DAY 1 – LEAVE FROM EUROPE
Arrival at Bandaranayake International Airport and welcome by our representative. Transfer to a hotel in Colombo Afternoon : optional city tour of Colombo. Colombo is a fascinating city, not only for its comfortable blend of East and West, but also for its cozy mixture of the past and present. It is the commercial capital of the county. Attractions: Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, churches, the old parliament building, the zoo, museums and art galleries. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Colombo.
After breakfast leave for Habarana or Sigiriya. En route visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala. In the afternoon Visit Sigiriya. This rock fortress was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. In a sheltered pocket, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes. The summit of the rock, with an area of nearly one hectare, was the site of the old palace – the outer wall of which was built on the very brink of the precipice. The UNESCO-sponsored Central Cultural Fund has restored Sigiriya’s 5th century Water Gardens to be former glory. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Habarana or Sigiriya.
After breakfast leave for Polonnaruwa. Visit the ancient historical site of Polonnaruwa: The Island’s medieval capital rose to fame after Anuradhapura ‘s decline. The largest of its many reservoirs, the Parakrama Samudra, is larger than the Colombo harbour. Attractions: Remains of the King’s council chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, the Royal Pavilion, the Vatadage Relic House, Kiri Vehera, and Gal Vihare. Afternoon relax at the hotel or optional excursion to the Minneriya National Park. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Habarana or Sigiriya.
After breakfast leave for Kandy . En route visit Dambulla cave temple: Like Sigiriya, Dambulla is a vast isolated rock mass, which houses a rock temple (formerly caves). Some of its frescoes are over 2,000 years old – and there is a colossal figure of the recumbent Buddha caved out of the rock, some 14 meters long. Visit a spice garden and a batik factory in Matale. In the afternoon visit Kany city. Sri Lanka ‘s hill capital is, perhaps, its most beautiful town. It is 488 meters above sea level, and next to Colombo , is Sri Lanka ‘s most visited place. The focal point of the town is the golden-roofed Dalada Maligawa, where the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is enshrined. The highlight of the year is the Esala Perahera, when a replica of the relic casket is taken in procession, accompanied by exotic costumed dancers, drummers and some 100 elephants during ten glittering nights in July/August. There are numerous shrines and temples in and around Kandy, with rare paintings, frescoes, and stone carvings. Don’t miss the Paradeniya Gardens , with its amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers. Kandy is an exiting place for shopping, with souvenirs in wood, copper, silver, brass, ebony, and bronze. Ceramics, lacquer work, hand-looms, batiks, jewelry and rush and reed-ware can also be purchased. In the evening watch a cultural performance by traditional Kandyan Dancers and drummers. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Kandy.
After breakfast leave fro Nuwara-Eliya. En route visit the Peradiniya Botanical garden, a tea plantation and a tea factory. In the afternoon visit Nuwara-Eliya city. Set in the heart of tea-country, this beautiful town is where the British succeeded in creating an English countryside, with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne. Well-kept lawns with hedges, an Anglican church, and the famous golf course and beautiful parks given the place an air of nostalgia. Situated 1,890 meters above sea level, the air is cool and fresh – a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of Colombo. Acres and acres of tea with its lush green foliage extend miles across the hills, and no visit to the hill country is complete without a visit to a tea estate, and the chance to purchase some of the world’s finest flavoured tea. Diner and overnight stay at a hotel in Nuwara-Eliya.
After breakfast leave for Beruwala. On the way make a visit to Kithulgala to visit the famous place of “Bridge on the River Kwai” filming. Close to Nuwara Eliya is Horton Plains, Sri Lanka’s highest and most isolated plateau. Nature lovers will revel in this wide, patna-grass covered plain, the haunt of many wild, animals and the home of many species of birds. Bridle paths will take you to the precipice known as World’s End – a sheer drop of 1,050 meters. Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Beruwala.
Full day relax at the hotel . Dinner and overnight stay at a hotel in Beruwala. (Optional visit to GALLE ). In this coastal town, the Dutch presence is still visible. Galle was an ancient port and our first international commerce and trade center. Today, Galle is the bustling provincial capital and administrative center of the south. It is famous for its lovely Unawatuna Bay, where the sea is reef protected and therefore safe for swimming. The old Dutch ‘Star’ fort (a World Heritages Site) covering 36 hectors, the well-preserved Groote Kerk (Dutch Church), Dutch Government House, the New Oriental Hotel (1684) old bell tower and a tide-based Sewage-System, also introduced by the Dutch. In Gale they still make the Dutch ‘pillow-lace’ and do fine ebony-carving and gem-polishing.
Breakfast at hotel. Leave for Airport. (Rooms till 12h00 only)