Welcome to Sri Lanka and 14 days of explorations giving you the best of the ancient cultural cities, the lush green tea estates in the hill country, the wildlife and the beautiful soft sandy and remote beaches.
Upon arrival in the airport you will be met by our representative and transferred to Negombo. Negombo is approx. 20 minutes drive from the airport embracing slow life and beachfront location. For newly arrived travellers it is often a welcomed alternative to the hectic and happening Colombo.
Check in to your hotel and rest for a few hours before capturing the streets of Negombo on a city tour. You will visit the colonial remains of the Dutch period, a Buddhist temple and a catholic church. You will get close to slow life in the local fishing village; walk the lively fish market, and the bustling bazaar.
Optional: Do a Boat trip through the Dutch canal, lagoon and sea.
Please note: If you arrive late in the night on your day 1 the city tour will take place on your day 2 before you depart for Sigiriya.
Having acclimatized to a new country and new customs, you are ready to venture inlands to the ancient scapes of Sri Lanka.
Start with a slow breakfast and enjoy a cup of hot Sri Lankan tea. Then transfer to Sigiriya where you will check in to your hotel.
Late in the afternoon/early evening when the sun cools down a bit, start your excursion to Sigiriya. Climb the 5th century Sigiriya Rock Fortress – an UNESCO world heritage site, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). The 'Lion Rock' is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart, and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock.
Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster.
Driving time: Approx. 200 km / 4-5 hours.
From a rock fortress to a rock temple – another day of cultural explorations in striking landscapes awaits you.
Have your breakfast and transfer to Dambulla, which is about an hour's drive from Sigiriya. Here you will find the World Heritage Site of Dambulla Rock Temple – the most impressive of Sri Lanka's cave temples. Built by King Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C. the complex of five caves holds over 2000 sq. metres of painted walls and ceilings. This makes it the largest area of paintings found in the world. It contains over 150 images of Buddha of which the largest is spanning 14 metres and is a colossal figure of Buddha carved out of rock.
Stop for lunch in town and late in the afternoon you will visit Minneriya National Park. Covering 8890 hectare, the park consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to Sri Lanka's favourites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants. However the central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rdcentury AD by King Mahasena). During the dry season (June to September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants that come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few) that come to fish in the shallow waters.
Driving time: Approx. 1 hour per way
Leave the ancient inland behind and head for lush hill country with Kandy as your destination.
Have your breakfast and steaming hot Sri Lankan coffee before you check out from your hotel. Your onwards transport will be an exploration in its own right with magnificent views beyond your windows, just as you may visit the Spice Garden in Matale on your journey to Kandy.
Upon arrival check in and relax so you are ready for your afternoon city tour. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name "Kandy" conjures visions of splendour and magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. Drive around the Kandy Lake built by the last Sinhala king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798 – a tranquil place in the heart of the city.
In the evening visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – a golden roofed Buddhist temple that houses Sri Lanka's most sacred Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. And though it is not possible to see the actual tooth as it is kept in a gold casket shaped like a stupa, you will feel the sacred ambience and take in the colours, the gilded gifts and the shrines that comprise the temple complex.
Late in the evening you will experience a Cultural Show. Some find this funny, while others find it spectacular. You will see the traditional Sri Lankan drummers stirring up a rhythm and decoratively dressed dancers showing their amazing moves. You will see fireworks and fire stunts in a show that truly has something for all.
Driving time: Approx. 100 KM / 2-3 hours.
Sleep in or rise early to make the most of your time. Have breakfast at your convenience and sip steaming hot Sri Lankan tea as the morning turns into day.
After check-out you will be taken to Kandy railway station and by 12:00 noon you will board the train bound for Nuwara Eliya. It may not be the fastest of transport but it certainly is the most beautiful. And as the train slowly climbs through the pine and eucalyptus forest, into a landscape of perfectly manicured tea plantations you almost wish the ride was longer. Seated by the open windows, wind in your hair, you will have occasional views through the hills, to local villages and waving school children.
And as the train pushes into the Nanu Oya railway station, you will be picked up and transferred the last bit to Nuwara Eliye.
The evening is free for you to relax and enjoy the slow life in the hill country.
Overnight: Nuwara Eliya.
Driving time: Approx. 80 KM / 3-4 hours.
It will be an early start before sun has the grip. At this time it will be cold and crisp. And you should bring a sweater, and breakfast pack. First you drive out to the Horton plains, wild moorland where you go for a trek. Suddenly you will be at the world's end and it seems like all Sri Lanka lies for your feet. It is truly breathtaking and beautiful on a clear day, making the trek to here more than worth it.
Back down, drive back to your hotel.
Later you proceed with your driver through stunning mountain scapes to Ella, the slow mountain village most people come to love. Check in, at a place overlooking the mountains and if you are still curious and legs still fresh you can visit the waterfall and the ridge nearby for a fine sunset. If you stay back, the view is just as rewarding.
Driving time: 60 km / 1-1,5 hours
Start your day slow with a small Sri Lankan breakfast and get ready for a simple though inspiring cooking class. Try your hands in preparing some delicious Srilankan delicacies, and the spicy, fresh treat will be served to you for lunch.
Later in the day you may just relax for a lazy afternoon or go to the beautiful Ravana falls and enjoy scenery along the road with colourful food stalls, large rainforest trees, slow market towns and a flow of tuk-tuks. There are also old temples and a cave nearby for a perfect evening.
After breakfast leave for Uda-walwe National park. Enjoy a jeep ride through the National Park's grassland, which is the home of hundreds of Elephants and the best place in Asia to see elephants up close. Most likely you will also spot wild buffalos, crocodiles, deer and a variety of bird species. Peacocks are easily sighted inside the park.
After lunch drive to Tangalle. Before evening you will check in at a remote beach near Tangalle for a relaxing evening. After dinner get barefooted, and stroll the beach, have a night dip and if it is close to full moon you could be lucky to see a turtle come to shore to lay eggs.
Overnight: Hotel near Tangalle.
Driving time: 150 km / 3-4 hours
Start late and enjoy a free day.
Relax for the whole day or you may visit the nearby Turtle breeding farms if you want to know about the process from the different breeds to the process of laying eggs and the full life cycle of turtles.
Overnight: Hotel near Tangalle.
Free day on the beach. Hang out in the hammocks. Swim. Explore the stunning remote beach.
Overnight: Hotel near Tangalle.
Start easy and drive to Mirrisa. You will stopover in Tangalle town where you might get your early lunch if you choose not to have lunch at the resort.
Later drive to the Buddha temple Wewurukannala Vihara for a magnificent description of the consequences of the good or bad deeds. A corny, unique though also beautiful slow and laid back Buddhist temple. Here sits a 50 meters high Buddha figure – the largest in Sri Lanka.
Later reach Mirrisa at around 16:00. After check in relax in the garden or go to the beach to enjoy a magnificent sunset.
Driving time: 60 km / 2 hours
Free day in Mirrisa to enjoy another relaxing day on a beautiful beach. Same, same but different as it gets a little more happening during the evenings with the Mirrisa beach side cafes.
Get up early morning to be picked up for a whale-watching safari, starting already at 05:30. The captain will take the boat to the deep blue sea to search for the grand blue whales. Very few places in the world can get you this close to the biggest creature living in the world today. A blue whale needs 8 tons of food everyday to maintain its beauty and shape. Breakfast to whale watchers is served on board.
When back on shore, check out and continue to Colombo. On the way there will be a few hours break in Galle a former Dutch town. There is a fine colonial ambience here, with old brick houses, crisp cafes, restored hotels, deep inner yards, and the wall around the center, with easygoing Sri Lankan life. You have an option to get your evening cuppa tea or coffee at one of the high-end restaurants in Galle.
Later drive to Colombo for a late arrival.
Driving time: 150 km / 4-5 hours
Start your day easy and relax, as it is the last day of your tour. To make it more relaxing you will get a body massage with acupressure technique. Blind people trained in the techniques will do the massage. They will not talk a lot. But their hands perform the magic on one's body to give that perfect freshness after a long journey.
Later, hopefully still light in mind and body after the treat, get dropped to the airport.