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Welcome to Sri Lanka and the start of your holiday! Arrive Colombo, included transfer to hotel. Tonight, enjoy Sri Lankan cuisine at our Welcome Dinner.
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.
At Kelaniya we visit the Raja Maha Vihara, a temple graced by Buddha on one of his three visits to Sri Lanka. Continuing our sightseeing, we visit the zoological gardens at Dehiwela.
En route 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.
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, 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. Later a visit to Mihintale, where Buddhism was first introduced to Sri Lanka. On this rock are many shrines and dwellings originally used by monks. A grand stairway of 1,840 steps made of 15 feet wide granite slabs leads to the summit from where one can get a splendid view of the surrounding countryside.
After breakfast at our hotel we leave for Trincomalee, check into our hotel upoon arrival. Remainder of today is at your leisure on the beach.
Day at leisure in Trincomalee.
Day at leisure in Trincomalee.
Today we drive onto Habarana. Upon arrival check into our hotel. Remainder of today at leisure.
To 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. We then tour Polonnaruwa, which was the 2nd capital city of Sri Lanka, built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD and a world heritage site. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, king Parakramabahu’s statue, and the Parakrama Samudraya lake.
After breakfast we depart for Kandy. Today we explore 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. We then visit a Spice garden in Matale to see the different spices, which Sri Lanka is famous for.
The Elephant orphanage in Pinnawela is the home to approximately 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. We then enjoy a city tour of Kandy, 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. Drive around the Kandy Lake, visit the Kandy town and Bazaar, the arts and crafts centre and a gem museum. This evening we see the Temple of the Tooth Relic and enjoy a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
Today we tour the ruined temples of Embekke, Gadaladeniya and Lankatilleke before returning to Kandy. En-route we visit the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. This botanical garden was first built by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British. It is 147 acres in extent and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers.
After breakfast we leave for Nuwara Eliya. En route we visit a tea plantation and a tea factory, where the best tea in the world is produced. We then proceed to Nuwara Eliya, because of its invigorating mountain climate and scenery, its Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea. Sri Lanka’s highest mountain Pidurutalagala (8282 feet) is located here. This evening we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya including the Hakgala Gardens –and drive through "Little England".
This morning 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.
After breakfast we drive to Yala where we enjoy a Jeep Safari. This park is famous for its high density of leopards, perhaps the highest in the world. You are also sure to see elephants. Sloth bears are also a big draw. You will also see mammal such as wild boars, several species of deer and wild buffalo. 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. The uniqueness of the park is the sheer diversity of the habitat: dense jungles suddenly gives way to lagoons and open plain areas and the park has a simply beautiful sea front.
Morning safari jeep (shared canter) visit to Bundala National Park - This park falls within the southeastern arid zone of Sri Lanka, with a general climate that can be classified as hot and dry. A total of 383 plant species have been recorded from the park, including 6 endemics and 7 species considered as nationally threatened. 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 (approximately 197 species), including several species of migratory waterfowl. Departing for Galle to visit the Galle Dutch Fortress.
Day at leisure in Galle. Vehicle at your disposal for up to 50km.
This morning we leave for Colombo, upon arrival we check into our hotel. Remainder of today is at leisure.
Today we bid you a fond farewell with a transfer to Colombo airport to meet you onward flight.