DAY 01 – AIRPORT / CULTURAL TRIANGLE
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. Sit back, relax and enjoy the drive through woodlands, rice paddies and marshes into the rural heartland of tropical Sri Lanka. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight stay at your selected hotel in Sigiriya / Habarana or Dambulla.
Over night accommodation on Bed & Breakfast basis.
DAY 02 – ANURADHAPURA / MIHINTALE (sightseeing)
After breakfast leave on a sightseeing tour of the ancient ruins of the 4th century BC capital city of Anuradhapura. 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. A tour of the ancient ruins include places of veneration such as gigantic Stupas’ second in size to the Pyramids of Egypt and the Sri Maha Bodhi; or the Sacred Bo tree as it is known to the Buddhists. It is said to be the oldest documented tree on earth. Continue to Mihintale, birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism. The best time to climb the mountain is early morning or late afternoon when it is not so hot. A climb of 1840 small steps will take you to the summit of the sacred mountain. Return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
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 needs. 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 in which the tooth is contained is brought out. Overnight stay at your selected hotel in Kandy on Bed & Breakfast.
DAY 05 – KANDY / NUWARA ELIYA BY TRAIN
Breakfast & drive down to the station to experience one of the most exciting and scenic train journeys on the island, around the Tea covered mountains, through tunnels and over bridges; your destination is Nuwara Eliya, where the British established a hill station and a convalescence center for their military in the 19th century. Known as ‘little England’ to the British during the colonial period. The city has some interesting buildings of mock Tudor and Georgian architecture. Some of the colonial landmarks include, the old post office, the Grand hotel, St Andrews hotel, the racecourse, Lake Gregory and Victoria Park to name a few. In the afternoon visit a working Tea factory. Overnight stay at your selected hotel in Nuwara Eliya on Bed & Breakfast.
DAY 06 – HORTON PLAINS - Nature walking trail
Early or packed breakfast and leave on an adventurous drive to Horton Plains National Park, located at an altitude of over 2000 metres and covering an area of 3160 hectares. Commence the circular trek through the park from the visitor’s center where you will find some interesting exhibits pertaining to the history, fauna and flora of Horton Plains. The 9 kilometre circular trek will take approximately 3 hours to complete. And will cover an escarpment called mini worlds end and the famous escarpment called worlds end, from which point on a clear day you could see the southern coast of Sri Lanka, and then if you feel up to it make a somewhat slippery and steep descent to ‘Bakers falls’ named after the famous British explorer, Sir Samuel Baker or continue the trek through forests and grasslands back to the visitor’s center. Return to your hotel for overnight stay on Bed & Breakfast.
DAY 07 – NUWARA-ELIYA / SINHARAJA
After Breakfast leave on a scenic route and exciting drive through lush tropical countryside, past little agriculture based villages to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. This afternoon will be at leisure. Overnight stay at your selected hotel in Sinharaja.
DAY 08 – SINHARAJA / BEACH RESORT
After an early breakfast leave for an excursion to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve which encompasses an area of 190 square kilometres; it was declared a Biosphere Reserve in the year 1978 and a national heritage wilderness area and inscribed on the world heritage list in 1988 by UNESCO. An experienced local naturalist will accompany you on the exciting trek into the Sinharaja rain forest to discover a treasure trove of endemic species of trees and plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Later you will be driven from your hotel to the international airport for your departure from Sri Lanka or you may choose an optional beach extension on Sri Lanka’s beautiful coast. Journey times vary depending on your chosen hotel and may take up to 5 hours.
We wish you “farewell” as you depart on your flight back home accompanied with all the happy memories of the tropical isle; Sri Lanka once known as TAPROBANE.