|Wonders of Asia-||Angkor Wat||Borobudur||Forbidden City||Great Wall of China||Meenakshi Temple||Petronas Towers||Taj Mahal|
Destination : Arrival - Colombo - Colombo - Pinnawala - Habarana - - Anuradhapura - Habarana - Polonnaruwa - Habarana - Sigiriya & Dambulla - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya - Hortan Plains - Nuwara Eliya - Ella Yala - Galle - Mount Lavinia - Colombo - Departure
Duration : 15 Days Tour
Sri Lankan civilization is more than twenty centuries old. Its history is recorded in Mahavamsa, the Great Chronicle written in the 5th century AD. Remains of this ancient civilization reflecting the character, imagination, culture, philosophy, and the faith of its people are seen in the form of ruined cities, buildings, palaces, reservoirs, parks, dagobas (dome enshrining sacred relics or the bodily remains of the Buddha, or articles used by Him), Buddha images, temples, sculpture and painting throughout the little Island. However it is at the major archaeological sites of Anuradhapura, Polunuwara, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Kandy that the glory of the Island's past can be seen in its true form still living among the several ruins. These ancient cities can be reached easily from Colombo in a comfortable morning's drive through green paddy fields, acres of coconut palms and alongside deep jungle where wild animals roam
(May You Have A Long & Healthy Life!)
Day 01 : Arrival - Colombo
Late night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.
Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.
Welcome to Sri Lanka & thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!
Galle Face Regency Hotel is situated in the heart of the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. An oasis of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of the city by the side of the Indian Ocean. The Galle Face, hailed as a masterpiece of Victorian architecture, retains the dignified and polite atmosphere that gave it such fame in the colonial age. Sympathetic renovations and refurbishments are helping to protect its historic status in more demanding times. The Sea spray restaurant, specialising in fish, is blessed by an ocean frontage. There is nowhere better place to watch a Colombo sunset than from its immaculate terrace and gardens. Overnight at Galle Face Regency Hotel (Oceanic Deluxe
Day 02 : Colombo
Following a leisurely breakfast we proceed on a sightseeing tour of Colombo. We drive through the commercial and city centre area known as the "Fort", built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. A highlight would be a visit to the bustling and colourful markets and bazaars of Pettah; the National Museum with its fine collection of lovely antiques and art of Sri Lanka. Drive past town hall, Independence square, the B.M.I.C.H (International Convention Centre) and Cinnamon gardens residential area. We also visit the Zoological gardens at Dehiwala and enroute to your hotel visit a Buddhist and a Hindu Temple.
Rest of the day is at leisure, you may choose to be at the beach or you could explore some of the shopping options. My suggestion would be the 'House Of fashion' where you could buy a wide range of outfits at a great price.
If you love eating, my suggestion would be to try out the hotel's fine dining restaurant called '1864'. This place has fine tuned dinning to an art with fish being imported as far off as from Australia. However, this is just a suggestion.
Evening you may wander along Galle Face. This is the sea front of Colombo where scores of middle class Sri Lankans arrive for a small picnic. They either bring their own food or could make inexpensive buys from the several inexpensive food stalls that dot the walkway along the shore. Little families' huddle in small groups, children fly kites or play soft football. The several inflatable toys add colour and atmosphere to the place. Of course the lovely sea breeze does relax one. Overnight at Galle Face Regency Hotel (Oceanic Deluxe)
Day 03 : Colombo - Pinnawala - Habarana
Following a leisurely breakfast we drive to Habarana, Enroute we visit Pinnawala, an interesting and amusing elephant orphanage. Pinnawala is the home to some 60 or more elephant orphans. A place you will really enjoy and never forget. Most orphans are accustomed to their curious human visitors are harmless Sri Lanka is the only country in the world to open elephant orphanages to protect the destitute young wild elephants. Young elephants left in the jungle without care are brought to this orphanage and tendered till they reach maturity. Interesting time to visit the orphanage is at the bathing time when the herd is brought to a river flowing close by or at feeding time to see the babies being bottle-fed.
Later we continue driving to Habarana. The latter half of the drive is along remote countryside where we will stop to interact with the locals as we stop to pick up some fruits from the farms or just walk into the villages.
Upon arrival, check into the exquisite Chaya Village (Formerly - Habarana Village). It is a village that lacks nothing of 21st century comforts; Chaya Village sits on a reservoir and is nestled under a canopy of ancient and magnificent tree cover. Deliberately designed into the environment, there's nothing lacking in terms of tree cover, bird life, and an aesthetic elegance that can only be obtained by those who recognise nature's ways and wisdom. There's much to feast the eyes on and many things to discover. At your own pace, as it slips into step with the relaxed and immemorial amble that is village life in Sri Lanka.
The hospitality and personalization of service would be specially noted here. A sincere and an honest effort would be made to know you and serve you individually. They attempt to make you feel wanted. Overnight at Chaya Village
Day 04 : Habarana - Anuradhapura - Habarana
Following a leisurely breakfast we proceed on a day return trip to Anuradhapura Anuradhapura is Ceylon's ancient Capital (5th century B.C. to 10th century A.D.) now declared a Buddhist holy city. Amongst the many religious and historical sites are the Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo Tree), the oldest documented tree in the world which came from a sapling from the tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment; the Brazen place built in the 2nd century BC, several majestic dagobas such as Ruwanweli Seya, and of course the Thuparama Dagoba which is the oldest in the country and believed to enshrine the collarbone of the Buddha.
After exploring the town we drive back to Habarana for overnight. The journey today would be through paddy fields as we see various coconut leaf shacks pass by. On our way back we will get off our car and enjoy a walk. There would be several stores selling boiled maze sticks that I might not recommend for your stomach. But, it would be nice to stand and see how they do this unique delicacy that is so popular with the Sri Lankans. We will also walk the Anuradhapura bazaar, which is a very bustling Sri Lankan town.
We arrive back late afternoon and you may decide to check out the pool or just take a chair and read next to the gigantic lake. Overnight at Chaya Village
Day 05 : Habarana - Polonnaruwa - Habarana
Following a leisurely breakfast we proceed on an excursion to Polonnaruwa. The glory of mediaeval Sri Lanka is seen at Polonnaruwa, the mediaeval capital of the Island. Polonnaruwa used by the Sri Lankan kings as a 'country residence' from the 7th century became the Island's capital in the 11th century AD. Within the ramparts of the Royal Citadel are the ruins of the King's palace,the Council Chamber and the Royal Bath. The Buddha images at the Gal Vihara or the Rock Temple are masterpieces of stone sculpture. Parakrama Samudra or the Sea of Parakrama is a giant man made irrigation reservoir. A visit to Polonnaruwa is incomplete without visiting the new archaeological museum opened by the Central Cultural Fund where the ancient glory of the city has been recreated in scale models.
Following the tour I suggest you visit the very popular Lake View Restaurant for Lunch. Sitting across the tranquil lake you could have a nice grilled Seer fish (from the lake itself). Somehow the world seems to have stopped here with nothing modern in sight as you sit in peace and quite admiring nature. Later we drive back to your hotel in Habarana . Overnight at Chaya Village
Day 06 : Habarana - Sigiriya & Dambulla - Kandy
After breakfast, drive to Sigiriya, which is a glowing tribute to the vision of King Kashyapa who created this 'Palace in the Sky' in the 5th century AD. On the summit of the Sigiriya rock (meaning the 'Lion Rock') that is over 1.5 hectares in extent is the remains of a large palace, the earliest surviving royal palace in Sri Lanka, with several chambers and a bathing pond. In a sheltered pocket of the giant rock are the celebrated paintings of 5th century AD, a few which is remaining from around 500 paintings that once covered the rock surface. Meticulously planned water gardens at the foot of the rock are the earliest such gardens found in Asia. The boulder gardens are a fine example of landscaping while conserving the environment. The Mirror Wall, which had been exposed to elements for over fifteen centuries still carry some of the original sheen that has given it the name. This archaeological site unparalleled in South Asia has been declared a World Heritage Site.
Later we drive to Dambulla upon arrival we visit the Dambulla Rock Temple, which is a magnificent gallery of Buddha images and wall and ceiling paintings not seen anywhere else in the Island. It is a complex of five cave temples with its origin going back to the Anuradhapura period (1st century BC). However due to additions and restorations done by various rulers over the past two thousand years what now remains are mostly the works of the Kandyan period (18th century).
During our journey out of Dambulla we will also have a chance to visit the wholesale vegetable market just outside the town. The hustle and bustle here would be a fascinating sight as traders and retailers bargain over prices and quality. We will also have an opportunity to stop at a fruit farm where you may taste farm fresh fruit juices - mango, Pineapple, avocado etc.
Following the tour we ride to Kandy. On our way, we would have an opportunity to witness typical Sri Lankan crafts. The art of batik printing can be seen as we visit a batik factory. Woodcarving is also a major art of Sri lanka and we would witness the performance of this art in our visit to a wood carving center.
As we ride on, we would also have an opportunity to tour a Spice garden. The air is rendered with the incredible aroma of a variety of spices. You would have an opportunity to witness not only spice farming undertaken by traditional tools and implements, but. Would have an opportunity to buy garden fresh spices at good prices. There are also massage oils available for body and joint pains. You could have an impromptu massage to check out the efficiency of the oil. Upon arrival check into Mahaweli Reach . Overnight at Hotel Mahaweli Reach
Day 07 : Kandy
Following a leisurely breakfast we proceed on a guided tour of Kandy. The Hill Capital of Kandy was the last bastion of the Sinhala kings and is a charming city offering a living record of a magnificent past. Center of attraction in Kandy is the Dalada Maligawa, the temple housing the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha. Kandy Lake enhances the charm of the City. Kandy is a romantic city any time of the year. We also visit to the Market Place, an arts & crafts show room. Following this, we drive along the Upper lake road to get a panoramic view of the Kandy Lake and its environs. We continue driving to Peradeniya and visit the Botanical Gardens, where you can view a rare collection of tropical exotic and indigenous flora can be viewed and also famous Orchid House.
A highlight of our tour of Sri Lanka would be the witnessing of the Kandiyan dances this evening at an auditorium. The spectacular display of a wide range of dances is spell bounding. The colour, the vigour and the grace are amazing. Several martial dances too are performed. The highlight of course is the fire dance where dancers swallow fire, walk on fire and rub fire sticks on their body. Overnight at Hotel Mahaweli Reach
Day 08 : Kandy - Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast we ride through incredible natural scenery to Nuwara-Eliya. As we gain elevation the vegetation of the region too changes as also the driving. Tea Gardens begin to appear on the slopes and waterfalls of various strengths appear frequently. The road to clings to the mountains as it twists and turns climbing all the way. The scenes of Terrace cultivation of tea and occasionally of Paddy are a very fascinating sight.
We would also stop at St. Clair Tea estate's restaurant for a 'garden fresh' cup of tea. You may choose from the various brands of flavour teas - we recommend 'Broken Orange Pekoe' for its flavour and body.
Upon arrival we check into your Golf Wing room of the Grand Hotel. The Grand Hotel has a heritage exceeding a 100 years. The former residence of Sir Edward Barnes, Governor of Sri Lanka from 1830 to 1850, and the Grand Hotel is an excellent example of a mansion from the Elizabethan era. It retains the stateliness and grandeur of a Colonial Mansion and rightfully claims its place as one of the best hill country hotels in Asia. Like a misplaced bit of Europe set in the centre of a tropical island, the hill country resort town of Nuwara Eliya nestles in a cradle formed by three mountains at an elevation of 6,182 feet (1,884 meters) above sea level
Rest of the evening is at leisure for your independent activities. You may choose to eat at the Continental restaurant in the basement or at the Indian restaurant across the Driveway. Overnight at Grand Hotel (Golf Wing)
Day 09 : Nuwara Eliya - Hortan Plains - Nuwara Eliya
Early this morning with packed breakfast we drive to Hortan Plains.
Early this morning a 4WD takes you to Horton Plain. The drive is spectacular and the views on a clear day of the various terrace farms, meadows, and animal farms are spectacular. Once we reach Horton Plains we have two options. The first is driving back. On our way back we would stop at Ambewela farms for a wander to enjoy the breathtaking scenes. The farm has the finest of everything from their cattle to their pastures and technology. These Farms are set in lush green hills and blessed with cool climes and a pristine environment off Nuwara-Eliya. We would get back to Nuwara Eliya by lunchtime and have the afternoon at leisure with us for visits to markets or for nature walks.
The second option would be that you stay back at Horton Plains for an exciting 8 Kms trek. In case some members wish to trek they can do so, the rest could choose the first option. The trekkers would trek through the jungle and, with our expert advice, sample edible jungle berries. This wild, yet scenic landscape includes wild orchids, scarlet rhododendron, stunted trees with 'old man's beard' moss, dwarf marsh bamboo, stobilanthes, which bloom once every ten years, tree ferns, and many rare and endemic species of butterflies. Birds include jungle fowl, babblers, magpies, the Ceylon hill muniya, bull-blue flycatcher, pied bush chat, and the Sri Lanka whistling thrush.
This national park is the only one in Sri Lanka where walking is permitted. You may see sambar deer (more than 3000 live on Horton Plains), and monkeys, squirrels, wild cats and wild boar.
Sample the famous view at 'World's End' where the escarpment drops 3000 ft. to the 'Nagrak' tea estate and take a look at Bakers Waterfall. Late afternoon we drive back to Nuwara Eliya.
Rest of the day is at leisure your independent activities. We suggest that you stroll down the main bazaar of Nuwara Eliya. Now, this is not an upmarket area, but the concept and construction is very English with arches and collums, but the wares are very Sri Lankan including stores that sell vegetables, dresses, confectionaries etc. Of course, besides Sri Lankan tea Nuwara Eliya is famous for her coffees especially filter coffee. There is a very reputable store (Apsara Traders) at the end of the bazaar selling quality tea and coffee, but at very reasonable cost. There is also the fruit market section too where a huge variety of fruits are beautifully arranged Overnight at Grand Hotel (Golf Wing)
Day 10 : Nuwara Eliya - Ella
This morning we commence on a sightseeing tour of Nuwara-Eliya. In 1819, during the British colonial era, a few British on a hunting expedition in the hill country spotted the site where the present day Nuwara Eliya town stands 1890 metres above sea level and decided to set up a health resort for their use. It was Sir Samuel Baker who later converted it to a holiday resort with a touch of an English village, which earned it the name 'Little England'. We visit Hakgala Botanical gardens with exotic trees, shrubs and herbs known to thrive best in hill country. It has an excellent and rare collection of roses, orchids, and a carefully tended fernery. It would be interesting to walk along the gardens exploring and enjoying the natural beauty of the region. W also visits the Nuwara-Eliya Town, Golf Course, the hill club, and drive around this hill station viewing Lake Gregory. Nuwara Eliya is a picture post card country with scenic lakes and terrace farming with tea gardens on the slope. It is also a law in Nuwara Eliya that all homes here have to conform to European design. This is a fascinating implant into typical Sri Lankan lifestyles
Afternoon we drive to Ella. The journey to Ella itself is a trip to remember. The route provides contrasting geographic landscapes from rolling grasslands and paddy fields to vast expansions of tea plants carpeting the mountainside. Ella has one of the most stunning views in Sri Lanka. The Ella Gap, a valley between the hills that opens up to offer spectacular views to the southern plains of Sri Lanka - a distance of 40Kms.
Ella is also brilliant for nature walks. This is a small village forgotten by time. The walks amidst scenes of Natural beauty past sheds with thatched Coconut leaves selling vegetables, fruits and at times biscuits and tea have a nostalgic impact. Overnight at Ella Grand Motel (Golf Wing)
Day 11 : Ella - Yala
Following a leisurely breakfast we drive to Yala biding farewell to the mountains as we descend slowly towards the warmer plains of the South. Again, we will have opportunities to stop on the way to appreciate the landscape. A special mention must be made for the tumbling Ravana Fall which is Sri Lanka's major water fall. The landscape changes and no more tea as we drive along paddy, maize and sugarcane fields. The tiny shacks re-appear on the roads selling Jack fruit, jaggery, tamarinds and a variety of Vegetables.
Upon arrival check into Yala Safari Village, a true nature resort of untamed beauty and unmatched luxury. You can step out into the jungle from your luxury chalet to watch the elephants walking by or the illusive leopard sunning itself on the rocky outcrop close by. The concept of a Safari Village brings two of the most estimable qualities of a dream vacation together, i.e. Adventure and Relaxation. These two key ingredients are provided for by the hotel's close proximity to the jungle and the sea. The resort comprises a number of chalets scattered across 10 acres of mixed evergreen forest and typical dry zone vegetation. A pool bar, swimming pool, restaurant with a bird's eye view and an observation deck are also made available for the guests. That's not all; visitors are also advised to keep their eyes & ears wide open because wildlife is abundant and surprises are many. Since the laws of nature are respected here, the Asian elephant, the illusive leopard, spotted deer, wild boar and numerous varieties of birds are frequent visitors at the village . Overnight at Yala Safari Village
Day 12 : Yala
Morning & afternoon jungle excursions in jeeps. Yala has many rocky outcrops, fresh water tanks, brackish lagoons and breathtaking dry zone landscape. The southeastern boundary of Yala is the coastline with an untouched beach. The northeastern boundary is the manik ganga river. The Yala reserve has large open areas and water holes which serve as feeding grounds for many animals such as elephants, leopards, deer, wild buffaloes, wild boar, many varieties of birds, crocodiles etc. The most prominent geophysical feature of Yala is its many areas of outcropping bedrock, some large enough to be mini rocky ranges. These provide resting places and breeding grounds to the leopard and the Sri Lankan sloth bear. The most common types of trees in Yala could be categorized as Palu, Weera, Divul and Maliethan. The fruits of these trees are a favourite of the sloth bear. Overnight at Yala Safari Village
Day 13 : Yala - Galle - Mount Lavinia
After breakfast we drive to Mount Lavinia along the picturesque South Coast of Colombo. We would pass through fascinating towns and villages and have opportunities to stop on the way to observe traditional lifestyles. Of special mention are the stilt fishermen who are perched on a stilt with a fishing chord in their hand.
We also have an opportunity to tour Sri Lanka's most historically interesting town - Galle. This southern city is a well-known seaport from ancient times when merchant ships anchored here to trade for the Island famous gems, exotic spices and other commodities. The famous Fort I Galle was originally built by the Portugese in 1589 and named Santa Cruz. After the Dutch occupation it was destroyed and rebuilt on a larger scale to cover an area over 36 hectares. This world Heritage Site is a very interesting place to visit as the old and modern city blend together in perfect harmony.
Upon arrival check into your Hotel Mt. Lavinia The Mount Lavinia Hotel is a legacy of Sri Lanka's Colonial Heritage. It stands as a monument to the forbidden love of a Governor General and a local mestizo dancer who cast a spell on his heart.
Rest of the day is at leisure on the beach. The sea is safe for bathing and is a popular bathing spot with clean sandy beaches. The name Lavinia reminds of a secret love affair between a British Governor and a local damsel who used to meet at the holiday house of the Governor, which stood on the spot where now your hotel is located. Overnight at Mount Lavinia Hotel (Bay Wing)
Day 14 : Mount Lavinia
Day is at leisure to enjoy the amazing beach as well as your hotel of whimsical charm. Starting out as an imposing and majestic weekend abode for a British Governor in 1806, and retains the old world charm and imperial elegance of yesteryear combined with the most up to date facilities of a modern resort that any discerning. A vast expanse of golden sandy beaches edged with frothy white lacing of waters that go far into the clearest and deepest blues you've ever seen . under a warm sun by day and a silvery moon on a night sky - you'll discover what was once the sprawling mansion of Sir Thomas Maitland.Overnight at Mount Lavinia Hotel (Bay Wing)
Day 15 : Mount Lavinia - Colombo - Departure
Drive to Colombo, upon arrival transfer to the airport to connect your onward flight back home
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We do hope the flavor of Sri Lanka will remain on your taste buds for all times to come and hopefully would kindle an indelible fondness for the country and her people; Thank you for being our guest, and as we say in India 'Please Come back Soon"