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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. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Highlights of our sightseeing tour of Sri Lanka’s capital include the Fort – once a colonial stronghold, Galle Face Green – a seaside expanse popular for informal cricket games, the Pettah – a noisy oriental bazaar, a visit to Gamgarama temple, Cinnamon Gardens and Independence Square. We also visit the national museum.
This morning we leave for Sigiriya – En route visit the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela - This orphanage is the home for about 89 elephants, out of which some are baby elephants found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. They are being cared, fed and trained by the wild life authorities. Continue to Sigiriya – Check in at the hotel and evening proceed to Climb the 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress which is a world heritage site, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). The ‘Lion Rock’ is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 meters from the scrub jungle.
It was the first capital and undoubtedly the grandest city of the ancient Sri Lanka, It is the home of two World Heritage sites. Many places of historical and archaeological interest could be visited. Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo-Tree) was brought as a sapling of the tree under which prince Siddhartha attained to enlightenment and it is over 2,200 years old and is the oldest historically documented tree in the world. Isurumuniya rock temple (3rd century B.C) is well known for its rock carvings of 'The Lovers'. Kuttam Pokuna – twin ponds (6th century AD) was used by the Buddhist monks as a bathing pool. Thuparama Dagoba (3rd century B.C) is the oldest Dagoba in the island, which enshrines the right collarbone of the Buddha.
Proceed on a sightseeing tour of Trincomalee - Trincomalee is a major port city in Eastern Province, Sri Lankaand lies on the east coast of the island, about 113 miles south of Jaffna. It is also the administrative capital of Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. It has a population of 99,135. The city is built on a peninsula, which divides the inner and outer harbours. Overlooking the Kottiyar Bay, Trincomalee is one of the main centers of Tamil speaking culture on the island. The city is home to the famous ancient Koneswaram temple alluded to in its historic Tamil name Thirukonamalai from which its anglicized name is derived, it is referred to as Gokanna in Pali or Gokarna in Sanskrit.
This morning after breakfast we head to Kandy, enroute we visit Dambulla Cave Temple - Climb up to the temple, which was donated by king Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks. Dambulla is a World Heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world. After we continue to Kandy, Late afternoon proceed on a sightseeing tour of Kandy - Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings, and is a World Heritage Site. The name Kandy conjures visions of splendor and magnificence. In the evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
Morning proceed to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya - This botanical garden was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British. We then for leave for Nuwara Eliya - En route visit a tea plantation and a tea factory, where the best tea in the world is produced. You will be told all about the process of manufacturing tea. You can also see how tea is graded. Taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory.
Morning proceed to Horton Plains, The coldest and windiest location in Sri Lanka consists of ecosystems such as Montane evergreen forests, grasslands, marshy lands and aquatic ecosystem. Horton Plains was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 30th July 2010. The escarpment with a depth of 900 meters called World’s End and Baker’s Falls are the highlights of the Horton Plains.
Leave for Uda-Walawe via Ella - Ella is blessed with some of the most beautiful views, you could find in Sri Lanka. Continuing on to Uda-Walawe, Evening proceed on a Jeep Safari to visit the Uda-Walawe National Park - This national park was established in 1972 to protect the catchment area of the Uda Walawe reservoir. , the park has some fascinating characteristics that make it well worth a visit. Not least of these is the large elephant population. Uda Walawe is the most reliable place to see elephants in their wild habitat year round. Some 400-500 elephants live in the park and herds of up to 50 are commonly seen.
Today we leave for the small coastal town of Unawatuna – En route visit the Galle Dutch Fort - 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 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.
For the next few days you are free at your leisure for some R&R.
This morning after breakfast we will transfer you back to the airport for your onward flight home.