Cultural Sri Lanka Tour

Day 1; Colombo to Negombo

Arrive at Colombo Airport and transfer to the Negombo coast and check into your hotel. In the afternoon recuperate from your flight on the beach.

OVERNIGHT

A. Paradise Beach Hotel, Negombo (Standard Room)

B. Jetwing Blue, Negombo (Deluxe Room)

C. Jetwing Blue, Negombo (Deluxe Room)

Day 2 Negombo to Sigiriya; After breakfast at the hotel, transfer from Negombo to Sigiriya. 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 meters 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.

OVERNIGHT

A. Kassapa Lions Rock, Sigiriya (Standard Room)

B. Sigiriya Village, Sigiriya (Standard Room)

C. Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana (Superior Room)

Day 3 Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa Return; Visit Polonnaruwa, which was the 2nd capital city of Sri Lanka, built in the 11th and 12th Centuries AD, and which is a world heritage site. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya where 4 splendid statures of the Buddha in ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and ‘Recumbent’ postures carved out of rock could be seen, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, the Statue of king Parakramabahu, and the Parakrama Samudraya, a lake built by King Parakramabahu the great. 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. In the afternoon there is a chance to take an Elephant back ride safari along a beautiful path into the dry zone forest. On this session your interpreter will explain to you how to measure the height of an elephant using its footmarks (you may see wild elephants during this excursion).

OVERNIGHT

A. Kassapa Lions Rock, Sigiriya (Standard Room)

B. Sigiriya Village, Sigiriya (Standard Room)

C. Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana Superior Room)

Day 4 Sigiriya to Kandy via Dambulla; Heading south, we stop at the magnificent caves in Dambulla, and climb up to the Dambulla Rock Temple which was built by King Walagambahu in the 1st Century BC. Dambulla is world heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of 5 caves with over 2000sq meters of painted walls and ceiling is the largest are of painting round the world. The caves contain over 150 image of Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock and spanning 14 meters.

Kandy; Drive to Kandy via one of Sri Lanka’s famous spice gardens before continuing to Kandy, a pleasant mountain town lying 500m above sea level, and the most spiritual town on the island. Later visit the lake, along with some local handicrafts, before witnessing a classic Kandyan cultural dance show. Early evening, in time for the evening pooja, we visit the Temple of the Tooth, housing a relic from the Lord Buddha which was collected from his funeral pyre and brought to Sri Lanka over 1500 years ago.

OVERNIGHT

A. Hotel Suisse, Kandy (Standard Room)

B. Randholee Resorts, Kandy (Mountain View Room)

C. Earl’s Regency, Kandy (Deluxe Room)

Day 5 Kandy to Nuwara Eliya; Royal Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, conceived as the Queen’s pleasure gardens in 1371, Peradeniya became the residence of the king in the 18th century where royal visitors were entertained. Today the gardens are open to visitors and are extensive and well kept. Continue to Nuwara Eliya, through amazing hill country and tea plantations. Visit a tea plantation and some waterfalls en route. In 1826 some British Officers established a station for convalescent soldiers at Nuwara Eliya due to its cool climate and fresh mountain air. It was Sir Samuel baker who fell under the spell of Nuwara Eliya, and later brought his worldly possessions to the town, including hounds, horses, cattle and sheep, and started a typical English farm here. Flowers, plants and vegetables were brought from England transforming the area into a little England, complete with Victorian style houses and the essential golf course and Hill Club.

OVERNIGHT

A. Galway Forest Lodge, Nuwara Eliya (Standard Room)

B. Jetwing St. Andrew’s, Nuwara Eliya (Superior Room)

C. Heritance Tea Factory, Nuwara Eliya (Superior Room)

Day 6 Nuwara Eliya to Colombo via Kithulgala; We return to Colombo via Kithulgala, scene of the filming of Bridge Over the River Kwai and the place where white water rafting is possible. Take a raft for an hour over some impressive rapids (optional)

Drop off at the international airport or Colombo.

PRICES PER PERSON SHARING EXCLUDING FLIGHTS START FROM A. Fr €679pp sharing. B. Fr €745pp sharing. C. Fr €875pp sharing.

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