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Explore the island nation of Sri Lanka – from its ancient ruined cities to its storied colonial plantations – and uncover this fascinating, secluded jewel formerly known as Ceylon. Learn about its history and culture at the spectacular cave temple of Dambulla, looming rock fortress of Sigiriya, and monumental ruins of Polonnaruwa.  Uncover myths and legends as you witness a puja ceremony at Kandy’s richly carved Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic.  Meet the people of the rural villages, and watch orphan elephants in their jungle habitat. Then, relax and sample the country’s colonial history with a visit to a tea plantation home, and learn about modern day life in Sri Lanka while dining with the owners.

Journey Pace: Active

  • Visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala
  • Explore the impressive 5th century Sigiriya fock fortress
  • Tour the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa
  • See the beautiful Dambulla cave temple that dates back to the 1st century B.C
  • Witness a Puja ceremony at the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy
  • Relax at a hill country tea estate and dine with the owners

 

Day 1Colombo & Negombo, Sri Lanka

You are met upon arrival in Colombo and escorted to your accommodations at the Horathapola Estate, a lush 50-acre coconut plantation in Negombo. The rest of the day is yours at leisure to enjoy the resort. Horathapola lies hidden in the beautifully lush landscapes of rural Sri Lanka. A working organic coconut estate dating from the early 1900s, it has been beautifully restored to host five spacious luxury guestrooms.

  • Horathapola Estate, Negombo

Day 2Negombo & Sigiriya

Today, drive north into the island’s interior plains, to the historic city of Sigiriya. En route, stop at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which provides a natural habitat for nearly 100 elephants. Tour the orphanage and watch these endearing creatures being fed and bathed. This evening, arrive at the hill station of Sigiriya, and settle into your deluxe accommodations. (B)

  • Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya

Day 3Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa

This morning, drive to the ancient medieval city of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s capital from the 11th to 13th centuries. Visit the ruins of the royal palace of King Parakramabahu I, originally a massive 7-story wood and stone structure, and admire the adjacent Audience Hall, and Kumara Pokuna, the royal bathing pool. In the Quadrangle, explore a vatadage (sacred structure) relic house and its dagoba (monument); Thuparama, one of the few buildings with its roof still intact; and ahatadage (shrine) relic house. Visit Lankathilaka Gedige, a massive temple ruin featuring a colossal headless Buddha statue, and Gal Vihara, also known as the “Cave of the Spirits of Knowledge” due to the three Buddha figures carved out of its granite face.

In the afternoon, explore the grand Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Built by King Kassapa in the 5th century, it looms 500 feet above the surrounding jungle like a guardian spirit. Climb a flight of stairs carved between two boulders to discover the beauty of this mighty royal citadel. Explore the grounds, water gardens, and frescoes of the “heavenly maidens.” Climb further up through the “Lion’s Gate” to the summit of the rock to view the foundations of the Grand Palace, the king’s throne and a windmill-fed swimming pool. The evening is yours to enjoy at leisure; perhaps take a walk to the nearby rural village to experience village culture and indulge in a coconut drink – a local specialty. (B)

  • Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya

Day 4Sigiriya & Kandy

This morning, drive to Kandy, the former capital of Sri Lanka. En route, stop to visit the beautiful Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as the Golden Rock Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Adorned with incredible ancient statues and paintings, it is the largest cave temple in the country. The history of Dambulla dates back to the 1st century B.C., when Buddhist monks sheltered King Valagamba there during his 14-year exile from the Anuradapura Kingdom. When King Valagamba returned to the throne, he had a magnificent rock temple built at Dambulla in gratitude to the monks. Explore this isolated rock mass and its five caverns. See the Buddhist mural paintings, covering more than 2,000 sq. ft., and examine its 157 statues, including a 47-foot-long statue of a recumbent Buddha. Around mid-day, arrive in Kandy and enjoy the afternoon at leisure. This evening, walk along the banks of Kandy Lake to the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. Explore the temple, observe a Puja ceremony, and admire Sri Lanka’s most valuable Buddhist relic, believed to be a tooth belonging to Lord Buddha. (B)

  • Ellerton Bungalow, Kandy

Day 5Kandy & Hatton

Spend the morning taking a scenic train ride to Hatton. At approximately 4,500 feet above sea level, this region offers a breathtaking panorama of color – beautiful gardens, cascading waterfalls, and lakes amid the sweet smell of crisp mountain air. The hillsides are dotted with tea plantations, making the area even more picturesque. (B,L,D)

  • Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

Day 6Hatton

Today, visit a Tea Factory to learn about tea harvesting, and how to appreciate the unique qualities of the internationally popular tea. Meet the resident planter, and listen as he tells you all about the history and benefits of this valuable and famous Sri Lankan export. This afternoon, enjoy a hike around the plantation. (B,L,D)

  • Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

Day 7Hatton, Colombo & Depart for Home

After breakfast at the plantation, make your way back to Colombo and the airport for your flight home or on to your next destination. (B)

Tour Details

Meeting PointNegombo, Sri LankaDeparture PointNegombo, Sri Lanka

Package price is per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement applies. Land, air, and governmental/park taxes are subject to change based on date of departure. International airfare is additional. Other restrictions may apply. Contact us for complete journey details.

 

 

Horathapola Estate, Negombo

Negombo, Sri Lanka

Hidden in the vast green coconut belt that stretches from Negombo to Puttalam and inland up to Kurunegala lies Horathapola Estate. Its grand planter’s Bungalow has been renovated in 2003. Within just an hour’’s drive north from Katunayake International Airport, it is an ideal spot for guests from abroad to spend the first or last few nights in Sri Lanka. Built in the early 1920s by the then-British-owner of the property, the two-story bungalow has maintained the charm of a bygone era. Surrounded by a large lawn and tall flowering trees, it is hidden from the still functioning estate belonging to the Fernando family since the 1940s. Coconut, rice, cashew nuts, mangoes and other fruits, as well as spices and hardwood trees are cultivated on 50 acres of lush land.

Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Set on over 27 acres deep in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, this hotel pays homage to Sigiriya and its beauty. A uniquely designed and sumptuous hotel, Jetwing’’s Vil Uyana is a haven of peace and tranquility. Additionally there are plenty of activity options:– a large infinity pool that merges into the lake, plenty of treks and walks, bike rides and more. The hotel also has a plunge pool, snug library, Yoga classes, a gift shop and business center. There are two restaurants plus a full service bar, The accommodations are sumptuous in both style and comfort; the 25 units are all air-conditioned and feature a telephone, in-room safe, minibar, tea/coffee maker, a hair dryer, sarongs, and slippers.

Ellerton Bungalow, Kandy

Kandy, Sri Lanka

Built for the manager of a large tea estate more than 100 years ago, Ellerton Bungalow combines modern amenities with the character and tranquility of the colonial days.  Nestled 2,400 feet above sea level, the Ellerton combines the best of Sri Lanka’s weather with warm, sunny days and cool evenings and nights.  There are seven comfortable double bedrooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, and each property is surrounded by beautiful gardens.  The hotel’s swimming pool is fed by a local spring and offers wonderful views of the countryside.

Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

Hatton, Sri Lanka

Travelers approaching Ceylon Tea Trails from the road can glimpse tantalizing views across the lake of this magnificent symbol of the glory days of colonial life. Nestled in a wooded dell close to the water, these century-old bungalows offer unrivaled water views and superb garden suites to suit every taste. Elegant parquet floors all around with open fireplaces in the dining and drawing rooms evoke recollections of the life and times of the tea planters who once lived here. In the extensive grounds summerhouses can be found where tea is served, a good book enjoyed until the sun goes down over the water and it’s time for sundowners on the terrace.

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