Sri Lanka The Ultimate Island Adventure

10 Nights & 11 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 Bar Reef Resort in Kalpitiya.

The Kalpitiya peninsula is a strip of land which extends northward from Puttalam and runs parallel to the mainland for approximately 40km. To the west of the peninsula is the turquoise blue Indian Ocean with the picturesque Puttalam lagoon to the east. With vast stretches of isolated sandy beaches, a variety of interesting marine based excursions and numerous options for adventure sport activities which makes Kalpitiya an appealing destination for an active beach stay.

In the afternoon, go on a scenic boat ride to explore the vast expanses of the Puttalam and Kalpitiya lagoon on a scenic boat journey. As you traverse through these pristine waters, you can see numerous sand dunes and salt pans and will pass through local fishing villages residing on the border of the lagoon and the ocean. Visiting the lagoon in Kalpitiya, you can observe shrimp farms which are now a booming business for the locals in this region. You will pass through vast tracts of mangroves and a variety of avian species including terns, gulls, herons, bitterns and waders can be encountered. The highlight of the journey would be an encounter with the endangered Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin also known as the Pink Dolphin which resides in the Puttalam Lagoon and is intermittently seen.

The Bar Reef Resort, Kalpitiya

  • Room Garden Cabana
  • Basis Half Board
2

Full day for nature and adventure based activities. Some of the suggested activities include:

Dolphin Watching:
Early morning, go dolphin watching off Kalpitiya. Between the months of November through to April, Kalpitiya is regarded as the prime location for dolphin watching, where Spinner Dolphins are seen on almost a daily basis. Occasionally Spinners can be seen in super pods numbering over a thousand individuals. There is never a dull moment when watching the Spinners as they surf the waves at high speed, bow ride the boats and occasionally as their name suggests leap out of the water in spectacular displays of aerial acrobatics. This is one of the most sort activities in the Kalpitiya and is seasonal and takes place between the months of November through to April only. [Duration is approx. 1-2 hours only and can be combined with snorkelling at the Bar Reef]

Snorkelling at the Bar Reef:
The shallow reefs off St. Annes Reef off Talawila and the Bar Reef Sanctuary are among the best snorkeling sites in the west coast with vast tracts of pristine coral reef and an abundance of marine life. Over 150 different species of coral and 283 species of fish having been recorded at the Bar Reef, making it one of the most significant coral reef eco-systems in the country. Reef Sharks, Manta Rays and Hawksbill and Green Turtle may also be occasionally seen when snorkelling. Please note that this is a seasonal activity which takes place between November through to April only. [Duration is approx. 3-4 hours only and can be combined with a dolphin watch]

Full Day excursion to 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. Wilpattu is also an excellent birding location particularly in the winter months with over 200 recorded species including a variety of raptors such as Crested Serpent, Changeable Hawk and White-bellied Sea Eagles, Brown Fish Owl; the endemic Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Woodshrike and a large number of water birds and waders by the water’s edge near the villus. [This is a full day excursion which will include a packed breakfast and lunch and will run from 5:30am – 7:00pm.]

Kite Surfing:
Kalpitiya is not only widely popular in Sri Lanka but has also gained a rapidly growing popularity as one of the very best Kitesurfing locations in South Asia. As one of the top destinations for kitesurfing in Sri Lanka, the gorgeous peninsular of Kalpitiya checks all boxes for the perfect kitesurfing holiday in paradise – it boasts stunning beauty, it has super winds and kitesurfing spots for all types of kitesurfers and it has excellent IKO certified training instructors, schools and equipment. Kitesurfing schools in Kalpitiya offer sessions at several times of the day depending on the course you are interested and your schedule the schools will personalize your splendid Kitesurfing schedule. There is something for all skill levels of kitesurfing in Kalpitiya – beginners will enjoy learning how to kitesurf on the lovely flat water lagoons, while serious kiters can surf super wave riding spots in the Indian Ocean. In addition, there are several sandbanks and tiny islands nearby, which make for exciting kitesurfing excursions. The best time for kitesurfing in Kalpitiya is from May through to October & December through to March.

Overnight in Kalpitiya.

The Bar Reef Resort, Kalpitiya

  • Room Garden Cabana
  • Basis Half Board
3

After breakfast, leave for the Back of Beyond Pidurangala in the outskirts of Sigiriya.

Back of Beyond Pidurangala:
Hidden in 4 acres of forest at the base of the Pidurangala rock is the Back of Beyond Pirudrangala retreat, , which the villagers themselves have named as “Kurulu Uyana” which means “Bird Park” in Sinhalese. A bird park in the wilderness it certainly is, but there is even more that you can enjoy: walk or ride to explore the 5th century World Heritage site of Sigiriya and our mighty neighbour the Pidurangala rock and ancient monastery. A 30 minutes drive will take you to Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks where the world famous Wild Elephant Gathering takes place. Around the premises of Pidurangala, the peace of forest and the little (and not so little such as elephants!) creatures that inhabit it, has often made guests spend entire vacations right here within the premises.

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, 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 The Rangala House in Teldeniya. En-route stop over at the 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, proceed to the Rangala House and spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.

Rangala House, Teldeniya

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board
6

Early morning, visit the Duckwari Tea Factory which is an easy 20 minute walk away from the property. It is best to visit fairly early in the day, in order to see all the machinery operating. 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. Some guests like to walk up at about 7.30 and then come back for breakfast. Their excellent BOPF tea is on sale.

A number of scenic walks are also possible when staying at the Rangala House:

A popular experience is the walk down to the local village in Bobebila, where you can can visit a small handloom fabric factory or just drop in and have tea with one of the locals. The local Buddhist temple is worth a visit precisely because it is not a grand and impressive tourist attraction. Rather, it is a typical village temple, the spiritual and communal hub and much venerated by all. The Rangala House supports the temple in every way possible and have set up their own ‘Temple Fund’ so that the monks are enabled to help any villagers who, for whatever reason, face particular hardship. In the same way, there is a tiny kindergarten school* which is run single-handedly in the village by a remarkable local lady on very limited resources which can also be visited. These simple visits can give an insight into rural Sri Lankan life which just isn’t possible on the conventional tourist trails.

There are a number of other scenic nature walks ranging from 30 mins to 4 hours in duration which provide stunning views of the highland lanscapes and the Knuckles Mountain range. The Knuckles Mountain Range (known in Sinhalese as Dumbara Kanduvetiya, meaning "Misty Mountains" is an area of truly outstanding natural beauty and has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Conservation Area. Despite this, the region is still undeveloped for the tourist industry and Rangala House remains the only luxury class guest house on the SW side. Upon request, full day trekking into the Knuckles Wilderness with a specialist guide can also be arranged.

Rangala House, Teldeniya

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Deluxe Room
7

After an early breakfast, leave for the Peradeniya Railway Station in Kandy where you will take the train to Ella. One of the best ways to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the central highlands is to travel by train from Kandy through to Ella. The train stations in Peradeniya and most of the towns in the highlands were built during the time of the British, where minimal changes have been made to the buildings giving it a distinct old world charm. The train journey takes you through the back of small towns where you can see the local people go about their day to day work and through the mountain ranges providing beautiful views of the tea fields, patches of cloud forests, numerous streams and waterfalls.

Upon arrival in Ella, check-in at the 98 Acres Resort and spend the remainder of the day at leisure. Spend 02 nights in Ella.

98 Acres Resort, Ella

  • Room Standard Room
  • Basis Half Board
8

Spend the day exploring Ella. Ella is a scenic mountain retreat visited predominantly by younger travellers who are keen to explore the outdoors. Ella town has a number of attractive guest houses and a number of restaurants and cafes. There are some interesting hiking trails, waterfalls and scenic viewpoints around the Ella area including the Ravana Ella Falls and the iconic Nine Arches bridge which you will travel on during your rail journey.

After an early breakfast, explore the Little Adam’s Peak Trail. Close to Ella is a mountain peak which is named Little Adams Peak, which is 1141 metres above sea level. A hike up to the peak of the mountain entails an interesting trek through paddy fields, tea plantations, waterfalls and amazing views. The entire walk including the return takes around 1 ½ hours (45 mins each way) and the starting point is close to 98 Acres Resort.

Afterwards, visit the Ella Cap, which is a stunning viewpoint where you can panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges. During clear nights, one might be able to see the illumination projecting from Great Basses lighthouse in the South Coast of the island.

In the afternoon, visit the Ravana Ella Cave. Between Bandarawela and Ella lies a cave believed to be that used by the legendary king Ravana, who was said to be one of the mightiest monarchs of Lanka before the arrival of the first Sinhalese King Vijaya. The ancient Saga Ramayana states how the king of Lanka kidnapped Sita, the wife of Rama in India. The legends state that he hid her in this cave. The tunnel network shows man-made foundations which are believed to be evidence of this legend. This is approx. a 1 ½ hour duration for the entire walk including the return.

98 Acres Resort, Ella

  • Room Standard Room
  • Basis Half Board
9

After breakfast, leave for the Lagoon Paradise Beach Resort in Tangalle. Spend the afternoon at leisure.

After dark visit nearby Rekawa Beach to look for nesting sea turtles. Five of the world’s Seven species of sea turtles have been recorded coming ashore to lay their eggs at Rekawa. The Green and Olive Ridley Turtles are the most routinely encountered species, while the Hawksbill, Leatherback and Loggerhead Turtles are also seen intermittently.

Spend 02 nights in Tangalle.

Lagoon Paradise Beach Resort

  • Room Cabana
  • Basis Half Board
10

After an early breakfast, leave for Matara (1 hour drive each way) and go on a scenic boat ride along the Nilwala River. The Nilawala river runs through the south of Sri Lanka passing through pristine wetland habitats laden with mangroves and runs through the heart of Matara, one of the country’s most populated towns before it meets the vast expanses of the Indian ocean. To experience the bounty of natural treasures here, you can go on a guided boat safari along the Nilawala River. The boat ride takes you to the lagoon where you can see the point where the river meets the sea, through the back of remote villages where people go about their day to day activities and as you travel further up into the wilderness where you are surrounded by vast tracts of mangrove habitats. Being in the intermediate zone, a variety of species found from both the wet zone and dry zone can be encountered here. Close to a hundred species of birds including a variety of water birds including White-throated, Pied, Common and Stork-billed Kingfishers, Yellow and Black Bittern, raptors such as White-bellied Sea Eagles, Changeable Hawk Eagles and Oriental Honey Buzzard can be seen. Bengal Water Monitors can be seen perched on branches or swimming through the water while troops of Toque Macaques can be seen feeding on the tree tops. The duration is approximately 3 hours.

In the late afternoon, visit the Mulkirigala Rock Temple in Tangalle. Going back to the 2nd century AD, Mulkirigala is a monastic site where the temples are carved out of a huge rock outcrop reminiscent to Sigiriya form the exterior. From the summit, which is 200 metres above sea level, there are panoramic views of the surrounding jungles and countryside. The interior of the cave temples with reclining Buddhas and murals are akin to Dambulla. This site underwent extensive renovations in the 18th century during the time the Kandyan kingdom was at its peak.

Evening at leisure at the hotel.

Lagoon Paradise Beach Resort

  • Room Cabana
  • Basis Half Board
11

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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