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Welcome to Sri Lanka and the start of your holiday! Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day/evening are at your leisure.
This morning we have a tour of Colombo, driving through the Commercial area of the Fort so named, because both the Portuguese and Dutch had a Fort at this point. Drive passed Pettah, a noisy Oriental bazaar with ancient vehicles, bargains, mosques & temples. Visit Hindu temple & drive pass Jumi-UL Alfar Jumma Mosque, Continue the tour through the Wolvendaal Dutch Church, Hultsdorf Law courts, to the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens and on to the Independence Square and Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall. And also visit the national museum. (Museum closed Fridays).
Following breakfast leave for Kelaniya and visit the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, graced by Buddha on one of his three visits to Sri Lanka. Return to Colombo and drive to Dehiwela to witness the Zoological Gardens and also visit a Hindu temple.
Free morning then we will transfer you to the train station for the 16:20 traon through to Kurunegala. The driver drive and take your luggage and meet you at Kurunegala station and drive you to Habarana and check you into the hotel.
We head out to Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. We then have an elephant back safari in the surroundings of Kandalama, through the jungle.
We head out today on a sightseeing tour of Polonnaruwa. This fascinating 11th century city is home to many interesting ruins and famous monuments including the Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa was once the capital and is also the second most ancient city in Sri Lanka. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our sightseeing today takes in 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.
Today we head to Trincomalee for the day. Known as ‘Trinco’ to the locals, the city is built on a peninsula that divides the inner and outer harbours. It is one of the main centres of Tamil speaking culture and the name Trincomalee means ‘Lord of the Sacred Hill’, a reference to the famous Koneswaram temple. This Hindu temple was built atop Swami Rock that overlooks the city of Trincomalee. Developed between 300CE and 1600CE, the temple complex has, throughout its history, lay in ruins, been restored, renovated and enlarged by various royals and devotees.
Today we will leave Habarana and drive you to Kandy, with a stop at Dambulla on the way. Upon arrival in Dambulla, we climb 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.
This morning we visit the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala, home for about 89 elephants, some of which were found abandoned in the wild. The best time to visit is during the feeding times, when you will see the baby elephants being bottle-fed. In the evening we visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
Morning visit the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. After the Botanical Gardens we have a tour of Kandy, a world heritage site and the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. We take in the bazaar, the arts & crafts centre and a gem museum.
We head to Peraeniya Railway Station to board the Observation Saloon for Nanu Oya. Enjoy the veiw from the observation gallery ont he route from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. On arrival in Nuwara Eliya, we will take you to visit a tea plantation and a tea factory, where you will be able to see how tea is processed and graded and you will be able to try a cup of pure Ceylon!
Day at leisure.
After breakfast, we travel to Yala National Park and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Over the next 2 days head out on a Jeep Safari to visit the Yala National Park. This park is famous for its high density of leopards, perhaps the highest in the world. You are also sure to see elephants – grumpy loan males during the dry months and large herds in the wet season. Sloth bears are also a big draw. You will also see mammal such as wild boars, several species of deer and wild buffalo. There is a plethora of reptilian species and platoons of crocodiles. As is common in Sri Lanka there is a huge diversity of stunning birdlife including migratory species such as the flamingo. It is also one of the few places in the world where the severely endangered black necked stork can still be seen.
Day at leisure.
After breakfast, we head to the beach at Bentota for time to relax in the sun.
Time to relax in Bentota, an ideal tropical beach with it's sparkling warm blue seas and a lush fringe of palm trees, all bathed in warm golden sunshine.
This afternoon we will drive you to Negombo and check you into the airport hotel.
We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.