14 NIGHTS – 16 DAYS ~ FROM £2,320
This is a tour of exploration, including visits to some lesser-known parts of the beautiful island, including ‘Trinco’, with its breathtakingly beautiful harbour. Wander the amazing ruins of the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa; climb the precipice to ‘Fortress’ Sigiriya. Visit the ancient dwellers of Sri Lanka – the Veddha. Shop in Kandy for trinkets or gems. Take a jeep safari to the Minneriya National Park. Tea taste in Nuwara Eliya, walk the rambling Horton Plains, then go on ‘safari hunting for Leopard’, before relaxing on the sun-drenched shores of the Indian Ocean.
Colombo • Kandalama • Sigiriya /Anuradhapura • Trincomalee Polonnaruwa • Minneriya/Dambulla/Mahiyangana • Kandy Nuwara Eliya • Horton Plains • Yala • Bentota
DAY 1 . To Colombo
Depart for Colombo on direct SriLankan Airlines.
DAY 2 . Colombo
After arrival time to relax and then early evening city tour. Overnight Taj Samudra.
DAY 3 . To Kandalama
Morning start to Kandalama. Afternoon Elephant ride into the jungle at Habarana.Two nights Kandalama Hotel.
DAY 4 . Excursion to Sigiriya and Anuradhapura
Early morning visit the impressive Fortress of Sigiriya: the ruined Fortifications, Pleasure Garden,Water Garden, Graffiti on the Mirror Wall and the legendary Sigiriya Maidens. Next visit Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka and home to the Holy ‘Bo’Tree.
DAY 5 . To Trincomalee – Kantale
After breakfast leave for Trincomalee (Trinco) famed as one of the finest natural harbours in the world. Stop off at Kantale on the bund of the lake where large flocks of Cormorants co-operatively fish. Occasionally a herd of wild Elephant can be spotted coming to drink at the waters edge.Two nights at Nilaveli Beach Hotel.
DAY 6 . Trincomalee
After breakfast boat ride to Nilaveli Pigeon Island – take a swimming costume for great bathing.Trinco has had a turbulent history with Dutch, Danes, French and British vying for supremacy: an afternoon tour will reflect this with a visit to Fort Frederick and the harbour area. See the poignant ‘Lovers Leap’ and Konesvaram Temple.
DAY 7 . To Polonnaruwa
After leaving Trinco drive to Polonnaruwa to glimpse past glories of the medieval capital, including the vast man-made ‘tanks’; the Tivanka Image House with its 12th C. paintings, and the Gal Vihara - massive stone carvings of the Buddha – unequivocally the gems of Sri Lankan sculpture. Overnight Deer Park Hotel.
DAY 8 . To Mahiyangana – Minneriya
National Park - Dambulla- Dambana Early morning safari to the Minneriya National Park - with over 450 Elephants living there the chances are high of spotting large herds. After breakfast visit the Caves at Dambulla where over 22,000-sq. ft of murals astounds the eye with their colour and vivacity. Also see a Spice Garden and Batik Factory.Thence on to Dambana to the Veddha settlement.The Veddha people are thought to be the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka, and still cling tenaciously to their ancient ways. Overnight at the Mahiyangana Rest House - a property with simple accommodation.
DAY 9 . To Kandy
Morning drive to Kandy. After checking in go to the Peradeniya Gardens - a delight with more than 5000 species - including avenues of Double Coconut Palms, an amazing 600 sq metre Umbrella Tree and a unique “Sooriyakenda” tree.Wander around the Orchid House with its blaze of colour. Later drive around Kandy Lake, visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic - followed by evening cultural show. Overnight Mahaweli Reach.
DAY 10 . To Nuwara Eliya
Drive to Nuwara Eliya or take the delightful train ride. (Please give preferred option when booking) Stop off at a Tea Plantation for a freshly brewed cup of tea! Remainder of the day at leisure to explore the town with its colonial overtones.Two nights at the Grand Hotel Golf Wing.
DAY 11 . Excursion to Horton Plains
Climb the winding hills to Horton Plain and walk to Baker’s Falls via ‘World’s End’ to see the awe-inspiring sheer drop.The National Park teems with wildlife – including Sambhur, Bear Monkey and shy Leopard. Rare plants and exotic birds make this a place to savour and enjoy.The afternoon is free perhaps to explore the delightful town, with its decidedly British air, or play a round of golf on the pristine green of the Club founded by the Gordon Highlanders.
DAY 12 . To Yala
Leisurely drive down to Yala via Ella Gap.The views from Ella are wonderful as you look down through the hills to the plains beyond. Overnight Yala Safari Game Lodge.
DAY 13 . To Bentota via Galle
Early morning safari with picnic breakfast to the National Park. A chance to see Elephant and, if very lucky, the elusive Leopard. Drive on to Bentota, via Galle stopping to visit the ancient fort. Three nights Taj Exotica Hotel.
DAY 14 . Bentota
Day at leisure.
DAY 15 . Bentota
Day at leisure.
DAY 16 . To London
Transfer to airport for same day return to London by SriLankan Airlines.