Your guide will meet you upon arrival at Colombo International Airport and drive you to Ratnapura, city of Gems and departure point for a visit to the Sinharaja Rain Forest. Overnight stay at the CENTAURIA HILL RESORT 3* in Ratnapura or BOULDER GARDEN RESORT 4*.
After breakfast, visit the Sinharaja rain forest. Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hot spot in Sri Lanka. The hilly virgin rain forest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forest secoregion, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility. The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are about 3 elephants and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The most common larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Langur. An interesting phenomenon is that birds tend to move in mixed feeding flocks, invariably led by the fearless Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and the noisy Orange-billed Babbler. Of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic birds, the 20 rain forest species all occur here, including the elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie. Reptiles include the endemic Green pit viper and Hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic Common Birdwingbutterfly and the inevitable leeches. Overnight at the CENTAURIA HILLS RESORT 3* or BOULDER GARDEN RESORT 4*
After breakfast, departure to TISSAMAHARAMA, in the vicinity of the YALA NATIONAL PARK. Jeepsafari in the Yala National Park. Overnight at the PRIYANKARA HOTEL 4* or THE SAFARI HOTEL 5* in Tissamaharama. Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. Among the largest is Lunugamvehera National Park. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.
Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Before the designation of the national park, the area was used for shifting cultivation (chena farming). The farmers were gradually removed once the national park was declared. The park is 165 kilometres (103 mi) from Colombo. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan Elephants. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country. Overnight at the GRAND UDAWALAWE RESORT 4* near the Park entrance.
After breakfast, the tour will take you higher up in the central mountains of Sri Lanka for a discovery of the national product of the country – Tea! Nuwara Eliya’s climate lent itself to becoming the prime sanctuary of the British civil servants and planters in Ceylon. Nuwara Eliya, called Little England then, was also a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting,elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket. Although the town was founded in the 19th century by the British, the whole district is today visited by native travelers, specially during the month of April, the season of flowers, pony races, go-cart races and auto rally. Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as the Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, Town Post Office and even new hotels are often built and furnished in the colonial style. Anyone who visits the city can wallow in its nostalgia of bygone days by visiting these landmark buildings. Many private homes still maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens. Due to its highland location, Nuwara Eliya has a subtropical highland climate with a mean annual temperature of 16 °C (61 °F).In the winter months it is quite cold at night, and there can even be frost. However, it rapidly warms up as the tropical sun climbs higher during the day. Overnight at the HEAVEN SEVEN HOTEL 3* or ARALIYA GREEN HILLS RESORT 4* in Nuwara Eliya.
A visit to the Sri Lankan Highlands is not complete without a visit to the HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK. Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. This region was designated a national park in 1988. It is also a popular tourist destination and is situated 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Nuwara Eliya and 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Ohiya. The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. The plains’ vegetation is grasslands interspersed with forest and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan Sambar Deer feature as typical mammals and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. The sheer precipice of World’s End and Baker’s Falls are among the tourist attractions of the park.Overnight at the HEAVEN SEVEN HOTEL 3* or ARALIYA GREEN HILLS RESORT 4*in Nuwara Eliya.
A visit to the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy, is an absolute must and highlight of every tour in the Island. Kandy was the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka. Since the Kandyan kingdom came under the British only around 1815, the city still retains the living traditions of its sovereign kingdom era. Kandyans are usually proud of their heritage and most Kandyans subscribe to Buddhist values. Kandy is home to The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), one of the most venerable places for the Buddhist community of Sri Lanka and all around the world. Important sites to visit include The Temple of the Tooth. It houses a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, and is consequently considered one of Sri Lanka’s most holy shrines. The Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage has about 70 semi-tame elephants roaming freely around this wonderful sanctuary Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya is the best botanical garden in Sri Lanka and one of the best in the region. It dates back to the ancient kings of the country although the British changed the look of it. The large banyan tree, the orchid house, the suspension bridge, and the bats are some of the main attractions. Overnight at the SUISSE HOTEL 3* or at CINNAMON CITADEL HOTEL 5* in Kandy.
After the visit of Peradeniya gardens in Kandy, departure to the center of the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, Habarana. Before reaching Habarana we recommend to visit one of the SPICE GARDENS in the Matale area, as well as a visit to the cave temples of Dambulla. Dambulla cave temple also known as the Golden Temple of Dambullais a World Heritage Site (1991) in Sri Lanka, situated in the central part of the country. It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains.Major attractions are spread over 5 caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Lord Buddha and his life.The murals cover an area of 2,100 square metres. Overnight at the CHAAYA VILLAGE HOTEL 4* or CINNAMON LODGE 5* in Habarana.
Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Polonnaruwa is the second largest city in North Central Province, but it is known as one of the cleanest and more beautiful cities in the country. The green environment, amazing ancient constructions, Parakrama Samudraya (a huge lake built in 1200), and attractive tourist hotels and hospitable people, attract tourists.
Minneriya National Parkis a national park in North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The reason for declaring the area as protected is to protect the catchment of the Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts. Along with Kaudulla and Girithale, Minneriya forms one of the 70 important Bird areas of Sri Lanka and is also recommended for birding as well as for the much-favoured jeep safari. Overnight at the CHAAYA VILLAGE HOTEL 4* or CINNAMON LODGE 5* in Habarana.
Jeep safari in the less known yet important Wasgamuwa national park and a visit to the Sigiriya rock fortress Wasgamuwa National Park is a natural park in Sri Lanka situated in the Matale and Polonnaruwa Districts. It was declared to protect and to make a refuge for the displaced wild animals during the Mahaweli Development Project in 1984 and is one of the four National Parks designated under the Project. Wasgamuwa is one of protected areas where Sri Lankan Elephants can be seen in large herds. It is also one of the Important Bird Areas in Sri Lanka. The name of the Wasgamuwa has derived through the words “Walas Gamuwa” meaning house of the Sloth bear. It is still one of the main habitats of this endangered species of bears.
Sigiriya is an ancient palace located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla 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 Culavangsha, 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. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structurei, the Lion Rock. 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 and the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka. Overnight at the CHAAYA VILLAGE HOTEL 4* or CINNAMON LODGE 5* in Habarana.
Anuradhapurais a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was 1st capital of the Kingdom . It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka It is believed that from the 4th century BC, it was the capital of the Sinhalese until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²). The ruins consist of three classes of buildings, dagobas, monastic buildings, and pokunas. The dagobas are bell-shaped masses of masonry, varying from a few feet to over 1100 ft (340 m) in circumference. Some of them contain enough masonry to build a town for twenty-five thousand inhabitants. Remains of the monastic buildings are to be found in every direction in the shape of raised stone platforms, foundations and stone pillars. The most famous is the Brazen Palace erected by King Dutugamunu about 164 BC. The pokunas are bathing-tanks or tanks for the supply of drinking water, which are scattered everywhere through the jungle. The city also contains a sacred Bo-Tree, which is said to date back to the year 245 BC. Overnight at the GALWAY MIRIDIYA HOTEL 3* or THE LAKESIDE HOTEL 4* in Anuradhapura.
Wilpattu National Park After years of security-issue-enforced closure, Wilpattu National Park is finally open again. At 1085 sq km it is Sri Lanka’s largest national park. The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes) – Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located 30 km west Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo). Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world renowned for its Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. After the jeep safari in the Park, continuation of the tour to NEGOMBO Overnight at the PARADISE BEACH HOTEL 3* or GOLDI SANDS HOTEL 4* in Negombo Beach.
For those who are not sun-seekers, we can offer a BOAT TRIP in the MUTHURAJAWELLA RESERVE. Muthurajawela is a marshy land situated in Sri Lanka around 30 km North of Colombo in the Negombo lagoon. There are many varieties of flora and fauna which are interdependent in this coastal ecosystem. The boundaries span from Negombo lagoon which also helps to create a costal eco system, and Kelaniya River situated at the northern tip of Colombo. Visitors may see water birds such as herons, egrets in abundance in the lagoon and the marsh. It is also a residence for 40 different species of fish and the nocturnal animal, slender Loris, which is endangered, can be seen once in a blue moon. Early mornings or evenings are the best times to view, Muthurajawela. Negombo located on the west coast of the island and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, in Western Province, Sri Lanka. Negombo is known for its huge and old fishing industry with busy fish markets and sandy beaches. Overnight at the PARADISE BEACH HOTEL 3* or GOLDI SANDS HOTEL 4* in Negombo Beach.
After breakfast, free time at the beach until your transfer to Colombo Airport.