You will be met at the airport by a member of the team before your flight to Colombo.
We will arrive around lunchtime and transfer to our excellent hotel, the four star Jetwing Lagoon. We will have plenty of time to freshen up, relax and use the hotel’s facilities this afternoon before our Welcome Dinner at the hotel where we will get a chance to chat with fellow travellers and our tour manager.
Today our adventures truly begin as we head through the lush countryside to the amazing 2000-year-old cave temples of Dambulla. Incredibly preserved frescoes and scores of serene Buddhist statues will give a genuine sense of awe. We continue to Habarana where we will stay for two nights at the four-star Habarana Village Hotel by Cinnamon.
One of Sri Lanka’s most famous and most cherished sites is Sigiriya, or Lion Rock. The sheer granite tower is topped by the ruins of a 1500 year old palace, guarded by a statue of giant front claws of a lion. We will get the opportunity to ascend the steps to the top of the rock with magnificent views of the moat and water gardens below. We return to the hotel where we enjoy dinner this evening.
After breakfast we first visit a spice garden where we will get to see the living plants which give us the many dried spices which we are so used to. We will also learn how local people use the different spices, not just for flavour, but for many health benefits. We continue to the royal capital of the island, Kandy. We stay for two nights at the wonderful Cinnamon Citadel Hotel. We are also treated this evening to a performance of traditional music and dance.
After breakfast this morning we will get chance to see Kandy up close. The focal point of the city is a beautiful lake, but Kandy is perhaps best known for the Temple of the Tooth. This is one of the holiest places for Buddhists in the world. It is said to contain the tooth of Buddha and is housed in a stunningly intricate temple that our local guide will lead us through today or tomorrow morning. Afterwards we will have a chance to enjoy the huge Royal Botanical Gardens of the city where you may well spot some ‘flying foxes’ hanging upside down in the tall trees.
Today we leave Kandy and venture into the mountainous centre of the country which is the heartland for Sri Lanka’s tea industry. Acres upon acres of rich green tea plants stretch across the area and we will enjoy learning a little more before enjoying a brew ourselves. We continue on to Nuwara Eliya, known by some as ‘Little England’ due to its colonial influenced town. We stay tonight in the superb four-star St Andrews Hotel built in the style of an English manor house.
Leaving the mountain behind us this morning we head for Yala National Park. On our way we will stop at the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home which is supported by the UK’s Born Free Foundation. Here we will observe orphaned elephants being given their daily feeds. We then continue on to our hotel for the next two nights, the four-star Jetwing Yala. It is ideally positioned just outside the park itself on a beautiful beach.
An early start this morning, accompanied by the unique sound of a tropical ‘dawn chorus’. As the morning mist disappears with the rising sun you explore the jungle and its incredible range of wildlife in 4x4 vehicles. The normally elusive leopard offers the Park’s most exciting game viewing and Yala has a high concentration of these big cats. They are the island’s top predator so are far less shy than elsewhere in the world. Yala is also known for its elephants, saltwater crocodiles, wild boar, sloth bears, monitor lizards and a huge variety of birdlife. After a late breakfast you can relax by the hotel’s pool before an optional second, early evening park drive.
UNESCO designated Galle as a World Heritage Site and today we will get the opportunity to discover it for ourselves. We will visit the imposing Dutch fort which dates back 500 years. Afterwards we continue on to our beautiful hotel – The Lighthouse. Located on a fabulous stretch of beach and with numerous facilities to enjoy, we will stay here for the next three nights.
We will transfer to the airport before our flight home, arriving later the same day after a wonderful journey around the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.
After a fantastic ten days of discovery we can enjoy two days to relax and unwind. Our wonderful hotel has various restaurants to sample in the company of your travelling companions, or perhaps take a dip in the pool, a stroll along the palm fronted beach or simply sit with a drink and soak up the Sri Lankan sunshine.