Wild About Sri Lanka - 10 Days
From 2020-08-29 to 2022-01-01
Breakfast daily and 1 lunch.
9 nights 4-5 star hotels and heritage properties .
Guided sightseeing - Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Nuwara Eliya, Udawalawe, Kandy, Yala, Bandula and Colombo.
3 Jeep safari/game drives in Udawalawe NP, Yala NP and Bandula NP.
Scenic train journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, canoe and Tuk Tuk trips.
Escorted by an English-speaking national guide for groups of 6 or more (professional chauffeur guide for groups of 5 or less).
Whale and dolphin watching boat cruise in Mirissa (01 Nov-30 April, approx $35pp to pay locally).
Visit to the Dutch Fort at Galle (01 May-31 Oct).
Airport arrival and departure transfer on days 1 and 10.
All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned tourism vehicles.
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Colombo Saturday. Welcome to Sri Lanka! Airport arrival transfer and the remainder of the day is at your leisure. Our start hotel is located on the seafront and a short walk from Galle Road and many of the city highlights. Choose to head out and explore, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a cocktail whilst you watch the perfect sunset over the Laccodive Sea.
Day 2 - Dambulla Colombo - Dambulla - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla. Bidding farewell to Colombo this morning we drive inland to Dambulla, stopping en route at a fruit and vegetable market in Naramwela Town. Dambulla Rock Temple is an incredible ancient complex of caves which dates back to the 1st Century BC. The five caves contain over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre carved statue.
After exploring this ancient site, we continue to 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. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This evening, we return to Dambulla for an evening at leisure.
Day 3 - Polonnaruwa Dambulla - Sigiriya - Kandy. This morning we explore Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion 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. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway.
From Sigiriya, we take a bullock cart ride and short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here, at Kayanwala Village we take part in a cookery demonstration in a mud brick home of a local woman and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch of curry, dahl, spiced rice, pickle and more. En route to Kandy, we stop off a spice garden in Matale, to see the different herbs and spices, which Sri Lanka is famous for. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.
Day 4 - Kandy This morning we take a sightseeing tour of Kandy - the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. Our first stop will be the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Legend has it that one of Buddha's teeth was taken from him as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was then smuggled into Sri Lanka in 313AD. It now attracts daily pilgrims who come bearing lotus flowers and frangipani. After driving around the Kandy Lake - built by the last Sinhala king, we visit the local bazaar and a gem museum, we then take Tuk Tuk ride up into the surrounding hills. This afternoon we stop at a working tea factory at Geragama. Geragama Tea Factory is located in close proximity to the city of Kandy and was established in the year 1903, manufacturing 'Low Grown' and 'Long Leaf' tea. This evening, we watch a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
Day 5 - Nuwara Eliya Kandy - Nuwara Eliya. This morning offers free time before transferring to the railway station for a scenic train trip. Passing kilometre upon kilometre of verdant tea plantations that hug the winding mountain passes, we'll see waterfalls, suspension bridges and tea pickers on our journey up to Nuwara Eliya - 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.
This afternoon we take a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya on a beautiful drive through 'Little England'.
Day 6 - Udawalawe National Park Nuwara Eliya - Udawalawe National Park. Today we head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. This national park is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan elephant, the biggest of all the Asian elephants. It is thought that there are around 400 elephants here. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan sloth bear and varies types of deer. We enjoy an afternoon game drive here before returning to our hotel.
Day 7 - Yala National Park Udawalawe National Park - Yala National Park. This morning we depart for Yala National Park - the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. This afternoon, we take a jeep safari of the park. The park also has one of the highest concentrations of Asian elephants in the world - and about 350 live here. Also present are sloth bears, golden palm civets, Sri Lankan krait, crocodiles and some of the biggest numbers of leopards. The coastline around the park is visited by leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles.
Day 8 - Bundala National Park Yala National Park - Bundala National Park - Mirissa. This morning we depart Yala for coastal Bundala National Park. This fantastic labyrinth of waterways, dunes and lagoons is the home to thousands of brightly coloured birds, over 200 species. It is also home to the magnificent greater flamingo and has a decent amount of Asian elephants that call the park home. We take a jeep safari here before transferring to the coastal town of Mirissa for the night.
Day 9 - Weligama & Mirissa Mirissa - Colombo. This morning (if travelling between 01 Nov - 30 April) its an early start as we transfer to the boat pier for our whale and dolphin watching boat cruise (cost approx $35pp paid locally, and weather dependant). During this time of year fin whales, bryde's whales, sperm whales, blue whales - the largest creatures on earth, whale sharks, orcas and dolphins are very often seen just a few kilometres off Sri Lanka's southern coast. The round trip may last anywhere between 2-6 hours with an average of 4 hours depending on how far out at sea the mammals are located.
If travelling between 01 May - 31 Oct the morning is spent visiting UNESCO World Heritage Listed Galle fortress - first constructed by the Portuguese in 1588, then expanded and extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century.
Our final stop today, is Colombo and the bustling city centre for a guided tour. We explore the Fort area in the north of the city, famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. Taking a stroll along Galle Face Green and watching locals play cricket before heading over to stunning Gangarama Temple.
Day 10 - Colombo Monday. Our tour concludes today with an onward departure transfer to the airport.
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