Pearl Of The Indian Ocean – Visit Sri Lanka
Pearl Of The Indian Ocean
The Cultural Highlights Tour gives you a fascinating look into the archaeological & historical places in Sri Lanka. The tour attractions range from the ruins of ancient kingdoms to the beautiful hill country, rich in natural beauty.
Departure & Return Location
CMB Bandaranayake International Airport
- 8 Nights Hotel Accommodation
- Tour Guide
- Entrance Fees
- All transportation in destination location
- Guide Service Fee
- Driver Service Fee
- Any Private Expenses
- Room Service Fees
Day 1 – Airport / Pinnawala / Kandalama
Arrival and transfer to Pinnawala.
Visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala. As you enter the 25 acre coconut property, do not be surprised to witness baby elephants being bottle fed or moving around freely causing absolutely no harm to anyone. It is rightly a sincere sight to observe how these gentle giants – orphaned and sometimes three-legged – are taken care of since 1975 at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Up to date, over 20 calves have been born here, and it is surprising to hear that some of its inmates have even seen their grand children during the past few decades! Watch as they feed at 09:15 am, 12:15 pm & 05:00 pm and take a river bath twice a day at 10:00 am & 02:00 pm respectively for an experience that could never be felt anywhere else on earth!
Lunch at Pinnalanda Restaurant, Pinnawala.
Thereafter transfer to Kandalama. Dinner and overnight stay at Heritance Kandalama, Kandalama.
Day 2 – Kandalama / Anuradhapura / Mihintale / Aukana / Kandalama
After breakfast transfer to Anuradhapura.
Do a city tour of Anuradhapura. Commanding a rich Sri Lankan heritage, Anuradhapura – one of the greatest and oldest civilizations in the world spanning over 1300 years in its peak – avows of being the greatest city of ancient Sri Lanka following its reign as the first capital. The sapphire of its crown is certainly the Sri Maha Bodhi – the sacred Bo sapling extracted from the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment – standing more than 2200 years in its pride. Stroll through the sacred trails of the venerated city to adore the legacy that interweaves Ruwanweliseya – the gigantic dagoba resting alongside the Basawakkulama Tank – shading the Samadhi Buddha Statue & Isurumuniya Rock Temple that empower the culture, heritage and supremacy of arguably the strongest kingdom in Sri Lankan history.
Lunch at Palm Garden Village Hotel, Anuradhapura. Thereafter, transfer to Mihintale.
Just 16km off the sacred city of Anuradhapura lies the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka as the stone carvings and unending stairways proclaim a legacy which hinges the philosophy sermoned by Buddha – ‘The Awakened One’. This is the holy land which sheltered the first Buddhist sermon by Arahath Mahinda to King Devanampiya Thissa, when the Poson full moon brightened a forest used by the king himself for hunting. Walk passing a massive cooling fountain and head towards the renowned staircase of the temple. Feel the coolness of granite slabs as you shift from the ruins of a hospital to Kantaka Stupa built in 1st century B.C. enriched with magical hands of the Sri Lankan stone carver. Step into the courtyard and towards its left sitting calm, is the refractory. However, the highlights of the sacred land are Maha Seya – the main dagoba – and Aradana Gala, the peak of the rock assuring breathtaking viewpoints of the Kingdom of Lakes, Anuradhapura.
Also, visit the Aukana Buddha statue. Standing up to a solid 40 feet over Anuradhapura the Aukana Buddha Statue – a creation of king Datusena – happens to be one of the foremost cultural & religious attractions in Sri Lanka spearheading fantastic proof of carvings that date back to the 5th century. The standing Buddha statue chiseled out of a granite cliff with magnificently carved pleats of a robe worn over the left shoulder truly proves not only a subtle talent of a local stone mason, but also a masterpiece of a king who is still venerated by locals.
On completion transfer to Kandalama. Dinner and overnight stay at Heritance Kandalama, Kandalama.
Day 3 – Kandalama / Polonnaruwa / Sigiriya / Kandalama
Breakfast at Heritance Kandalama. Thereafter, transfer to Polonnaruwa.
Do a city tour of Polonnaruwa. Rising with the decline of Anuradhapura, the city of Polonnaruwa – medieval capital & crown jewel of King Parakramabahu I – remains superior proof of ancient culture & heritage blended with religious beliefs. Walk across its scattered walls of the World Heritage Site – blessed by stupas, resting Buddha statues, irrigation canals and fantastically carved Hindu sculptures – while observing the relic house – Watadage – which boasts of beautiful stone carvings. Take a close glance and you will realize a subtle Hindu influence on architecture and statues found in Polonnaruwa. Or sit by the side of Galviharaya and observe the absolute beauty gushing out of every bend of its huge Buddhist statues. Nissankamalla Council Chamber is however, a head-spinning beauty to just sit back and observe with its swaying pillars reminding the aesthetics of a powerful kingdom which rests beside Parakrama Samudraya – sea of Parakramabahu & masterpiece of irrigation!
Lunch at Hotel Sudu Araliya, Polonnaruwa.
Transfer to Sigiriya.
Climb the 5th century Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The 5th century rock citadel of King Kasyapa and World Heritage Site – Sigiriya – doesn’t only boasts of ancient Sri Lankan engineering & urban planning supremacy but also acclaims to be one of the finest monuments of art & culture. Step through the gigantic ‘Lion Paws’ – overlooking the symmetrical royal gardens below – to comprehend the absolute splendor that once dominated this rock fortress. Surrounded by ramparts & moats the Lion Rock – resembling the mythological ‘City of Gods’ – is coated by frescoes that relate to Gupta style paintings found in Ajanta caves of India. Walk in the shade of an eminent ‘mirror wall’ embracing the Western face of Sigiriya representing an artistic hundred meters laminated with graffiti. Wander into the well-fabricated museum downstairs for an epic journey of yesteryears to realize how the citadel floated above citizens with the castle, ponds and irrigation systems that pumped water right onto its summit with an ingenious hydraulic system describing a colossal masterpiece of the great king which remained a wonder in Asia for centuries.
On completion transfer to Kandalama. Dinner and overnight stay at Heritance Kandalama, Kandalama.
Day 4 – Kandalama / Dambulla / Matale / Kandy
Breakfast at Heritance Kandalama. Transfer to Dambulla.
Visit Dambulla rock temple. A hub which has been treasured by many kings since the 1st century B.C. Today, an icon in the face of Sri Lanka Dambulla Rock Temple houses some of the most unique drawings in magnificently constructed 5 cave temples flanking the golden temple of Dambulla. Observe how exquisitely cave paintings are done along walls that shelter 150 statues of Lord Buddha. As you enter the retreat look straight up to the gigantic Buddha statue glittering in gold over a land which today houses an important junction in the country’s economic and cultural uplifting.
Thereafter transfer to Matale.
In Matale, An agricultural zone in the Central Province, Matale seldom drops off the maps due to its remarkable contribution through flagship crops of the island extending from tea, rubber & vegetables to spices. Spearheading the Rebellion back in 1848, Matale today takes immense pride in its story woven around spices. Stop by the side of a spice garden – into which you will be most welcome – and observe the therapeutic values of spices & processes over a refreshing cup of herbal tea! Or spend sometime idling on the hardened streets if you mean a real town adventure filled with voices and colors.
On completion, continue to Kandy. Lunch at Hilltop Hotel, Kandy.
Last ruled by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe – before it was brought under the British rule in 1815, Kandy – the World Heritage Site & last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings – crafts an array of culture, history and heritage in the minds of visitors across the globe. Experience an ancient Kandyan legacy engraved around its crown jewel, the temple of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. A stroll across this small lakeside town – cradled among the misty hills. will feature the Kandy City Centre – bundled with latest and world class brands, bazaar, an arts & crafts centre, as well as a gem museum & lapidary. Drive towards Victoria Golf Course, undoubtedly one of the best golf courses in the world for a sweep blended with class and style. Or walk in color as you glide through fresh fruits and vegetables in the Kandy market. Fine tube your evening by stepping to the beat of traditional music & drumming amplified by a cultural show enhancing the rich and vibrant culture of the Wonder of Asia, Sri Lanka.
Thereafter witness a cultural show. Dinner and overnight stay at Earl’s Regency Hotel, Kandy.
Day 5 – Kandy / Peradeniya / Nuwara Eliya / Kandapola
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Peradeniya.
First developed as a pleasure garden under royalty and later harmonized by the British, the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya – today bundled with the most welcoming facilities located just 4 miles off Kandy – is a flourishing national asset in the Wonder of Asia. Walk into this 147 acre bliss of an experience, passing well tended lawns, pavilions & an octagon conservatory to be greeted by the vast expanse of a magnificently landscaped lush green turf which will encourage you for an exhilarating break. Towards the north of the entrance rests a cafeteria that one might come across before stepping into some of the highlights – the orchid house & giant Javan fig tree – of this place which overflow in grace. Thereafter, transfer to Nuwara Eliya. A hike through the green grass and red-brick walls should present breathtaking views of a buzzing countryside hamlet. Hop into a rattling train smoking and hissing its way through green valleys of the hill country pierced by endless waterfalls & dotted by tea pluckers draped in bright-colored saris. Or rent a bike for a gentle ride along the banks splashed by the waters of Lake Gregory.
Lunch at Ramboda Falls Hotel, Ramboda. Continue to Nuwara Eliya.
Do a city tour of Nuwara Eliya. Misty steep roads, twisting through lush green blankets of tea bushes in a cool climate, remind visitors that they are within the range of the renowned British colonial retreat, Nuwara Eliya. Augmented by an English countryside atmosphere, the city of light – once governed by English & Scottish planters – is still studded with colonial bungalows, hedgerows & one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in the world.
On completion, transfer to Kandapola. Dinner and overnight stay at Heritance Tea Factory, Kandapola.
Day 6 – Kandapola / Udawalawe
Breakfast at the hotel. Then transfer to Udawalawe. Lunch at Walawe Rest.
Thereafter, do a safari of The Udawalawe National Park by jeep. Be ready to witness trumpets across the border as you approach elephant country around the corner! Udawalawe truly is a sanctuary for the big footed & tusked. Marked by relatively large herds of elephants, the national park proves to be one of the best places one could observe them in their natural habitat. Hop into a safari jeep and head into the park, you are most likely to drive into your first herd of giants within the maiden hundred meters. Turn on your radar into other species – such as potted deer, sambur, barking deer, water buffalo and jackal – found within the park. Meanwhile, Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home bears a different story. Established in 1995, it caters to all injured elephants found in the area before releasing them into their natural habitat. So, make sure to just watch – rather than touch – these gentle giants as they feed, play and mingle with each other, before heading into the wild with one another.
Dinner and overnight stay at Grand Safari, Udawalawe
Day 7 – Ahungalla
Breakfast at hotel.
Have a boat trip in Madhu River. A lifeline of Balapitiya – and head towards Kotu Duwa, the small island housing a temple that dates back to ancient Sinhalese kings. Or, sail through tunnels of shady mangroves swaying alongside Madu River – hiding an ecological treasure – to witness the tranquility of this bio-diversity hot spot which boasts of reptiles, mollusks and over 70 species of fresh water fish.
Dinner & Overnight stay in Heritance Ahungalla
Day 8 – Mirissa / Ambalangoda / Kosgoda
Rise early morning and leave for Mirissa A small sandy tropical beach village which boasts some of Sri Lanka’s most stunning sunsets and sunrises. It is also on the worlds ‘Top Hot Spots’ for Sperm and Blue whale sightings. In the warm Indian Ocean you can see Blue whales,Sperm whales,Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Striped dolphins. Take the boat from the fishery harbour out to sea. Blue Whales in concentrations not seen elsewhere in the world would be the highlight. After seeing the blue whales, your naturalist will take you further out to sea to look for sperm whales.
Have a visit to the mask factory in Ambalangoda. Faces carved into perfection on solid wood and painted cobra hoods are common sites for a wanderer across the seaside suburb of Ambalangoda. Conversely, this is a masker’s bliss! Walk into the gallery of folk dances & mask making – the mask museum – or simply take a look at a hut busy cutting, molding and painting masks. You might be able to tune into the mysteries that surround Ambalangoda’s heritage of mask making, that acts as the backdrop of folk dances and rituals staged across the pearl of the Indian ocean, Sri Lanka.
Visit Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery. Both locals and international volunteers battling it out for ”Sea Turtles’ Sake” is a common sight at Kosgoda. This vibrant tourist destination sitting calm along the Southern coast of Sri Lanka – apart from its traditional industries of fisheries and cinnamon cultivation – was later recognized by the Wildlife Protection Society who studded the region with a Sea Turtle Conservation Project which operates on a formidable scale today. Indirectly, this has become a watering hole of flipper & shell enthusiasts!
Leisure time at Heritance
Dinner & Overnight stay in Heritance Ahungalla
Day 9 – Colombo / Airport
After breakfast transfer to the Airport for departure.
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