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Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo airport and transferred to our beachfront hotel in Wattala, a small town just north of Colombo. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Today we head inland to Polonnaruwa. On the way we stop by one of Sri Lanka’s most impressive cave temples, the Dambulla Rock Temple. This stunning complex of 5 caves contains over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre statue carved out of the cave rock. After exploring this ancient site we continue on to 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.
This morning we head to Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion 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. 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.
This morning we visit an elephant orphanage where we meet some of the 89 abandoned elephants, many of which are babies. On the way back 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 take a city tour, drive around the lake and visit local bazaars and a gem museum. Later on this evening we visit the world famous Temple of the Tooth Relic, apparently home to one of Buddha’s teeth.
After breakfast we visit a tea plantation. Tea is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest exports and they are very proud of it. Learn about the manufacturing process and how they grade it before enjoying a delicious cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory. Next we drive to Nuwara Eliya, the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country and home to the country’s highest mountain, Pidurutalagala. Later on we embark on a sightseeing tour of the area including a drive through ‘Little England’.
Today we head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. This national park is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan Elephant, the biggest of all the Asian Elephants. It is thought that there are around 400 elephants here. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and lots of types of deer. We take an afternoon game drive here before returning to the hotel for the night.
We begin our final journey back to Colombo this morning with a visit to the Gem Mine and Museum at Ratnapura. Sri Lanka is famous for its gem industry and is home to 40 out of the 85 types of gems in the world. After we check in to the hotel in Colombo downtown, we head into the bustling city of Colombo for an informative city tour. Explore the Fort area in the north of the city, famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. Take a stroll along Galle Face Green and watch locals play cricket plus head over to stunning Gangarama Temple.
Today we travel via the coast road to Kalautara. Arrival and check into your beach side hotel.
For the remainder of your time in Sri Lanka --Enjoy time at leisure in Kalutara, an ideal tropical beach with it's sparkling warm blue seas and a lush fringe of palm trees, all bathed in warm golden sunshine.
Say goodbye to this tropical paradise -- We will transfer you to the airport in time for your flight home.