Beautiful, tropical, mystical, ancient Sri Lanka . . . a place where kings ruled in exotic splendor and spices filled the air. Explore several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in this tiny island nation as you relive a glorious past and experience a gracious future. Relax in one of the world’s premier eco-resorts and some of its loveliest hotels. Each day will bridge past and present as you discover this jewel of the Indian Ocean.
Journey Pace: Active
Visit the stunning ruins of the ancient Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, which has stood for more than 2,000 years
Discover the remains of the ancient garden city of Polonnaruwa
Stand in awe in the ancient temple where hidden monks transcribed the Buddhist scriptures in secret
Visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and interact with these gentle beasts in their 15- acre coconut grove sanctuary
Sri Lanka's Wonders
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DAY 1+2Colombo & Negombo Beach
After our celebratory Welcome Dinner on our first evening here, we’ll spend the morning exploring this lively town. A friendly community welcomes you to shops and markets, and you can explore the charming old quarter at your leisure. The scent of the town’s history as a center of the cinnamon trade provides a lovely background as you visit temples, the town hall, and Independence Squares. You’ll have plenty of time at your leisure to indulge in some beach relaxation at your beautiful hotel.
Jetwing Beach, Negombo Beach (UPGRADED DELUXE ROOM)
After breakfast at our hotel, we depart for Dambulla, stopping en route to visit the Golden Rock Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The five caverns of the Temple are the largest and best preserved in Sri Lanka.
We’ll continue to Sigiriya, site of the ancient Rock Fortress, which has stood sentinel for more than 2,000 years. Here, in another UNESCO World Heritage Site, we’ll visit the remains of the impregnable castle where King Kassapa lived in lavish splendor. See ancient writings left by monks, who inhabited the site for centuries, and view the beautiful rock paintings, which have brought universal acclaim to the site. Yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site captures your imagination in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. We will enjoy an expertly guided tour through the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden city.
Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya (UPGRADED DELUXE ROOM)
A scenic drive takes us to Kandy, with a stop en route at Matale, where we will visit an exotic spice garden and the Aluvihare Buddhist Temple. This ancient site is revered by Buddhists as the place where monks in hiding recorded the sacred Thripitaka (Buddhist scriptures) in writing on Ola leaves.
Arriving in Kandy, we enjoy a city tour, which includes beautiful botanical gardens and a busy market place. An afternoon drive along Upper Lake affords panoramic views of iconic Kandy Lake. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the exotic Temple of the Tooth, said to house a tooth of Buddha. Possession of the tooth has been at the center of much political friction.
Earl's Regency, Kandy (UPGRADED DELUXE ROOM)
This morning, we will visit the enchanting Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, where we will interact with the elephants, and perhaps see them bathe.
Situated on the banks of the Maha Oya River, Pinnawela is located in a 15-acre coconut grove where the elephant herd can move comfortably and freely. Elephants rescued from the wild are brought into this safe environment to reunite as part of a new herd. Each elephant is fed approximately 175 pound of greens each day, including coconut leaves, jackfruit, tamarind, and grass. We will celebrate the success of this 43-year-old sanctuary as we enjoy the incredible ease with which these gentle creatures grace the land.
Afterward, we will transfer to Colombo for time at your leisure to explore. The graceful city’s colonial roots are still evident in the beautiful gardens and shady boulevards. Brimming with markets, shops, and stylish restaurants, Colombo’s old quarter is an excellent place to discover beautiful crafts and delightful local delicacies. This tropical capital is an excellent place to conclude our Sri Lankan adventure.
We return to our hotel tonight to celebrate our Journey with a festive Farewell Dinner.
Gateway Garden Airport Hotel, Colombo(UPGRADED EXECUTIVE ROOM)
DAY 8Colombo & Home
You will be taken to the airport for your flight home or on to your next destination.