Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), a tiny island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean, is a rugged land of rainforest, diverse wildlife and endless beaches. It’s famed for its ancient Buddhist ruins, including the 5th-century citadel Sigiriya, with its palace and frescoes, and the sacred city of Anuradhapura. Its flavorful cuisine reflects its history as a maritime hub and cultural melting pot.
ARRIVAL / PINNAWALA / HABARANA
Arrival at Colombo International Airport, meet assist by the Representative of SAS Travels and transfer to Habarana.
Airport to pinnawala approximately (03 hours)
Visit to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage – Near Kegalle on the Colombo Kandy road is the Pinnawela Elephant orphanage, a riverside sanctuary which cares for elephants displaced from wild habitats. The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, established in 1975, commenced with seven orphans. The orphanage is home to hundreds of abandoned or injured elephants who are looked after with warmth, love and affection. The elephants at the orphanage are bathed daily in a river located nearby. The original objective of establishing the orphanage was more towards promoting tourism, but soon became a conservation and educational centre. With the help of local and foreign elephant experts, Pinnawela started a scientific captive-breeding programme for elephants.
Pinnawala to Habarana approximately (03 hours)
Dinner and Overnight stay at Habarana
HABARANA / SIGIRIYA / POLONNARUWA / HABARANA
After breakfast, visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress & drive to Polonnaruwa
Habarana to Sigiriya approximately (30 minutes)
The spectacular Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, 19 kilometers North East of Dambulla is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. The Rock was the Fortress of the “King Kasyapa” who murdered his father and stole the throne from his elder brother who was the rightful heir to the throne. Kasyapa built his fortress in this 182-meter high rock to protect himself from his enemies. Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 3rd century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by Kasyapa 477 – 495 AD. Following Kasyapa’s death it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. The ruins were discovered in 1907 by British Explorer John Still.Today Sigiriya is famous for its ‘Mirror Wall’, which consists of poems and paragraphs carved by visitors to the rock many years ago and for its magnificent frescoes of shapely be-jewelled maidens, vibrant colours and the water garden similar to the Ajantha frescoes of India. Sigiriya is in fact, the best-preserved city center in Asia from the first millennium and has been named as a UNESCO world heritage site and 08th Wonder of the World.
Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa approximately (1.30 hours)
Polonnaruwa, situated 218 kilometers from Colombo is yet another well planned medieval city defended by enclosed walls, graced by palaces, shrines, monasteries, pavilions, parks, ponds and irrigation lakes which bears witness to a glorious past.
A dominant feature of the city, is the vast irrigation lake of 5940 acres aptly named “Parakrama Samudraya” or the sea of Parakrama after its royal builder King Parakramabahu depicted an example of the advanced engineering and construction skills prevailent during the ancient times. This gigantic reservoir was built to collect rain water, which did not permit a drop of water to go waste.
dinner and Overnight stay at Habarana
HABARANA / DAMBULLA / KANDY
After breakfast, Visit Dambulla cave emple & drive to Kandy
Habarana to Dambulla approximately (45 minutes)
En route visit to Dambulla Rock Cave Temple – Dambulla is a world heritage site in Sri Lanka, located north of Kandy in Matale district. The town of Dambulla is built around a large granite outcrop, concealing an impressive Buddhist cave complex, Raja MahaVihara, dating from the 1st century BC. It is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka.The murals, covering an area of 2,100 square metres, include depictions of Buddha’s temptation by Mara, and Buddha’s first sermon.Statues of the Hindu gods Vishnu and Saman are also present, reflecting the arrival of Hinduism in Sri Lanka during the 12th century
Later drive to Kandy and do the Kandy City Tour – (the Sacred City of Kandy) – is a city in the centre of Sri Lanka. It lies in the midst of hills of rare vegetal species. The Kandy Valley crosses an area of tropical plantations.The monumental ensemble of Kandy is an example of construction that associates the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth. It was one of a series of temples built in the places where the relic, the actual palladium of the Sinhalese monarchy, was brought following the various relocations of the capital city.The Temple of the Tooth, the palace complex and the holy city of Kandy are associated with the history of the dissemination of one of the most important religions of humanity, Buddhism. The Temple of Kandy is the product of the last peregrination of the relic of the tooth of Lord Buddha and the testimony of a cult which continues to be practiced today.Kandy has now grown out to encompass Peradeniya, home to the Botanical Gardens. Kandy is also particularly famed for the great Kandy EsalaPerahara (a Pageant of Elephants and Dancers), which is over ten days in the month of Esala (August) having many attractions to justify.
Dinner and Overnight stay at Kandy
KANDY / PERADENIYA / KANDY
After breakfast, visit Peradeniya botanical garden
Kandy to Peradniya approximately (30 minutes)
The Royal Botanical Gardens, the magnificent river girdled 57 hectare laid out in 1832 are among the finest in the world. Its treasures of tropical flora include fine collections of orchids, aromatic spices, medicinal herbs, palms and rare endangered plant species. These gardens were the naturally camouflaged operations headquarters of SEAC Supreme Allied Commander, Lord Louis Mountbatten during the 2nd World War.
Dinner and Overnight stay at Kandy
KANDY / RAMBODA FALLS / NUWARA ELIYA
After breakfast, drive to Nuwara eliya
Kandy to Nuwara eliya approximately (03 hours)
The “Puna Ela” is one of the principal branches of the mighty Mahaweli River. The Water leap of the Puna Ela is referred to as the Ramboda waterfall. The Ramboda falls is a gigantic waterfall, which is divided into 03 parts.
Nuwara Eliya also known as the “City of Lights” and “Little England”, Nuwara Eliya was the favourite hill station of the British who tried to create Nuwara Eliya into a typical English Village. The old brick Post office, country house like hill club, with it’s hunting pictures, mounted hunting trophies and fish, and it’s strict formal dinner attire; the 18 hole golf course, race course etc., all remind you of ‘England’.
Blessed a with salubrious climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery; it’s hard to imagine that Nuwara Eliya is only 180 Km from the hot and humid Colombo.
The areas around Nuwara Eliya also provide the main output of tea in Sri Lanka. A trip to the highlands of Sri Lanka is never complete without witnessing the age-old traditional tea plucking and sipping a cup of “Ceylon Tea”. Visitors to Nuwara Eliya can also taste the freshly plucked strawberries and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
Dinner and Overnight stay at Nuwara eliya
NUWARA ELIYA / HORTON PLAINS / NUWARA ELIYA
After breakfast, drive to Horton plains
Nuwara eliya to Horton plains approximately (01 hour)
The Horton plains form an undulating plateau over 2000 meters high, which consists mainly of grasslands interspersed with patches of forest, with some unusual high-altitude vegetation. The plains are more often than not, visible only before 10.00am due to the heavy mist, which engulfs the area.
The most unique feature of the Horton Plains is the “World’s End”. This is a sheer 1,000 feet vertical escarpment which visitors throng to see. The Horton Plains was once the hunting ground for Mr. Farr, a former British Governor which is today home to rare species of fauna and flora.
Dinner and Overnight stay at Nuwara eliya
NUWARA ELIYA / YALA
After breakfast drive to Yala
Nuwara eliya to Yala approximately (05 hours)
Also known as Ruhuna is an important national park on the south east coast of Sri Lanka. The reserve covers 979 km², although only the original 141 km² are open to the public. Much of the reserve is parkland, but it also contains jungle, beaches, freshwater lakes and rivers and scrubland. The latter zone is punctuated with enormous rocky outcrops. The range of habitats gives rise to a good range of wildlife.
Yala has the world’s highest concentration of Leopards, although seeing this largely nocturnal carnivore still requires some luck. There are good numbers of Asian Elephants, crocodile, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo and Grey langurs amongst other large animals. The open parkland attracts birds of prey such as White-bellied Sea Eagle and the wetlands have waders, Painted Storks, and the rare Black-necked Stork.
Landbirds of course are in abundance, and include Sirkeer Malkoha, Indian Peafowl and Sri Lanka Jungle fowl
Dinner and Overnight stay at Yala
YALA / GALLE
After breakfast drive to Galle
Yala to Galle approximately (4.30 hours)
The Port of Galle – Sri Lanka’s 04th biggest town is 115 km south of Colombo and close to Hikkaduwa. Galle is a town rich in history and in fact, was the centre of Dutch rule in the 17th century. The majestic Galle Fort bears ample testimony to that fact. The City of Galle is one of the best-preserved colonial-era cities in Southeast Asia, and has been declared a World Heritage City. Galle was a major port in Sri Lanka and still handles shipping and cruising yachts.
The Dutch Museum, Groote Kerk (Great Church) and the National Maritime Museum are some of the famous tourist attractions in Galle. The city is also famous for its delicate handmade lace and ebony carvings. The Galle International Cricket Stadium has also contributed to enhance the image of the city as a sports destination since of late.
Dinner and Overnight stay at Galle
After breakfast Galle city tour
Approximately (03 – 04 hours)
The “modern” history of Galle starts in 1502, when a small fleet of Portuguese ships, under the command of Lourenço de Almeida, on their way to the Maldives, were blown off course by a storm. Realizing that the king resided in Kotte close to Colombo Lourenço proceeded there after a brief stop in Galle.
In 1640, the Portuguese had to surrender to the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch built the present fort in the year 1663. They built a fortified wall, using solid granite, and built three bastions, known as “Sun”, “Moon” and “Star”.
After the British took over the country from the Dutch in the year 1796, they preserved the Fort unchanged, and used it as the administrative centre of the district
Dinner and Overnight stay at Galle
GALLE / COLOMBO
After breakfast drive to Colombo
Galle to Colombo approximately (04 hours)
Colombo (derived from Sinhalese name Kola-amba-thota which means “mango harbour”, altered by the Portuguese to honour Christopher Columbus), is the cultural capital and largest city and commercial center of Sri Lanka. (The new administrative capital of Sri Lanka is Sri Jayawardenepura-Kotte.)
A vast majority of Sri Lankan corporations have their head offices located in Colombo. Some of the industries include chemicals, textiles, leather goods, furniture, and jewelry.
Colombo was probably known to Roman, Arab, and Chinese traders more than 2,000 years ago. Muslims settled there in the 8th century and controlled much of the trade between Sinhalese kingdoms and the outside world. The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and built a fort to protect their spice trade. The Dutch captured the city in the 17th century. The British made the city the capital of their crown colony of Ceylon in 1802
Sightseeing highlights include the Town Hall, and the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall. Apart from excellent shopping, Colombo offers visits to one of the world’s leading tea auctions, an 18 hole Golf Course, seasonal Buddhist and Hindu pageants, international cricket tournaments, plush casinos, enjoyable evening entertainment and excellent restaurants. State-of-the-Art communications and Cyber services are available in the hotels and other outlets.
Good road and rail transport links are possible from Colombo to all tourist resorts. A number of cruise lines also call at the Colombo Port. The Pettah area, which is in the heart of Colombo, is a beehive of activity. Traders and payment hawkers of all kinds flock to Colombo and it’s a well-known fact that Pettah is where the best bargains are available.
Dinner and Overnight stay at Colombo
COLOMBO / AIRPORT
After breakfast drive to airport for departure