Following an early morning departure from Colombo we begin making our way towards Galle on the south-western tip of the island. En route we stop off at an intriguing Mask Factory and Workshop in Ambalangoda, where you can see craftsmen plying their trade and browse a gallery of unique brightly-coloured masks which can be purchased as a souvenir or gift.
Upon arrival in Galle we set out on a city tour. One of the main highlights is Galle Fort, which offers a charming reminder of the Dutch colonial era. Constructed in 1663, the fort encompasses a remarkable collection of European architectural structures and Sri Lankan traditions, and was named a World Heritage Site in 1988. There is also the Galle National Museum, with a selection of ornamental objects made of ebony, tortoise shell, ancient wood and lace on display.
Later we board a canopied boat for a scenic cruise along the Madhu River, passing dozens of mangrove covered islets and stopping off at sites along the way – such as a 200-year old temple, and to watch locals farming cinnamon. We may also get the chance to see traditional Sri Lankan fishing techniques in action.