Sri Lanka by Rail - Viceroy Special

Holiday Highlights

  • Charter train on the Viceroy Special and Viceroy II
  • Private ride on the T1 Railcar
  • Jeep safari within the National Park
  • 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 £6,040
Tailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Saturday 16 March to Wednesday 27 March 2024

Sri Lanka is considered to boast some of the finest rail journeys in the world in terms of engineering marvel and breathtaking scenery. 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 by private steam train, Railcar and luxury carriage.


Day 1 – Flight to Colombo

Overnight flight from London Heathrow to Colombo.

Day 2 – TI Railcar to Hotel

Our privately chartered T1 Railcar will take us from the airport on a journey that runs alongside the Indian Ocean to our beach front hotel. We will be served refreshments en route and have a welcome dinner at the hotel this evening.

Day 3 – Viceroy Special Train to Kandy

Board Sri Lanka’s only steam train, the 75-year-old Viceroy Special to Rambukkana. 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 make a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. We continue with a diesel engine to Kandy climbing 1400ft in13 miles. Our journey on the Viceroy Special includes photo stops to capture some great images and lunch is served on board.

Day 4 – Kandy

A free day in Kandy to explore or join our optional visit to Matale by public train. Late 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 here. This evening we enjoy a cultural dance performance at the Lake Club.

Day 5 – Scenic Rail Journey to Nuwara Eliya

We board our Viceroy Special Charter Train and will be hauled by diesel loco to Nanu Oya. 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 and 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 transfer by coach to Nuwara Eliya 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 where lunch will be served on board. The journey crosses the impressive Demodara Nine Arch Bridge connecting two mountains and was 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 6,226ft - the highest altitude achieved by a 5’6” broad gauge mainline anywhere in the world. A visit to Pedro tea plantation and 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 UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. We depart the Sigiriya site late afternoon to arrive at the Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, just 12km away. Our 3-night stay allows plenty of time to enjoy the 27 acres of woodland and countryside that surrounds the hotel, situated outside the village of Habarana.

Day 8 – Jeep Safari & Polonnaruwa World Heritage Site

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 UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch at a local restaurant in Polonnaruwa and then visit the ruined city.

Day 9 – Trincomalee & Beach

Day excursion to Trincomalee, which boasts the fifth largest natural harbour in the world. We travel by T1 Railcar 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. 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. 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

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, Nuwara Eliya

Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • Private T1 Railcar Colombo Airport/Mt Lavinia, Habarana/Trincomalee return, Habarana/Colombo
  • Special steam charter Colombo/Rambukkana, Rambukkana to Kandy by diesel engine
  • Special Viceroy diesel charter from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
  • Private Viceroy II Colombo to Galle attached to Public Train
  • Third class ticket Kandy to Matale return
  • Evening cultural dance
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Special welcome dinner & 9 lunches
  • Private coach travel
  • Entrance fees and excursions as detailed
  • A bottle of mineral water per person per day
  • Gratuities
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local English speaking guide

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £6,040
Single room supplement: £590
Deposit for this holiday: £400

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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