The Resplendent Isle

This holiday is designed to cover some of the Sri Lanka’s must-see attractions including the cultural triangle, Kandy – the island’s hill capital, authentic tea-centric experiences in the highlands, wildlife viewing in Yala, a leisurely stay by the beach and some guided walks. The emphasis will be on personally guided experiences and stays in some of Sri Lanka’s leading boutique hotels and tented game camps.

Day 01: On arrival, travel to The Horathapola Estate in Kuliyapitiya. Remainder of the day at leisure. A bullock cart ride and a guided tour of a fully functional coconut are included in your stay. Overnight at the Horathapola Estate in Kuliyapitiya.

Day 02: Morning, leave for Jetwing Vil Uyana in Sigiriya, an award winning boutique hotel built on a man-made wetland, which is now home to a variety of wildlife. In the afternoon, visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Visit the palace ruins of King Kassapa which was constructed on top of a massive 200m high rock. After dark, go on a guided walk along the hotel nature trail looking for the Grey Slender Loris, Otter and Fishing Cat.

Spend 03 nights at Jetwing Vil Uyana in Sigiriya.

Day 03: This morning, enjoy a culinary class on Sri Lankan cuisine with the head chef starting with a tour of the organic herb and vegetable garden, which you can hand-pick fresh, juicy ingredients for your lunch. After lunch, explore Anuradhapura, the island’s first capital between 5th century BC and 11th century AD.

Day 04: Morning, visit Polonnaruwa, the island’s second capital with its well-preserved 12th century ruins and impressive stone culture. Afternoon, visit Minneriya National Park to visit ‘The Gathering of Elephants’, ranked among the world’s top wildlife spectacles.

Day 05: Morning, leave for Kandy stopping en-route at the Dambulla Cave Temple and then at a local Spice Garden near Matale, where you can enjoy a Sri Lankan rice and curry lunch. In the late afternoon, attend a cultural dance show. Spend 02 nights at the Kandy House.

Day 06: Morning, explore Kandy town which will include a visit to the Hantana Tea Museum, the picturesque Kandy lake and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Late afternoon, visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, regarded among the best in Asia. It is also home to a large colony of Fruit Bats.

Day 07: Morning, travel by train to Haputale and enjoy a scenic rail journey through the highlands of Sri Lanka. Check-in at Thotalagala, an old colonial tea bungalow turned into a glamorous tea-centric boutique hotel with panoramic views. Remainder of the day at leisure.

Spend 03 nights at Thotalagala in Haputale.

Day 08: This morning, visit Horton Plains National Park and go on a guided nature walk to the World’s End viewpoint and Bakers Falls. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure.

Day 09: Early morning, visit Lipton’s Seat, the point from which the Scottish tea baron, Sir Thomas Lipton would often proudly survey his tea plantations with sweeping views of the valleys below. Afterwards, go on a guided tour of the historic Dambatenne Tea Factory, built in 1890 by Sir Thomas Lipton himself, which is still in operation today. A resident tea planter, who will demonstrate the age-old tea making process.

Late morning, leave for Yala with an en-route at Buduruwegala, a hidden gem of an archeological site near Wellawaya comprising of seven large precisely cut rock sculptures which are believed to date back to the 10th century AD. Evening at leisure.  Spend 02 nights at the Ceylon Wild Safaris Tented Camp in Yala.

Day 10: Early morning and afternoon safaris in Yala National Park , where you can encounter a variety of wildlife including Leopard, Sloth Bear, Asian Elephant, Mugger Crocodile, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Jackal and over 300 species of birds.

Day 11: Early morning, one last guided safari in Yala National Park. Late morning leave for Tangalle. Remainder of the day at leisure by the beach. Spend 02 nights at the Anantara Peace Haven Resort in Tangalle.

Day 12: Early morning, go whale and dolphin watching off Mirissa. Afternoon at leisure by the beach.

Day 13: Late morning, leave for the Galle stopping along the way to see the Stilt Fishermen off the coastal town of Ahangama. Late afternoon, go on a guided walk around the 17th century Dutch built Galle Fort. Spend 01 night at the Galle Fort Hotel.

Day 14: Morning, leave for Colombo and in the late morning, do a guided city tour of Colombo visiting Galle Face Green, Beira Lake, Gangaramaya Temple and Independence Square. In the late afternoon, go on the Colombo City Walk exploring the street markets in Pettah and the historic buildings in the Fort that date back from 17th – 19th centuries from the periods of Dutch and British rule. Spend 01 night at The Galle Face Hotel in Colombo.

Day 15: Today, you will be dropped off at the Bandaranaike International Airport (1 hour drive).