Sri Lanka Off the Beaten Track

8 Nights & 9 Days, Year-round itinerary

1

Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, you will be met on arrival by a representative from Classic Sri Lanka and travel to The Mud House in Anamaduwa (approx. 2 ½ hour drive).

In the afternoon, visit the Paramakanda Temple is situated just 2 km from The Mudhouse and towers imposingly in the distance atop a giant rocky outcrop. Accessible by cycle or tuk-tuk, Paramakanda is one of our ‘must see’ attractions in the region. Dating from the reign of King Walagamba in 89-77 BC, the temple is steeped in myth and legend. From the perceived mysterious powers lurking behind trap doors to a rumoured underground tunnel network linking the temple with other monastic institutions on other rocks in the area. Other carvings and inscriptions around the rock suggest the buildings once covered the entire formation. At ground level, the temple has a number of fascinating shrine rooms under the overhanging rock. It is possible to see beautiful frescoes and paintings from different periods depicting the Buddhist teachings. As with many Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, pure Buddhism is mixed with belief in elements of Hinduism and local gods and deities. A stone staircase leads to the top of the rock, where the path opens up to reveal a spectacular 360 degree views. It is worth visiting just to see the view and spend some time on top of the rock.

Spend 02 nights in Anamaduwa.

The Mud House, Anamaduwa

  • Room Hut
  • Basis All Inclusive (All meals, selected beverages and locally based excursions)
2

Full day for locally based excursions around the Mud House which can include:

Bird watching:
An early morning bird watching walk around the small lanes and paths surrounding The Mudhouse is one of our most popular activities. Indeed, many guests discover the joys of bird watching here for the first time and are pleasantly surprised by the delights of listening to the early morning songs and following the many species though the tree canopies. The ‘dawn chorus’ is for many a natural alarm clock and an audible reference to the multitude of species that may be encountered. Indeed, we have already documented well over 100 species of birds at The Mudhouse and suspect there may be many more.A typical Bird Watching trip would start with an early morning cup of tea in your hut before gently strolling the lanes and paths. The various lakes are often hotspots for a flurry of colourful specimens, but it can be just exciting trying to catch a quick glimpse of the smaller species hiding in the forest cover. The walk tends to last for an hour or two, and we return for a shower followed by a hearty breakfast.

Cycling:
The land around The Mudhouse is predominantly flat an ideal for exploring by peddle power. It is possible to do a lot of the local excursions by bike, such as the Paramakanda temple and Tonigala rock. Many of the nearby villages and lakes can also be reached by bike, as well as the bright lights of Anamaduwa town, which is just under 8 km away.

Kayaking:
The Mudhouse has kayaks on-site for free use on our two lakes. In drier times of year we can transport the kayaks by tractor or tuk-tuk to larger lakes nearby that are full year-round. This can often be extended into a longer picnic trip. Fun for all times of day, an early morning or late-afternoon trip on the lake can be a great way to watch the birds and take in the surroundings at a sublimely leisurely pace.

Cooking Lessons:
The Mudhouse serves traditional village cuisine cooked the traditional way – with clay pots and firewood hearths. In many ways, the kitchen is the real heart of The Mudhouse – a large thatched building that has grown with time to be able to produce meals around the clock for guests and staff alike.Cooking lessons are possible in either the morning or afternoon, in order to prepare the meals for lunch or dinner. Much of the produce used is harvested fresh from the farm and delivered directly to the kitchen. You can discover how to prepare some of the delicious local recipes from scratch. The lessons usually comprise of teaching whatever is on the menu for that given day, but if there are any dishes in particular you would like to learn we can add them to the menu! With no mains electricity there is also no fridge in the kitchen, meaning that all dishes are prepared fresh and not kept or preserved. Learning to cook the traditional way is both labour and time intensive but, we feel, is directly reflected in the flavour of the food.The cooking lessons are informal and fun and conducted by our two main cooks and the rest of the kitchen team.

Lakeside Picnics:
Picnics are a great way to spend a day out. The Mudhouse is surrounded by hundreds of lakes which are linked together as part of an ancient irrigation system that functions to this day. In drier times of year the lakes at The Mudhouse sometimes dry up, making it necessary to travel a bit to find places to swim, kayak, rest, eat and enjoy. Picnics can be arranged with travel by bike, motorbike, tuk-tuk, tractor or vehicle, depending on far we need to go. Kayaks, hammocks, mats, cushions and picnic kits will be transported to ensure maximum comfort and pleasure at the various beauty spots.Some lakes have interesting fishing communities where we can learn there trade and have a go. Major lakes, such as Inginimitiya, Uswewa & Kottukachchiya are vast in the first half of the year.

The Mud House, Anamaduwa

  • Room Hut
  • Basis All Inclusive (All meals, selected beverages and locally based excursions)
3

After breakfast, leave for the Back of Beyond Pidurangala in the outskirts of Sigiriya (3 hour drive)

In the afternoon, climb Pidurangala, whcih is a massive rock formation located next to the iconic Sigiriya rock fortress. The area has been occupied for over two thousand five hundred years by Buddhist monks who took residence in the caves around the site. The rock came into prominence when King Kassapa (477- 495AD), built Sigiriya, and moved the monks living around the Sigiriya Rock to a newly refurbished and enlarged temple and monastery complete at Pidurangala. The climb to the rock is a pleasant one, where you are surrounded by lush forest, and can hear the beautiful songs of birds. The summit has a stunning view of the surrounding landscape and a great view of Sigiriya at eye level.

Spend 02 nights in Sigiriya.

Back of Beyond Pidurangala, Sigiriya

  • Room Tree House
  • Basis Half Board
4

After breakfast, visit Ritigala (45 min drive) which 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.

In the afternoon, go on a guided safari to Minneriya National Park. 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. During the wet season the elephants move inland to the Hurullu Forest Reserve where they can be seen in smaller groups amongst the tall grasses.

Back of Beyond Pidurangala, Sigiriya

  • Room Tree House
  • Basis Half Board
5

After an early breakfast, leave for Sir John’s Bungalow in the Knuckles.

In the afternoon, explore the Pitawala Pathana trail. This grassland is of unique ecological value. An area spreading over 10 hectares, of gently sloping rock slab, many endemic species of plants and animals can be found. At the end of the plains is the Mini World’s End escarpment which resembles a smaller version of the world famous World's End in Horton Plains. This place grants a panoramic view of the Knuckles Range and some of its valleys below. From there it is possible to walk along to the rock extrusion which allows one to walk right up to the edge (Approx. 1 hour duration only).

Spend 02 nights in the Knuckles.

Sir John’s Bungalow, Knuckles

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board (Breakfast and Dinner)
6

Spend the day hiking and exploring the Knuckles region. You will travel down to the knuckles valley and commence the trek from village of Rathkinda situated at the base of the elephant shaped rock “Manigala”. The villagers whose descendants were banished from the ancient kingdom of Kandy, have traditionally used the shadow of the elephant shaped rock to read the time of the day. In local language “Mani” means time and “gala” means rock. Whilst trekking through the foot paths of the village of Rathkinda and Etanwala you can observe the serene life style of the villagers whilst going about their day to day activities of farming & animal husbandry. Explore the village and appreciate the simplicity of life enjoyed by its people. The Village trek can be done on a few rough trails and streams that need to be forded en route. A stop for a swim in the cool mountain water of a stream which rushes by the village and a picnic breakfast / lunch by the stream or a break for lunch at a village home is welcoming. You leave the village and walk past terraced paddy fields and enter he forest canopy of the valley to the sounds of rushing streams to view the bio diversity of the vegetation, colourful wildflowers, birds & butterflies which are uniquely endemic to the knuckles area. The entire area is characterised by its striking landscapes and in addition to its aesthetic value and the range is of great scientific interest. Sights on this trek include a view of the western face of Manigala and the surrounding paddy and other cultivations (Duration: Approx. 5 hours)

Evening at leisure at Sir John’s Bungalow.

Sir John’s Bungalow, Knuckles

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board (Breakfast and Dinner)
7

After breakfast, leave for the Borderlands River Camp in Kithulgala (5 hour drive).

In the afternoon, go on a guided walk in the Makandawa Forest Reserve in the outskirts of Kithulgala, which is home to one of the last tracts of lowland rainforests in the country. This beautiful area is bountiful in its endemic birdlife. Taking a dugout canoe across the Kelani River, one comes to the entrance of the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve. There are several walking trails in the deep dark forest, which are home to some of the rarest and elusive species of birds, amphibians, and reptiles. A walk through the village bordering the forest will give you a better chance to see these rare birds such as the Green Billed Coucal, Orange Billed Babbler, and the colorful Three Toed Kingfisher out in the open.

Spend 02 nights in Kithulgala.

Borderlands River Camp, Kithulgala

  • Room Riverfront Tent
  • Basis Half Board (Dinner with Breakfast).
8

Full day for adventure-based excursions at Kithulgala which can include the following:

White Water Rafting:
Early morning, go white water rafting, which is the ultimate adventure experience along the rapids on the fast flowing Kelani River. This adventure covers five major rapids and four minor rapids. This is an activity for guests 10 years and older. Proper safety instructions and safety gear, modern rafts as well as worlds class licensed operators make this an experience of a lifetime.

Canyoning:
Canyoning is a popular excursion in Kithulgala. You travel to a small Kelani river tributary that is 20 minutes drive, or 1 hours walk from the riverfront base. Starting at a small dam, you travel down the canyon by swimming, jumping into deep pools of water, and sliding down naturally formed rock slides created by years of water erosion. Canyoning is consistently our most popular activity, and is great fun for all ages, from 4 years to 60+. If you want to continue the fun, we run an extended canyon through the tributary, which has several more jumps and slides for a longer and slightly more challenging run of the canyon.

Kayaking:
Draining from Adam’s Peak, the Kelani River’s clear water cascades over the Hill Country’s bedrock as it makes its way out of the mountains headed for the Indian Ocean. In Kithulgala, beginners to advanced kayakers will find the Kelani a fun place to learn the basics of the sport or simply get in a great day of exciting white water paddling. Beginners can paddle up stream from our camp, trying their hand at some wave surfing on a Grade I playwave before heading downstream on a gentle journey through breathtaking scenery. For a more intense experience, we offerwhite water kayaking on the raft run – a 7 kilometer run of Class II and III rapids. The Upper Kelani, starting up neat Laxapana Reservoir is a thrilling stretch of water, offering challenging Class IV water. Borderlands has the most extensive range of kayaks in the country from play boats for experienced paddlers, to sit on top and inflatable duckies for the less experienced, along with safety equipment which meets the highest international safety standards to ensure all guests are always safe on the river.

Zip Lining and Crate Stacking:
Borderlands offers several high-ropes activities. Adults can clip into a harness and zip across the river for a rush of fresh air or to take in the stunning views from a different angle. Alternatively, parents can send their children on the zipline or to do crate stacking - a high ropes activity involving coordination and balance while clipped in to a safety harness at all times – while they rest or have a beer in the long house.

Belilena Cave Trekking:
Leave Borderlands Camp and hike through dense rubber estates. Cut through tea estates and local villages for a leisurely journey laced with extraordinary views of the surrounding hill-country landscape whilst strolling through rubber tapping and tea-plucking communities to reach the Belilena Caves. With the largest prehistoric caves in Sri Lanka, Belilena is also famous for the skeletal remains that were found in the caves which date between 18 000 to 32000 years ago. There is also a waterfall that dramatically drops over the mouth of the main cave. It is a rewarding, refreshing and welcome treat for the hiker to stand under its stream and cool down before the hike downhill back to camp. Excursion duration is approx. 3-4 hours.

Borderlands River Camp, Kithulgala

  • Room Riverfront Tent
  • Basis Half Board (Dinner with Breakfast).
9

Today, you will check-out of your hotel and leave for the Bandaranaike International Airport. A day room can be booked upon request closer to the airport depending on the scheduled flight time.

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