Travel through highlands so green they almost glow in Nuwara Eliya, and sample some of the acclaimed tea varieties that grow on the hillsides with your small group.. Learn of the varied cuisine and local customs of different regions around Sri Lanka, highlighted by a rhythmic cultural dance performance in Kandy.. See one of the world’s most revered relics at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, home to an earthly remain of the Lord Buddha, and discover the cave temple of Dambulla.. Head on safari – Sri Lanka style! Look for elephants and leopards while you cruise the beautiful Minneriya National Park in a jeep with expert local guides at twilight.
The remnants of a spiritual past await your discovery in Sri Lanka, from the ancient cliff-built complex of Lion Rock in Sigiriya to the ruins of the Sinhalese capital in Anuradhapura. Explore wonders of nature and humanity – often both at once – on this 8-day adventure through the cities, jungles and caves of Sri Lanka. Beginning in Negombo, travel through verdant countryside, past tea plantations, into the wildlife-filled Minneriya National Park and to the thriving capital of Colombo. An immersive and cultural Sri Lankan escapade awaits – the only thing left to choose is when to go.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Ayu-bowan! Welcome to Sri Lanka. Your adventure begins in the town of Negombo, located close to Bandaranaike International Airport. You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until an important welcome meeting at 5.30 pm. Those arriving early can get into the spirit of seaside Sri Lanka by observing the local fishing craft and perhaps feasting on fresh seafood. The beautiful surrounding countryside is best explored on a bicycle, which you can rent with help from the hotel reception. Better yet, why not book yourself in to an Urban Adventure like Spirit of Negombo – checking out the city sights by foot and boat. See urbanadventures.com/Colombo-tour-spirit-of-negombo for more information.
Rise and shine for an 8 am check-out this morning and take a private transfer to the lush, rainforest-rimmed Kandy. It’s a 3.5-hour drive, so get to know your fellow travellers during the journey. Your afternoon is free, so perhaps head out and indulge in some of Kandy’s natural and historical attractions. The Peradeniya Botanic Gardens offer both – the sculpted lawns were once a private playground for Kandyan royalty. In the evening, watch a traditional dance performance set to percussive rhythms.
The gorgeous highlands await you today, so rise and shine for the journey to Nuwara Eliya. The evergreen hills and cool climate made this town a primary retreat for British colonialists in the 19th century, and many buildings remain from this period, earning it the nickname ‘Little Britain’. Stop in at a tea factory and learn about the process of cultivating the region’s fragrant, highly regarded varieties. Nuwara Eliya remains an incredibly important tea-growing area, and the plantations that dot the hillside make for lovely scenery. Return to Kandy and maybe ask your leader where you can grab a nice kottu roti (chopped roti with vegetables and plenty of spices). Kandy was one the world’s primary source of cinnamon and a variety of spices are grown the area, which makes for food that is bursting with flavour.
This morning, visit the temple that holds a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha. The aptly named Temple of the Tooth is one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred places and no matter your spiritual inclination, the hush of the temple and the atmosphere of reverence is incredibly powerful. Bid farewell to Kandy and transfer to Habarana, located just 12 km from Sigiriya, where the immense Lion Rock dominates the landscape. Tomorrow you will explore the ancient gardens and frescoes that decorate this behemoth, but today another unique site awaits. Visit the cave temple of Dambulla – actually a complex of five caves that are full of paintings and statues of the Lord Buddha. Murals cover the rough walls and sloping ceilings of the caves, which once served as dwellings for prehistoric Sri Lankans before the arrival of Buddhism.
This morning you'll visit the ancient carved-rock fortress that rises 180 metres above the surrounding plains in Sigiriya. A true spectacle of both nature and human endeavour, the Lion Rock features ancient paintings, the remains of a great lion sculpture and some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Climb the winding walkways and explore this incredible example of ancient urban planning. Before the sun goes down, jump in jeep and go safari at Minneriya National Park. Many of the local beasts come out to play in the evening, so keep your eyes peeled for elephants, sambar deer and leopards.
Say ayubowan – used for both greetings and farewells – to the verdant plains of Sigiriya and begin the 1.5-hour journey to Anuradhapura. This ancient Sri Lankan capital is home to some of the country’s best-looking ruins. Take a guided bike tour of this World-Heritage listed site, soaking up the splendour of ruins scattered among the city.
Hit the road again and watch the world go by on a long drive to Colombo (approximately 5.5 hours). Stop by some of the city's main sights on a bus tour including Independence Square, Parliament, and past the National Museum, finishing with a shopping opportunity for a good cause at the Barefoot Fairtrade Store. Here you can find a collection of handicrafts from around the country and support small cottage industries. If you are lucky enough to be in Colombo on a Saturday, visit Good Market – a local market full of stalls showcasing social enterprises and responsible businesses. Tonight, there's the chance to have a group dinner with your travel crew to celebrate your Sri Lankan journey together.
With no scheduled activities today, you are free to leave at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out times. Can't get enough of Colombo? Why not embark on an Urban Adventure and see the streets and sights from a tuk-tuk. You won’t see this side of Colombo on your own! Find out about this and other options at urbanadventures.com/destination/Colombo-tours.