Depart your Kandy hotel by air-conditioned vehicle with your driver-guide, and make the roughly 2.5-hour journey to Panduwasnuwara. Bring a packed breakfast if you wish as there is no food stop before lunch.
On arrival at the archaeological site, enjoy a guided walk around the ruins. View the crumbled buildings and learn how Panduwasnuwara flourished during the 6th century BC before lying deserted until the 1300s. Most ruins date to this latter period, when the capital was known as Parakamapura, and include a royal palace, tower, sacred Buddha tooth temple, and the Panda Wewa irrigation system, believed to be one of the world’s first.
Next, make the 1.5-hour drive to Yapahuwa rock fortress, where King Bhuvenakabahu stood out against Dravidian invaders. Learn about Bhuvenakabahu’s bid to protect the holy Buddha tooth here and see the well-preserved fortress staircase, complete with stone lions and doorway, and a hilltop stupa above.
After lunch, drive back to Kandy, stopping to visit Elephant Rock (Ethagala) on route. This elephant-shaped rock is topped by a giant Buddha statue and offers awe-inspiring views from the top.
Your tour then concludes with a hotel drop-off.