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Welcome to Sri Lanka and the start of your adventure. Our local team will greet you at the airport in Colombo and then we transfer you to your hotel in Habarana. After check in the rest of today is free to relax.
Today we visit Dambulla where we climb to the temple which was donated by King Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. metres of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world. We continue onto Sigiriya 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. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites.
This morning we head out today on a sightseeing tour of 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. In the afternoon enjoy a jeep Safari in Minneriya National Park. The national park based largely around the huge reservoir was created rather more recently but serves as an important gathering place for Sri Lanka’s large population of elephants. Among the other 150 or so species, particular favourites of ours you may see include the beautiful painted stork, the Pelican and various imposing eagle species, the Jungle Fowl, the Hanging Parrot, and the Gray Hornbill.
Today we depart for Nuwara Eliya. En route we visit a spice garden in Matale to see the different spices. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed. Arriving in Kandy, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. See Kandy Lake, visit Kandy town and Bazaar Peradeniya botanical garden, and also visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. We then visit a Tea plantation and a Tea factory, where the best tea in the world is produced and taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory. This evening enjoy a sight seeing tour of Nuwara Eliya.
After an early breakfast, we 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. At an altitude of 2,100 meters above sea level, Horton Plains spreads across over 3,169 hectares of the highest tableland of the island. In view of the large number of endemic flora and fauna species, 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. On completion we continue to Udawalawe.
Early this morning we head out on a Jeep Safari to visit the Udawalawe National Park. 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. Udawalawe is the most reliable place to see elephants in their wild habitat year round. The open plains are covered in thick manna grass, also some abandoned teak plantation and dense scrub jungle which makes for a rich variety of wildlife and game. As well as elephants, leopards live in the park (though you will be very lucky to spot one), toque monkeys, grey langur, spotted deer, wild pig and sambar. In the afternoon we continue onto Tissamaharama.
This morning head out on a Jeep Safari to visit the Yala National Park. This park is famous for its high density of leopards, perhaps the highest in the world. You are also sure to see elephants – grumpy loan males during the dry months and large herds in the wet season. Sloth bears are also a big draw. You will also see mammal such as wild boars, several species of deer and wild buffalo. There is a plethora of reptilian species and platoons of crocodiles. As is common in Sri Lanka there is a huge diversity of stunning birdlife including migratory species such as the flamingo. It is also one of the few places in the world where the severely endangered black necked stork can still be seen.
We head out early again for a jeep safari at Bundala National Park. A total of 383 plant species have been recorded from the park. It is also home to 32 different species of mammals, 5 of which are classified as threatened. For keen birdwatchers, the complex wetland system harbours a rich bird life. We then drive to Tangalle for hotel check in. This evening we head to Rekawa Beach where Turtles lay their eggs at night between 19.00 and 03.00. The best time to go is between January and July when an average of 17 turtles a day come onto the shore at Rekawa. (They come in smaller numbers during the rest of the year.) Of the seven species of marine turtles in the world, five nest at Rekawa, with over 97% being green turtles.
Today we head back to Colombo. This afternoon enjoy a sightseeing tour of Colombo, driving through the Commercial area of the Fort, so named because both the Portuguese and Dutch had a Fort at this point. Drive passed “Pettah” – a noisy Oriental bazaar with a hotchpotch of Humanity, ancient vehicles, bargains, mosques & temples. Visit a Hindu temple and drive pass Jumi-UL Alfar Jumma Mosque. Continue the tour through the Wolvendaal Dutch Church, Hultsdorf Law courts, to the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens and on to the Independence Square and Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall. We also visit the Gangarama temple.
After breakfast, we will transfer you back to Colombo airport for your onward flight to The Maldives departing at 0720. At Male airport you will be met but the resort representative and taken by speed boat to your island getaway.
Relax on the sandy white beaches, swim in the clear blue sea or try many of the sports available at the resort.
Today you bid farewell to this island Paradise. You will be transferred by speed boat back to Male for your flight home.