(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.
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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