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Day 01 – Arrive Colombo – Negambo
Arrive Colombo (Sri Lanka). Meet our representative upon arrival at Colombo airport and transfer to a beach hotel in Negambo. It is a famous fishing village that is equally proud of its Dutch fort and other Dutch period architecture. Overnight at the Negambo.
Day 02 – Negambo – Pinnawala – Kandalama
Today after breakfast drive to Kandalama enroute visit Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala. As you enter the 25 acre coconut property, do not be surprised to witness baby elephants being bottle fed or moving around freely causing absolutely no harm to anyone. It is rightly a sincere sight to observe how these gentle giants – orphaned and sometimes three-legged – are taken care of since 1975 at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Up to date, over 20 calves have been born here, and it is surprising to hear that some of its inmates have even seen their grandchildren during the past few decades. Watch as they feed at 09:15 am, 12:15 pm & 05:00 pm and take a river bath twice a day at 10:00 am & 02:00 pm respectively for an experience that could never be felt anywhere else on earth.
Continue your drive to Kandalama. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel and relax for a while amidst the comforts of your room. Overnight at the Kandalama.
Day 03 – Kandalama – Anuradhapura – Aukana – Kandalama
After breakfast drive to Anuradhapura, the most celebrated of Sri Lanka’s ancient ruined cities. The city’s greatest treasures are its dagobas; domes enshrining sacred relics. The most notable is the Ruvanveliseya Dagoba, dating back to the 2nd century BC, which you will visit today along with the Thuparamaya, said to contain the collarbone of Buddha. Discover the city’s most renowned relic, the sacred Bo Tree. Emperor Asoka’s daughter brought to Anuradhapura a branch of this tree under which Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment. Planted over 2,250 years ago, it is the oldest surviving historic tree in the world.
Later drive to Aukana. Standing up to a solid 40 feet over Anuradhapura the Aukana Buddha Statue – a creation of king Datusena – happens to be one of the foremost cultural & religious attractions in Sri Lanka spearheading fantastic proof of carvings that date back to the 5th century. The standing Buddha statue chiseled out of a granite cliff with magnificently carved pleats of a robe worn over the left shoulder truly proves not only a subtle talent of a local stone mason, but also a masterpiece of a king who is still venerated by locals. Return to the Kandalama for overnight stay.
Day 04 – Kandalama – Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa – Kandalama
This morning travel to Sigiriya, home to the 5th-century UNESCO World Heritage listed Rock Fortress, also known as ‘Lion Rock’. The rock fortress was built by King Kashyapa and was named so because a massive lion was carved out of the rock and once sat at the entrance to the palace. Today only the lion’s paws remain. While here you can climb to the top for panoramic views of the area and explore the surrounding gardens. Walk in the shade of an eminent ‘mirror wall’ embracing the Western face of Sigiriya representing an artistic hundred meters laminated with graffiti. Wander into the well-fabricated museum downstairs for an epic journey of yesteryears to realize how the citadel floated above citizens with the castle, ponds and irrigation systems that pumped water right onto its summit with an ingenious hydraulic system describing a colossal masterpiece of the great king which remained a wonder in Asia for centuries.
Thereafter, drive to Polonnaruwa. Visit the ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. Polonnaruwa was the capital of Sri Lanka from 11th to the 12th centuries and is a well preserved city of stupas, frescoes and statues. While here, explore the Gal Viharaya, a magnificent group of rock temples consisting of four separate statues; a meditating Buddha, a smaller Buddha said to be visiting heaven, a standing Buddha and the reclining Buddha entering Nirvana. Explore the Vatadage, an ancient structure with elaborate stone carvings that are commonly placed at entrances to monastic buildings of ancient Sri Lanka. Return to the Kandalama for overnight stay.
Day 05 – Kandalama – Dambulla – Matale – Kandy
After breakfast, travel to Dambulla where you will visit the Dambulla Rock Temple. Dating back to the 1st century BC, the temple is made up of five caves that have been converted into shrine rooms containing around 150 Buddha statues and colourful frescoes. As you enter the retreat look straight up to the gigantic Buddha statue glittering in gold over a land which today houses an important junction in the country’s economic and cultural uplifting.
Thereafter drive to Matale to visit spice garden. An agricultural zone in the Central Province, Matale seldom drops off the maps due to its remarkable contribution through flagship crops of the island extending from tea, rubber & vegetables to spices. Spearheading the Rebellion back in 1848, Matale today takes immense pride in its story woven around spices. Stop by the side of a spice garden into which you will be most welcome and observe the therapeutic values of spices & processes over a refreshing cup of herbal tea.
Continue to the sacred Buddhist city of Kandy, famous for the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Last ruled by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe – before it was brought under the British rule in 1815, Kandy – the World Heritage Site & last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings – crafts an array of culture, history and heritage in the minds of visitors across the globe. Overnight at the Kandy.
Day 06 – Kandy
This morning after breakfast, visit the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens with a fine collection of over 4000 species of exotic plants and later visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, one of the most revered Buddhist sites in the world. The temple houses an important Buddhist Relic, a tooth of the Buddha. Stolen at his funeral, the tooth was smuggled into Sri Lanka hidden in the hair of a princess who fled from India. The relic of the tooth is kept in a two-storey shrine fronted by large elephant trunks. Explore the remains of the Royal Palace, now a museum. This evening you will watch a colourful cultural dance performance. Overnight at the Kandy.
Day 07 – Kandy – Nuwara Eliya
Morning visit Tea Plantation and a tea factory. Sri Lanka, Tea and Tourism are words which cannot be separated. Take a tour to the cold & misty hills that take pride of an ultimate tea tour, covering lush green blankets of tea plantations. Or just step into a tea factory processing the prestigious brand of Ceylon Tea, to observe a rich tradition kept alive up to date. As you observe the hissing and swishing of machines, inhaling the heavenly scent arising from these facilities, make sure to end your day in style over a perfectly blended cup of pure Ceylon Tea. Taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory.
Thereafter drive to Nuwara Eliya. It has earned a reputation for itself as a preferred destination in the hill country by tourists and locals alike because of its incredibly cool climate and amazing sceneries. Whilst delighting travellers with its awe-inspiring beauty, Nuwara Eliya is also home to one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in South Asia. This town plays a pivotal role in the world’s tea industry as the produce of this region alone accounts for a substantial portion of tea exports. Overnight at the Nuwara Eliya.
Day 08 – Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains – Bandarawela
Today morning after breakfast drive to Horton Plains. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site & Eco-tourism hideout in the heart of the isle, painted with unending stretches of green pastures marks one of the healthiest wet montane evergreen forests in Sri Lanka. With an altitude above 7000ft, the plateau sweeps to a robust 3169 hectares sheltering flora and fauna varieties that may be found nowhere else on earth.
As the tributary of Belihul Oya – Bakers Falls – thunders down rocks head off the beaten track across frost-covered grass to feel the icy-cold wind against your face. You may even gaze down World’s End, a head-spinning 3700ft drop towards the Southern end or drive carefully through herds of sambar deer, shy to human touch & birdlife chirping across the plains. If you’re cautious enough you may be greeted by the sights of a grunting wild boar, a pouncing fishing cat, otters or even the ‘Spotted-Ghost that haunts the plains’, the Sri Lankan Leopard.
Thereafter drive to Bandarawela. It is a charming town at an elevation of 4000 feet and a popular health resort. Overnight at the Bandarawela.
Day 09 – Bandarawela – Udawalawe – Embilipitiya
Today morning after breakfast drive to Udawalawe. Thereafter, do a safari of The Udawalawe National Park by jeep. Be ready to witness trumpets across the border as you approach elephant country around the corner. Udawalawe truly is a sanctuary for the big footed & tusked. Marked by relatively large herds of elephants, the national park proves to be one of the best places one could observe them in their natural habitat. Hop into a safari jeep and head into the park, you are most likely to drive into your first herd of giants within the maiden hundred meters. Turn on your radar into other species – such as potted deer, sambur, barking deer, water buffalo and jackal – found within the park.
Continue your drive to Embilipitiya. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel and relax for a while amidst the comforts of your room. Overnight at the Embilipitiya.
Day 10 – Embilipitiya – Ratnapura – Ahungalla
Today morning after breakfast drive to Ratnapura. City of gems or Ratnapura, either way you name it, the legacy will continue. Gem mines and swift hands mining & sorting the precious stones straight from the earth is nothing, but a common sight in Ratnapura. As you enter a gem museum watch how the stones are cut & polished into perfection through experienced hands which have sailed Sri Lanka in the best seas of treasure over centuries. Visit a gem mine and a museum.
Continue your drive to Ahungalla. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel and relax for a while amidst the comforts of your room. Overnight at the Ahungalla.
Day 11 – Ahungalla – Galle – Ahungalla
Today travel south to explore the city of Galle including the lighthouse and the Old Town. Also visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Dutch Fort, the largest intact Dutch fort in Asia. Within the ramparts and stonewalls of Galle Fort outstanding buildings remain. The narrow streets are dotted with Dutch colonial villas, museums and antique shops. In the afternoon, relax at your beach resort. Overnight at the Ahungalla.
Day 12 – Ahungalla – Colombo
Today after breakfast we will travel to Colombo en-route visiting Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery. The hatchery is home to Sri Lanka’s pioneering sea turtle conservation project, established in 1981 to protect Sri Lanka’s turtles.
Upon arrival, start your city tour. Explore Fort district, the historic center of the city, wander through Pettah Market. Visit the Dutch Church of Wolfendhall dating back to 1749, Kelaniya Buddhist Temple, a major pilgrimage site for Buddhist devotees, and the Colombo and Natural History museums.
Late night you will be transferred to Colombo airport to board your flight for onward destination.