Explore Dambulla Rock Temple, discover the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and visit iconic Sigiriya Rock. Sip on refreshing Ceylon tea and see Sri Lanka's famous wildlife on a jeep safari in Udawalawe National Park before heading to the idyllic beaches of Bentota for some sun, sea and relaxation.
Saturday. Welcome to Sri Lanka! Airport arrival transfer and the remainder of today is at leisure. Our hotel is located on the seafront and is a short walk from Galle Road and many of the city highlights. Choose to head out and independently explore, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a cocktail whilst you watch the sunset over the Laccodive Sea.
Colombo - Dambulla - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla. Bidding farewell to Colombo this morning we drive inland to Dambulla, stopping en route at a fruit and vegetable market in Naramwela Town. Dambulla Rock Temple is an incredible ancient complex of caves which dates back to the 1st Century BC. The five caves contain over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre carved statue. <br/><br/> After exploring this ancient site, we continue to Polonnaruwa. This fascinating 11th century city is home to many interesting ruins and famous monuments including the Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa was once the capital and is also the second most ancient city in Sri Lanka. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This evening, we return to Dambulla for an evening at leisure.
Dambulla - Sigiriya - Kandy. This morning we explore Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. <br/><br/> From Sigiriya, we take a bullock cart ride and short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here, at Kayanwala Village we take part in a cookery demonstration in a mud brick home of a local woman and enjoy a freshly prepared lunch of curry, dahl, spiced rice, pickle and more. En route to Kandy we stop at a spice garden in Matale to see the different herbs and spices, which Sri Lanka is famous for. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.
This morning, we take a sightseeing tour of Kandy - the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and our first stop will be the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Legend has it that one of Buddha's teeth was taken from him as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was then smuggled into Sri Lanka in 313AD. It now attracts daily pilgrims who come bearing lotus flowers and frangipani. After driving around Kandy Lake - built by the last Sinhala king, we visit the local bazaar and a gem museum, we then take Tuk Tuk ride up into the surrounding hills. This afternoon we stop at the Geragama Tea Factory, manufacturing 'Low Grown' and 'Long Leaf' tea. This evening, we watch a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
Location: Nuwara Eliya
Kandy - Nuwara Eliya. This morning offers free time, before transferring to the railway station for a scenic train trip. Passing kilometre upon kilometre of verdant tea plantations that hug the winding mountain passes, we'll see waterfalls, suspension bridges and tea pickers on our journey up to Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea.<br/><br/> Upon arrival we embark on a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya - an area known locally as 'Little England'.
Location: Udawalawe National Park
Nuwara Eliya - Udawalawe National Park. Today we head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. Udawalawe is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan elephant, the biggest of all the Asian elephants in the wild. It is thought that there are around 400 elephants here. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan sloth bear, the cheeky langur monkey and varies types of deer. We enjoy an afternoon game drive here before returning to our hotel.
Udawalawe National Park - Colombo. We travel back to Colombo this morning with a visit to the Gem Mine and Museum at Ratnapura. Sri Lanka is famous for its gem industry and is home to 40 out of the 85 types of gems that exist in the world. <br/><br/> Arriving to Colombo, we commence a city tour, seeing the Fort area in the north of the city which is famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. We'll also see the somewhat unusual Gangarama Temple and take a stroll along Galle Face Green, a popular spot for kite flying and games of cricket.
Location: Bentota and Beruwala
Colombo - Beruwala/Bentota. After breakfast, we head south along Sri Lanka's idyllic West Coast to spend the final four nights relaxing by the beach in the popular holiday resort of Beruwala or neighbouring Bentota.
Location: Bentota and Beruwala
Sri Lanka's beautiful palm fringed beaches are without a doubt its biggest draw cards, and once you set eyes on them you’ll understand why. Nestled on the Indian Ocean coast with warm crystal clear waters, Beruwala and the neighbouring town of Bentota offer travellers a whole host of water sports from snorkelling and scuba diving, to water skiing and surfing – the choice if yours. Indulge in a glass of Toddy – a local coconut flavoured tipple, head to the spa and opt for an Ayurveda treatment which the area is famous for, or simply while away the days on the beach with a cocktail in hand.
Wednesday. Beruwala/Bentota - Colombo. Today our tropical island adventure comes to an end. Departure transfer to Colombo Airport for your onward international flight.
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