Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Itinerary (06 Days)

Sri Lanka cultural triangle itinerary includes 6 days and 5 nights. This covers major cultural, historical, and religious sites within the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. We have given two itinerary options for the guests here.

So, Guests can select the best option from those two options. The Visit Lanka Tours, We are a highly-rated tour agency on TripAdvisor, is ready to provide you with a full-value experience for your Sri Lanka tour.

In this post, we have brought you the details about the Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle with its map, our two options for the itinerary, and the major sites you will cover during this cultural triangle tour. So, we request you to grab a coffee and read it until the end if you go further.

Sri Lankan Cultural Triangle

Sri Lanka is known in the world as mainly a beach destination. But it is a nation with rich wildlife, hills, and cultural diversity. You can find so many historically and culturally significant places all around the country. Of those 8 UNESCO sites in Sri Lanka, 5 of them are situated within the Sri Lankan cultural triangle.

Those sites are:

We cover all of the above sites during our Cultural Triangle Sri Lanka itinerary.

Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle connects the three main cities of Anuraphapura, Polonnaruwa, and Kandy. It is the area where you can see most stupas, ancient monasteries, temples, sculptures, tanks, and ancient paintings in Sri Lanka. There are numerous historical sites to visit, and it is impossible to see them all in one or two days.

The map of the Sri Lankan Cultural Triangle is shown below.

Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka

(Map Source:

The main geographic feature of this triangle area is rocky outcrops. Sigiriya rock, Pidurangala rock, and Mihintale Mountain are some of the examples to prove that.

Sri Lanka Cutlural Traingle Itinerary by The Visit Lanka Tours

As we mentioned earlier, our cultural triangle itinerary has two options. Guests can choose the best option according to their preferences.

Itinerary Option 1

Day 1: Arrival and travel to Kandy

You will meet The Visit Lanka Tours representative at the Katunayaka Bandaranaike Airport. Then you will travel to the beautiful Kandy City from there. It is the capital of the central province of Sri Lanka. Kandy is a mountainous city with an elevation of 447m. Before you reach Kandy, you will visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. It is the place where you see every kind of Sri Lankan elephant. Your dinner and overnight stay will be at a beautiful hotel in Kandy.

Day 2: Explore Kandy.

After your breakfast in the hotel, you will visit the most attractive places within and near Kandy city. This includes the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the Royal Botanical Garden, Kandy Lake, and Kandy View Point. In the evening, you will go to watch a Sri Lankan cultural dance event. Your overnight stay will be at the same Kandy Hotel.

Day 3: Kandy to Sigiriya

From Kandy, you will visit Sigiriya on this day. Before reaching there, you will visit Matale Hindu Temple, Spice Garden, and Dambulla Cave Temple.

Day 4: Sigiriya to Anuradhapura and Mihintale

In the early morning on this day, you will visit Anuradhapura and Mihintale. Later, you will be back at Sigiriya hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 5: Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa and Back

Starting from Sigiriya, you will visit Polonnaruwa Ancient City on this day. After the Polonnaruwa visit, you will have a lunch with Sri Lankan rice and curries. Then you will visit Minneriya National Park for a wildlife safari. You will later come to the Sigiriya hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 6: Departure Date

According to your departure time, we will climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress on this day. Then we will drop you off at Katunayaka Airport, or the East Coast, or the West Coast, or any other destination you prefer.

Itinerary Option 2;

Day 1: From the airport to Sigiriya

After you are picked up at the Katunayaka airport, we will travel to Sigiriya. During your trip, you will visit Dambulla Cave Temple. Your overnight stay will be at the Sigiriya Hotel.

Day 2: From Sigiriya to Anuradhapura and back

You will visit Anuradhapura Ancient City and Mihintale on this day. You will be back at Sigiriya Hotel for the overnight stay.

Day 3: Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa and Back to Sigiriya

On this day, you will visit Polonnaruwa, an ancient city. Then you will visit Minneriya National Park before coming back to Sigirya hotel again for the overnight stay.

Day 4: Sigiriya to Kandy

You will be climbing Sigiriya Rock Fortress in the early morning of this day. Then you will be driven directly to Kandy and visit the National Spice Garden and Matale Hindu Temple before you come to the Kandy Hotel.

Day 5: Visit Around Kandy

As we mentioned earlier, you will visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy Lake, Kandy View Point and Peradeniya Botanical Garden. In the evening, you will go to watch a cultural dance show.

Day 6: Departure Date

This is your departure date. We will drop you off at the Katunayaka Airport, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Down South, East Coast or any other destination you prefer.

Major destinations to visit for a Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle itinerary 

Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala

When you travel to Kandy from the airport, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is the place you will visit first. It is a care and protection center for the orphaned elephants that are found in the Sri Lankan jungles. The location is 90 kilometers from Colombo. A lot of tourists and locals come to this place to see every aged employee and their daily activities. The feeding time of the elephants and their bathing time are the most attractive times of this orphanage. It is open from 8.30 am to 6 pm and covers 25 acres. The Maha Oya River flows near the orphanage and it is the place where elephants bathe two times per day.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic

This is the most attractive place and a must-visit place in Kandy City. It is a Buddhist pilgrim place where the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is established. The tooth relic was a symbol of the Sri Lankan Kings’ honor from the people. The tooth relic was established in Kandy because it was the last Sinhalese kingdom in Sri Lanka.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic is also called “Sri Dalada Maligawa’ by the locals. According to Sri Lankan history, the tooth relic was brought to Sri Lanka by Princess Hememala and Prince Dantha from India. Kandy Esala Perahera is a famous cultural festival that is held to honor the Temple of the Tooth Relic. The festival is held every July or August in Kandy city and is a must-see for anyone.

The Royal Botanical Garden

This is another nice place to visit near Kandy. It is 6km away from the city and situated close to the Mahaweli River. Peradeniya Botanical Garden is the place where you can see 4000+ plant and flower species. It is hugely famous for its orchid collection. Not only that, but you can also see anthurium and other different types of flowers here. In total, the botanical garden covers 47 acres. A garden is a well-maintained place where you can see many beautiful sights. It’s a fantastic place to enjoy nature and get relaxed.

Matale Hindu Temple

Matale Hindu Temple, or what is called ‘Sri Muthumari Amman Kovil’, is a Hindu cultural and religious place located in Matale City. It is not only a place for Hindus; Buddhists also visit this place. The temple was dedicated to “Mariamman”, the goddess of rain and fertility. It was first established in 1874 and then reconstructed in the 1980’s.

The Gopuram is a tall and ornate structure that can be seen from afar. It contains hundreds of beautiful sculptures and shows off Hindu architecture and culture. Theru festival, held in February, is the most important festival at Matale Hindu Temple. A lot of devotees participate in that festival. The large hall of the Kovil is used for weddings and other ceremonies. This is another nice place to visit that we have added to our Sri Lanka cultural triangle itinerary.

Spice Garden

This is another special place that you will visit during your cultural triangle tour. The National Spice Garden has a large variety of Sri Lankan spices. It includes pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, cardamom and more. You can learn how they grow, harvest, and produce before using them. Not only that, but you can also buy high-quality spices, traditional remedies, and natural cosmetics from here. It is a nice place where you can have a traditional Sri Lankan meal with a spicy taste.

Dambulla Cave Temple

Somebody called “Rangiri Dambulla Viharaya” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka. This is situated near Dambulla City. It is the biggest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. More than 80+ caves have been found in the area surrounding this complex. Anyhow, the attraction is going for five major caves. From those caves, it has found a large number of stratues, and most of them are Buddha stratues. As well as that, you can watch ancient paintings in those caves.

Historians believe it is a place where pre-historical people lived in the surrounded areas before 2700 years ago. But Buddhist monks lived here and it became a monastery in the 1st century BCE. In those days, King Walagamba contributed to the development of this temple.Dambulla Golden Temple is the modern temple with modern architecture where most people visit. The entire Dambulla Cave Temple complex is a superb place to visit for those with cultural enthusiasm.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress  (Must Included place for any Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Itinerary)

Some believe Sigiriya Rock Fortress is the 8th wonder of the world. Anyhow, this is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka. Sigiriya is situated a few kilometers away from Dambulla City. This was the kingdom of King Kashyapa in the 5th century AD. He built a palace at Sigiriya Rock as a safety option against his brother.

You can climb Sigiriya Rock, and it is a nice experience to get during your tour. The height of the rock is 660 ft, and you have to climb 1200 steps to reach its top. The ruins of the old palace can be seen further on top of the rock. The urban technology, architecture, paintings, water technology, and gardens are absolutely wonderful to watch. It is a place that you must visit during any cultural tour itinerary in Sri Lanka.

Anuradhapura Ancient City

Anuradhapura was the first ancient capital of Sri Lanka. It was first established by King Pandukabhaya in the 5th century BCE. From there, more than 100+ kings ruled the country from this kingdom. It includes Sinhalese rulers and a few Tamil rulers. Due to a heavy attack from south India in the 10th century AD, the kingdom and city were destroyed.

Once you visit there, you can see thousands of ancient ruins of that great kingdom. You can see some giant stupas, mind-blowing stone carvings, sculptures, and massive tanks. On those days, Kuttam Pokuna is the place where you can observe the superiority of water technology. Most Buddhists come to this ancient city to worship at Atamasthana.It means’ Eight Sacred Sites’ and those eight sites are; Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanweliseya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiriya, Jethawanaramaya, Mirisawetiya, and Lankaramaya.

During your Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Itinerary, we will cover Atamasthana and other important places in Anuradhapura Ancient City.

The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa was the second kingdom in Sri Lankan history after Anuradhapura. It remained from the 10th century to the 13th century. King Vijayabahu was the first king who established this kingdom. King Prakramabahu I and King Nissankamalla were the other greatest kings of this kingdom. It was destroyed in the 13th century by the South Indian attacker, Kalinga Maga.

Today, you can see the remains and ruins of this ancient kingdom. Like in Anuradhapura Ancient City, there are so many things and places to visit in Polonnaruwa Ancient City. Some of the major attractions are: Nissanka Latha Mandapaya, Royal Palace of King Parakrambahu, Gal Viharaya, Vatadage, Rankoth Vehera, Kiri Viaharaya, Dalada Maluwa, Pothgul Vihaharaya, and Siva Dewalaya 02.

Minneriya National Park

This is another national park where you can experience an unforgettable wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Minneriya National Park belongs to the Polonnaruwa district and is not far from either Sigiriya or Polonnaruwa cities. This national park covers almost 8889 ha. It is home to many wild animals. We hope this safari tour will give you a different kind of experience to your cultural triangle Sri Lanka itinerary.

May to September is the best season to visit Minneriya Nationa Park. In those periods, you can watch 150-300 Sri Lankan elephants near Minneriya tank. Those elephants really love to eat fresh grass near waterless areas of the tank. Apart from elephants, you can see leopards, sloth bears, sambar deer, buffaloas, jungle fowl and many other beautiful birds in this wildlife sanctuary.

Final Words about our Cultural Triangle Itinerary in Sri Lanka

We hope you will receive all the details about our Cultural Triangle Sri Lanka itinerary. If you are unsatisfied with our two options or you have a different idea, then you can customize this itinerary according to your preferences. Call or email us for everything.