14 NIGHTS – 16 DAYS ~ FROM £2,120
This tour takes in the major highlights of Sri Lanka. Whilst visiting, the famous Cultural triangle of Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Kandy, it also allows the traveller to glimpse into the colonial past in Colombo, Trinco and Nuwara Eliya. For the more adventurous a chance to climb Adams Peak – a place of significant religious importance. Then drift via the superb natural wildlife park at Yala to spend a few days relaxing on the golden shores of the Indian Ocean.
Colombo • Habarana • Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa • Anuradhapura /Mihintale • Trincomalee • Dambulla/Kandy • Pinnawela • Nuwara Eliya • optional Adams • Peak or Horton Plains • Yala • Galle
DAY 1 . To Colombo
Fly from Heathrow on direct SriLankan flight to Colombo.
DAY 2 . Colombo
Transfer to the Taj Samudra in Colombo. Sightseeing tour of the city.
DAY 3 . To Habarana
After breakfast, drive to Habarana to stay at the Habarana Lodge for three nights. Keep an eye out for dazzling Kingfishers as you cross and re cross the river Maha Oya. Afternoon Elephant ride into the jungle.
DAY 4 . Excursion to Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa
After breakfast, visit the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya built by the wildly eccentric King Kasyapa in the 5th C.AD. Famed for its frescoes of “Heavenly Maidens”, the massive granite outcrop dominates the plains - rising dramatically to 600 ft. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Polonnaruwa the Medieval Capital of Sri Lanka.Vast man-made reservoirs – ‘tanks’ - supplied the population with water by using a unique and complex irrigation system.The highlight of Polonnaruwa is the Gal Vihara; breathtaking enigmatic sculptures of the Buddha, so delicate in carving that you almost feel Buddha will open His eyes after a peaceful dream.
DAY 5 . Excursion to Anuradhapura and Mihintale
Visit Anuradhapura the 5th C. BC capital of Sri Lanka. The city was a model of planning with precincts set aside for huntsmen, scavengers, heretics as well as for foreigners! Here the revered Sri Mahabodhi Treeworld’s oldest authenticated tree – still embodies the essence of Buddhism. It is worth the effort to climb the 1840 steps to the top of the sacred site of Mihintale where Buddhism first came to the Island.
DAY 6 . To Trincomalee
Morning departure for Trincomalee. At Kantale stop on the bund of the lake to see many different species of birds. Afternoon visit Trincomalee Town including ‘Lovers Leap’, the Dutch Fort Fredrick and the Hindu Koneswaram Kovil. Also visit the beautiful natural Harbour. Overnight Nilaveli Beach Hotel.
DAY 7 . To Kandy via Dambulla
After breakfast leave for Kandy visiting en route the spectacular Buddhist Cave Temples of Dambulla. These are possibly the most important centre of religious art on the island.The most spectacular is the second with particularly vivid ceiling frescoes, depicting scenes relating to the arrival of Buddha in Sri Lanka. Stop off at a Spice Garden, see the spices in their natural state and perhaps buy some cloves, cardamom or curry leaves to take home. Also visit a Batik Factory and watch the skilled workers at their art.Two nights in Kandy at the Mahaweli Reach.
DAY 8 . Excursion to Pinnawela
Morning excursion to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. If lucky you might be able to bottle feed one of the ‘babies’.Then watch them luxuriate in the waters of the river for their morning bath. Afternoon city tour of Kandy including a visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Art and Crafts workshop and the Bazaars. At the heart of Kandy lies the beautiful artificial lake created in 1807 by the last king. Look out for large water monitors sunning by the lakeside. Evening Kandyan dance and cultural performance.
DAY 9 . To Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast drive or take the train to Nuwara Eliya. (Please notify when booking which option you require) A lovely journey, climbing ever higher through rolling hills dotted with Tea Plantations - visit one and have a well deserved ‘cuppa tea’.Three nights at the St.Andrews Hotel.
DAY 10 . Nuwara Eliya – optional
Adams Peak Day at leisure to discover Nuwara Eliya, a picturesque Hill Station built as a British retreat. An Anglican Church, delightful golf course and beautiful parks give the place an air of nostalgia. Optional late evening transfer to climb Adams Peak. At approximately 7500 ft high, it is the second highest peak in Sri Lanka. Snacks and drinks enroute are provided. Please note-climbing times vary with the season.The itinerary will be adjusted as required: Night climb – Nov-April. Day climb – May-Oct.
DAY 11 . Nuwara Eliya – optional
Horton Plains For night climb - early morning reach the summit of Adams Peak to witness the sunrise. On a clear day it is an incomparable sight turning the surrounding mountains into a glory of colour.Thereafter return to Nuwara Eliya. Rest of day at leisure. If not walking to Adams Peak rise early to go to World’s End to see the ethereal mists rise from the depths below.Then walk to Baker’s Falls.
DAY 12 . To Yala National Park
Morning drive to Yala. En route stop at Hakgala Botanical Gardens and Ella Falls to enjoy breathtaking views. At the Ella Gap the escarpment, 3,280 ft high splits apart, and the valley plummets to the plains below. Afternoon game drive in Yala National Park: good chance to see Elephants, Buffalo, Deer, wild Boar and if lucky a Leopard.The bird life is spectacular. Stay overnight at the Yala Safari Game Lodge.
DAY 13 . To Galle
Morning departure for Bentota: pass saltpans, freshwater lagoons, palm fringed villages- see the famous ‘Stilt Fishermen’. Check in at The LightHouse Hotel for three nights. Afternoon explore the delightful colonial port of Galle.
DAY 14 . Galle
Full day at leisure by the beach.
DAY 15 . Galle
Full day at leisure by the beach.
DAY 16 . To London
Morning transfer to Colombo Airport to board direct SriLankan Airlines flight. Arrive in London Heathrow same day.