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Highlights of Sri Lanka

Total Days : 14 Days

Tour Destination : Colombo, Habarana, Minneriya, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Udawalawe, yala, Galle

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Namaste! - We welcome you with folded hands

Day 01: Arrival / Colombo

Welcome to Sri Lanka!

Upon arrival at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport you will be met by your guide for a private transfer to your hotel in Colombo

Please note standard check-in time is 14:00.

With amazing cuisine and luxury hotels, Colombo has been earning itself a well-deserved reputation as a top destination for international travelers.

Overnight at Ozo Colombo (Dream Room)

Day 02: Colombo

Today you will leisurely enjoy a sightseeing tour of Colombo.

Colombo is a city with a rich history. Known to the Greeks, Arabs, and Chinese for over 2000 years because of its natural harbour and as a centre of trade, it was colonised by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and then the British between 1505 and 1948. Each colonial power left a distinctive mark and contributed greatly to the character of the city.

Amazing Pettah district still has the energy like in the late nineteenth century when the streets were teeming with ox carts and alive with the sounds and whiffs of the sea, as rubber, tea, cinnamon, kittul treacle, rope and peacocks were loaded aboard ships.

On completion you will return back to your hotel and later you will enjoy a nice dinner at a restaurant called ‘Nuga Gama’.

The Nuga Gama or Banyan Village is a distinct Sri Lankan restaurant in Colombo, brought to life around a 200-year-old Banyan Tree, surrounded by wattle & daub huts and traditionally dressed staff who also help run this communal tribute to Sri Lankan life.

Overnight at Ozo Colombo (Dream Room)

Day 03: Colombo / Habarana

This morning you will leave your hotel after breakfast and drive to the ‘Cultural Triangle’.

Commonly referred to as the ‘Cultural Triangle’, the central plains area boasts ruined temples and ancient cities combined with national parks and glistening reservoirs. UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the striking rock fortress of Sigiriya, Dambulla’s Royal Rock Temple and crumbling archaeological treasures of Polonnaruwa. The stunning setting and historic interest means a stay in this region is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Sri Lanka.

Overnight at Habarana Village by Cinnamon (Superior Room)

Day 04: Habarana / Sigiriya / Minneriya / Habarana

Set off this morning for Sigiriya, also known as the ‘Lion Rock’.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. A spectacular pillar of rock visible from miles around, geologically Sigiriya is a hardened magma plug of an extinct volcano. Historically, the origins of the remains are disputed and thought to have been either a royal fortress built under the reign of King Kashyapa (477 - 495 AD) or a Buddhist monastery.

You might like to start your visit with a visit to the Sigiriya Museum to learn more about the site, before wandering through the vast landscaped gardens to the base of the rock. The walk to the top is steep with many steps and there are some sections where the path or staircase is very narrow with steep drops protected by fences. We do not recommend this for those without a head for heights or the less mobile. The hike up and down again will take 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on your fitness.

You will pass beautiful frescoes and a sheer ‘mirror wall’ before arriving at the massive stone lion’s paws, which lend the rock its nickname ‘Lion Rock’. The old stairway to the top led through the mouth of a crouching lion but today only the huge paws remain giving an indication of the massive proportions of the head. The summit, covering an area of 1.6 hectares, was originally completely covered by buildings, but only remains of the royal citadel can be seen today.

After visiting Sigiriya there will be time to take a short walk around a nearby village.

Later in the afternoon you will drive to Minneriya National Park for a 2-3 hour jeep safari. Dominated by the ancient Minneriya Tank, which was built in 3rd Century AD by King Mahasena, the plains and forests of this park are home to herds of elephants who come to graze and to bathe in the tank’s waters. Flocks of cormorants and stocks, toque macaque and sambar deer may also be spotted. Depending on the movement of the elephants you may visit the nearby Kaudulla National Park or Eco Park instead.

Overnight at Habarana Village by Cinnamon (Superior Room)

Day 05: Habarana

This morning after breakfast, you will enjoy a local village trek.

This morning you will head into the countryside to experience a traditional Sri Lankan village. Walk through the peaceful village where your guide will talk to you about the daily lives of the local people. Continue along a scenic trail past crop fields and an ancient reservoir where you can spot many birds, butterflies and perhaps other wildlife. Stop to enjoy a refreshing king coconut and meet one of the local villagers who will take you for a short ride in his bullock cart. At the end of the morning you will enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan lunch.

Overnight at Habarana Village by Cinnamon (Superior Room)

Day 06: Habarana / Kandy

Today you will drive towards Kandy with a stop to visit the Dambulla cave templesen route.

The Dambulla cave temples are another UNESCO World Heritage Site which date back to the 1st Century BC. This amazing complex of five caves was first used as a refuge by an ancient king who upon regaining his throne commissioned magnificent images to be carved from the rock. Later kings made further improvements and the caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha painted upon the walls of which the largest is a colossal figure spanning 15 metres.

The hike up to the caves is short but steep (approx. 15-40 mins depending on route taken). At the top you can explore the caves and enjoy spectacular far-reaching views over the surrounding countryside.

Continue the drive to Kandy, stopping to visit one of the spice gardens in Matale on the way. A guide will show you around the garden, explaining about various plants and spices native to Sri Lanka. You will witness a cookery demonstration before proceeding to your hotel in Kandy

Sri Lanka’s second largest city, Kandy was the capital of the last Sinhalese Kingdom and enjoys a scenic setting around a lake surrounded by green hills. Home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, said to house Buddha’s tooth, each August the city also hosts the spectacular Perahera festival featuring dancers, firebreathers and lavishly decorated elephants.

Late afternoon you will head to a local hall to watch a show of traditional Sri Lankan music, dance and drumming. Afterwards you’ll visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, known locally as Sri Dalada Maligawa, the most sacred temple in the whole of Sri Lanka. This important shrine boasts intricate carvings and beautiful Sri Lankan art. During the evening ‘puja’ throngs of pilgrims visit the temple to line up to glimpse the golden casket said to hold the sacred relic and to make offerings of flowers.

Overnight at Ozo Kandy (Sleep Room)

Day 07: Kandy

After breakfast enjoy a tour of Kandy, including a walk by the lake, a visit to the bustling local market and a stop at the British Garrison Cemetery, which from 1822-1873 was the final resting place for resident British nationals. Continue to the Ceylon Tea Museum located just outside the town, set in the old Hathane Tea Factory, where you can learn more about the history of tea growing in this region.

Later head to the beautiful Peredeniya Botanic Gardensto enjoy a leisurely stroll among the orchids and royal palms.

Surrounded on three sides by the Mahaweli River, these botanical gardens were founded in 1824 and are still home to one of world’s largest collections of plants and trees. Giant ficus trees, palms, an orchid house and a vast array of trees such as ebony, teak, satinwood, mahogany and tamarind can be seen here.

Overnight at Ozo Kandy (Sleep Room)