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Wonders of Sri Lanka

Known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, the lush, tropical island nation of Sri Lanka is a land of amazing diversity and fascinating attractions, including 8 incredible UNESCO World Heritage sites.  
It is a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes; vibrant mountains and valleys, emerald lagoons, turquoise seas and pristine white sand beaches. Beyond its obvious natural beauty, Sri Lanka offers some of the world’s most exciting wildlife, national parks, unique gardens, ancient cites, sacred temples and centuries old forts. We will see the highlights of all of this on our tour, and there will also be time to relax at the tropical resorts and beaches the island is famous for.  Best of all we will meet the smiling, hospitable people of Sri Lanka and return with a lifetime of fond memories.

* This tour is suitable only for the fit and active traveller.
Tour Highlights:

• Dambulla’s World Heritage Cave Temple
• Ruins of the Dutch Fort in Negombo
• Rock Fortress of Sigiriya
• Minneriya National Park
• Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
• The Cultural City of Kandy
• Temple of the Tooth Relic 
• Sanctuary of Tissamharama
• Yala National Park
• Fortifications of Galle

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for Sri Lanka via Dubai.
We arrive in Colombo and transfer to our hotel in Negombo.
Our tour of Negombo begins at the Fish Market - the bounty supplied by local fishermen who take their oruvas (outrigger canoes) out in the mornings in search of fish. The catch is primarily from the nearby lagoon, renowned for its lobsters, crabs and prawns. We then visit the ruins of the Dutch Fort with its lovely gateway. Afternoon at leisure.
We depart for Dambulla to see the incredible World Heritage Cave Temple - a Buddhist complex established in the 3rd century B.C. and occupied continuously to this day. The remains of 80 rock residences have been identified, and transformations over the centuries include extensions into the sheltering rock, construction of brick walls to screen the caves, and sculptures on the upper terrace echoing the rock carving that preceded it. It is an extraordinary and unique complex with many rock paintings and over 150 statues of various sizes.
This morning we visit the equally unique rock fortress of Sigiriya, another World Heritage site and one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. The most impressive features of this unique complex are the Water Gardens, the Frescoes of beautiful maidens, the Mirror Wall with ancient graffiti, the Lion platform and the summit reaching 1.6 hectares. In the afternoon we visit Minneriya National Park, home to a vast reservoir built in the 3rd century. The elephants here form enormous herds and gather at the tank to graze in the lush grass, and drink and play in the water.
We depart for the medieval city of Polonnaruwa, knowns for its lagoons containing well-preserved monuments (providing clear evidence of Sri Lanka's glorious past). We see the Royal Palace, the Quadrangle and the spectacular Gal Vihare complex of four massive images of the Buddha cut from a single slab of granite – a highlight of ancient Sri Lankan rock carving. We then continue to the coastal resort town of Pasikuda for a 2-night stay.
A day at leisure to relax at one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful white sand beaches.
We depart for Kandy, stopping en route to visit a spice garden along the ancient spice route where we can see the trees and shrubs of original herbs such as pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and turmeric. This evening we attend a vibrant cultural show at the Kandy Lake Club, featuring Low Country Rhythm, Fire and Harvest dances, Ceremonial Drums and the drum Orchestra.
Our sightseeing today begins with the famous “Temple of the Tooth Relic”. Since the 4th Century it has been believed that the tooth was brought to Sri Lanka and the relic has grown in reputation and holiness throughout the Buddhist world. It is considered Sri Lanka’s most prized possession. We then continue to Nuwara Eliya. Surrounded by hills and tea plantations, it was a favourite retreat of the British during Colonial times and continues to be nick-named “Little England”, dotted with country-style houses and cottages..
This morning we visit a local tea plantation, an important export for Sri Lanka as the world’s 3rd largest exporter of tea. We then continue to Tissamharama on the south coast for a 2-night stay.
Today we explore Yala National Park, where we embark on a jeep safari to look for elephant, leopard, bear, crocodile and wild boar. The park is characterized by open terrain with salt and fresh water lagoons. It has received much recognition recently for its leopard research, conservation and identification project.
A scenic drive takes us along the coast to Galle. Keep an eye out for “stilt fishing” - a local technique where fishermen sit perched far from shore atop crude crucifixes of sticks and twine, dangling rods into schools of fish. In Galle we visit the famous fort, first built in 1588 by the Portuguese and extensively fortified by the Dutch from the 17th century onwards. An architectural treasure, much of the fort was laid out on a grid pattern and adapted to the configuration of the terrain. We then continue to our tropical resort on the golden coast of Beruwala for our final 3 nights.
This morning we visit Brief Garden, formerly a rubber plantation and beautifully re-designed by hedonistic artist Bevis Bawa. During his lifetime, many artists stayed here and thrived at the inspiring jungle-like oasis. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the hotel’s lovely pool, tropical gardens and full-service spa..
A day at leisure until our late check-out from the hotel. This evening we transfer to the airport for our flight home via Dubai.
Arrival home with fond memories of Sri Lanka.
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