DAY 1, March 13, 2021 | Colombo
Upon arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka airport authority staff will page you at the gate and escort you through the immigration to a private exclusive lounge as we have signed you up for the fast track arrival service. At the entrance of the lounge you will be met by our airport staff and to your assigned driver guide who will escort you throughout your stay with us. Your baggage will be picked up by our airport staff while you enjoy refreshments after the long journey in the lounge and you will be escorted to your vehicle to be transferred to your overnight Hotel in Colombo. (Approximate Duration – 45 minutes - Distance 35 km)
Check in at your hotel and relax.
Later in the evening indulge in an authentic Sri Lankan culinary experience, with some of the island’s popular dishes served as part of a unique seven-course ‘tasting’ dinner menu.
Upon arrival at this restaurant guests are welcomed by an entertaining host. The talented foodie curator not only has knowledge about local food and history but also full of wit and humour. It is a great combination to have a hearty laugh whilst enjoying the aromatic traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. During this interactive tasting experience, your host will relate stories of Old Ceylon sharing information on the origins of several ingredients and dishes and of course the best way to eat them. Most dishes have a global influence, thanks to Sri Lanka’s multi-ethnic, multi-cultural history.
The dishes are served in small portions designed to help you through the seven-course menu, big enough to relish yet will not fill you up in one go. Experience the original Lamprais which was brought over by the Dutch-Burghers and is made up of rice, meat and vegetables, all wrapped in a banana leaf. From there it’s on to some more northern delicacies, such as Thosai and Vadai. The meal is wrapped up with sweet delicacies such as curd and treacle, pancakes and of course, a cup of Ceylon tea. Note: the range of local food items included in the tasting menu will vary accordingly.
DAY 2, March 14, 2021 | Colombo – Sigiriya – Habarana
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, checkout and drive to Sigiriya in cultural triangle (Approximate duration 4 hours and 30 minutes drive).
Check into your hotel and relax. In the evening, visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress with your driver guide (Approximate duration 20 minutes drive).
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. Climbing up to the summit requires good fitness level and by no means mandatory.
DAY 3, March 15, 2021 | Habarana – Anuradhapura – Habarana
After breakfast at the hotel, visit the ancient city of Anuradhapura (approximate duration – 1 hour and 30 minutes’ drive).
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.
Later return to your hotel and spend rest of the evening at leisure
Optional: Enjoy a spa treatment, pampering body and soul with traditional therapies and techniques.
DAY 4, March 16, 2021 | Habrana – Dambulla – Matale – Kandy
This morning after an early breakfast, check out and proceed to visit the Dambulla (approximate duration – two hours’ drive).
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.
Continue your drive to Matale Spice Garden (approximate duration – 1 hour and 20 minutes drive).
Visit a spice garden in Matale to see many different types of spices Sri Lanka is famous for. Just 25 km from the hill capital of Kandy, the Matale spice gardens are among the best on the island. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed. A processing and training unit has been set up in the area and farmers are grouped in a cooperative to ensure fair prices and you will also be able to purchase spices. Gardens are open to visitors, a delightful place to stroll in fragrant greenery and learn about nutmeg, pepper vines, clove trees and curry, cinnamon and the precious cardamom, a relative of ginger. It grows in the shade of high jungle trees and can only be harvested by hand. Visitors may buy spices, traditional remedies and cosmetics, taste a herbal brew and in some venues, enjoy the full flavors of Sri Lankan spices over lunch or an Ayurveda massage based on natural products from the garden.
Continue your drive to Kandy (approximate duration – 1 hour drive).
Check-in at the hotel and Later in the evening, proceed to visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic for evening pooja session (starts at around 6:30 pm).
Built during the 16th Century, the Temple of the Tooth is one the most important temples for Buddhists as it houses the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha. The Relic of the Tooth is kept in a two-story inner sanctum. The ‘Thevava’ or auspicious offering to the Sacred Tooth Relic takes place three times a day at pre-set times and a visit during this time is quite an experience. The resident monks demonstrate this age-old tradition as you become surrounded by the sound of drums and the smells of lotus and jasmine flowers, as well as incense. In July and August the whole city comes to life as the Kandy Esala Perehara pageant takes place in honor of the Relic.
Return to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
DAY 5, March 17, 2021 | Kandy – Peradeniya – Kandy
After breakfast at the hotel, visit the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens with a botanist (approximate duration – 30 minutes’ drive).
Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens Bandara Palipana, an experienced botanist, on a fascinating walk through the scenic Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, located in the hill capital of Kandy. Palipana has worked in the gardens, which house over 4,000 species of plants and trees, for well over 30 years. Listen as he shares stories of the garden’s history and the precious live collections gathered over the past centuries. He explains how this ancient royal pleasure garden transformed into a botanical garden in 1821 and also about the ‘Grand Circle’ where world leaders have donated and planted trees since 1875. As you stroll along under the canopy of the trees, he points out features such as the bamboo collection, Palm Avenue and the herbal plants, which are in fact his favorite. Undoubtedly the most colorful collection is the orchids, where a priceless collection of over 300 varieties bloom in all their glory.
After the Peradeniya botanical garden visit you will take a Kandy City tour by tuk-tuk.
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 capitol 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.
Later in the afternoon, proceed to a Sri Lankan cultural dancing school.
DAY 6, March 18, 2021 | Kandy – Yala
After an early breakfast proceed to proceed to Yala
(Approximate drive time 6 hours). Check in to your overnight hotel.
DAY 7, March 19, 2021 | Yala
Wake up at the break of dawn and head off for your jeep safari at the Yala National Park. Go in search of leopard, elephants, bears, crocodiles, and other animals native to Sri Lanka. We recommend an early morning or late afternoon game drive to elevate your chances of spotting the most animals, although the mini night safaris on the outskirts, which use night-vision infrared lights – are also extremely fun. Whilst searching for the elusive leopard, herds of spotted deer, Mugger crocodiles, wild boar, wild buffaloes, langurs, and peacocks also provide brilliant photograph opportunities. Bird-lovers will particularly enjoy the display of over 200 different species, including large flocks of migratory birds.
Return to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure until you proceed on the next game drive in the afternoon. Return to your hotel and dinner at the hotel.
DAY 8, March 20, 2021 | Yala – Galle
After breakfast proceed to Galle (Approximate drive time Four hours).
On the way, you will be able to experience the ever famous stilt fisherman engaging in their daily catch. Stilt fishing is an age-old fishing method in Sri Lanka and today remains as a scenic icon in the southern coastal belt. You will notice how carefully balanced that the fishermen position themselves on the thin stilt during the low tide to fish in the rising waters of the high tide, which is a picturesque sight.
Continue to proceed to your hotel in Galle and check-in. In Evening Hours, enjoy a walk in the Dutch Galle fort.
Take an evening visit to Galle Dutch Fort and enjoy a city tour in 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, with panoramic views of Old Dutch Reformed Church, chic boutique hotels, the lighthouse and the souvenir shops along the way. End your walk at the Moon Bastion for the sunset photographic moment overlooking the Indian ocean
Enjoy your optional dinner at the hotel as you are nearing the end of your trip in the Paradise Island Sri Lanka.
Return to the hotel and spend the rest of your day at leisure.
DAY 9, March 21, 2021 | Galle – Colombo
After breakfast at hotel check out and transfer to Bandaranaike International Airport (approximate duration – 3 hours drive) in time to connect with your onward international departure flight.