After an early breakfast at hotel, enjoy a visit to the local fish market in Negombo. Located north of Colombo and just 30 minutes’ drive from Bandaranaike International Airport lies the fishing town of Negombo. With its hectic harbor and bustling fish market (every day except Sundays and Poya holidays), this town is a gourmet paradise with seafood aplenty. Palm-fringed beaches, old-fashioned catamarans, a Dutch-built canal, colonial architecture and colorful boutiques all add character to this hub of activity. You will notice that ornate churches pepper the landscape in this part of the country since the majority of people here are Catholic or Christian. That said, there are still a few very important Buddhist temples to explore as well. Thereafter leave for Chilaw. Check in at hotel for lunch and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Enjoy Dinner at hotel.
After Breakfast at hotel, proceed to Anuradhpura. Visit the ancient city of Anuradhapura. A UNESCO World Heritage Site predominantly influenced by Buddhism, Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka's first Capital Kingdom. According to the ancient Sinhalese Chronicle 'Mahavansa' the Kingdom was founded in the fifth Century BC. Upon arrival you are greeted by the brilliant white dome-shaped Ruwanweliseya and Jethawanarama stupas or dagobas (religious monuments). These two stupas have survived over two millennia and the mighty Jethawanarama is equal in size to the pyramids in Giza. Next, admire the 'Samadhi' Buddha statue, a granite statue of Buddha in a meditative pose and a true masterpiece of sculpture. Before concluding your visit to Anuradhapura, receive a blessing near the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree (Ficus Religiosa) which bears a branch brought over from India over 2,500 years ago and is considered to be the oldest tree recorded in the world. Continue your tour to Giritale via Mihintale. Check in at hotel and stay at leisure. Enjoy dinner at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel and proceed to Polonnaruwa. Explore the ancient city by Bicycle. An interesting blend of archaeological monuments, Polonnaruwa was the second kingdom of Sri Lanka and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The iconic man-made reservoir was appropriately named “Parakrama Samudra”, or “the sea of Parakrama”, due to its enormous size. Look out for the famous Gal Viharaya or “Rock Temple” where you will see four colossal statues of the Buddha cut into the stone, reflecting peace, serenity and strength. Polonnaruwa also boasts ruins of ancient palaces, intricately carved moon stones and royal baths. Thereafter proceed to Minneriya National Park and enjoy a game drive. The Minneriya National Park, located in the North Central district of Sri Lanka is a sanctuary for wildlife. Alongside the Udawalawe National Park it is one of the best places on the island to see the Sri Lankan Elephant up close, all year round. As well as elephants, you are likely to see a whole host of other mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians. The park is also an important habitat for the two endemic monkeys of Sri Lanka - the Purple-faced Langur and Toque Macaque. Aside from the wildlife, the impressive Minneriya tank - a reservoir built by an ancient civilization – is undoubtedly the highlight of the park. Return to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Enjoy Dinner at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel and proceed to climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Sigiriya is an enormous rock boulder rising up 200 meters above the surrounding jungle. Incredibly, the rock fortress was built by King Kassyapa I in the fifth Century and served as a royal citadel for more than 18 years, something that seems more astonishing with every step you climb. Pause occasionally during your ascent to admire the mirror wall, the sigiri graffiti, the famous Sigiriya frescoes (paintings) and the great lion paws. Upon reaching the summit you’ll immediately see that it was worth the effort. Wander through the ruins and admire the courage and work it must have taken to build this palace all those years ago- you will even find a fully-functional swimming pool up there. Aside from the ruins, with the unparalleled 360-degree view of the surrounding jungle and hills, it will not be just be the climb that takes your breath away. Late morning visit to Hiriwadunna village. The visit to the traditional village in Habarana in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka gives us the opportunity to interact with villagers and to experience their day-to-day life. As you turn off inland at the village of Hiriwadunna in Habarana you will be welcomed by the cheerful bullock cart drivers and their age-old bullock carts, pulled by one or two strong bulls per cart. Bullock carts were once a common mode of travel, however they are rarely used nowadays. Your journey will bring you near the scenic Hiriwadunna Lake where you will be able to enjoy the view with some welcome refreshments. A short walk will take you further in to the village, passing by the occasional tree house built by farmers to protect their crop, as well as acres of paddy fields, Chena crops and of course local scarecrows! As you arrive at a village house you are welcomed by the smiling faces of the owners. Enjoy the hospitality of these humble villagers as they serve you a simple Sri Lankan village lunch prepared in the traditional way using earthenware pots and firewood as fuel. Return to hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Dinner at hotel.
After breakfast proceed to visit the Dambulla Cave Temple. Dating back to the first Century BC, Dambulla is a vast cave complex, converted into a rock temple which is still regarded today as one of the most important Buddhist monasteries. Covering the rock ceiling is the largest collection of paintings in Sri Lanka within a cave temple, and surrounding you is the highest number of Buddha statues found in one single place. As you wander through the temple, notice the serenity and the exceedingly well-preserved nature of the place. It is no wonder the Rock Temple has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thereafter leave for Kandy. Visit the Matale Spice garden on the way. Late afternoon commence on a City tour of Kandy. The city of Kandy was the last Kingdom of Sri Lanka and has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will notice a more comfortable temperature here, compared to the tropical climate prevailing throughout the rest of the island. The Sacred Temple of the Tooth is certainly the most revered and iconic place to visit in this cultural capital but other highlights include the historic Kandy Lake, the Royal Botanical Gardens and the scenic Victoria Golf Club. Whilst you are in Kandy, also look out for the silverware, brassware and gem-studded jewelry, carefully carved and designed by the Kandyan craftsman, who are known to be the most skilled in the country. Kandy can be a bustling place in the day so there is nothing quite like a late evening stroll around the serene lake with a view to the Sacred Temple and the distant sound of drums in the background. Return to hotel and relax. Enjoy dinner at hotel.
After Breakfast at hotel, check out and proceed to Peradeniya to visit the Royal botanical garden. Originally created in the 14th Century as a pleasure garden for the Queens, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya are located in the city of Kandy. Spread over 147 acres and bordered by the charming Mahaweli River - the longest in Sri Lanka - it is the largest botanical garden on the island. The garden is home to over 4,000 species of plants, ferns, shrubs, palm trees, spices and medicinal plants, all complemented by an array of butterflies and bird species. Take time to admire the incredible collection of over 300 varieties of orchids; certainly one of the garden’s highlights. The giant bamboo and double palm trees, both of which are imports to the island and many are over one hundred years old, create a natural canopy. A leisurely stroll through the immaculate lawns and along the quiet paths, perhaps stopping to enjoy a sumptuous picnic, is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Thereafter drive to Nuwara Eliya. En-route stop and visit Ramboda waterfalls. The stunning drive to Nuwara Eliya is a photographer’s paradise. Pause every now and again to admire the gushing waterfalls, the vast tea terraces, the old tea factories and the expansive vegetable fields along the way. Upon arrival at Nuwara Eliya, you will notice the sudden drop in temperature. With log fires and blankets in the Victorian-style bungalows and the beautifully kept lawns and flower gardens, it is no wonder this part of the world has become known as ‘Little England’. Wander through the fruit and vegetable markets and strike a bargain at the night ‘bale’ market. Check in at hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Enjoy Dinner at hotel.
After breakfast, transfer to Nanu oya Railway station for a Scenic Train ride. Board the train from Nanuoya railway station in Nuwara Eliya to Ella. This journey is considered as one of the most scenic railway journeys through the highlands of Sri Lanka. As you roll past the emerald tea estates that blanket the mountains, you cannot help but indulge in the unmistakable aroma of pure Ceylon tea. This hill country train ride usually takes around three and half hours, depending on the local railway regulations. Transfer from Ella Railway Station to hotel for check in and spend the day at leisure. Enjoy dinner at hotel.
Early risers will have the opportunity to hike to Little Adams peak and back before breakfast. After breakfast we leave for Yala. Check into your hotel and relax. After spending some time at rest, continue on the evening game ride with a specialized ranger. Enjoy dinner at hotel.
Before breakfast proceed on an early morning game ride. Enjoy the unique and dynamic wild life in the region, and return to the campsite for the breakfast. Venture on a game drive in search of native wildlife through Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national parks. If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot three of Sri Lanka’s Big Five endangered animals on one single safari, since the Sri Lankan leopard, the Sri Lankan sloth and the Sri Lankan elephant can all be found here. In fact, the park is known to have one of the highest populations of leopard in the world. Whilst searching for the elusive leopard, herds of spotted deer, wild boar, wild buffaloes, languers, crocodiles and peacocks provide the most perfect photograph opportunities. Bird-lovers will particularly enjoy the display of over 200 different species, including large flocks of migratory birds. After returning to hotel, check out and thereafter leave for Galle.
After Breakfast at hotel, leave for Galle. Along the way make stop at Weligama and see the unique Stilt Fishing. Late evening enjoy a city tour of Galle. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the city of Galle mixes the exotic with the colonial. The impressive Fortress, originally built by the Portuguese and further fortified by the Dutch, remains standing today with only a few changes, and is a living example of the interaction between European architecture and South Asian traditions during the 16th to 19th Centuries. Explore the Galle Fort on foot at your own pace, perhaps paying a visit to the Maritime Museum, the Old Dutch Reformed Church, the Sun and the Moon bastions, the lighthouse and the souvenir shops along the way. Early evening is the perfect time to climb the ramparts and sip a refreshing cup of Ceylon tea, or perhaps something stronger, as you gaze upon the setting sun. After lunch, proceed to Unawatuna and enjoy a cycling ride at the village. Check in at hotel and relax.