On arrival transfer and remainder of the day at leisure. Our start hotel located on the seafront is 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.
Colombo - Polonnaruwa - Giritale.
Today we head inland to Polonnaruwa. On the way we stop at a local market before arriving at one of Sri Lanka’s most impressive cave temples, the Dambulla Rock Temple. This stunning complex of 5 caves contains over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre statue carved out of the cave rock. After exploring this ancient site we continue on 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.
Giritale - Sigiriya – Kandy.
morning we head to 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. Afterwards take a jeep ride along the village paths up to the lake then cross the lake by canoe. Here, at Kayanwala village we take part in a cookery demonstration in the mud brick home of a local and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch of curry, dahl, spiced rice, pickle and more. Before returning 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. Arriving to Kandy, we attend a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
Temple of the Tooth, Tuk Tuks & Pinnawala
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 more sightseeing we take a breezy Tuk Tuk ride up into the hills to look down upon the city. This afternoon we visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage where we meet some of the 78 elephants in their care. Some of these elephants were abandoned as babies, others born in the facility and unable to return to the wild and a few with disability - one elephant is blind. Opened in 1975 on a 25 acre property it was originally started to house baby elephants who had lost their mothers through poaching or other causes. The highlight of the day will be to watch the herd bathe uninhabited in the nearby river. Later we head back to Kandy for the evening visiting a working tea factory at Giragama en route. Geragama Tea Factory is located in close proximity to the city of Kandy was established in the year 1903, manufacturing 'Low Grown' and 'Long Leaf' tea.
Kandy - Nuwara Eliya
This morning offers free time before transfering 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. Opt to sit outside, within the open viewing section of the carriage for uninterrupted views of the picturesque landscape. This afternoon we take a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya on a beautiful drive through 'Little England'.
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 lots of types of deer. We take an afternoon game drive here before returning to the hotel for the night.
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.
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 from 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 later on to the coastal town of Mirissa for the night.
Mirissa - Colombo
This morning we have an early start as we proceed to the boat pier for our Whale and Dolphin Watching boat cruise (offered from 01 Nov - 31 May) or Dutch Galle fortress ( 01 June - 31 Oct). Next stop, 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.
Our tour concludes today with an onward departure transfer to the airport.