Anuradhapura Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SRI LANKA 394

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Day 1: Colombo

Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo airport by our local team in wee early hours and transferred to your beachfront hotel in Wattala, a small town just north of Colombo for immediate check in. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 2: Colombo

Highlights of our sightseeing tour of Sri Lanka’s capital include the Fort – once a colonial stronghold, Galle Face Green – a seaside expanse popular for informal cricket games, the Pettah – a noisy oriental bazaar, a visit to Gamgarama temple, Cinnamon Gardens and Independence Square. We also visit the national museum, before returning to your hotel for a bit of downtime.

Day 3: Colombo

Today on your days exploration we head to Kelaniya where we visit the Raja Maha Vihara, a temple graced by Buddha on one of his three visits to Sri Lanka. Continuing our sightseeing, we visit the zoological gardens at Dehiwela.

Day 4: Colombo - Anuradhapura

En route on our drive to Anuradhapura, we visit 13th century Dambadeniya, once a royal capital. Its principal surviving ruins are the Dalada Maligawa temple and the Dagoba, locally revered thanks to some corporeal relics of Buddha it is said to contain. We also visit Panduvas Nuwara which features a well-preserved walled citadel, Padeniya, Arankele and the rock fortress of Yapahuwa.

Day 5: Anuradhapura

Today, we visit Anuradhapura, the fascinating ancient city and one of Sri Lanka’s most important archaeological sites. It contains vast artificial lakes, temples, statues including the Samadhi Buddha, dagobas (solid hemispheres topped with spires), royal baths and museums. We also visit the holy Sri Maha Bodhi tree under which Prince Siddharta attained enlightenment. It is also the oldest historically documented tree on earth. Later a visit to Mihintale a mountain peak nearby that is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Day 6: Anuradhapura - Giritale

En route on our drive to Giritale, we visit the stunning Aukana Buddha statue and the impressive Dambulla Rock Temple which contain beautiful frescoes of Buddha. Then we visit ancient Polonnaruwa, an 11th century city of compact size. We explore the ruins of the Royal Palace, temples and Gal Vihara which boasts 3 enormous Buddha figures.

Day 7: Giritale - Kandy

This morning we explore Sigiriya – the elevated and mysterious 5th century fortress ruins of King Kasyapa. The ‘Lion Rock’ is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. Once we’ve fully explored the rock we continue on to a spice garden. Here we learn about some of Sri Lanka’s famous spices, how they are grown and what they are used in. You’ll also have the opportunity to buy some. Later on we drive further south to Kandy for the evening.

Day 8: Kandy

This morning we visit the famous Pinnawala elephant orphanage where we meet some of the 89 abandoned elephants, many of which are babies. On our return to Kandy we stop by the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens home to an amazing variety of plants, flowers and trees. Once back in Kandy itself we embark on a city tour, drive around the lake and visit local bazaars and a local gem museum. Later on this evening we visit the world famous Temple of the Tooth Relic, home to one of Buddha’s teeth before attending a traditional cultural evening complete with fire walkers!

Day 9: Kandy - Nuwara Eliya

Departing Kandy, we head further into Sri Lanka’s hill country surrounded by tea plantations. Situated at 6,525 ft/1,990 m, Nuwara Eliya is one of the highest towns in the region. Arriving here, we enjoy a sightseeing tour and visit Hakgala Gardens. Remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure to relax and take in your tranquil surroundings.

Day 10: Nuwara Eliya

Today we depart early for Horton Plains. Located on a high windswept saddle, Horton Plains offers the walker stunning panoramic views. We’ll hike to Bakers Fall passing en route the Gem Pit Pool, the Chimney Pool, and the Leg of Mutton Pool and then return to Nuwara Eliya.

Day 11: Nuwara Eliya - Yala National Park

This morning we make our way to the lush paradise that is Yala National Park, en route we visit the Mahayana Buddhist rock sculptures at Buduruwagala. This evening, we enjoy a jeep safari. The largest national park in Sri Lanka, Yala is home to elephants, wild boar, buffalo, leopard, crocodile and myriad birdlife.

Day 12: Yala National Park - Kalutara

This morning, we visit Bundala National Park – a bird sanctuary. We visit the town of Galle and it’s 17th century fort. Within the fort, are narrow streets filled with churches and colonial buildings. We then continue to Kalutara, an ideal tropical beach holiday with it's sparkling warm blue seas and a lush fringe of palm trees, all bathed in warm golden sunshine.

Days 13-14: Kalutara

Enjoy free time to relax on the the beautiful palm fringed beach is one of the main reasons for visiting Kalutara. This huge white sandy expanse of a beach is north of town and remains relatively unspoilt. Inevitably there is a myriad of water sports available so why not try your hand at snorkelling, water skiing, windsurfing or jet skiing? There are also opportunities to head off in search of the giants of the sea on a whale watching tour.

Day 15: Kalutara - Colombo

Today we travel via the coast road to Colombo city. Arriving here, enjoy time at leisure to explore.

Day 16: Colombo

Sadly your journey through the Tear Drop Isle has come to an end, we will be sure to transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.

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