Experience Tropical – SriLanka
Route : Colombo - Ambalangoda - Galle - Colombo - Nuwara Eliya - Kandy - Habarana(Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya) - Anuradhapura - Wilpattu - Negombo - Negombo
The Culture and Nature of Sri Lanka is closely related to the inhabitants of the island from over 3000 years ago when the first Aryans landed on the island and integrated with the local community till the more recent foreign invaders of colonial ancestry till the country became independent in 1948. Occupation evidence is reflected in names, architecture, lifestyles and cuisine.
The Sinhalese stem from the indigenous inhabitants of the island, Tamils from ancient invasions by Kings of Chola, Pandyan and Dravidian ancestry as well as tea plantation workers from south-India brought by the British 200 years ago, the introduction of Buddhism from India 2500 year ago and the infusion of reverence for Hindu deities by inter-marriage of royalty and lay-people in ancient times, Muslims and Islam from the later arrival of Arab traders plying the spice routes and traded gifts and silks for spices with Sinhalese Kings and finally the infusion of Burghers and Christianity stemming from colonial occupation by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.
Agriculture and fishing was the mainstay livelihoods of inhabitants from ancient civilization eras and form the main economic contributors to the nation together with the plantations and trade in tea introduced by the British many centuries later. The Cultural Triangle of the island framed in by the historic cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy containing 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a rich collection of historic monuments of invaluable archaeological heritage and the mountainous tea regions that was and is a strong economic contributor to the nation. All of these still have a significant influence on the lifestyles of the nation and tells a tale of existence spanning over 3000 years.
Recommended period to visit :
Year round for most places although due to monsoon weather, the beach in Negombo is best between November till May and between June and October the beach of the east coast in Trincomalee is better. Evening rainfall can prevail in most parts if inland areas year round though not disruptive except in monsoons.
See Full Itinerary
Arrival TimeLate Night or Mid Night
Final DepartureLate Night or Mid Night
Tour Itinerary : - Experience Tropical – SriLanka
Day 1: Arrive in Sri Lanka – Transfer to Colombo
Colombo: This city is the commercial capital of the country and the seat of business and commerce. A bustling port in colonial times, Colombo still retains architectural evidence to the era of Dutch and British occupation and names of streets and companies also carry links to history. Today Colombo is a cosmopolitan city where history and modernization exist together with flavours and insights that are interesting to see and experience. Arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport and after completing arrival formalities meet us in the arrival lounge of the airport and be introduced to your escort and chauffeur/guide on the tour. Transfer by air-conditioned vehicle to Colombo – approx. 60kms / 1-hour drive. Evening walk through the Colombo Fort and Pettah Bazaar to experience insight into the architecture of past rulers of the land and the core business hub stemming over decades. The walk ends at the ‘Dutch Hospital’ street café for a dinner at a venue of your choice.
Overnight is in Colombo
Day 2: Full day excursion - Galle and Ambalangoda– about 270 km
Galle: The southern coast of the island was discovered by the Portuguese in 1505 and is the first colonial rule footprint on the island. However, it was later developed as a fortified city by the Dutch and then the British but bears links and close resemblances to the Dutch occupation of the land. Traditional lace making introduced by the Dutch still is practiced and the nearby village of Ambalangoda has a historical link to the time of kings as the land where masks for royal cultural pageants were produced by skilled artisans who passed the secrets of their work from generation to generation. Early departure to Ambalangoda on the southern coast of the island and visit a traditional mask-carver in their workshop. Thereafter, proceed to Galle and explore the Fort City on push-bicycles including a visit to a lace-makers workshop. Return to Colombo by evening.
Overnight is in Colombo.
Day 3: Colombo to Nuwara Eliya by train – 125 km about 3 hr
Nuwara Eliya: It is the heartland of Ceylon Tea, developed by the British rulers of the 19th century. Tea became a premier contributor to the island's economy during the British era and continues still today. The history of tea plantation workers stems from south India and is therefore different from the Tamil inhabitants of the northern peninsula of Jaffna. Early morning departure with packed breakfast by intercity train to Nanu Oya considered being one of the best scenic railway routes on the island. On arrival by early afternoon, you will be met at the railway station and transferred by road to the hill station Nuwara Eliya (about 8 km). In the afternoon, explore Nuwara Eliya town, market and city surroundings by foot ending at the heritage Nuwara Eliya Golf Club for dinner.
Overnight is in Nuwara Eliya
Day 4: Explore Nuwara Eliya
Early morning visit to Horton Plains Nature Sanctuary and trek on the plains visiting ‘World End’ and ‘Bakers Falls’. Thereafter, visit the Hakgala Botanical Gardens and the historic Seetha Amman Hindu Temple near the entrance of the garden. Dinner this evening is at the historic former British Planters ‘Hill Club’.
Overnight is in Nuwara Eliya.
Day 5: Tea Plucking and Tea Factory Visit and then to Kandy
The Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka: The triangle is formed by connecting the ancient capitals of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy and within the triangle sits 5 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Anuradhapura was the first kingdom of the island's civilization and the granary of the country along the banks of the main Malwathu Oya River. Together with Polonnaruwa which many centuries later became the 2nd capital of ancient Sri Lanka, the area is an agricultural hub of the island and ancient kings left indelible evidence of their skills and astuteness to develop a dry climate land area into a lush green and fertile agricultural zone that even today contributes to the nation’s economy. Kandy which was the final bastion of the Sinhalese Kings before the island was annexed to the British Empire contributed to the nation’s economy with its rich harvest of spices and is also the epicenter of Buddhist Devotion with the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha enshrined in the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Morning visit to a working tea plantation and factory to witness the livelihood of locals in the tea plantation industry and see how tea in Sri Lanka is manufactured. Thereafter, drive to Kandy; in the evening witness a display of local cultural dances from different regions, cultures and religious events performed by local artists.
Overnight is in Kandy
Day 6: Kandy to Habarana – 100km about 3 hr drive
Morning visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy for the morning “Thevawa” at 9.30 am joining local devotees offering flowers and alms to the Sacred Tooth Relic. Thereafter, leave Kandy heading for the spice-rich valleys of Matale and visit a spice garden to get an introduction to the different kinds of spices grown in the country. Continue to the village of Habarana arriving by late afternoon.
Overnight is in Habarana
Day 7: Excursions to Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya
Morning visit to Polonnaruwa; starting with the Polonnaruwa archaeological museum followed by visits to the monuments and historical ruins. In the afternoon, visit the Sigiriya Museum and Rock departure for the central Cultural Triangle village of Sigiriya.
Overnight is in Habarana
Day 8: Habarana to Anuradhapura – 60 km about 1.5 hr drive
Morning visit to a local village to experience the villagers engaging in their routine agriculture livelihood. You will have an opportunity to join them in the experience as well followed by a local lunch in the village. Thereafter, leave for Anuradhapura arriving by early evening. In the evening, visit the historic Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba and the Sri Maha Bodhi Temple and the sacred Bo Tree (Bodhi Tree).
Overnight is in Anuradhapura
Day 9: Anuradhapura– Wilpattu– 35 km about 1 hr drive
Morning exploration of Anuradhapura Sacred City – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thereafter, proceed to the wildlife park of Wilpattu arriving at the campsite by afternoon. Afternoon game drive in an off-road vehicle of the Wilpattu National Park with a park ranger. Return to campsite by sunset and open-air dinner.
Overnight at the tented campsite in Wilpattu.
Day 10: Wilpattu to Negombo- 135 km about 4 hr drive
Morning drive to the coastal town of Negombo arriving at the beach resort by mid-day. Rest of the day is at leisure. Explore the “Lewis Place” food street that comes alive after sunset with a variety of cafés, bars and food venues.
Overnight is in Negombo
Day 11: Leisure
Day at leisure in Negombo Optional and on any day except Sunday and Public Holidays: Early morning visit to the Negombo fishing village to watch fishermen drawing nets from the ocean with catch and boats from deep-sea returning with harvest and then explore the local fish market.
Overnight is in Negombo