Other Departure: Manchester - £1215, Birmingham - £1245, Glasgow - £1255, Edinburgh - £1259, Newcastle - £1259
Highlights: Dambulla - Sigiriya - Hiriwadunna - Minneriya - Sigiriyana - Cave Temple - Matale - Kandy - Garrison Cemetery - The Temple of the Tooth Relic - Nuwara Eliya - Strawberry Farm - Kosgoda - Beruwala
Alternate travel date: 11 Aug 20 - 31 Oct 20
Sri Lanka is a lush, tropical island paradise, known to Arab traders as Serendib – hence "serendipity", meaning discovery by happy accident. Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and un-spoilt.
There are 8 world Heritage sites in Sri Lanka. The 3 ancient and magnificent cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya were inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1982 followed by Galle, Kandy, and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve in 1988. The Golden Temple of Dambulla in 1991 and finally the Central highlands were added in 2010. These places of historical and natural significance are not to be missed for any visitor to Sri Lanka.
Having a history marked by four centuries of colonial rule, the country still manages to safeguard remnants from the past in their original grandeur. Some of the more renowned historic sites are the Galle Fort built originally by the Portuguese, Colombo Harbour and the ancient city of Polonnaruwa all confirm Sri Lanka’s ancient and colourful past. The rock temple of the Buddha, Gal Vihara is one of the finest examples of the religious heritage. Temples play an important part in everyday life and a visit to one should be a must for all visitors.
Sri Lanka’s wildlife is as varied as the island itself, ranging from elephants and leopards to Whales – it is the only place in the world to find all three in such close proximity. Sri Lanka is ranked amongst the world’s best biodiversity hot spots. As a country with a high rate of endemism, it has many groups of animals including birds, mammal, reptiles and amphibians which can’t be found anywhere in the world. With over 12 per cent of the country designated for wildlife protection it is easy to get a taste of Sri Lankan wildlife.
Being an ancient kingdom, Sri Lanka has preserved its most precious treasures, its culture and tradition. An integral part of this is its cuisine. Sri Lankan cuisine has many influences from varied destinations such as North and South India, Persia, Malaysia, Holland and Portugal. Rice, which is usually consumed daily, can be found at any special occasion, while spicy curries are a favourite dish for lunch and dinner. Fish curry is a particular specialty.
• Entrance fees Includes:
o Turtle Hatchery
o Temple of the Tooth Relic (A World Heritage Site)
o Tea plantation and factory
o Strawberry Farm
o Sigiriya (World Heritage Site)
o Minneriya National Park & 01 Jeep Safari
o Hiriwadunna Village
o Dambulla Cave Temple
o Local Vegetable Market Visit
o British Garrison Cemetery Visit
o 01 Train Journey from Kandy to NanuOya
o Cultural Dance
o Devon & St.Claire Waterfalls Value Additions: (Complimentary)
o 01 Hot Cup of Tea at Tea Factory
o 01 Cup of Curd & Treacle at a Local Market
o 01 Water Bottle on Arrival Itinerary:
Day 1: Airport / Dambulla
Arrival at Colombo International Airport: Here, you will be met by a professional chauffeur guide. After the formalities at the airport you will be escorted to your air conditioned vehicle. Next, transfer to Dambulla. (Airport to Dambulla: Approx. 4-5hrs)
Dinner & Overnight stay at Sigiriyana Resort by Thilanka in Dambulla or similar Day 2: Dambulla / Sigiriya / Hiriwadunna / Dambulla In the morning visit Sigiriya and climb the historical rock. (Habarana to Sigiriya: Approx. 30-45Mins) Referred by locals as the Eighth Wonder of World, this ancient palace and fortress complex has significant archeological importance and attracts thousands of tourists every year. The palace is located in the heart of the island between the towns of Dambulla and Habarana on a massive rocky plateau 370 meters above the sea level. Sigiriya rock plateau, formed from magma of an extinct volcano, is 200 meters higher than the surrounding jungles. Its view astonishes the visitors with the unique harmony between the nature and human imagination. On completion, visit The Minneriya National Park and enjoy a Jeep safari. (Sigiriya to Minneriya: Approx 40min) Minneriya is yet another haven for the elephants that migrate from surrounding jungles to enjoy the lush grass fields on the banks of the Minneriya reservoir, during the dry season. Reports of elephant sightings range from a mere 100 to an astounding 700. The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena). This tank is generally known as a place to observe the elephants that come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the huge flocks of birds that come to fish in the shallow waters. Minneriya National Park is located 182 km away from Colombo in the North Central Plains of Sri Lanka. The major city closest to Minneriya National Park is Polonnaruwa. The renovated vast ancient Minneriya Rainwater Reservoir that irrigates the considerable area of the district of Polonnaruwa is the focal point of the Minneriya National Park. Being part of the elephant corridor which joins up with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa parks, Minneriya National Park gives the opportunity to see herds of Elephants throughout the year.May to October is the best period to visit Minneriya National Park in view of the famous gathering of the wild elephants. On completion, return to the hotel and relax. Dinner & Overnight stay at Sigiriyana Resort by Thilanka in Dambulla or similar Day 3: Daambulla / Cave Temple / Hiriwaduna / Dambulla
After breakfast, proceed to Dambulla Cave Temple. Dambulla Cave Temple is a vast isolated rock mass and it was here that king Valagambahu took refuge in the 01st century B.C. He later turned the caves into a rock temple. Dambulla is a world heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and ceiling found here are over 2000 years old and is the largest area of painting found in the world. The caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock and spanning 14 meters. On completion, proceed to Hiriwadunna for an authentic village experience. (Dambulla to Hiriwaduna: Approx. 10-20mins)
This is a super jungle and village experience which is popular with most clients. Early departure from the hotel with a packed "local" breakfast to a point off the main road where we begin a scintillating walk over village paths, a tank (ancient reservoir) bund and forest. Cross a little jungle rivulet by catamaran to reach a farmers simple "wattle and daub" house where the breakfast is consumed. The villager will provide some tea and may be sweetmeats. Proceed half an hour by foot and bullock cart to a point where a vehicle meets you for the transfer to the hotel, a truly Sri Lankan experience. Enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan style lunch followed by a cookery demonstration in the village. And then, visit a ‘Local vegetable market’ and witness the local men selling vegetables in Sri Lankan way. Enjoy a cup of Sri Lanka’s favorite dessert “Curd & Treacle” On completion, return to the hotel and relax. Dinner & Overnight stay at Sigiriyana Resort by Thilanka in Dambulla or similar Day 4: Dambulla / Matale / Kandy - Cultural Show After breakfast, proceed to Kandy. En-route, visit a spice garden in Matale. (Habarana to Matale: Approx. 1-2hrs)
Sri Lanka has always been renowned for its spices. Over 15 different spices call Sri Lanka home and many of them are traded in the international spice market. Cinnamon especially is endemic to Sri Lanka, and highest quality ‘true cinnamon’ can be obtained here. The A9 Hwy between Matale and Dambulla is famous for its spice gardens, with over 30 dotted along the road. All offer free tours of their gardens with an English-speaking guide who can explain the merits and health properties of herbs, spices and plants including cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, coffee, nutmeg, pepper, cardamom, aloe vera, iriweriya and the henna plant. Enjoy a head & shoulder massage for 15 minutes and a Sri Lankan lunch afterwards at the Spice Garden. On completion, continue to proceed to Kandy. (Matale to Kandy: Approx. 01hr) In the Evening enjoy a Cultural Dance:
These classical dance forms are associated with the performance of various rituals and ceremonies which are centuries old and are based on the folk religion and folk beliefs going back to times before the advent and acceptance of Buddhism by the Sinhalese people in the third century B.C. These rituals and ceremonies reflect the values, beliefs and customs of an agricultural civilization of Sri Lanka. On completion, check-in to the hotel and relax. Dinner & Overnight stay at Thilanka Kandy or similar Day 5: Kandy Sightseeing – Garrison Cemetery & The Temple of the Tooth Relic After breakfast, embark on a sightseeing tour of Kandy. Kandy is a lovely city, the Hill Capital and last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings retains an aura of grandeur, which time has not affected. Encircled by hills, with a tranquil lake in its center, it is the site of the renowned "Temple of the Tooth". Kandy and its satellite villages is the center of the island’s handicraft industry and its traditional dances are the most spectacular in the country. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple. On completion, visit Temple of the Tooth Relic (A World Heritage Site)
In the crown jewel of the city, Kandy is the famed Sri Dalada Maligawa, also known as the Temple of the Tooth. The golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. The entire complex is over three centuries old at least, and has seen many a king’s rise and fall. It has seen bloody wars and peaceful reigns and is one of the most historical places still standing in the island. The entire temple complex, from peaked tiled roofs to white walls with large airy windows, is built using classical Kandyan architecture. Also, visit the British Garrison Cemetery.
The British Garrison Cemetary is on the far side of Kandy Lake, past the Temple of the Tooth and a short walk up the hill.
This simple plot of land is the final resting place of many men, women and children from Colonial days, they died between 1822 and 1870. ( This is when the cemetary closed, relatives of those already buried there were still admitted after that date.)
Life was hard back then, few of these Europeans had a long lifespans or even made it it to retirement. On completion, return to the hotel and relax. Dinner & Overnight stay at Thilanka Kandy or similar Day 6: Kandy / Nuwara Eliya – Train Journey
After breakfast, proceed to Kandy railway station and board your train to Nanu Oya. (Kandy to Nanu-Oya train journey: Approx. 3-4hrs) The Kandy to Nanuoya train journey is one of the most scenic, epic train journeys in not only just Sri Lanka but the world. The views on both sides of the rail are breathtaking. The train winds through the mountains overlooking farms and villages and of course vast tea plantations. The scenery changes throughout the trip, from an entire green view to a woodland forest. The train also passes through a multiple tunnels. Hanging out of the train gives you the best views and is an awesome feeling. The Kandy to Nanuoya Train is just one of many bucket list items to add to your itinerary, you are not going to regret it. Once reached, you will be transferred to your hotel in Nuwara Eliya. (Nanu-Oya to Nuwara Eliya: 20-30mins) Dinner & Overnight stay at Galway Heights in Nuwara Eliya or similar Day 7: Nuwara Eliya Sightseeing & Strawberry Farm / Kosgoda/ Beruwala
After breakfast, commence a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya is a mountain station at 1,868 m (6,128 ft) of altitude, in a splendid landscape. The city is particularly well-kept and neat, and the design of the locality exudes an air of “colonial British style". Nuwara Eliya was built entirely during the 19th century and its architecture mimics that of an English country town, with red-brick walls, country house like hill club and mock-Tudor half-timbering. Blessed with salubrious climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery; it's hard to imagine that Nuwara Eliya is only 180 Km from the hot and humid Colombo. Visit a Strawberry Farm
Strawberry Farms can be reached via Hakgala Ambewela Road, New Zealand Farm Road. Freshly picked Strawberries are available at many outlets and cafes that serve Strawberry drinks, Ice cream pancakes etc. and very moderately priced. They are grown at the Ambewela Farm. Adam Agro, Rose Garden and many other farms located in Nuwara Eliya. In Sri Lanka strawberries are grown in open fields and poly tunnels. Strawberries give crops in 3 to 5 months and the season of the strawberries begins in September. On completion, visit a Tea plantation and factory
Pure Ceylon Tea is regarded as the finest tea in the world and visiting a tea estate will be an unforgettable experience for any visitor to Sri Lanka. There is an oasis of calm and quiet in the middle of a tea estate. Tea estates in Sri Lanka are wonderful places to chill out and breathe in the fresh mountain air while enjoying great views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Tea plucking is an initial step in the tea making process. It is a delicate act that is artfully done by hand in order to eventually produce the finest quality tea. If desired, the visitor can join the tea puckers, collecting unforgettable memories to take back. The heart behind the tea process is the tea factory. It is a vast building where all the miracles happen to help create the perfect cup of tea. Enjoy a hot cup of pure ‘Ceylon Tea’ at the tea factory. On completion, proceed to Kosgoda. En-route, witness the gorgeous waterfalls “Devon & St. Claire”. Continue to proceed to Kosgoda and visit the ‘Sea Turtle Coservation Project’ (Nuwara Eliya to Kosgoda: Approx.5hrs). The Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project follows a sustainable model operated by a very friendly owner. The place is run by the locals, with international volunteers helping out throughout the year. They aim to protect sea turtle eggs and increase hatching rates while also treating disabled turtles. If you’re lucky, you will get to experience a turtle release, and a hatching if you get there just before 6 PM. On completion, proceed to Beruwala for your most awaited beach stay. (Kosgoda to Beruwala: Approx.20mins) Dinner & Overnight stay at Cinnamon Bey in Beruwala or similar Day 8 & 9: Beruwala Beach Stay. Enjoy the beach stay. Dinner & Overnight stay at Cinnamon Bey in Beruwala or similar Day 10: Beruwala / Airport
Today after the Breakfast you will be transferred to the Colombo Airport via Express way to catch your flight back home accompanied with all the happy memories of the tropical isle; Sri Lanka once known as TAPROBANE. (Beruwala to Airport: Approx.2-3hrs)