DAY 01 [AIRPORT / HABARANA – APPROX 04 HRS DRIVE]
Arrival to Sri Lanka, Your chauffeur / guide will meet you at the airport, and drive you to Habarana / Dambulla in the North Central plains of Sri Lanka, paying a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage en route. Providing a caring home for abandoned and wounded elephants, it is a much loved destination for tourists and locals alike. Here, adults and baby elephants from around Sri Lanka thrive, and a captive breeding program is also proving to be highly successful. The feeding and bathing times are generally the ideal times to visit when you can observe these gentle giants at their best. Afternoon Set off to discover the 8th wonder of the world – the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Dating back to the 5th Century A.D, this astounding ‘city’ on the summit of a high outcrop was the royal citadel of King Kassapa for over 18 years. A miraculous feat of artistry and engineering, its unique features and exquisite frescoes continue to amaze all who visit it, even today. Overnight stay in Habarana / Dambulla.
DAY 02 [HABARANA / DAMBULLA / KANDY – APPROX 03 HRS]
After morning breakfast check out and depart for Kandy, visiting a spice garden at Matale en route. Our spices have been sought after for centuries, and continue to be a celebrated export, even today. Afternoon Enjoy a city tour of Kandy – the last kingdom of the Sinhalese, taking in the sights of Upper Lake Drive and the Market Square on the way to pay homage to one of the most sacred religious sites in Sri Lanka. The Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa is believed to house the ‘tooth relic’ of the Lord Buddha. A walk around the town will let you indulge in some souvenir hunting with intricate treasures in wood, copper, silver, brass, ebony, bronze, ceramics, lacquer work, handlooms, batiks, jewelry and reed-ware to choose from. Evening Round off your day with a cultural show, where the vibrant costumes and pulsating rhythms of traditional dance forms from centuries old rituals will enthrall you. Overnight stay in Kandy.
DAY 03 [KANDY/ NUWARA ELIYA – APPROX 03 HRS DRIVE]
After breakfast, head ‘up country’ and the city of Nuwara Eliya, stopping by at the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens en route. 147 acres of lushness with over 5000 species of trees and plants many of which are rare or endemic; a spice garden and an Orchid house are yours to explore. Continue to Nuwara Eliya, visiting the Ramboda waterfalls and a tea factory along the way. Afternoon enjoy The old colonial outpost still referred to as ‘Little England’ Nuwara Eliya certainly lives up to its name. Perched 6200 feet above sea level, the climate too, adds to the illusion of one stepping into an old English town, where neat hedges, quaint cottages and beautiful old buildings stand as serene as they did well over a century ago – the magnificent Grand Hotel presiding over them all. There is, of course, an old golf course as well as horse racing events to complete the picture. Overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya.
DAY 04 [NUWARA ELIYA / ELLA / YALA – APPROX 06 HRS DRIVE]
After breakfast head to the Nanuoya Train station for a scenic train ride to Ella. (Please note that the train leave Nanoya Station in the evening and you will reach you Yala Hotel late evening around 10.00 PM). Enjoy breathtaking views as the track winds through high mountain passes, emerging through dark tunnels to sweeping vistas of sun swathed heights and picturesque valleys that stretch for miles below. A 150 minute journey in state of the art comfort, where on board meals and warm service may distract your gaze away from the windows. You will be met at the Ella station, and an exciting drive down to the wilds of Yala national park awaits you. Overnight stay in Yala National Park.
DAY – 05 [YALA / STILT FISHING / GALLE/HIKKADUWA]
Morning: Set off at dawn on an exciting wildlife safari at Yala National Park (05.30 – 09.30 AM). The second largest national park in Sri Lanka, Yala is known to hold the highest concentration of leopard in the world. The vast extent of the park is mainly scrub jungle with rocky outcrops and dotted with many salt and fresh water lagoons. Elephant, leopard, sloth bear, crocodile, wild buffalo and sambur thrive here, as well as herds of spotted deer, wild boar, langur and macaque monkeys and many small mammals. Over 130 species of birds can be seen with peacocks being a common sight. The bordering coastline also forms a major nesting ground for marine turtles. After an eventful morning, you will return to the hotel for breakfast. Mid-morning: Leave Yala to Kaluthara / Bentota En route visit the Heritage city of Galle. For centuries Galle has stood strong against invasions - from colonial powers and nature’s volatile outbursts. The famous Dutch Fort was first built by the Portuguese, fortified by the Dutch and preserved by the British. Battered daily for over 400 years by the ocean it even survived the onslaught of a tsunami and is enjoyed today by residents and visitors alike. The colonial architecture of the walled city too has resisted the advance of modernity and holds tightly to its past glory. Afternoon: Continue the journey along the coast to Kalutara / Bentota, taking in the unique sight of Stilt Fishing along the shores of Ahangama. An iconic image of Sri Lanka, Stilt Fishing is a skill handed down from one generation to the next: an ancient tradition that is sadly on the decline. Further along the coast, you will visit the Turtle Hatchery at Kosgoda - a successful conservation effort established to protect Sri Lanka's turtles from extinction. (Optional: glass bottom boat ride and a visit to a mask factory.) Overnight stay in beach resort in Kalutara, Bentota or Beruwela.
DAY – 06[FULL DAY OF LEISURE ON THE BEACH]
Enjoy morning Breakfast at the hotel and rest of the day free for leisure on the beach. Overnight stay in beach resort in Kalutara, Bentota or Beruwela.
DAY – 07 [KALUTHARA / COLOMBO CITY TOUR / AIRPORT – APPROX 01 ½ HRS]
After breakfast, leave to the airport for your departure flight; depending on your flight time, you can enjoy a quick tour of Colombo en route. Take in the sights and sounds of the capital city from the busy commercial hub to the tree-lined suburbs. Here, colonial architecture vies with glass skyscrapers and the past comes alive in buildings that have withstood great winds of change. There are bargains to find, history to discover and much to explore.