Cultural Sri Lanka
Day 1 Negombo
Arrive at any time today, keeping in mind that the welcome meeting will be at 6:00pm. Please look for a notice from your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) for the location of the meeting and any other important instructions. This will be followed by an optional group dinner which will help us get to know the other members of the group.
Day 2 Negombo (1B)
Negombo first flourished as the center for cinnamon export, which is native to Sri Lanka. Portugese and Dutch settlement in the area led to the construction of beautiful churches and several architecturally stunning buildings. There are plenty of fish markets in town and several canals that link estuaries and lagoons around the region together. Fishing is the main export of Sri Lanka and nothing better than to go to the seaside and watch the fishermen bring in their boats, clean the nets, dry the fish and trade with the buyers. We then take a serene boat ride through the Dutch canal lining the marshy lands of Negombo. Getting a closer look at the lives of people living here; toddy tapping, cultivations, coconuts being collected by the locals. The area is great for bird watching as many species like to frequent the canal waters.
Day 3-4 Sigiriya (2B,1L)
Driving through the countryside we arrive at Dambulla in the central province of Sri Lanka, an area inhabited as early as the 3rd century. Here we visit the the World Heritage Site, the Golden Cave Temple of Dambulla . The 7th century caves have Buddhist mural paintings and hundreds of statues of Lord Buddha in different poses. This is one of the most well-preserved temple and cave sites in Sri Lanka. In the evening we hope to witness a beautiful sunset over the Kandalamma Lake. On the morning of Day 4 we will go on a walking tour of a Sri Lankan village to learn about the local way of life while getting a chance to try the local cuisine at a lunch prepared by the families of the community. After the cultural tete-a-tete with the villagers we will visit Sigriya Rock Fortress. Built by King Kasyapa in 5th century, this Rock fortress mesmirizes every visitor, lined with well-laid out gardens, caves, monasteries, and palaces with beautiful wall motifs. This was surely a heaven in yonder years. The rock itself is supposed to be old volcanic magma rock. Rising 370m above sea level with a shear drop on all sides. The climb of more than 1200 steps to the top starts in the water gardens, passing caves with frescoes and boulders, to the ruins of a palace on the flat surface at the top. In the afternoon you have the option to go for a tour of Puwareliya, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, where you can cycle through the ruins of Puwareliya. Negombo - Sigiriya Travel distance: 156 Km Estimated travel time: 4.5 hours
Day 5-6 Kandy (2B)
En route to Kandy we will stop at a herbal centre of spices where we have an interactive session with students of Ayurveda giving us an account of the medicinal uses of various herbs used by the people of Sri Lanka in their massages and treatments. We arrive to Kandy in the afternoon. The CEO will take you for a stroll around Kandy Lake and you'll visit the famed Temple of Tooth relic which houses a tooth of Lord Buddha in a well-preserved golden casket. On Day 6 the morning can be spent exploring the town with your CEO. Opt to take a walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peredeniya, exploring the 300 varieties of orchids of Sri Lanka, or visit Ayurvedic Hospital in Kandy to learn about Ayurvedic Oil Massage treatments.. Explore the well-laid out walkways and don't miss the famed Palm Avenues. In the evening enjoy the Kandyan cultural dance performance at the Cultural Centre. Sigiriya - Kandy Travel distance: 139 Km Estimated travel time: 3 hours
Day 7-8 Nuwara Eliya (2B)
Nuwara Eliya is a town founded by Sir Samuel Baker, a British Officer who explored of Lake Albert and the Nile. The town produces the finest Orange Pekoe Ceylon tea and is inhabited mainly by tea planters and plantation workers. En route we will visit one of the factories to learn about the processes of tea. The town, also known as Little England, offers a lot of options to its visitors. Plenty of nature trails, walks in the plantations, golfing, horse riding, etc. A visit the tea plantations with the workers to learn how to pick the tea. The plantation families will allow us to visit their homes as they explain the hardships of the industry. You also have the option of going on an early morning 9 kms trek into the Horton plains as you literally walk thorugh the clouds to the majestic drop overlooking the plains into the sea. If you are an avid golfer you can hire a caddy and try golfing the 18 holes golf course of Nuwara Eliya Golf Club near the Victoria Lake or just wander around the lake to take in the views. Kandy - Nuwara Eliya Travel distance: 87 Km Estimated travel time: 4 hours
Day 9 Uda Walawe (1B)
As we drive down from the hill district back towards beach country we cross the famous Uda Walwale reserve where elephants are in abundance and come strolling alongside the roads. We make several stops to observe these mighty creatures. Tonight we stay at an eco-lodge in a tented camp near the reserve on the banks of Kiriodiya river. You may be lucky to see elephants walking along the river. Nuwara Eliya - Udawalwale Travel distance: 170Km Estimated travel time: 5 hours
Day 10 Hikkaduwa Beach (1B)
After breakfast enjoy a walking tour through the wilderness with your CEO and watch a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Also for a countryside experience meet local farmers at their farms. We later drive about 3-4 hours to Hikkaduwa beach to relax. Hikkaduwa is the perfect beach destination for whale watching tours, surfing and other water sports. Unawatuna - Galle Travel distance: 33 Km Estimated travel time: 30 minutes
Day 11 Galle/Hikkaduwa Beach (1B)
We start the day by going to see the stilt fishermen in the Kathaluwa region near Galle. The fisherman, already on their poles, will be waiting patiently to catch the fish. Stilt fishing is an age old practice still being followed by about 500 families. Later in the day we visit the famous Galle Fort. The 16th century fort was first built by the Portugese, but was later occupied by Dutch. The Ramparts of Galle has withsood many vagaries of weather including the famous 2004 Asian Tsunami. Late in the afternoon we drive to Hikkaduwa Beach. Galle - Hikkaduwa Travel distance: 19 Km Estimated travel time: 30-45 minutes
Day 12 Hikkaduwa Beach (1B)
The day is free to explore the beaches of Hikkaduwa further. You can go for water sports and surfing if you desire at Hikkaduwa or other water sports at Bentota nearby.
Day 13 Colombo (1B)
Today we drive to Colombo, a trading town with 2000 years of history. Colombo was at the mouth of River Kelani crating a natural harbour known to Chinese, Arabs, Greeks, Persian and European seafarers. Your CEO will provide an orientation tour of the fort area and Pettah Bazaar in the afternoon. Hikkaduwa - Colombo Travel distance: 100 Km Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours
Day 14 Colombo (1B)
Depart at any time.