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Welcome to Sri Lanka and the start of your holiday! You'll be met at Colombo Airport and transferred to hotel. Tonight enjoy a tasty welcome dinner at your hotel.
Today, your guide will take you on a driving tour of colourful Colombo. Just off the north end of Galle Road is the area known as the Fort, once a colonial stronghold. Just south of the Fort is Galle Face Green, a seaside expanse where informal cricket games are played. At the south end of the green is the Galle Face Hotel, a beautiful colonial-era hotel. Just east of the Fort is the Pettah, the traditional bazaar district – a colourful retail experience. Just beyond the centre is the affluent Cinnamon Gardens district. You will drive through these districts on your tour of the city and visit Gangarama Temple and Independence Square.
Drive to Giritale today, stopping en route to visit the impressive Dambulla Rock Temple. Dambulla is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves is the largest area of paintings found in the world. These caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock spanning 14 meters. This afternoon, after checking into your hotel in Giritale, visit UNESCO Listed Polonnaruwa – an incredible 11th century city. Explore the ruins of the Royal Palace, temples and Gal Vihara.
This morning drive to Sigiriya and explore the UNESCO World Heritage Listed, 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). The ‘Lion Rock’ is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 meters from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart, and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock. Discover the world-renowned frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. After exploring the sights of Sigiriya, stop to visit a Spice Garden in Matale, en route to Kandy.
Enjoy a wonderful excursion to the elephant orphanage in Pinnawela today. This orphanage is the home for about 60 elephants, out of which some are baby elephants found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. Afterwards visit Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. Back in the scenic lakeside town of Kandy, embark upon a sightseeing tour, visiting the bazaar, the arts & crafts centre and a gem museum. In the evening, visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and then enjoy a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
Early today we leave for Yala and check into the hotel. Late afternoon we proceed on a Jeep Safari to visit the Yala National Park. The Yala National Park is famous for its high density of leopards, perhaps the highest in the world.
Leave for Negombo and en route proceed to visit Udawalawe National Park by Safari Jeep to witness game. This national park was established in 1972 to protect the catchment area of the Udawalawe reservoir, crucial to the livelihoods of the farmers in the south east dry zone. With the land only recently reverting back from cultivation, the park has some fascinating characteristics that make it well worth a visit. Not least of these is the large elephant population. Afterwards we will drive you to Negombo and check you into the hotel.
We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.