Sun, Sand, Temples and Elephants

13 Nights & 14 Days,

1

Upon landing in Sri Lanka, you will be greeted by a Classic Sri lanka representative, and will be transferred to your hotel in Negombo. Where after Check in you will spend the day at leisure recovering from a long flight.

Jetwing Sea or Similar - Negambo

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2

After checkout, you will head towards Nuwara Eliya (4 hrs drive), where enroute you will stop over at a tea factory for a guided tour. A visit to the hill country will not be complete without a visit to a tea factory and estate. You can stroll through the beautifully manicured tea fields and thereafter head to the tea factory where the magic of converting raw leaves into black tea happens. An art developed during the British colonial period, some machines used date back over 100 years. The creation of black tea is an art form which has remained relatively unchanged for over a century. Thereafter you will reach Nuwara Eliya. Check into your hotel. In the evening go on a tour of the town, Situated in the central highlands of the island, Nuwara Eliya is also known as “Little England” due to the cold climate, endless gardens of flowers and strawberries along with vegetables, and colonial style buildings and holiday homes. The salubrious climes are a contrast from the humid heat in the lowlands. The breathtaking views of the valleys, and mountain ranges as well as the lush greenery make Nuwara Eliya on of the most visited places by local and foreign tourists alike. One of the picturesque attractions of the town is Lake Gregory, which is nestled at the bottom of a small hill. A leisurely walk around or boat ride in the lake are some of the popular activities at Lake Gregory. A leisurely stroll around the beautifully manicured garsens in Victoria Park is always a pleasure. The park comes alive with an abundance of blossoming flowers around the period of March to May, as well as August and September. You can also visit a Seetha Aman Hindu Kovil, as the majority of residents who work in the tea fields are Hindus of Indian descent who were brought in to work during the period of British rule.

Anilana Craigbank or Similar

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3

Early morning at 5.00 AM leave the hotel with a packed breakfast towards Horton Plains National Park, Horton Plains is Sri Lanka’s highest elevated national park lying approximately 7,000 feet above sea level and comprises of cloud forests and open grassland. Make an early morning start with a packed breakfast to Horton Plains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and take a guided walk along the nature trails to a viewpoint known as World’s End with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. On the walk back you can stop over to see the impressive Baker’s Falls in full flow. Sambar, Sri Lanka’s largest species of deer are encountered regularly in the plains close to the entrance while the shaggy coated Bear Monkey (Highland race of the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey) is occasionally seen within the forested areas. Return back to Nuwara Eliya and spend the remainder of the day at leisure

Anilana Craigbank or Similar

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4

After checkout, head down towards Kandy (2 hrs drive), Known as the “Cultural Capital” of Sri Lanka and a UNESCO world heritage site, Kandy was established in the years 135AD by King Wickramabahu and was named Senkadagalapura at the time. In 1592 Kandy became the official Capital of the last Sinhalese Kingdom as the coastal areas were conquered by the Portuguese invaders. The hill capital remained a stronghold despite constant invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch during the 16th , 17th and 18th century and also by the British (most notably in 1803) which were repelled thanks to the hilly landscapes, and guerilla tactics of the Sinhalese forces. The last ruling dynasty of Kandy was the ‘Nayaks’ of Kandy while the Kingdom preserved its independence until it finally fell to the British in 1815, mainly due to the lack of support of the noble families. The British deposed the last king, Sri Wikrama Rajasingha, and all claimants to the throne, thus ending the last traditional monarchy of Sri Lanka. In Kandy you will visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, This sacred temple was built in the 16th century AD and is located adjacent to the Royal Palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy and overlooks the expanses of the Kandy lake. Referred locally as the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is the most revered site in the country. This temple complex houses the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, and with strong political sway to who holds possession of the tooth, as it was believed that the possessor of this sacred relic had the right to rule the country.

Ozo Kandy or Similar

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5

After you checkout from Kandy, you will head towards Pasikudah (4.5 hrs drive), En-route you will stop over in Dambulla to visit the Ancient Cave Temple. Dambulla Cave Temple, which is famous for its rock paintings and is among the best preserved monastic temple cave complexes in Sri Lanka. Dambulla’s origins as a place of worship dates back to the reign of King Valagamba in the 1st century BC, who took refuge in these caves when driven out of Anuradhapura by Chola invaders. Once he regained the throne, the king had the interior of the caves transformed in to magnificent rock temples. More paintings and statues were added over time by later kings. Afterwards continue towards Pasikudah, Upon reaching your hotel, check in and spend the remainder of the day at leisure by the beach.

Anantaya Resort or Similar

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6

Spend the day relaxing by the beach

Anantaya Resort or Similar

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7

Spend the day relaxing by the beach

Anantaya Resort or Similar

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8

Spend the day relaxing by the beach

Anantaya Resort or Similar

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9

After checkout, head towards Sigiriya (3.5 hrs drive), En-route visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, Polonnaruwa took its place in history after King Vijayabahu I defeated the invading Cholas and moved the capital from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa. It is renowned for its well-preserved 12th century ruins and impressive stone culture. Exploring Polonnaruwa, which is today a UNESCO World Heritage site, one can see Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century. Thereafter check into your hotel in Sigiriya, Late evening go on a night walk to explore some of the elusive night creatures of Sri Lanka. After dark go on a guided nature walk with the resident naturalist along the forested nature trails in search of the endangered and elusive Grey Slender Loris, a small nocturnal primate which has been regularly encountered and become resident within the property over the past few years. Fishing Cat, Collared Scops Owl, Indian Civet and the Golden Palm Civet are some other species occasionally seen here.

Aliya Resort or Similar

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10

In the morning you will visit the Ancient Rock Fortress of Sigiriya. Rising dramatically from the central plains, the enigmatic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka's single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilisation. Top of this rock contains ruins of an ancient palace complex, built during the reign of King Kasyapa (477AD – 495 AD) and surrounding rock is the Royal Garden. Ruins of various chambers, stairways and pools can be seen at the top of this rock. There is a stone stairway leading from the base to the top of the mountain. About half way to the top, there is a giant pair of lions paws which is in fact are the remains of a huge head of a lion whose open mouth served as the entrance to the royal palace. Surrounding the palace complex are the ruins of a garden complex consisting of two moats and various pools, some with water fountains still functioning after 1500 years. In the evening head towards Habarana for a safari to witness the great elephant gathering. The Gathering of Elephants’, which is ranked among the world’s top wildlife viewing spectacles runs from June – October each year. Each afternoon, around 150 - 200 individual elephants come out of the forest in to the open to graze on the fresh green pasture by the water’s edge at Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks. You have excellent opportunities here to observe the social dynamics of the Asian Elephant as the large bulls in musth compete among each other and seek the females within the herd, while young calves with carefree abandon get up to their mischievous antics often to the displeasure of its alert mothers within the herd. Water birds such as Painted Stork, Asian Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork along with raptors such as White-bellied Sea Eagles and Grey-headed Fishing Eagles are abundant around these large man-made lakes.

Aliya Resort or Similar

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11

In the morning head towards Ritigala, which is an ancient forest hermitage. Ritigala is an ancient retreat of Buddhist monks, where the ruins of a 1st Century BC monastery lie hidden deep within the forest. Its height and the local weather patterns create a microclimate different from that of the surrounding plains, and Ritigala is home to a variety of rare species of plant and animal. Its biodiversity is now strictly protected and the area is today demarcated as a Strict Nature Reserve. During your excursion to Ritigala, you trek through the dry evergreen forest and pass through the remains of ancient stone bathing-pools, bridges and courtyards. Afterwards you will head towards Hiriwaduna for an authentic village experience, The Hiriwadunna Village experience showcases what day to day life is in a typical Sri Lankan village. The tour starts with a bullock cart ride, where you are taken in a cart with two bulls through village paths where you will have stunning views of the idyllic village landscape, through lush green paddy fields, and village lakes. Thereafter a dugout canoe will take you on a lotus filled lake to a home of a villager. Here you will see how they farm their fresh produce as well as their daily struggles from elephants and other wildlife in the bordering jungles. Visit the kitchen where they would prepare a delicious meal of rice and curry, served on lotus leaves, along with a dessert of buffalo curd with treacle syrup. Life is simple and basic for a typical Sri Lankan villager, but is also enriching and peaceful.

Aliya Resort or Similar

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12

After checkout, head towards Wilpattu (3 hrs drive), En-route you will visit the ancient city of Anuradhapura for a guided tour Anuradhapura is an ancient historical city comprising of religious places of worship and Buddhist shrines constructed by the past Kings of Sri Lanka and was the island’s capital between the 5th century BC and the 11th century AD. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagobas of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha found enlightenment. Afterwards head to Wilpattu where you will check into your hotel for the night

The Ibis or Similar

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13

arly morning hop on a jeep with packed breakfast and lunch and go on a full day safari into Wilpattu National Park, Popularly dubbed as ‘the land of the lakes’, Wilpattu National Park is famous for watching wildlife within its picturesque villus and dry evergreen forests. It is Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park which re-opened in 2010 after being closed for nearly three decades due to the civil war. Wilpattu is one of the top spots in Sri Lanka for watching Leopard and Sloth Bear. Other larger animals seen regularly here include Elephant, Jackal, Mugger Crocodile, Sambar, Spotted Deer and Buffalo are among the larger animals regularly encountered. You also have the option of doing a mid-day excursion to Kudurumalai point along the Wilpattu coastline, believed to be the location where Prince Vijaya and the first group of Indian settlers set foot to Sri Lanka. The area is characterized by steep cliffs and fossilized limestone remains and provides panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

The Ibis or Similar

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14

Today after checkout, you will dropped back at the airport for your flight back home (3 hrs drive)

Airport

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