(Sigiriya, Kandy, Colombo)
From Temples to National parks, emerse yourself in the contrasts of Sri Lanka. Featuring Unesco World Heritage Sites, National parks, Buddhist and Hindu Temples, this itinerary is your first introduction to a land of Culture and Nature. Sites include: Minneriya National park, Sigiriya Rock fortress, Dambulla Rock Temple, Temple of the Tooth Relic, the Elephant Orphanage, Tea Plantations, Spice Gardens and more. This tour is complete with english speaking driver, certified private guide, transfers and 4 star hotel properties.
Welcome to beautiful Sri Lanka. A private vehicle with driver will provide a transfer from Colombo International Airport to Sigiriya. After checking in to your hotel, proceed to the Ritigala Buddhist Monastery nestled deep inside the Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve, found just off the Anuradhapura-Habarana road, and is the partially excavated ruins of an extensive Buddhist Monastery. It was abandoned following invasions in 10th and 11th centuries and today holds special appeal with its curious blend of nano-safari and archaeology. Walking around the beautiful ruins does certainly give you a feeling of adventures in search of mythical pasts; it is easy to imagine yourself as Indiana Jones whilst clambering over the overgrown relics of a forgotten time.
Hotel Sigiriya is located in a close proximity to the Sigiriya Rock that it seems as through the heritage site is yours alone to admire from the privacy of the hotel. The hotel offers the most scenic views of the rock fortress. The surrounding environs are lush green everywhere you look. As its honoured guest, you are welcomed with a refreshing drink made of local ambarella fruit handpicked for you from the surrounding areas. Hotel Sigiriya features 79 superior rooms, open-air lounge bar with direct Sigiriya rock view, Jungle Bar, pavilion type open-air Main Restaurant, outdoor freshwater pool and kiddies' pool, sports facilities, live oriental music entertainment, and conference facilities.
Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, Sigiriya is Asia’s best preserved city of the first millennium, showing complex urban planning around the base of the rock, combined with sophisticated engineering and irrigation skills in the palace perched on the summit. It is considered it to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world with visitors recording their impressions in some of the earliest-known graffiti approached by a spiral stairway. These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster. Built by an obsessed monarch in the 5th century, Sigiriya or Lion Rock is an astonishing feat of engineering and construction. The most striking portion of Sigiriya, a terracotta and grey core of rock set in the cultural heart of Sri Lanka, rises a sheer 200 metres above a forested plain, its flattened summit sloping gently. A series of moats, ramparts and water gardens — remnants of an ancient city — spread out on two sides of the rock, with the remains of a pair of giant stone lion’s paws still guarding the staircase that leads to the summit, once occupied by a royal palace.
In the afternoon, enjoy a jeep safari of through Minneriya National Park. Located between Habarana and Pollonnaruwa, Minneriya is yet another haven for the elephants that migrate from surrounding jungles to enjoy the lush grass fields on the banks of the Minneriya reservoir, during the dry season. Reports of elephant sightings range from a mere 100 to an astounding 700. Endemic monkeys as well as many resident and migratory bird species also can be spotted along with endemic reptiles such as the painted-lip lizard. Among the reptiles that dwell here, are the saltwater crocodile, the Indian python and the water monitor.
Proceed to Dambulla. Dating back to the First Century BC, the Golden Temple of Dambulla has been the centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus alike for 22 centuries. It is Sri Lanka’s most popular historic site. The Cave monastery, home to Buddhist monks is covered with exquisite 2,000 year-old murals depicting the life and times of the Lord Buddha. The shrines also house a collection of 157 statues of Buddha in various sizes and poses, including a 15 metre long reclining Buddha and vividly coloured frescoes on the walls and ceiling, making this the largest antique painted surface in the world. Continue to Kandy via Matale. Visit a spice garden in Matale, there you will see different spices and how some of these spices are grown and processed today spices are used mainly to flavor food. In medieval times, however, spices played a more important role as food preserving agents. In the absence of fridges and freezers, people used spices to preserve meat during the long winter months. Tasting of spiced tea, massage with natural products and demonstration of a preparation of curry and little massage with herbal oils of spices and plants. In the evening visit Temple of the Tooth relic - one of Buddhism's most sacred relics and draws followers of the Buddhist faith from all over the world.
The Earl’s Regency is the ideal five-star luxury hotel from which to explore the attractions of Kandy and the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Situated next to the river and surrounded by hills, The Hotel offers a perfect oasis of calm where guests can retreat after a day of seeing the sights. Beautifully manicured gardens surround the tempting pool. We have 104 rooms. The hotel also has one of the largest conference facilities. Despite the size, the hotel is environmentally aware and do the best to minimize carbon footprint. The hotel also has a comprehensive energy conservation policy, with power cut-off switches, energy-efficient lighting (CFL bulbs), photo-active garden lights and solar-powered hot water systems.
Proceed to the railway station at Peradeniya and hop on a train (only 20 mins) to Gampola. Gampola is a large town located in amidst the central highlands of the country. You will visit the longest Buddha statue in South Asia, The Saliyalapura Temple. Continue towards Nuwara Eliya, which is Sri Lanka's most popular hill resort, also the heart of Sri Lanka's tea zone producing a significant share of the world's best tea. Visit a tea plantation and taste the tea from the local factory. Proceed to Peradeniya and visit the Royal Botanical Gardens. Peradeniya botanical garden was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala King and was expanded by the British. It is 147 acres in size and includes a wide variety of trees, plants and flowers. In the evening, enjoy a city tour in Kandy - A World Heritage Site and the last capital of the Sri Lankan Kings. The name "Kandy" conjures visions of splendor and magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. Drive around the Kandy Lake built by the last Sinhala King, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798. Visit the Kandy town and bazaar, the arts and crafts centre, a gem museum and a lapidary. Your evening concludes with a traditional Sri Lankan dance show. Transfer to hotel by Tuk Tuk.
Visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This orphanage is the residence of baby elephants where you will see baby elephants during feeding and bathing time. In the afternoon, enjoy of the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. Places of interest include the Pettah Bazaar for the bargain hunters, the old fort, Buddhist and Hindu Temples, Bayra Lake, Colombo museum and the residential areas.
The Taj Samudra set in 11 acres of landscaped gardens, facing the historic Galle Face Green with a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean and is just a short stroll from the city centre, museums and a variety of restaurants. Boasting a tranquil ambience and comfortable accommodation, this property is an ideal place for business as well as leisure travellers. It features one of Colombo's largest convention centres and is a distinctive setting for meetings and events, with the added convenience of hi-speed Internet access. You can invite up to 450 guests for an evening in the elegant Ball Room or treat them to an authentic Sri Lankan night on the lush lawns. A state-of-the-art gymnasium and a swimming pool are also on offer for guests to relax during leisure.
A private vehicle with driver will provide a transfer to/from Colombo International Airport.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of Sri Lanka for the most up to date visa information.
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