Explore Sri Lanka by Rail

Nanuoya Bridge - © Justin Codrai
Colombo to Nanuoya - © Justin Codrai
Ape Gama Model Village - © VisitColombo
Beira Lake - © VisitColombo(Lofoten Vinter)
Viceroy Special - © JF Tours
Colombo to Nanuoya - © Justin Codrai
Colombo to Nanuoya - © Justin Codrai
Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple - © VisitColombo
Viceroy Special 'Through the Fields' - © Justin Codrai
Viceroy 2 - © JF Tours
Independence Memorial Hall - © VisitColombo
Mount Lavinia Beach - © VisitColombo
Seema Malaka Buddhist Temple - © VisitColombo
Viceroy Special - © Justin Codrai
Viceroy Special - © Justin Codrai
Viceroy Special - © Justin Codrai

Holiday Highlights

  • Charter train on the Viceroy Special and Viceroy II
  • Private journey on the T1 Rail Car
  • Special welcome dinner
  • Visit the Buddhist Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
  • Breathtaking scenery
  • Frescoes of Sigiriya and Mirror Wall
  • Four UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Stunning Indian Ocean
  • 12 Days from £4,445pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Wednesday 28 February to Sunday 11 March 2018

Sri Lanka is considered to boast one of the finest rail journeys in the world in terms of engineering marvel and breathtaking sceneries. The amazing diversity of landscape, climate, geographical elevations and mist clad mountains, valleys and waterfalls are found all along the route. Enjoy the wonderful views as you travel on our chartered Viceroy Special Train.

“The range of visits and their interests was simply marvellous. The local guide made the whole experience exceptional through his extraordinary delivery, communication skills, selection of sights, knowledge of the country and professionalism. This is a highly recommended tour.” Mr & Mrs N. Harcourt, Berkshire – Explore Sri Lanka by Rail, 2016


Day 1 – Flight to Colombo

Overnight flight from London Heathrow to Colombo.

Day 2 – T1 Railcar to Hotel

A luxury T1 Railcar will take us from the airport to Mt Lavinia Hotel, a journey that runs alongside the Indian Ocean. We will enjoy a picnic lunch en route and refreshments will be served on the Railcar. We enjoy a welcome dinner with a local rail enthusiast family who operate the private trains.

Day 3 – Viceroy Special Train to Kandy

Board Sri Lanka’s only steam train, the 75-year old Viceroy Special to Rambukkana, before continuing by diesel to Kandy. This section of the train journey is relatively flat, but delivers fabulous views as you pass rice fields, coconut palms and charming villages. During our stop at Rambukkana we visit the Railway monument and Peradeniya Botanical Garden. Optional excursions are also available by coach to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage or enjoy tea at Rosyth’s Estate with a visit to a spice garden at Mawanalla. Our journey on the Viceroy Special includes photo stops to capture some great images. Lunch will be served on board the Viceroy Special.

Day 4 – Kandy

A free day in Kandy to enjoy pleasant walks in its agreeable climate or join our optional visit to Matale by public train. Lunch will be at a local restaurant and later that afternoon we visit the Temple of the Tooth, a monumental building complex that is an outstanding example of Kandyan timber architecture which has a distinctive design and dates from the Gampola period. The colourful paintings and wooden architecture that represent the unique Kandyan tradition can be seen in the Temple of the Tooth. This evening there will be a cultural dance performance at the hotel.

Day 5 – Scenic Rail Journey to Nuwaraeliya

We board our Viceroy Special Charter Train and will be hauled by diesel loco to Nuwaraeliya. This is the first part of the train ride which ascends into the hill country and is considered to be one of the finest train journeys in the world in terms of engineering marvel and breathtaking scenery. You will be amazed by the diversity of landscape, climate, geographical elevations as we pass mist-clad mountains, valleys and waterfalls en route. Again photo stops will be made at suitable locations and lunch will be served on board. We arrive at Nuwaraeliya in time for a city tour.

Day 6 – Unforgettable Rail Journey

An early start this morning as we travel by coach to Badulla railway station for the epic train journey to Nanu-oya on either expo rail or Rajadhani express luxury rail carriage, when lunch will be served on board. The journey sees the impressive Demodara Nine Arch Bridge connecting two mountains and constructed solely out of solid rock, bricks and cement without using iron or steel. The railway spiral near Badulla is an impressive and memorable part of the route. The scenic train journey climbs into the mountains to reach the summit at Pattipola at 6226ft - the highest altitude achieved by a 5’6” broad gauge mainline anywhere in the world. A visit to Pedro tea plantation and a tea factory is included.

Day 7 – Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Travel to Habarana by coach, visiting a local spice garden en-route. The main feature of the day is to venture to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. It is one of the best-preserved sites where the layout of the buildings and gardens is still clearly evident and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1982. We depart Sigiriya site late afternoon to arrive at the Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, 12km away, for dinner and our overnight stay. We stay 3 nights at this hotel situated in 27 acres of woodland and rural surroundings outside the village of Habarana.

Day 8 – Jeep Safari and Polonnaruwa World Heritage Site

We enjoy a morning Jeep Safari at Minneriya National Park. It provides excellent opportunities to see herds of elephants all year round and the park is also home to other species like wild buffalo, deer, the purple faced leaf monkey and lovely endemic birdlife. After the safari we visit Sri Lanka’s former medieval capital Polonnaruwa, now a World Heritage Site. Lunch at a local restaurant in Polonnaruwa and then visit the ruined city.

Day 9 – Trincomalee and Beach

Day excursion to Trincomalee, which boasts the fifth largest natural harbour in the world. We travel by T1 Rail car and then proceed by coach to Nilaveli Beach Hotel. Enjoy lunch in the hotel and there will be time to relax on the beach. Situated 15km north of Trincomalee, Nilaveli is home to one of the most pristine beaches in Sri Lanka.

Day 10 – Dambulla Cave Temple

Morning visit by coach to the Dambulla Cave Temple. This is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. After the temple visit, we return to Habarana before boarding the T1 Railcar to return to Colombo/Mt. Lavinia. A picnic lunch is served on board the railcar.

Day 11– Viceroy II to Galle

Early departure to board the Viceroy II which will be attached to the public service train and leave Mt. Lavinia Railway station at 7am for Galle. The railway station is within easy walking distance of the hotel and breakfast will be served on board the Viceroy II. We journey along the picturesque coastline, running past golden beaches fringed by palm trees, mangrove-lined lagoons and waves of the Indian Ocean. After arrival at Galle, we proceed to the Galle Fort. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Galle before returning to our hotel arriving early evening.

Day 12 – Flight Home

Late morning transfer to Colombo Airport for our flight home.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Mount Lavinia Hotel, Colombo

Hotel Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy

Hotel Jetwing St. Andrews, Nuwaraeliya

Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • Private T1 Rail Car Colombo Airport/Mt Lavinia, Habarana/Trincomalee return, Habarana/Colombo
  • Special Steam Charter Colombo/Rambukkana, Rambukkana to Kandy by Diesel Loco
  • Special Viceroy Diesel Charter Kandy to Nuwaraeliya
  • Private Viceroy II Colombo to Galle attached to Public Train
  • Seat Reservation on Exporail or Rajadhani Express
  • Third class ticket Kandy to Matale return
  • Choice of optional excursion on Day 3
  • Evening cultural dance
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Special welcome dinner & 10 lunches
  • Private coach travel
  • Entrance fees and Excursions as detailed
  • A bottle of mineral water per person per day
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local English-speaking guide

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £4,445
Single room supplement: £710
Deposit for this holiday: £200
Rates of exchange used are as at 1st May 2017

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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