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Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo airport and transferred to our beachfront hotel in Negombo, a small town just north of Colombo (Early Check in Guaranteed). The rest of the day is at leisure at Goldi Sands Hotel 3*- (Standard Room).
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. Overnight Anuradhapure at Heritage Hotel 3* - (Standard Room)
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. We conclude the day with visiting Minitale then return to your hotel.
En route driving 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.
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.
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!
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’.
By Jeep 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.
Today we journey 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.
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.
Enjoy the next days at leisure. 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.
Today we travel via the coast road to Colombo Airport in time for your to catch your flight home, we hope you enjoyed your journey through the tear drop isle.