Highlights of Sri Lanka
Route : Colombo Pinnawela Habarana Dambulla Matale Kandy Nuwara Eliya Colombo
Tonight, arrive Colombo airport, where you will be met by our representative and escorted to your hotel for overnight stay.
Drive Colombo – Pinnawela - Habarana (205 Kms / 6 Hrs)
After breakfast embark on your on your drive to Habarana in north central Sri Lanka.
En-route to Habarana, visit Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, set up by the Sri Lankan government to rehabilitate orphaned elephants. Spend some time at the orphanage, seeing elephants being fed and bathed by the orphanage staff (Open from 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m daily. Feeding times - 9.15 a.m., 1.15 p.m. 5.00 p.m. Bathing times – 10.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m., 4.00 p.m.).
Upon arrival in Habarana check into your hotel for overnight stay.
Day Excursion to Anuradhapura (60 Kms / 1.5 Hrs one way)
After breakfast enjoy an excursion to Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage site situated on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya River. Anuradhapura, an ancient city founded in the 05th century B.C., is home to the largest number of monuments of the great Sinhala civilization. Visit the ancient royal palaces, shrines, dagobas and Sri Mahabodhi. Also visit the “Bodhi tree” which is over 2200 years old, grown from a branch of the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Return to Habarana for overnight stay.
Day Excursion to Sigirya (16 Kms / 30 Mins one way) & Polonnaruwa (55 Kms / 1.5 Hr one way)
After breakfast visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sigiriya Rock, built by King Kassapa in the 5th century AD. Today the rock is a treasure trove of rare art. In a pocket of the giant rock are the famous frescoes of the heavenly maidens of Sigiriya. Also called ‘the Lion Rock’ or the ‘Rock Fortress’ this citadel rises more than 1000 ft from the jungles below. If you wish to climb Sigiriya Rock, there are approx. 1200 steps and on an average it takes approx. 1.5 hrs to climb the rock (actual time varies from person to person).
Later embark on your scenic drive to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Polonnaruwa, the 2nd capital of Sinhala kings dating back to 11th & 12th century A.D. The entire landscape of the region is punctuated by huge man-made reservoirs, the most famous of which is the ‘Parakrama Samudra’. Numerous monuments are found in this city & ‘Gal Vihara’ complex is one of the best among them with fine sculptures of standing and seated Buddha. Also visit the Polonnaruwa museum here.
Return back to Habarana for overnight stay.
Drive Habarana – Dambulla – Kandy (120 Kms / 4 Hrs)
After breakfast, embark on your drive to Kandy.
Enroute visit another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Rock Cave Temple of Dambulla, which dates back to the first century BC. The temple consists of a series of 5 caves of statues and paintings, including a 47 ft. long statue of Lord Buddha. This is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. (approx. 27 Kms / 45 Mins from Habarana).
Continue drive to Kandy, en-route visiting the Spice Garden at Matale. Upon arrival in Kandy, check in at your hotel for 2 nights stay.
Day in Kandy
After breakfast, explore the sacred city of Kandy, one of Sri Lanka’s 8 UNESCO World Heritage site.
Today we will visit the Temple of Tooth Relic of Buddha, located in the royal palace complex which houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Visitors are not allowed inside the inner chambers and cannot see the tooth relic.
This afternoon, visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, which are spread over 67 hectares of exquisite beauty and house more than 4000 species of flora, a haven for nature lovers.
This evening enjoy a cultural dance show to see the popular Kandyan dancing and drumming of Sri Lanka.
Drive Kandy – Nuwara Eliya (80 Kms / 02 Hrs)
This morning embark on your scenic drive to Nuwara Eliya, the ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, set against beautiful backdrops of mountains, valleys, waterfalls and tea plantations.
Today in Nuwara Eliya, enjoy an experience of tea plucking, wearing the local Sri Lankan attire – saree for the ladies, sarong for the men. You will get a small demonstration about how to pluck tea leaves and place them in your basket. Professional tea pluckers will accompany you – you’ll be amazed at how efficiently and quickly they manage to fill their baskets to meet their minimum target of 15kg a day!
After tea plucking, we will arrive at the Mini Tea Factory, where the chief tea taster, will inspect your efforts. Then we take a tour of the Mini Tea Factory and understand the process, from the initial drying (withering) of the leaves, through rolling, fermenting and sifting, to produce the different types of tea. Finally, you can taste the different teas, from flowery pekoe to green tea and teabag dust, to appreciate for yourself the differences in colour, flavour and strength.
Overnight stay at hotel at Nuwara Eliya.
Drive Nuwara Eliya – Colombo (190 kms / 06 Hrs)
Enjoy the morning at leisure amidst green landscapes of Nuwara Eliya.
This afternoon, embark on your return drive to Colombo. Upon arrival in Colombo, drive along Galle Face Green, driving past the old Parliament of Srilanka and visit the old Dutch hospital, one of the oldest building in Colombo Fort area, now renovated beautifully and housing an eclectic collection of some of Colombo’s finest restaurants and shops.
Overnight stay at hotel in Colombo.
After breakfast, take a city tour of Colombo driving past Independence Memorial Hall, built in 1948 to mark the independence of Sri Lanka from British rule. Visit National Museum of Colombo, one of the largest museums in Sri Lanka. Then visit the Gangaramaya temple, one the best Buddhist temples to see in Colombo. Within the temple complex is a museum housing a wide collection of antique artifacts, a library, an open air meditation hall, Bodhi tree and a large collection of Buddhist sculptures and statues. There is also a small Hindu temple within the premises. A short drive away from the temple is Seema Malaka, set along the Beira Lake. This is one of Colombo’s most restful and tranquil meditation venue with beautiful statues of Lord Buddha surrounding the main hall, an iconic shot of Colombo.
If you are interested in shopping, Sri Lanka is renowned for its tea, gems, ceramics and handicrafts. There are numerous Noritake outlets in Colombo for a wonderful ceramic collection. To shop where the locals shop, head to Odel shopping centre. For a quirky collection of artifacts, you may visit Barefoot.
Later this evening, transfer to the airport to board your flight back home