HIGHLIGHTS OF SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean and located south of the Indian subcontinent, is also known as the Island of Serendipity. The land of serendipity brings spiritual tranquillity and a chance to rediscover oneself. The beauty of this tiny island is simply breath-taking. Known for its enchanting ancient ruins, endless soft-sanded beaches, imposing mountains, colourful festivals, tempting water sports, dense wild-life, diverse ethnical groups, incredibly friendly locals and the Country’s heady mix of British colonial heritage make it a beguiling destination. The magical island of Sri Lanka offers endless photographic opportunities. The wonderful combination of a gentle lush landscape, a fascinating culture, and a rich and varied wildlife means we will never be short of subjects to photograph.

12 Days Highlights of Sri Lanka

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Itinerary:

DAY 1: ARRIVE IN COLOMBO

Arrive Colombo (flight details to be advised). On arrival in Colombo airport you will meet your Sri Lankan host as you exit the terminal. Transfer to the city (approx 45mins).

Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka. It has a long history as a port on ancient east-west trade routes, ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. That heritage is reflected in its architecture, mixing colonial buildings with high-rises and shopping malls. The imposing Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, borders sprawling Viharamahadevi Park and its giant Buddha.

On arrival check-in at the hotel, located in the heart of Colombo and spend the rest of the evening at leisure and relax.

Accommodation: Cinnamon Grand

DAY 2: IN COLOMBO

Morning walking tour with our resident expert.

Start the morning exploring the Colombo Fort area with our resident expert. On this exclusive tour, our guide will take you on a walking tour of some highly treasured secrets of Colombo Fort in a very easy and fun way. It will be a great introduction to Sri Lanka for you and Mark knows how to keep it interesting for all age groups. You will learn about enchanting old Ceylon and the colours of Colombo, including the busy Pettah markets and its age-old vendors, the Dutch Hospital shopping precinct and restaurants, the old Fort, the Galle Face Green etc. High tea at the Tea Café or dinner at the Ministry of Crab is highly recommended.

Later in the afternoon, you may like to browse the Barefoot Gallery which houses a small informal art gallery, and a delightful shop full of colourful textiles, homeware items, clothing, replica antiques as well as a good collection of coffee table books, children cloths, hand-made eco friendly toys, game and much more. Or enjoy a meal at the Paradise Road Gallery Café or at one of the restaurants or cafes in the Dutch Hospital complex.

Accommodation: Cinnamon Grand

DAY 3: COLOMBO - SIGIRIYA

Today morning drive to Sigiriya, which is in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle the journey will take full day as you will be stopping en route to visit the Anuradhapura.

You will visit the Anuradhapura (approx. 45 minutes) the famous medieval capital of Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was known. Cycling in Anuradhapura sacred city is the best way to explore ancient Sri Lankans architecting skills, culture and prosperity. You will start the cycling top of “Tissawewa Water Tank” and you will cycle with professional Cycling guide. He will explain about Anuradhapura history, People living style and some folktales about the Anuradhapura kingdom that you never heard in media. Cycling is an interesting experience and 3 – 4 hrs cycling ride in Anuradhapura Ruin city and you will mainly cover Abayagiriya, Jethavana Stupas, The Ruwanveliseya Dagoba, The Samadhi Buddha, Kuttam Pokuna and Isurumuniya, etc.

Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning.

Later return to Sigiriya, drive will take approx 45 minutes.

Accommodation: Cinnamon Lodge 

DAY 4: IN SIGIRIYA

This morning you will climb the majestic Sigiriya Rock Fortress (UNESCO) after an early breakfast/ bed tea. Depart from the hotel at 7 AM to catch the morning views on top of the rock fortress. The early morning hours is the best time to climb this world wonder, as the sun is not too hot and the climb is not as tiring. Sigiriya is an archaeological site in North Central Sri Lanka. It contains the ruins of an ancient palace complex, built during the regime of King Kasyapa (477AD – 495 AD). It is one of the 7 world heritage sites in Sri Lanka and is one of its most popular tourist destinations. The Sigiriya site consists of a 180m tall granite rock, whose sides are so steep that at some points the top overhangs the base. At the top of the site, there is a palace complex. The ruins of various chambers, stairways and pools can be seen at the top. The first stop on the climb is the Fresco Gallery.  Of the 300 or so paintings, artistically on par with those at Ajanta in western India, only 21 remain.  Immediately beyond is the mirror hall.  The Lion Terrace marks the halfway point of the climb and the final stairway takes you to the top of the rock and ruins of the summer palace. The view from this point is stunning.

[There are over 1,000 steps to climb all the way to the top of the fortress if you find it tiring you can curtail and visit up till the halfway point and come back. Please discuss in advance with your guide if you think it might be too difficult for you]

Afternoon, enjoy a Jeep safari at the Minneriya National Park in a private 4x4 Jeep. The renovated vast ancient Minneriya Rainwater Reservoir that irrigates the considerable area of the district of Polonnaruwa is the focal point of the Minneriya National Park. The gathering is the largest known meeting place of Asian Elephants in the world. During this period herds up to 300 elephants are seen at the 8,890-hectare park within a few square kilometers of the Minneriya Reservoir.

Accommodation: Cinnamon Lodge

DAY 5: SIGIRIYA - KANDY

After Breakfast, you start your drive out of the cultural triangle stopping on the way the richly painted cave temples at Dambulla, which are about 2000 years old, and since 1991 a World Heritage Site. Dambulla is built on a gigantic granite outcrop that towers above the surrounding land.  The paintings and sculptures in the cave are a mix of religious and secular themes.  There are several reclining Buddha’s, including a sculpture of the dying Buddha.  The frescoes, which decorated the ceilings and walls, date from the 15th to 18th century and show scenes from the life of Buddha as well as Sinhalese history. This cave temple has the largest number of Buddha statues all housed in one place, including a 14m-long figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the rock.

Further on you stop at a Matale spice plantation, continuing the journey to Kandy. On arrival in Kandy check in to your hotel

Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It's set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city's heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine, celebrated with the grand Esala Perahera annual procession.

This evening you’ll visit The Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Malgawa which dates from the 16th century, though most of the present buildings were built in the 19th century following a fire.   Entering the shrine over a moonstone step, you pass a stone depicting the Indian goddess Lakshmi and a wall with frescoes illustrating the Buddhist conception of hell.  The upper stories house the relic of the tooth, caged behind gilded iron bars.  Behind the tooth relic sanctuary is a hall with a number of golden Buddha statues and modern paintings, showing Buddha’s life and the arrival of Buddhism in the land.

Accommodation: Earls Regency

DAY 6: KANDY – HATTON

Morning you will be transferred to Peradeniya station and take the morning Train to Dick Oya (approx 3hrs train ride, AC Coach). Enjoy the spectacular views of the countryside and hills quilted with tea bushes on this ride. On arrival, your driver will meet you at the station and drive a short distance to your hotel.

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Drive to Hatton, drive takes approx 03 Hrs 30 mins. On arrival check-in at the hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure

Hatton is a town in the Nuwara Eliya District of Central Province, Sri Lanka. It is approximately 83 kilometres southeast of Colombo and 44 km south of Kandy and is situated at an elevation of 1,271 m above sea level. Hatton was founded during the British colonial times in order to serve the coffee and latter tea estates. The name of the town refers to the village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. A number of the surrounding tea estates are also named after Scottish villages.

Accommodation: Craig Appin by Jetwing

DAY 7: IN HATTON

Today enjoy a guided tour of the tea estate, on this tour the local guide will introduce you to the fascinating process of tea production: from meeting the Tamil women who work in the tea fields plucking the leaves, to the weighing process, to drying, fermenting and packaging at the actual factory. The tour will be followed by a tea tasting tour, before returning to your bungalow.

Spend the rest of your time relaxing in the peaceful surroundings of your hotel. You may choose to do one of the many walking trails which crisscross the estate, or why not walk from one estate to the next and return in time for either high tea or dinner.

Accommodation: Craig Appin by Jetwing 

DAY 8: HATTON - YALA

After a leisurely breakfast, your chauffeur will transfer you to the Yala National Park; the drive will take approx 6 hours 30 mins.

Yala National Park is situated in the south-east region of Sri Lanka and is the 2nd largest National Park on the island. The park covers 979 square kilometers (378 sq mi) and is situated some 300 km away from Colombo. Here you will find: The largest concentration of Leopards |About 32 species of mammals |125 species of birds |Many reptiles and lagoon fauna species

Afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the hotel.

Accommodation: Cinnamon Wild

DAY 9: IN YALA

Early rise for your dawn game drive on a shared basis – unlike in Africa, leopards in Yala are not primarily nocturnal hunters, since they have no predators to fear, so they are often to be seen during the day. Yala has the highest concentration of leopards anywhere in the world, so it is only a very unlucky guest who does not sport these elegant, beautiful cats during their stay in Yala. However, the best time for seeing leopards in Yala is first thing in the morning as the sun is rising and last thing in the day when they generally walk and start thinking of hunting. The male leopards in Yala are very confident animals and they are often seen walking the jeep tracks during the day, and seem quite unaffected by jeeps, making it a photographers paradise. As well as leopards a large number of elephants can sometimes be seen wandering on the deserted beaches or bathing in the numerous watering holes in the park.

After Lunch, you will once go inside the park on the afternoon game drive on a shared basis.

Accommodation: Cinnamon Wild

DAY 10: YALA - GALLE

Early Morning you will have another chance to go inside the park on a game drive on a shared basis.

After breakfast, check-out and drive to Galle – approx 4 hours. Check-in at the Hotel.

Galle is one of Sri Lanka's most historically interesting towns, having been occupied by the Dutch, Portuguese and British. The history of Galle dates back to 1505 when a Portuguese fleet bound for the Maldives was blown off course and took shelter in the Galle Harbour. In 1663, the Dutch built the 36-hectare Fort, which is now a World Heritage Site. The fort has a unique old-world atmosphere that bears witness to its past through crumbling architecture, European street names and Dutch churches. The old colonial mansions, narrow streets, and ancient cars roaming the streets make Galle Fort a hauntingly beautiful place to escape into.

Afternoon free

Accommodation: Amari Galle

DAY 11: IN GALLE

Today morning explore the Galle Fort on a walking tour with our resident guide. The fort which was variously occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and British was used be the main harbor until 1875. This is a living fort and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1988.  Surrounded on three sides by the sea, the best way to absorb the atmosphere and see the architecture is to walk along the narrow streets, where some of the Old Dutch architecture has been preserved. The quiet fort streets are lined with substantial buildings illustrating the characteristic features of Dutch Colonial architecture. Also of note here is the 18th century Dutch Church.  It has a splendid wooden memorial to the EAH Abraham, Commander in Galle as well has a lovely semi-circular organ loft. You will also stop at the Arab Quarter with its distinctly Moorish atmosphere during the walk.

Afternoon free

Accommodation: Amari Galle

DAY 12: GALLE  – COLOMBO

Today transfer to Colombo airport (approx 3hrs) to board your flight to home and bid adieu to this lovely Island nation, with happy memories!

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Prices from SGD5,755 per person

Fares are per person, based on double occupancy, subject to availability and capacity controlled.

Price Includes:

  • Accommodation
  • Transport in an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Services of English Speaking Chauffeur Guide during the trip
  • Bottled water will be provided throughout the tour
  • Local representative for assistance on arrival and departure transfers.
  • Tours and entrances as per the itinerary (1 visit)
  • 3 x Jeep Safaris in Yala on a shared basis
  • All applicable taxes

Price Excludes:

  • International airfare
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Meals other than those specified above
  • Any other not mentioned items

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