(Negombo, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Induruwa)
Discover the land Marco Polo christened “the most beautiful island in the world” with this enticingly exotic journey through heart-pulling Sri Lanka. From sun kissed beaches, cool jungles, elephant safaris & turtle sanctuaries, to Buddhist blessings, sweet scented spice plantations & cave temples dating back to 1st century B.C., this tour is a feast for the eyes & soul. Explore the treasures of Sigiriya, Matale, Kandy, Gampola, Nuwara Eliya, Galle, Induruwa & Colombo, led by private guide. Follow in the steps of bygone kings in mystical palaces, relax during an herbal massage, make aromatic curries during a culinary class, visit artisans workshops, watch colorful Kandyan shows, bargain in bazaars, tour tea plantations, make friends at an elephant orphanage, help at a sea turtle hatchery, pass mangroves heavy with fruit on the Madhu River & much more. Boasting far more attractions than can ever be list, the once inaccessible, “Teardrop of India” simply cannot be missed.
Along the Western coast of Sri Lanka mile upon mile of golden beach stretches as far as the eye can see and in the resort town of Negombo, hotels of many a description line its palm fringed shore. Glittering bright amongst them all is the luxuriant paradise of Jetwing Beach. Indulgently spacious in the inimitable style of Geoffrey Bawa – Sri Lanka’s most renowned architect, this is the perfect place for those with a penchant for stylish extravagance combined with the simple pleasures of a seaside holiday. Whether guests are coming alone or bringing their family; tots and all, here everyone is equally assured of a royal welcome and good times galore. Take playful days and restful nights aplenty, with equal measures of exuberance, pampering and leisure guests can handle in between. Luxurious rooms with every facility, speciality cuisine at three restaurants, a large pool and a spa with Ayurvedic treatments are just some of the things guests can indulge in at this plush seaside resort.
A private vehicle with driver will provide a transfer from Negombo to Sigiriya.
Climb the 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). The 'Lion Rock' is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of this fortified town. A moat, rampart, and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens encompass the base of the rock. Visit the frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster.
Jetwing's newest and most ambitious project located within 5km of the "8th Wonder of the World" Sigiriya - is the creation of a true Lifestyle Hotel. With the challenge of introducing a wetland system on reclaimed agricultural lands within the Dry Zone, provides the unique backdrop for this exciting new property. Whether it is the nature lover in you or the task of "finding yourself again", treat yourself to an experience; come be part of the lifestyle.
Start the day with an elephant back ride in the Habarana Jungle. This excursion will take you along one of the most picturesque sites through the jungle and observe bird life as well as during the trek to the surrounding forest and foothills. In addition, a variety of large and small animals live in the surrounding forest could be seen. Thereafter, visit Polonnaruwa which was the 2nd capital city of Sri Lanka built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, and which is a world heritage site. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya where 4 splendid statues of the Buddha in 'Upright', 'Sedentary' and 'Recumbent' postures carved out of rock could be seen, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, the statue of king Parakramabahu, and the Parakrama Samudraya - a lake built by King Parakramabahu the great. There are also monuments of famous places of worship such as the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic. Return back to the hotel.
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 Kandy House is a unique ancestral manor house providing seclusion and serenity for its guests in a lush, tropical garden setting close to Kandy. In 1804, the last Chief Minister of the Kandyan Kingdom, Ratwatte Adigar, committed an act of “defiant decadence” - he dared to build himself a palatial villa using roof tiles which at that time were decreed only for royal residences. 200 years later, Tim and Sarah Jacobson dared to start the process to turn it into a designer boutique hotel, in partnership with Channa Daswatte: to retain the charisma of this captivating house while taking it to the standard for 21st century guests. The resulting restoration sensitively blends modernized bathrooms with elegant antique furniture, and fresh touches of colour set off the traditional architecture.
Visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This orphanage is the residence of baby elephants where you will see how these elephants are cared, fed and bathed. Continue to Peradeniya 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 extent and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers. Transfer to Kandy. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site. 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. Thereafter witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing. Return to the hotel by Tuk Tuk.
After breakfast, proceed to the Peradeniya Railway Station for the 08:40 train ride (20 mins) to Gampola (seats cannot be reserved in advance). 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 & taste a cup of tea in the factory. In the evening, take a walking tour of Nuwara Eliya known to the local people as “Little England”.
Cocoon Hills is an exquisite 6 bed roomed English Mock Tudor Bungalow with a beautiful lawn and flower beds built nearly 25 years ago, nestled in the hill country amidst tea plantations and verdant mountains which exudes its personal charm within a setting of refined elegance. On a sunny day, the Bungalow allows guests to borrow its bicycles to peddle around the town, sightseeing.
Explore the Kitulgala River where the famous film “Bridge Over The River Kwai” was filmed. Visit the turtle hatchery in Kosgoda, operated by the Wildlife Protection Society of Sri Lanka. Several species of turtles, especially the endangered hawksbills are protected here. Most vulnerable of all are their eggs, which are left uncovered on beaches up and down the coast. The goodwill of Kosgoda area fishermen who bring these eggs gratis to the hatchery have led to the hatching and have released around 100,000 young turtles into the wild. Continue to the hotel.
Discover the pleasure of serenity in exquisite surroundings between tropical forest and lush greenery. Over a hundred years ago, the hill in the midst of the former Cinnamon Plantation was given a name by the local inhabitants. They christened it, “Sumanagiri”– the Silent Mount. Today, this land of Sumanagiri, stretched amongst 8 ½ acres has metamorphosed into Cocoon Resort and Villas.
Do a city tour in Galle. The capital of the southern province is a city with a colorful history. UNESCO declared World Heritage Site the magnificent Dutch fort is the most popular attraction of the town. In 1587 the Portuguese annexed Galle from its Sinhala kings and built its first fortress naming it “Santacrusz”. Its old world charm appeals as a tourist destination. To this, it looks back to 500 years of nurture under Sinhala, Portuguese, Dutch and British stewardship. Thereafter proceed to Balapitiya. Enjoy a scenic cruise along the Madhu River, a relaxing trip with plenty of interesting stops. You pass dozens of islets forested with mangroves and can appreciate the timeless natural rhythms of rural life. Return to the hotel.
Transfer from Induruwa to Colombo for an afternoon tour of the capital city. Tour Colombo Museum, the Old Parliament, Buddhist and Hindu Temples, Bayra Lake, and the Pettah Bazaar. Transfer to Bandaranayke International Airport for the departure.
India & Area
Alton J Hundley ,
March 14, 2011
"Our trip to India was a wonderful and magical event! We owe our gratitude to Kensington Tours for making the trip run so smoothly. The guides were exceptionally friendly and caring towards our four year old son and our driver was absolutely amazing!"
India & Area
Fred and Sharon Tooley ,
November 11, 2010
"We've just returned from our second "once in a lifetime" trip with Kensington Tours. A year ago we went to Kenya and Tanzania and felt that no future trips could match that incredible benchmark. We were wrong! When we had the wonderful opportunity to travel to India and Nepal this year, we once again called Kensington. What an amazing, amazing adventure we had! The fact that we have had two "once in a lifetime" trips with Kensington, tells us that we may not know where our next adventure will take us but we do know that Kensington Tours will take us there. We send huge thanks to Brad Crockett who coordinated a trip that was like no other. We thank he and Karishma Kaul both for walking us through our concerns, dealt with via email, while in country regarding a tight flight/luggage transfer and to both of them for arranging the marvelous hotels, lodges and incomparable guides and drivers for us in both India and Nepal. We want to especially thank them for Ghanshyam, our driver for our entire stay in India. Without him, and our trusty "Tempo Traveller" we simply wouldn't have survived the traffic and hours of travel--he was not only a great driver, but a terrific guide during those long drives between cities. We will never forget the thrill of seeing Machali, the magnificent tiger known as "Lady of the Lake" at Ranthambore National Park in India. We will never forget the speechless first sight of the Taj Mahal--nor, we doubt, will we ever have an experience that will ever compare with seeing a tiger in Chitwan National Park, Nepal while on a late afternoon elephant back safari in dense jungle cover--the sights, the sounds of the elephants...words may fail, but the memories will never fade. Thank you, Kensington.
Fred & Sharon Tooley 2011"
India & Area
Glenn Dorfman ,
March 10, 2010
"Our two weeks in India and Nepal doing the Golden Triangle, Varanasi and the Ganges, and Kathmandu went precisely as planned. Airport greetings and transfers, the drivers and especially the guides were all just great; highly qualified, interesting and dedicated to see that you have an interesting and safe experience. I have many examples to share of this. The itinerary was perfect. We have no complaints at all. Would be glad to share more details with prospective travelers."
India & Area
Mohmud Kassam ,
February 24, 2010
"Very helpful from the beginning and helped us change our itinerary so many times until we got it right. We really appreciate your effort. All guides were somewhat knowledgeable. We found that they were not as forthcoming as we would have liked and therefore we had to ask many questions to get more out of them. They were however very pleasant and patient. Vehicles were excellent! We chose Kensington Tours because you gave us the option of a “private guided trip” which is exactly what we were looking for. We have been on many tours and did not want a tour package where we had to go with a big group. Overall our experience was very good. The trip was exactly what we were looking for. The accommodation, cars and guides and agent reps were all very good and helpful. India was incredible!"
India & Area
Claudia Pedreira ,
February 09, 2010
"Sorry for the late response, I've been meaning to write to you since we came back to thank you so much for your assistance with coordinating our trip. India was such an amazing experience and truly a fascinating country. We appreciate the upgrades and the travel by private car as it made a difference in our trip. All three hotels were excellent and we found the local tour service to be prompt and very accommodating. I will certainly be using Kensington Tours again for any future travel. Thanks again!"
India & Area
Joan and Sam Hubball ,
February 09, 2010
I am thinking about you and your wonderful plan and our amazing trip to India. I think the flexibility within the tour, the number of rich experiences due to the private nature of the trip, the mind,body, spirit connections of the country made this a true life experience, not a trip. I will write you a long letter with more specifics this week as I believe there are so many places and people who deserve acknowledgment and recognition for some of the most gracious and experienced tourism service. For now,Bindu, everyone should stay at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur and everyone must see Varanasi. We are so glad we chose the more aggressive approach...I cannot imagine our trip without any of the places we've seen!
Warmest regards, heartfelt thanks for the plan, and will be in touch soon, Joan Hubball
India & Area
Helmut and Helga Igel ,
December 14, 2009
"Hi Bindu. Everything worked out great. The hotels all where very good. What made the trip a real pleasure was our driver, Manohar Lal Thakur. He always went out his way to take care of any requests we had. The Indian people are the friendlest we have ever met! We will use Kensington again on one of our next trips.
India & Area
Illa Gandhi ,
January 07, 2010
"We had a great time in India. Karishma Kaul from Kensington tours did a tremendous job putting our trip together. The company did second to none job making us feel at home. It was because of them, it felt like a holiday. Thank you Karishma for a wonderful experience."
India & Area
Cheryl Smith ,
September 28, 2009
"My trip to India was incredible, and I want to thank you for organizing the tours. They took very good care of us. The hotels were nice, and we felt very safe. The guides and the driver were fantastic. The guides were very knowledgeable and patient in answering all of our questions and waiting for us when I know we extended our slotted time in some places (like shopping). For instance, I went to the airport to depart and expected only a driver. I was very surprised and grateful to have another person with the driver who helped me enter the airport, obtain my boarding pass, and showed me where to get to security. "
India & Area
Frank Walchak ,
September 28, 2009
"We just arrived this morning from Delhi. The hotels, tour and driver were all excellent. We certainly got our monies worth. Thank you again for setting up this great trip. Prior to the golden triangle, we operated on 93 children with burns, cleft lip and palate at a medical school outside of Bangalore. Frank and Carolyn Walchak
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