The Best of Sri Lanka
|Resort:||The Best of Sri Lanka|
This introduction to the Land of Serendipity reveals mountaintop fortresses, ancient capitals hidden in dense forest and national parks where elephants roam free. Starting and finishing in the islands capital, Colombo, youll journey to Buddhist temples and botanical gardens, stopping to sample some of the worlds best tea along the way. A safari drive in Yala National Park is a great opportunity to spot Sri Lankan wildlife – well be on the lookout for leopards, buffalo, elephants and crocodiles.
13 excursions and visits
Day 1 UK – In flight
Titans VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your overnight flight to Colombo.
Day 2 Colombo
On arrival we transfer to our hotel and the rest of the day is free.
Day 3 Colombo – Habarana
Colombo is Sri Lankas commercial centre, a curious mix of eastern tradition and western infiltration. Our morning tour includes a visit to the fort built by the Portuguese. From our coach, well also view the buzzing Pettah bazaar district, where the streets are crammed with stalls and shops.
We continue our journey to Habarana, in the heart of the island, where well stay for three nights.
Day 4 Anuradhapura – Hiriwadunna Village
We head to Anuradhapura, ruled by the Sinhalese Kings for over 1,000 years. Star attractions include ancient Buddhist shrines, dagobas (bell-shaped memorials) and pokunas (stone water tanks). We also visit the sacred 2,000-year-old Sri Maha Bodi tree.
Later well visit Hiriwadunna, a typical Sri Lankan village, for an introduction to local culture and indigenous farming practices.
Day 5 Sigiriya
Adventure awaits us this morning in Sigiriya, a 182m-high rock plateau on which a 5th-century ruler built a fortress and palace. The spectacular lion rock fortress stands majestically over the green jungle. Carved in a niche in the rocks are frescoes of beautiful women.
This afternoon youre free to relax or join an optional excursion to Polonnaruwa, built in the 12th century by King Parakramabahu. The remains of the Kings Palace include shrines, temples, dagobas and the Gal Vihara.
Day 6 Dambulla – Kandy
Todays tour takes in the serene Golden Temple at Dambulla, a home for Buddhist monks since 3 BC. Over the 22 centuries, the five natural caves that make up this sacred pilgrimage site have been decorated with brilliant murals and exceptional sculptures. Take your time to explore and marvel at the rock-hewn Buddha.
We then stop at a spice garden before reaching Kandy, last capital of the ancient kings, which nestles among low hills looped by the Mahaweli River.
Day 7 Royal Botanical Gardens – Temple of the Tooth
This mornings tour reveals the Royal Botanical Gardens, where you can admire stunning flora and fauna.
After a chance to relax, well head out again to watch Kandyan dancers perform the enchanting national dance of Sri Lanka, a feast for your eyes and ears! Well continue our journey to the royal palace complex, for a visit to the sacred Temple of the Tooth. The temple houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha.
Day 8 Nuwara Eliya
Today, well make tracks for Nuwara Eliya, home of Ceylon tea. It was built during the 19th century in the style of an old English country town, with some local twists. Victorian- and Tudor-style homes line the pretty lake, and tuk-tuks can be found parked beside a red phone box.
Tea lovers will be in their element as we tour a plantation, where workers – or pluckers – pick each delicate leaf by hand. Well see the entire manufacturing process, from grading the tea by quality and size through to its final preparation.
Later on, well celebrate the tradition of high tea, as we head to the wonderful Colonial Hill Club.
Day 9 Elephant Transit Home – Yala
Our journey continues to the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe. Unlike many other sanctuaries, this home rehabilitates orphaned and injured elephants until theyre strong and old enough to be released back into the wild.
We continue on to Yala, on the south coast of the island and one of Sri Lankas most famous national parks.
Day 10 Yala National Park
We rise early for our safari in Sri Lankas best-known national park, in search of the elusive Sri Lankan leopard. Even if we fail to catch a glimpse of this majestic predator, theres plenty more to see, including elephants, buffalo, monkeys, deer and crocodiles.
After all the excitement you can relax for the rest of the day, or join an optional evening bird trail with an expert local guide.
Day 11 Galle – Beruwala
The Old Town of Galle, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in southern Asia. The Portuguese first took control of the city in the early 16th century and began the fortification process, only to surrender it to the Dutch East India Company around 150 years later. The Dutch built substantial ramparts and walls, which are still standing today. Following our short tour, we head up the coast to Beruwala.
Day 12 Colombo – UK
Today we transfer to Colombo Airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.