DAY 01 - AIRPORT / COLOMBO
Arrival at the Colombo International Airport on flight. Upon arrival in this beautiful island you will be greeted by your friendly tour Guide Lecturer who will accompany you to your air conditioned vehicle. You will be taken to your selected hotel in Colombo. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Over night accommodation on Bed & Breakfast basis.
DAY 02 – COLOMBO / ANURADHAPURA
After early Breakfast leave on an exciting drive to Negombo along the Dutch Canal Road. Commence a city tour of Negombo and the fish market before heading to Anuradhapura. The northernmost point on the Cultural Triangle, and the site of a 4th century BC settlement, the ruins at Anuradhapura are still considered a holy city to Buddhists.
Dozens of worshippers bring offerings of flowers to give to the saffron robed monks, and tie new scraps of fabric to the huge Bodhi tree, thought to have been grown as a cutting from the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Several huge dagobas, bell shaped brick structures holding relics of the Buddha, are set around deep tanks, or reservoirs, where monks would have once bathed. Afternoon a sightseeing tour of the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura including Sri Maha Bodhi; or the Sacred Bo tree as it is known to the Buddhists. Overnight stay at your selected hotel in the Cultural Triangle on Bed & Breakfast basis.
DAY 03 – SIGIRIYA / POLONNARUWA
An early morning start today to visit one of Sri Lanka’s most famous land marks, The Rock fortress of Sigiriya looming 200 metres above the surrounding plains. This really is a wonderful excursion and is well worth the climb when you see the magnificent 360 degree views across Sri Lanka. If you decide not to climb up, then you can enjoy a leisurely walk around the old water gardens, of which most have dried up now and see the ruins. Continue on a sightseeing tour of Polonnaruwa, a city with ruins of Royal Palaces, king’s council chambers, Royal baths and ruins of Buddhist shrines such as the ‘Vatadage’, a circular relic house. The Gal Vihara (Stone Temple) has four Buddhist statues (standing 7 metres high and reclining 14 metres long).
You will also visit Lankathilaka, Kiri Vihara, Thuparama image house, 12th century ‘Lotus Mandapaya’ and The Parakramabahu statue. It was under King Parakramabu I, who ruled in the late 11th century, that Polonnaruwa became a magnificent walled city. He built the vast reservoir, Parakrama Samudra (the Sea of Parakrama) which is still in use today, and ordered the construction of monasteries, temples, palaces, bathing pools and Buddhist statues, all set in a forested park surrounded by moats. During his period of rule it is said that Sri Lanka was known as the Granary of the East. Return to your hotel for overnight stay on Bed & Breakfast basis.
DAY 04 – SIGIRIYA / DAMBULLA / KANDY
After breakfast you will leave and visit the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple. (Approx: drive duration 2 - 3 hours ) The Dambulla Cave Temple is a vast isolated rock mass and it was here that King Valagambahu took refuge in the 01st century B.C. when fleeing from his enemies. He later turned the caves into a rock cave temple. The Golden Temple of Dambulla has been the centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus alike for 22 centuries. It is Sri Lanka’s most popular cave site. The Cave monastery, home to Buddhist monks is covered with exquisite 2,000 year-old murals depicting the life and times of the Lord Buddha. The shrines also house a collection of 157 statues of lord Buddha in various sizes and poses, including a 15 meter long reclining Buddha and vividly coloured frescoes on the walls and ceiling, making this the largest cave painted surface in the world. On completion, drive to Kandy, en-route visiting Spice gardens located at Matale (The spice capital of Sri Lanka). Enriched with herbs, spice groves and plants with fragrant greenery shading from the tropical trees that enlightens the unique aroma of each spice and herb. They give the opportunity for visitors to explore and gain knowledge on Sri Lankan spices, herbs and the benefits of Ayurveda, enjoying a herbal head and shoulder massage. (Drive duration 3 hours)
The tropical climate in which the plants and herbs are grown helps them preserve its originality. The educational tour around the garden, which we call “The Spice Tour”, let the visitors feel and taste the sensation of the Sri Lankan spices and herbs which is demonstrated in different foreign languages to suit customer need. In the evening you will be taken to a traditional performance of Kandyan dancing. This will involve over 6 different types of dancing from various regions in Sri Lanka and concludes with a dramatic display of fire walking and breathing. Complete your day with an evening visit to the Temple of the Tooth, which houses the most sacred relic of the Buddha, where the casket the tooth is contained in, is brought out. Overnight stay at your selected hotel in Kandy on Bed & Breakfast.
DAY 05 – EXCURSION BOTANICAL GARDENS / CITY TOUR OF KANDY
After breakfast take a stroll through the Royal Botanical gardens of Peradeniya; started off as a pleasure gardens for Sinhalese Royalty it was turned into a Botanical garden by the British in 1843. It has an amazing collection of over 300 varieties of orchids, probably the largest collection in Asia. After lunch, commence a City tour of Kandy by visiting the upper lake drive which offers you a bird’s eye view of the man built Kandy Lake and the hustle and bustle of the Kandy market place, a visit to the Gem museum and Arts & Crafts Centre. Kandy was once the proud capital of Sri Lanka and to this day, the spirit of a great kingdom still lingers. It is a bustling yet scenic city, where the locals proudly hold on to their rich ancestral past and welcome visitors with a warm smile.
Hidden in the crooks of the busy streets are forgotten colonial treasures and architectural masterpieces that once stood tall and proud in this ancient kingdom. Kandy is a grid city, made up of about 3 main grids built with interlocking lanes and roads that dissect each other. According to popular belief, Kandy is protected by four gods, each with their own temple in the city. The temples are dedicated to a specific god, besides Buddha: Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama, and Pattini. Conveniently, three of the most ancient and interesting temples in the central highlands are within easy walking distance of one another, southwest of Kandy, Embekke, Lankathilake and Gadaladeniya. Return to your hotel for overnight stay on Bed & Breakfast basis.
DAY 06 – ELEPHANT WALK / TRANSFER AIRPORT OR BEACH RESORT
After a hearty breakfast, drive to Millennium Elephant Foundation located in Pinnawala to enjoy an “Elephant Walk Experience”. (approx: 1 to 2 Hours drive duration)
Millennium Elephant Foundation was founded in 1999 as a charity in Sri Lanka for the elephants. It is an Ideal place for an up close and personal experience with the world’s largest land mammals! The Foundation has always offered people the chance to interact with elephants in a safe and responsible way for both the visitor and the Elephant, whilst learning about the plight of Asian elephants. This is a unique place that enables you to interact closely with an elephant. The animal would have the opportunity to walk at a leisurely pace, being free to explore and forage, while you casually stroll behind the elephants enjoying watching their every move and admiring the sheer size of these beautiful animals, while the elephant takes you around a 15 acre coconut estate accompanied by a mahout. You would learn about the behaviour of an elephant and the work done at the Millennium elephant foundation.
In this 2 hour experience you would have the personalize service of a tour guide for your tour. A briefing of the Foundation, its elephants and a tour of the Elephant museum.
Followed by an approx. 40 minutes walk with an elephant around the 15 acre coconut estate watching and observing the elephant whilst learning about Sri Lankan elephants.
You will bath the same elephant in the river, with your group and have an enjoyable Elephant shower whilst standing next to elephant.
Thereafter transfer to the Airport or Beach Resort where you will be recalling the day's activities and experiences (Approx: drive duration 3 to 5 hours). We wish you “farewell” as you depart on your flight back home accompanied with all the happy memories of the tropical island Sri Lanka once known as TAPROBANE.