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Welcome to Sri Lanka and the start of your holiday. Our representative will greet your group upon arrival and assist with your transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax after your long flight.
After breakfast, we depart Colombo for Sigiriya. En route we visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a World Heritage site and the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves has 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, of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock and spanning 14 metres.
Today we climb to the 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress, a World Heritage Site rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. We 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. After time to explore, we continue onto Polonnaruwa, another of Sri Lanka's many World Heritage Sites. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya where 4 splendid statues of Buddha are carved out of rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, and the Parakrama Samudraya lake. There are also monuments of famous places of worship such as the Shiva Temple and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic.
Today we head to Anuradhapura, the first ever capital and undoubtedly the grandest city of ancient Sri Lanka and home to two World Heritage sites. See Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo-Tree) - at over 2,200 years old, it is the oldest historically documented tree in the world. At Brazen Palace, the 1,600 stone columns are all that is left of a magnificent multi-storied residence for monks. Ruwanweliseya is the most famous of all the Dagobas. It originally depicted the perfect ‘bubble shape" that modern restoration has not been able to accurately reproduce. Isurumuniya rock temple is well-known for its rock carvings of 'The Lovers'.
After breakfast and check out we depart for Trincomalee, one of the finest natural deep-water harbours in the world. Trincomalee is home to a number of fine beaches including Nilaveli, Uppaveli and off-shore Pigeon Island. Trincomalee district, being studded with a multitude of ruins of ancient Buddhist temples, is a major Sinhalese Buddhist cultural and archeological site of Sri Lanka. The next three days are free to relax on the beach.
Refreshed from a few days on the beach, today we leave for Kandy. En route we visit a spice garden in Matale to see the different spices which Sri Lanka is famous for. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed. Upon arrival in Kandy, we check into the hotel and the rest of the afternoon is free at your leisure. This evening we visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and enjoy a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
Today we take in the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya. First built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala King, it was later expanded by the British. It is 147 acres in extent and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers. We return to Kandy for a city sightseeing tour. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and a World Heritage Site. The name Kandy conjures visions of splendor and magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. We drive around Kandy Lake, then visit Kandy town and Bazaar, the arts & crafts centre and a gem museum and a lapidary.
Today we head for the beach at Beruwela, on Sri Lanka's south west coast. En route enjoy a visit to the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela, home for about 89 elephants, some of which are babies found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. They are being cared for, fed and trained by the wildlife authorities. The best time to visit is during the feeding times, when one will have the opportunity of seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed. There could also be the opportunity to accompany the elephants to a river close-by and see them having their daily bath.
Free day on the beach.
Today we enjoy sightseeing in Hikkaduwa and Galle. The Galle Fort was built first by the Portuguese, and 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. Today the Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world.
After breakfast and hotel check out, we travel to Mt Lavinia. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Free day or optional city tour of Colombo - Drive through the Commercial area of the 'Fort', so named because both the Portuguese and Dutch had a Fort at this point. Drive past 'Pettah', a noisy Oriental bazaar with a hotchpotch of humanity, ancient vehicles, bargains, mosques & temples. Visit a Hindu temple & drive pass Jumi-UL Alfar Jumma Mosque. Continue the tour through the Wolvendaal Dutch Church and Hultsdorf Law courts to the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens and on to the Independence Square and Bandaranayke Memorial International Conference Hall.
It is time to bid farewell to Sri Lanka. After breakfast and hotel check out, we will transfer you to the airport for your homeward flight.