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Welcome to Sri Lanka and the start of your holiday! Arrive Colombo, included transfer to hotel. Tonight, enjoy Sri Lankan cuisine at our Welcome Dinner.
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 (closed Friday). Return to hotel - Welcome Dinner at Hotel
Breakfast at hotel - Leave for Anuradhapura visiting Dambadeniya, capital of the island after the fall of Polonnaruwa in the 13th century. Its principal surviving ruins are a two-story Dalada Maligawa temple and the dagoba revered by the locals for the 60 corporeal relics of the Buddha it is said to contain. Also visit Panduvas Nuwara, featuring a well-preserved walled citadel, Padeniya, Arankele, and Yapahuwa, a rock fortress - the stone ruins of the steps are reminiscently Cambodian. Check in at Palm Garden Village
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.
Today we visit Polonnaruwa en route visit Aukana Buddha statue is undoubtedly the most magnificent preserved image on the island. Also visit Dambulla Rock Temple. Climb up to the temple, which was donated by king Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. metres of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world. These caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha. Proceed to Giritale. Afternoon visit Polonnaruwa a world heritage site - Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya – where 4 splendid statues of the Buddha, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, and the Parakrama Samudraya lake.
To 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. Proceed to Kandy, on route we visit an exotic spice garden in Matale and later Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
Today, we visit the elephant orphanage in Pinnawela, home to around 60 elephants. Continuing, we visit the ruined temples of Embekke, Gadaladeniya and Lankatilleke and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. Back in Kandy, a scenic lakeside town, we visit the lake, bazaar, gem museum and lapidary. Tonight, we visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. After, we enjoy a cultural dance show.
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. Today, we enjoy a sightseeing tour and visit Hakgala Gardens.
Continuing to 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.
Breakfast at hotel – Morning proceed on a Sunrise Jeep Safari at Yala national park. On completion return back to hotel. Afternoon proceed on another sunset jeep safari at Yala national park. - On completion return back to the hotel – Rest of the day at leisure
This morning, we visit Bundala National Park – a bird sanctuary. For keen birdwatchers, the complex wetland system harbours a rich bird life (approximately 197 species), including several species of migratory waterfowl. Proceed to Galle – En route visit the Dickwella Lace center – Check in at Cantaloupe Aqua 4* later visit the town of Galle and it’s 17th century fort. Within the fort, are narrow streets filled with churches and colonial buidings. The Galle fort was built first by the Portuguese, then modified by the Dutch during the 17th century. Even today, after 400 years of existence, it looks new and polished with reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka
Breakfast at Hotel – Morning proceed to Seeduwa – En route visit the Kosgoda Turtle hatchery – Proceed to Seeduwa – Check in at The Gateway Airport Garden Hotel 4* - (Superior Room) – Rest the day at leisure - Overnight stays at the hotel
Leave for the Colombo Bandaranayake International airport to connect with the departure flight