Let us know if you would like to join us for our spectacular tour of this resplendent island, formerly known as Ceylon.
02 – 18 MARCH 2018
International Arrival into COLOMBO – (02 nights) – by road to SIGIRIYA (02) – by road to KANDY (02) – by train and road to the HILL & TEA COUNTRY (03) – by road to GALLE (02) – by road to YALA NATIONAL PARK (02) – by road to BUNDALA NATIONAL PARK and on to KOGGALA (02) – by road to Lunuganga Estate and then MINUWANGODA (01) – International Departure from COLOMBO.
Total 16 Nights
This exotic and beautiful island nation, located off the south-eastern coast of India, is a land of natural beauty and landscapes. With a mix of culture and religions; friendly, hospitable people, and delicious fresh cuisine there is much to discover.
In Sri Lanka the warm welcome, Ayubowan (meaning Good Health and Long Life) greets you everywhere. Stunning beaches, beautiful wildlife, ancient cities and temples; tea gardens and bustling markets are never far away.
Previously known as Ceylon the country gained independence from Great Britain in 1948 and in 1972 reclaimed the name Sri Lanka – meaning resplendent island in Sanskrit. You will still see evidence of colonial life – in Colombo and also Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka’s favourite colonial hill station; and the legacies of the Dutch and the Portuguese in the exotic city of Galle on the South Coast.
Our Accompanied Tour of Sri Lanka begins in COLOMBO on Friday 02 March 2018. Situated on the west coast of the island, Colombo has one of the largest artificial harbours in the world and is a principal port of the Indian Ocean. This is a vibrant, growing city with plenty to see and do, some wonderful restaurants (including the Ministry of Crab) and the best place for shopping in Sri Lanka.
We stay here for two nights at the Galle Face Hotel, recently restored to its former glory and perfectly located in the heart of Colombo, by the sea. Our days will be spent exploring and learning about this city, including a walking tour of the historic Fort district with Marc Forbes, a native of Colombo and a fantastic local guide.
From Colombo we leave by road in a comfortable air-conditioned coach together with our accompanying English-speaking guide, for SIGIRIYA and the region known as the Ancient Cities, in the dry zone of the Central Province.
Here we will visit the beautiful cave temples at Dambulla; the intricately carved temples and statues at Polonnaruwa; and the soaring Sigirya Rock Fortress with its frescoes and surmounted by ruins. For those who wish, there is an early morning walk through the Water Gardens at the base of the rock, and then the climb up the Rock Fortress for some remarkable views.
We will stay near SIGIRIYA at Aliya Resort & Spa for two nights. Themed on the beloved Sri Lankan elephant, Aliya is nestled amongst rolling fields and indigenous trees. There is a wonderful Ayurveda Spa here, as well as a beautiful pool – bicycles and yoga are available too.
From Sigiriya we continue our journey by road to KANDY. The town of Kandy has the lakeside Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, and is renowned for Sri Lanka’s most spectacular Buddhist festival, the Esala Perahera. This parade of elephants and dancers takes place for 10 days in July/August every year. We will visit the Temple during the morning puja ceremony, with offerings of temple flowers.
As well as the Temple, we will also visit the Botanical Gardens at nearby Peredeniya.
For two nights we will stay at the Mountbatten Bungalow. This wonderful colonial bungalow was rumoured to be Lord Mountbatten’s secret war rooms during WWII. Set amidst the hills of Kandy it is a peaceful place with a beautiful garden and swimming pool.
From Kandy we travel by train and by road up to the hill and tea country.
Mountains, lush forests and waterfalls; rolling tea gardens, paddy fields and small local villages offer stunning views and discoveries, and some great walking. We will spend three nights at Ceylon Tea Trails and see how Ceylon tea is produced. Tea Trails is also a member of Relais & Chateaux – so delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and High Tea too!
After a leisurely three nights in the tea country we travel by road in our comfortable air-conditioned coach to the city of GALLE.
Founded in the 16th Century by the Portuguese, Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions. It is a UNESCO listed city noted for the Dutch Museum, Groote Kerk (Great Church) and National Maritime Museum.
Our stay is at The Fort Bazaar, a small boutique hotel in the heart of Galle for two nights, giving everybody opportunity to wander independently amidst the charm and labyrinth of lanes, boutique shops and galleries.
From Galle we continue our journey along the South Coast to YALA NATIONAL PARK for the experience of Sri Lankan wildlife.
Despite its small size Sri Lanka is included amongst the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. Yala National Park gives a chance of a leopard sighting, herds of wild Asian elephants and the richest diversity of amphibians in the world.
However, it is birds that are the glory of Sri Lankan wildlife and we will also enjoy a morning in the BUNDALA NATIONAL PARK. Shimmering wetlands with a great variety of birds, Bundala is one of the finest birding destinations in Sri Lanka. There are some 197 species of birds here, of which 58 are migratory.
We will stay at Jetwing Yala, which is located just 4 km from Yala National Park. There is beach access here, and a wellness centre.
Leaving Bundala after the morning’s safari we drive back along the coast to KOGGALA for a couple of days by the beach, staying at The Fortress – a stylish hotel, colonial Ceylon with a modern twist – with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean; fabulous food and service.
Here there is the opportunity for a whale watching tour. The waters off Sri Lanka are home to the planet’s biggest creature, the Blue Whale – there are also sperm whales and dolphins in the waters.
Around Koggala you will see the old tradition of Stilt Fishing, still practised by some fishing families in this area, usually during sunrise, noon and sunset. Enjoy local fish markets in this area, and an abundance of fresh seafood!
Our last day will be spent travelling back towards Colombo and along the way we will stop at Lunuganga Estate for a tour of the gardens and lunch.
Lunuganga Estate was the country house of the renowned Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa. Started in 1947 the garden was Bawa’s inspiration and experimental laboratory for new ideas; he changed and experimented with space and structure throughout his lifetime. We will have a traditional Sri Lankan lunch here.
Our last night will be spent at The Wallawwa, a converted ancestral house restored to provide 17 beautifully furnished bedrooms and suites. Set within five acres of tropical landscaped gardens, the Wallawwa is also ideally situated close to Bandaranaike International Airport.
International departures are the next day, Sunday 18 March 2018. You will be transferred to the airport in time for your international flights home with the Sri Lankan greeting, Ayubowan! Wishing you good health and long life!
We hope you will join us for our colourful and spectacular tour of this resplendent island, formerly known as Ceylon.
As always, we will travel in a small group of 10-14 people, and stay in some special places, renowned for good hospitality, luxurious comfort and delicious food.
The tour will be led by Amanda Kay, together with some expert and knowledgeable English-speaking accompanying and local guides.
For further information and enquiries please contact:-
Telephone: +44 (0) 1937 520677