A Taste of Sri Lanka
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A Taste of Sri Lanka
Adult from: £735 Child from: Please call for details
Day 1 Colombo � Habarana
On arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (Colombo) you meet your driver-guide and drive to Habarana for three nights’ stay at Cinnamon Lodge (BB)
Day 2 Polonnaruwa
After breakfast you will visit Polonnaruwa, once the 2nd capital city of Sri Lanka built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, and which is now a World Heritage Site. Polonnaruwa is famed for its ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya with its splendid statues of the Buddha in four postures carved out of rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, the statue of King Parakramabahu, and the lake built by that. There are also monuments of famous places of worship such as the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic. The rest of today will be yours at leisure but you can opt to take a jeep safari of the Minneriya National Park for a supplement, an ideal eco-tourism site to experience safari drives and observe the wildlife including elephants, leopard, deer and a wide variety of birds.
Day 3 Sigirya Rock Fortress
After breakfast drive to Sigiriya and climb the 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress which is a world heritage site, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). The 'Lion Rock' is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart, and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock. Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. An Elephant back safari in Habarana could be booked locally at the hotel.
Day 4 Dambulla Cave Temples � Kandy Spice Gardens
After breakfast you will visit the impressive Dambulla rock temple, a World Heritage Site which was built by king Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C.. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. metres of painted walls and ceilings is the largest area of paintings found in the world with over 150 images of the Buddha, including the colossal carved rock figure of the Buddha spanning 14 metres.
Continue later to Kandy, visiting one of the spice gardens in Matale en route to discover the island’s variety of indigenous spices and learn about their uses with a Cookery demonstration.
Arriving in Kandy you are taken on a city tour to learn about this World Heritage Site as the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. Drive around the Kandy Lake built by the last Sinhala king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798 before a visit to the bazaar, and optionally the arts and crafts centre, a gem museum and a lapidary. After checking in to Earl’s Regency Hotel (or similar) for two nights’ stay (BB)and time to relax, your driver will collect you for an evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and attend a cultural Sri Lankan dance show
Day 5 Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage � Botanical Garden
A morning drive to visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, established in 1975 with seven orphans and now one of Sri Lanka’s most popular tourist sites, but also a conservation and educational centre, supported by local and international experts with a scientific captive-breeding programme. The nearby river is an important setting for the daily bathing and play session before the elephants return to the orphanage with the expert guides.
Afterwards there’s time to visit the 147 acres of Royal Peradeniya botanical garden, first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and extended by the British with an amazing variety of trees, shrubs and flowers.
Day 6 Tea Country � Nuwara Eliya
After a morning drive to Kandapola via Nuwara Eliya, the popular hill-resort deep in the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country with its refreshing climate and stunning scenery. There’s a visit to a tea plantation and a tea factory included en route, to observe the processes of manufacturing tea, from the tender green tips picked to the grading and packing. Taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea to check the quality in the factory!
Near Nuwara Eliya is Sri Lanka s highest mountain, Pidurutalagala (8282 feet) and you may see some of the dramatic waterfalls in this region, against the green mountain slopes. The rest of today will be at leisure for you to enjoy perhaps a walk or just soaking up the scenery.
Day 7 Colombo or beach
After breakfast drive to the Airport or transfer to a beach hotel of your choice.