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Discover Sri Lanka – Small Group Tour

Recently ranked as Lonely Planet's top destination for 2019, the sights of Sri Lanka will impress even the most seasoned traveller. Experience Sri Lanka's nature and culture on this splendid 16-day small group tour.

Highlights:

  • Game drives in Sir Lanka’s largest national park- Wilpattu
  • Enjoy the pristine waters of Trincomalee
  • Discover Jaffna’s fascinating culture and Dutch fort
  • Experience the famous tea culture with a stop at tea plantation to try traditional Ceylon Tea
  • Travel on one of the most picturesque train journeys in Asia – Kandy – Nuwara Eliya
  • Have the chance to spot some of Yala National Park’s most famous inhabitants the mighty Sri Lankan elephant and gracious Leopard, plus spectacular bird life and millions of monkeys
  • Explore Sri Lanka’s famous Cultural Triangle, Polonnaruwa, Damulla, Anuradhapura
  • Climb Sigiriya ,the ancient rock fortress, citadel of King Kasyapa and World Heritage site
  • Marvel at the Dutch and Portuguese fortified city of Galle
  • Wonder through the current capital Colombo, enjoying the city site and learn it’s detailed history.

Inclusions:

  • Transport in air-conditioned coaches as per the above itinerary
  • Private arrival and departure airport transfers
  • 15 nights accommodation in specified hotels or similar
  • Breakfast daily
  • 14 dinners
  • Welcome & farewell dinners
  • Train ticket from Peradeniya to Nanu Oya
  • English speaking guide
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • 2 jeep safaris in Wilpattu
  • 3 jeep safaris in Yala.

Discover Sri Lanka


Day 1: Arrive Negombo

Upon arrival into Colombo Airport you will be met and assisted by a Tempo holidays representative and transferred from the airport to your hotel in Negombo. Overnight at: Jetwing Sea Hotel. Room: Standard Room.

Day 2: Negombo - Wilpattu - Anuradhapura

After breakfast, we explore the Negombo city sights before heading towards Anuradhapura. Along the way we will visit Wilpattu National Park for a game drive en-route. After checking into the hotel, the rest of the day is free to relax and in the evening, we will enjoy a welcome dinner. This land is haunted by big cats of the island paradise and recording a vast number of Sri Lankan Leopards - smarter looking than its Indian cousin - Wilpattu National Park has been named due to 'Willus' (Natural Lakes) studded throughout the park. Apart from big cats & precious flora, the park is well known for a healthy population of elephant, sloth bear, spotted deer, mongoose and water buffalo. Overnight at: Palm Garden Village. Room: Standard Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 3: Anuradhapura - Wilpattu - Jaffna

Enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel before being transferred from Anuradhapura to Wilpattu for an early morning game drive and then continue on towards Jaffna. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure. Overnight at: Jetwing Jaffna. Room: Deluxe Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 4: Jaffna

Spend the day uncovering Jaffna's fascinating culture. Start at Dambakola Pakola, an ancient port, before driving to Keerimalai town, where you can see the holy bathing pools which are thought to have healing powers. Bring your swimsuit and towel and paddle in the shallow waters of Casuarina Beach and head up to Point Pedro, the northernmost point of the island. Once back in Jaffna, we visit Nallura Kandaswamy Kovil temple to witness the evening puja. This temple is the most significant Hindu temple in all of Jaffna, originally built in 948 AD, it was destroyed over time and the current structure has been there since 1749 AD. Overnight at: Jetwing Jaffna. Room: Deluxe Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 5: Jaffna - Dambulla

Today we drive from Jaffna to Dambulla. The rest of the day will be at leisure. Overnight at: Heritance Kandalama. Room: Superior Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Sigiriya Rock FortressDay 6: Dambulla - Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla

This morning we explore Sigiriya rock fortress, the 5th century rock citadel of King Kasyapa and World Heritage Site - Sigiriya - doesn't only boast 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 splendour 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.

After our exploration we will transfer from Sigiriya to 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! Overnight at: Heritance Kandalama. Room: Superior Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

DambullaDay 7: Dambulla - Trincomalee

After breakfast, we head into Dambulla for a quick sightseeing tour. In the city of Dambulla lies 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.

After leaving Dambulla, we will arrive into Trincomalee, the city which houses one of the best natural deep-water ports in the world, has a legacy that has painted history since royalty throughout colonization, heading towards modern Sri Lanka revamping a fancy development effort. Enter the granite-built Portuguese fort resting in the heart of Trincomalee or head towards the crystal blue sea for an enthralling experience in scuba diving, snorkelling or fishing. If adventure is your pick, then head few more kilometres to be 'whaled' by the giant fins that crash down the blue waves! Meanwhile, head towards the classical-medieval Hindu temple 'Koneswaram' which blazes a subtle sense of Dravidian architecture or take a stroll towards the Bhadrakali Amman Temple dedicated to the goddess Kali. Pigeon Island is another famous pick in Trincomalee. Being a popular marine sanctuary Pigeon Island - colonized by rock pigeons - houses some of the best preserved coral reefs. After a couple of excursions trace your bear feet along the clear sands of Marble Beach which has a strong sense of beauty and subtlety, to feast your experience in the east! Overnight at: Trinco Blu by Cinnamon. Room: Superior Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

TrincomaleeDay 8: Trincomalee

Day at leisure to relax by the beach. Overnight at: Trinco Blu by Cinnamon. Room: Superior Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 9: Trincomalee - Kandy

After breakfast we will drive from Trincomalee to Kandy where we will discover the sights that Kandy has to offer and enjoy a cultural show in the evening. 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. Walk in colour as you glide through fresh fruits and vegetables in the Kandy market. Fine tune 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. Overnight at: Amaya Hills. Room: Standard Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Nuwara Eliya TrainDay 10: Kandy - Peradeniya - Nanuoya Railway Station - Nuwara Eliya

Today after breakfast we will catch the train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. This is one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world, with beautiful scenery constantly flashing by your eyes. Heading up towards the Mountains and tea country this was a favourite spot for the British when they ruled Sri Lanka, with it’s cooler climate. Surrounded by tea plantations and colonial buildings this is a unique part Sri Lanka, like you are stepping back in time. Overnight at: Heritance Tea Factory. Room: Standard Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 11: Nuwara Eliya - Yala - Tissa

Departing Nuwara Eliya we head down the mountains to Yala national park. Upon arrival to Yala we have a game drive. Spreading into a vast 1259 Km2 Yala - with its glory spinning around vast grasslands, shrubs, tanks and dunes - rightfully is the heartland of wildlife in Sri Lanka. As your jeep rumbles through the giant gates of Yala, you are not only stepping into the most visited national park in the country, but also the lands of a civilization which thrived during the reign of Sri Lankan kings. You name it, and Yala has it! Its usual inmates cover herds of elephant, sloth bear, spotted deer, jackal, extensively populated birdlife as well as the highest density of leopards in the world that garnish the park to be one of the finest destinations in the country. Feel the rough track as your jeep thunders over rocks and swish passing narrow bends for an exhilarating experience blended with the cries of wilderness under the tropical sun. Overnight at: Jetwing Yala. Room: Superior Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Yala National Park LeopardDay 12: Tissamaharama - Yala - Tissamaharama

Today we have a morning and evening game drive, with the middle of the day to relax by the poolside. Overnight at: Jetwing Yala. Room: Superior Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 13: Tissamaharama - Yala - Galle

We leave Yala this morning and head towards Galle. Overnight at: Jetwing Light House Hotel and Spa. Room: Deluxe Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 14: Galle

Today we explore Galle, the epic Southern capital, which is the intersection where classic Dutch architecture meets a tropical setting creating a vivid atmosphere in beauty. Walk the Dutch-haunted streets listening to the creaks of wooden saloon doors and observe how European architecture mingles with South Asian traditions today flooding cultural enthusiasts on a global scale. Its original ramparts and bastions preserved up to date showcase evidences of a heritage preserved for more than 3 1/2 centuries. Walk clockwise within the fort to observe the 'old gate' carrying the British coat of arms. Flanking the old gate is the Zwart bastion - the oldest of all - and the lighthouse standing 18 feet in its glory next to the Point Utretcht Bastion. This Dutch bliss is painted with streets that spread in a rectangular grid pattern pierced with houses carrying Dutch colonial style verandas. Hop into the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex to be mesmerized by an array of souvenir selections. However, its hallmark stands a reality where the Dutch fort remains a working community with its usual buzz of administrative offices, court complex, commercial buildings, churches and Southern folks frequenting its streets bracing the air of the Elysium of architecture, Galle! Overnight at: Jetwing Light House Hotel and Spa. Room: Deluxe Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

GalleDay 15: Galle - Colombo

Leaving Galle after breakfast we head towards Colombo and explore the city sights and shopping malls before checking into accommodations. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner at The Lagoon at Cinnamon Lakeside in the evening. The crystal white Race Course - horse racing hub in 1893 & World War II airstrip - furnished today with lavish clothing, food & tea boutiques. Meanwhile, ride to Pettah & tune into the Floating Market - an offbeat shopping experience - or feel the buzz surrounding the upcoming inspiration, the Colombo Port City - an offshore city - featuring parks, commercial complexes & even an F1 track! Head along Bauddhaloka Mawatha towards 'Arcade' facing a historic way post, the Independence Square.
Every designer boutique, top-notch cuisine outlet and even the 'walk-over fish tank', have revamped this colonial masterpiece into one of the trendiest shopping and hangout zones in Sri Lanka. Have a chilled beer at the Dutch Hospital while gazing through fancy windows showcasing best fashion, jewellery & handicraft brands. Smell the scent of incense while listening to the chiming bells of Gangarama temple. Or, jazz up to Colombo's night life spiced by night clubs & casinos that borderline its bustle. If you're lucky, head into an exhibition at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) before swaying your head to an opera or play at Nelum Pokuna that should just drive your day into perfection! Overnight at: Cinnamon Lakeside. Room: Superior city view Room. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 16: Depart Colombo

Breakfast at Cinnamon Lakeside and transfer from Colombo to Airport for departure flight. Meals Included: Breakfast.


Travel Dates:

15 Sep 2019; 15 Apr, 15 May, 15 Jun, 15 Jul, 15 Aug, 15 Sep 2020.

From $4,195*pp

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