Absolute Sri Lanka
ABSOLUTE SRI LANKA
Day 1: On arrival at the International airport, you will be warmly greeted and transferred to your hotel in Colombo (Approx. 30 Mins drive). While in Colombo take a panoramic tour of the city which like many capital cities in developing countries is fast changing its face. Yet in some parts, the old world charm is retained. The tour through the Colombo fort which also is the commercial hub, has some colonial English built buildings yet preserved. The city tour will take you through some affluent streets passing the Chinese gifted BMICH, the Galle Face Green, Independence Square and the newly built Independence Arcade.
Day 2: After breakfast proceed to Habarana (Approx. 4.5 Hrs drive). Check in at the hotel and relax.
Day 3: After breakfast drive the short distance (Approx. 30 Mins drive one way) to climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO world heritage site. It is commonly called the ‘Fortress in the Sky’ and is probably the most fantastic wonder of Sri Lanka. It is also known as Lion Rock because of the huge lion that used to stand at the entrance to the Palace on the summit of the 600-foot rock.Proceed for a village visit where you will then be taken on a bullock cart ride through a banana plantation where you could taste and savour the ripe bananas there. You could opt to take a ride to cross a scenic reservoir in an “oruwa ” (traditional boat) to visit a Chena cultivation. This experience will give an opportunity to meet and interact with the villagers in the area to know about how they go about with their farming and cultivation. You may even opt to help them in some of their daily activities such as farming and cooking.
Day 4: Today you will be taken to visit the Polonnaruwa site (Approx. 2 Hrs drive) to hear the tales of how the king’s court was laid out at the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Another important royal capital, more recent than Anuradhapura, with its well-preserved 12th century ruins & impressive stone culture recalls an inspired past. Although nearly 1000 years old, the monuments are arranged in a reasonably compact garden setting and their development is easier to follow.Later in the afternoon take a safari at the Minneriya National Park, popular for Elephant gatherings. (In case the par k is inaccessible the safari will be done at Eco Park or Kaudulla Park)Return to the hotel (Approx. 2 Hrs drive) and relax
Day 5: After breakfast today, travel to Dambulla (Approx. 30 Mins drive) to visit the Dambulla Cave Temple.The rock caves at Dambulla are 150 metres above the road and have a history that is thought to date back as far as the 1st century BC when King Valagam Bahu took refuge here, having been driven out of Anuradhapura. Upon regaining his throne he converted the caves into a rock temple, with further improvements being made over the years by subsequent rulers. You will be able to explore these and also visit the rock temple on the vast, sloping rock. Some of the caves have fine frescoes and there is a 15 metre long reclining Buddha image in one cave. From the level of the caves you will have superb views over the surrounding countryside.On completion proceed to the overnight hotel in Kandy to spend the evening at leisure (Approx. 2 Hrs drive)
Day 6: This morning you will be driven to visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (Approx. 1 Hrs drive one way), which is home to hundreds of abandoned or injured elephants who are looked after with warmth, love and affectionReturn back to Kandy for a tour of the Kandy City with its lakeside setting. Located in the centre of Sri Lanka the city lies in the midst of hills of rare vegetal species. The Kandy Valley crosses an area of tropical plantations with the monumental ensemble of Kandy is an example of construction that associates the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth which you would visit.In the evening visit the Peradeniya Botanical Garden
Day 7: Today you will be taken to the Peradeniya station to board the train from Peradeniya to take one of the most scenic train journeys through hills and tea plantations (Approx. 3.5 hrs journey). You will be picked up at the Nanu Oya station by your chauffeur guide who will drive you to the overnight hotel. Check in at Grand Hotel to spend a relaxing time in the hill country.
Day 8: Breakfast at the hotel will be followed by a panoramic tour of the Nuwara Eliya city which opens up to a breathtaking panorama of colour with beautiful gardens, cascading waterfalls, lakes and sweet smelling mountain air.
Day 9: After breakfast, transfer to Yala (Approx. 4.5 Hrs drive). The journey would take you through the Ella gap, where on a sunny day you can get wonderful views of Sri Lanka's southern coastal plains. En route you can visit the holy town of Kataragama, a place of worship for Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, to witness pooja (offerings) take place at the temple.
Day 10: Early this morning, proceed to the Yala National Park for a game drive at Sri Lanka’s famous wildlife National Park. The best chance to see a leopard is generally first thing in the morning and then again at dusk. Apart from the leopards, there are a large number of elephants living in the park. Spotted deer, sambar, wild board, wild buffaloes, sloth bear, jackal and mangoose can also be seen. The bird life there too is fantastic.Enjoy the second safari in the evening.
Day 11: After breakfast transfer to the Southern capital of Sri Lanka, Galle (Approx. 4 Hrs drive), passing small fishing villages and you could witness the ever famous stilt fisherman carefully balanced on the stilts. While in Galle explore the Galle Fort with its low lined streets and the history behind its Rampart. The Fort remains a hive of activity and is one of the few World Heritage listed sites in which a bustling population continues to thrive.There are a number of restaurants, shops, galleries and boutique hotels making this a pleasant spot to while away a leisurely day.
Day 12: In the afternoon today, you will be taken to Colombo (Approx. 2 Hrs drive) where you could also opt to indulge in some shopping whether it is value for money clothes or impressive antiques.Later in the evening you will be transferred to the airport to catch the flight to onward destination (Approx. 45 Mins drive).