and transfer to the nearby railway station. Here you join the Viceroy Special, a chartered train hauled by B1 class 4-6-0 steam locomotive No. 340 ‘Sir Thomas Maitland’. Breakfast and lunch will be served on the train as you travel to Kandy. En-route you stop to visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, one of Sri Lanka’s most popular animal attractions. Later you continue along the spectacular route into the hills and on arrival at Kandy transfer to the luxury 5-star Mahaweli Reach Hotel, where you can relax for the rest of the afternoon before dinner. (B L D)

Friday 1st March
Kandy to Nuwara-Eliya, the highest town on Sri Lanka
Today your special train will be hauled by a diesel locomotive as you travel from Kandy into the sublime green heights of Sri Lanka’s hill country, passing tea plantations, cascading waterfalls and verdant forests. You stop at Nanu Oya village, from where you transfer by road coach to Nuwara Eliya, the highest town on the island. It boasts many colonial style homes with English-type lawns and gardens looking out across a placid lake. You’ll stay at the impressive Grand Hotel tonight, where dinner will be served. (B L D)

Saturday 2nd March
Free day in Nuwara-Eliya
Today has been kept free for you to explore Nuwara-Eliya, the self-styled ‘Little England’ set in a scenic valley at the base of the island’s tallest mountain, Piduruthalagala. Colonial-era bungalows, Tudor-style hotels, well-tended hedgerows and pretty gardens abound here, This morning, you have a guided tour of Nuwara-Eliya scheduled, which includes a visit to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens and Pedro Estate Tea Plantation & Factory. You stay overnight again at The Grand Hotel. (B L D)

Sunday 3rd March
Viceroy Special to Kandy
This morning you re-join the Viceroy Special at Nanu Oya. The train descends between mountain ranges through thickly wooded areas to the interior of the island at Kandy for a tour of this sacred city of Buddhism. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhala Kings, is Sri Lanka’s cultural centre, and has now become a UNESCO World Heritage site. A tour highlight is the famous Temple of the Tooth, housing one of Sri Lanka’s most important relics – a tooth of the Buddha. In the evening you visit the Kandy Lake Club for a memorable cultural pageant and to watch a fire-walking show. Overnight accommodation is at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel this evening. (B L D)

Monday 4th March
Lion’s Rock; Golden Temple
You travel by road coach this morning to Sigirya and visit the 600-foot-high ‘Lion’s Rock’. This massive ancient fortress and palace ruins is surrounded by one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. You continue to Dambulla to visit the impressive Golden Temple, a multi-cave complex containing statues and paintings. The evening is free for sightseeing or leisure. Your accommodation tonight is at the luxury Cinnamon Lodge Hotel, Habarana. (B L D)

Tuesday 5th March
Minneriya National Park; Steam Train to Trincomalee
This morning, after breakfast you have a Jeep safari to Minneriya National Park, which is heavily populated by wild elephants, after which you join a special train, hauled by steam locomotive No. 251, at Gal-Oya Junction Station and travel north-eastwards via to Trincomalee, sited on one the world’s finest natural harbours. Lunch is served on the train. On arrival at Trincomalee you visit the Fort Fredrick and the famous Hindu Temple built on Swami Rock within the fort area. In the evening you transfer to the 4-star Chaaya Blu Hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Wednesday 6th March
By steam from Trincomalee to Passekudah (Batticaloa)
After breakfast you re-join the Viceroy Special at Trincomalee Station. Your train will be hauled by steam locomotive No. 251 as you return first to Galoya Junction. Here you change direction and head south-eastwards along the Batticaloa branch line. Lunch is served on the train. On arrival at Valachchenai you transfer to an idyllic beach resort. In the afternoon you enjoy a sightseeing tour which includes a walk around the parapet of the small fort, and visits to the Catholic Church and Mahatma Ghandi Park. You stay overnight stay at Uga Bay Beach Resort. (B L D)

Thursday 7th March
Passekudah Beach Resort leisure
Batticaloa enjoys a spectacular coastal position surrounded by idyllic lagoons with palm-filtered sunlight glancing off the water. Batticaloa District is also home to the pristine beaches of Kalkudah and Passikudah Bay, and you are free to explore the area today, with options to join a boat trip and do some sightseeing, or simply relax and enjoy the unspoilt natural beaches. You spend the night at Uga Bay Beach Resort once more. (B L D)

Friday 8th March
Steam Train to Maho
This morning you travel by road coach to Galoya. Your train will have left Batticaloa the day before and will be waiting for you. Steaming south-westwards, you pass through Habarana where elephants roam wild in the jungle. At Maho Junction, your locomotive changes to diesel and travels northwards to Kankesanthurai and back to Jaffna. The route mainly runs through open country, across the North Central plains. At Elephant Pass, it crosses the lagoons to enter the Jaffna Peninsula. On arrival at Jaffna itself, you transfer to the Jetwing Jaffna Hotel for overnight accommodation and dinner. (B L D)

Saturday 9th March
City tour of Jaffna
Jaffna Peninsula is a region characterised by fields of Palmyra palms, technicolor temples, holy springs and miles of coastline. After breakfast, you have a city tour scheduled to see its notable buildings, such as the Public Library, Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, and Jaffna Fort. The afternoon is free for further sightseeing and leisure. Overnight accommodation is again at the Jetwing Jaffna Hotel (B L D)

Sunday 10th March
Anuradhapura, the ancient capital
Following breakfast this morning you travel diesel hauled to Anuradhapura, arriving around lunch for an afternoon tour of one of the historic capitals of Sri Lanka, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This sacred city features many ancient ruins, including huge bell-shaped stupas built of small sun-dried bricks, temples, sculptures, palaces, and ancient drinking-water reservoirs. You’ll visit the sacred Sri Maha Bodhiya ‘Tree of Enlightenment’, alleged to be the oldest living tree in the world. Tonight, you are accommodated in a tranquil setting at the Palm Garden Hotel. (B L D)

Monday 11th March
Steam to Mount Lavinia
Today you travel on the Viceroy Special diesel hauled to Maho Junction. Here you change locomotives and travel southwards under steam through Polgahawela Junction, where you join the main line to Colombo Fort and Mount Lavinia Station. On arrival, you check in to the adjacent Mount Lavinia Hotel, an impressive colonial building at this beach resort. In the afternoon there’s an optional visit by road coach to the Dematogoda locomotive depot to view an interesting collection of both broad and narrow-gauge steam locomotives. A drive around the city of Colombo is also scheduled. In the evening, you return to the Mount Lavinia Hotel for overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Tuesday 12th March
Return to UK
After breakfast in the hotel, if you have not opted for the beach extension you transfer to the airport for your indirect flight back home. (B)


Details

Price

  • Tour price £5695
  • Single supplement £710
  • Ground only £5050
  • Beach Extension £495
  • SIngle supplement £295

All prices shown are per person.

Price Includes

  • Flights from London to Colombo and return
  • 12 nights hotel accommodation
  • 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 12 dinners
  • All rail travel as detailed in the itinerary
  • All visits and coach journeys as detailed in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees
  • The services of a National Tour Guide
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner

 

Map feature coming soon!