Sri Lankan Discovery - 16 Nights
- 16 Nights
GROUP SIZE - Min: 4 | Max: 20
Coach, jeep, boat & local train
Total cost includes - Tipping Made Easy, $200pp prepaid
• Observe local life in Negombo at the daily fish markets • See Anuradhapura, the oldest of Sri Lanka’s ancient cities • Discover the amazing rock fortress of Sigiriya • Explore the stunning Cave Temples of Dambulla • Visit the aromatic Matale Spice Plantations • Search for wildlife on safari in Yala National Park • Tour the heritage-listed sea fortress in Galle
ONE OF ASIA’S TRUE HIDDEN GEMS
Be charmed by the unspoilt natural beauty, friendly people and ancient history of Sri Lanka. Discover the island’s beautiful culture, lush jungles and fascinating ancient cities. Explore exotic tea and spice plantations and witness the plentiful wildlife in national parks.
Our Sri Lankan journey begins with a tour of Negombo, followed by a visit to the world famous Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Check out our video link opposite to watch the young elephants play, eat palm leaves, drink bottles of milk and bathe in the river. It’s an unforgettable experience.
ENJOY THE TROPICAL SCENERY & ANCIENT RUINS
From here, we explore Sri Lanka’s secluded monastic ruins of Ritigala. Located in a lush forest, the ruins are hidden within a beautiful setting of streams and pools. Our next stop is Sigiriya, considered to be one of the Wonders of the Ancient World and a must-see in Sri Lanka. This famous rock fortress and palace is set amongst beautiful gardens.
SOAK UP THE ATMOSPHERE
Our journey continues to Kandy, where we’ll visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. If you take this tour in August, you’ll also experience the colourful Kandy Festival – one of the most important festivals on the Buddhist calendar. Next it’s on to the Matale Spice Plantations and tea-growing region of Nuwara Eliya. Here we’ll have time to sample Ceylon tea and learn about the tea-making process. We then head to the coast, where we get to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, stunning beaches and crystal clear waters.
- Return economy-class flights from Australia to Sri Lanka. Taxes included
- Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour
- All touring in air-conditioned vehicles (excluding jeep-safari vehicle and water based activities)
- Tipping Made Easy, $200pp prepaid
ACCOMMODATION & MEALS
- 15 nights in good quality hotels (3-4 star)
- Day use of hotel on day of departure
- Enjoy a Sri Lankan BBQ dinner prepared by a local family
- 15 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 12 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners
- English-speaking locally based guides
- English-speaking national guide throughout (based on a min. of 7 passengers)
Negombo and nature
- Observe Negombo’s everyday life at the local fish markets, watching the fishing trade go about their business selling an amazing variety of fish and seafood, fresh from the early morning’s catch.
- Cruise the beautiful Gin Oya River, surrounded by lush vegetation, while listening to the amazing bird sounds as the evening breaks. Watch the sun set over the beach before joining a local family for a hosted barbecue on the banks of the river.
- Watch the elephants from the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage as they bathe and play during their daily swim. A truly spectacular experience – we are just metres from these majestic creatures as they enjoy their time in the river.
Ancient city ruins
- Take a fascinating journey through one of the oldest and largest of Sri Lanka’s ancient cities, Anuradhapura. This sacred city was the political and religious capital for around 1,300 years before being abandoned in 993, after an invasion. Remarkably hidden in dense jungle for many years, it is now accessible and is home to the oldest documented tree in the world, the Sri Maha Bodhi.
- Tour the secluded monastic ruins of Ritigala, located in a lush forest rarely visited by tourists. This mystical place is incredibly beautiful and unspoilt, with shady forests filled with streams, pools and granite boulders and ancient elegant stone pathways that lead to ruins of various meditation platforms and ayurvedic hospitals.
- Visit the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, the island’s capital between the 11th and 13th century. Built alongside a large artificial lake, there are well-preserved ruins of palaces, bathing pools, stupas and exquisite rock sculptures of Buddha at the Gal Vihara.
Sigiriya, safaris, spices and serene temples
- Enjoy an afternoon jeep safari in Minneriya National Park searching for Sri Lankan wildlife including sambar deer, leopards and elephants. The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank, built in the 3rd century AD by King Mahasena. During the dry season (June-September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze as well as huge flocks of birds, cormorants and painted storks to mention just a few.
- Enjoy a 4 night stay at our spectacularly located hotel in Sigiriya, with views of the majestic Sigiriya rock fortress.
- Tour the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. Explore the ruins of the capital, built by the Parricidal King Kasyapa (477-95). This UNESCO World Heritage site is both a geological and historical marvel. Formed by magma from an extinct volcano, for centuries it was home to buddhist monks.
- Visit a typical home in a Sri Lankan village for lunch. Walk through the paddy fields and enjoy the cool breeze whilst getting acquainted with local village life.
- Tour the serene cave temples of Dambulla, filled with hundreds of hand-carved statues and hand-painted frescoes. These cave temples were built by King Valagam Bahu in the 1st century BC in gratitude for the shelter he sought in the caves when fleeing India’s invaders. The caves are completely covered by ancient frescoes depicting both religious and secular scenes.
- Visit the Matale Spice Plantations, growing a variety of spices such as cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg. Sri Lanka is renowned for its spices having been initially colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
The cultural heart of Sri Lanka
- Tour the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. Ever since it was founded in the 16th century, it has housed one of the most sacred relics of Buddhism, a tooth of Buddha collected from his funeral pyre. It is now protected within the gold-roofed Temple of the Tooth. Witness the blessing ceremony wiith all the fanfare, drums, trumpets and Monks dressed in bright colours performing their rituals.
- Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya. Initially a royal park, in 1821 under British rule it became a Botanical Garden. Here exotic crops such as coffee, tea, nutmeg, rubber and cinchona (quinine) were first tested and went on to become important to the country’s economy.
- Enjoy a cultural show and local traditional Kandyan dance performance including the cobra dance and mask dance.
Unwind with a cup of Ceylon tea in Nuwara Eliya and enjoy the magnificent scenery
- Join the locals and marvel at the stunning highland scenery for a short journey by train before continuing by road to the colonial city of Nuwara Eliya, winding through lush countryside and tea plantations.
- Learn about the tea-making process and sample some high-grade Ceylon tea at a plantation. It all started around 1867 when Ceylon tea was first being developed by British planter James Taylor. The rest is history!
- Visit the St. Clair and Devon Falls, just outside Nuwara Eliya. Known as Little Niagara of Sri Lanka, St. Clair Falls is one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka. Nearby Devon Falls was named after an English coffee planter by the name of Devon, whose plantation is situated nearby.
Safaris and the south coast
- Enjoy a jeep safari in Yala National Park, with one of the highest density leopard populations in the world.
- Drive along the stunning south coast to the great walled city of Galle and see the World Heritage-listed Dutch Fort.
- Spend 2 nights relaxing on the coast in Galle.
- Learn about the endangered leatherhead and loggerhead turtles at a local hatchery.
- Tour Sri Lanka’s bustling capital of Colombo and stay in the historic Galle Face Hotel.