Price

September:

$3197 AUD per person

$1197 AUD single supplement

 

November:

$3497 AUD per person

$1307 single supplement

 

December:

$3965 AUD per person

$1491 single supplement

Inclusions

  • Return airport transfers
  • 11 nights accommodation
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Services of an English speaking local guide
  • Private air conditioned transportation
  • Entrance fees and park fees as per the itinerary
  • Scrubba Wash Bag

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Visas (E-visa’s can be obtained www.eta.gov.lk)
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc
  • Any additional flights needed in Afghanistan that may be necessary
    due to security concerns

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Soul of Sri Lanka

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Get ready to discover the quieter, more authentic side of Sri Lanka and be swept up in its unspoilt and abundant natural beauty. For such a compact island nation, you will experience stunning landscapes, captivating cultural heritage, unique experiences and pristine beaches. Explore remote tea plantations, hike through national parklands and swim in natural pools. Search for exotic wildlife and learn the fascinating history behind the scattering of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Discover Sri Lanka on a deeper level.

Day 1 - Arrival in Colombo

Welcome to Sri Lanka! Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the suburbs of Negombo where the remainder of the day is at leisure. Negombo was used by the Portuguese, Dutch and British as the main export harbor for cinnamon and there are still many historical buildings remaining today. Enjoy watching the old world fishing crafts like the outrigger canoes and catamarans bringing a variety of marine fishes like seers, skipjacks, pomfrets and amber-jacks. In the lagoon, lobsters and prawns are caught and served as fascinating delicacies in restaurants. On Negombo’s long beach you’ll find many seafood restaurants, bars and shops. The town itself shows its interesting colonial past which was heavily influenced by the Catholic Church.

Overnight Tamarind Tree or similar

Day 2 - Colombo – Dambulla

After breakfast, you will depart and drive to Dambulla (approx 4 hours). After checking into your hotel, the day is at leisure. Dambulla is famed for its rock caves. Its rock temples are the most extensive on the island, are amongst the most ancient and are in the highest state of preservation and order. Take your time to explore this unique city. (B)

Overnight Damballe Boutique Hotel

Day 3 - Sigiriya

Following an early breakfast, you will visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. To reach this rock, jump on two wheels and cycle from your hotel. From here, you will climb to the Rock Fortress.

The fortress is set amid dry zone scrub jungle and is home to a great variety of Sri Lanka’s fauna. Sigiriya, a mighty 180 metre high rock-fortress of a 5th century King, is famous for its entrancingly beautiful frescoes which are found in a sheltered pocket of the rock.  One cannot fail to marvel at the masterful execution of the sinuous forms of these women (originally 500, of which only 19 remain today).  The old stairway to the top led through the mouth of a huge crouching lion, carved from the rock. Today only the paws remain.  Remains of the handsome royal citadel are on the summit.

This UNESCO World Heritage site, a spectacular Rock Fortress, is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. The most impressive facets of the unique complex are the Water Gardens, the frescoes of beautiful maidens, the Mirror Wall with ancient graffiti, the lion platform and the summit of 1.6 hectares, which was completely covered by buildings during the period of Sigiriya’s glory.

Later this afternoon, you will drive to the beach resort, Trincomalee, located on the east coast of the island. (B)

Overnight at Chaaya Blue or similar

Day 4 - Trincomalee

This morning following breakfast, you will visit Pigeon Island Marine National Park. This is one of Sri Lanka’s best marine reserves and home to incredible reef ecosystems. The excursion is only possible between the months of May and October. An alternate excursion will be offered for November and December departures. If you are not keen to get wet, you can simply relax on the island and have stroll. There are boat services available from the Nilaveli beach. Hotels nearby will rent you snorkelling equipment.

Reminder of the day is at leisure. (B)

Overnight at Chaaya Blue or similar

Day 5 - Trincomalee – Matale

After breakfast, drive to Matale. On arrival check-in at your tea estate bungalow. Later, you will visit the spice garden in Matale. Here, you will see many spice gardens at Matale and in Mawanella where Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper Creepers and all other spice trees, plants and creepers have been planted. Spice products and herbal medicines are also available for those who are interested. Enjoy a tour through the gardens are you learn about each tree and plant and how they are used in food preparation.

Time permitting, you may have some free time to explore Aluvihare Temple. In addition to frescoed caves this temple is also home to monks who, even today, occupy themselves with transcribing Buddhist history and legend to Ola Leaf manuscripts. Watch as this ancient art is patiently practised by monks and artisans.(B)

Overnight at Strathisla Tea Estate Bungalow in Matale or similar

Day 6 - Matale – Ohiya

After breakfast, drive to Ohiya, a small rural village. Ohiya is one of the most scenic places in Sri Lanka. After checking in, the remainder of the day is at leisure. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Misty Mountain Lodge or similar

Day 7 - Ohia

Following breakfast, it is time to set off on foot. Your trek starts from Haputale, where you will be trekking through a protected rainforest which will lead to a scenic mountain cliff. Here you may witness the train passing along the colonial era railway line built by the British’s to transport the tea harvest to Colombo port.

Continue walking parallel to the railway line amidst the misty tea estates of Haputale with fascinating views of the valley below. You will come across two railway tunnels before reaching a hill country railway station and re-entering the forest which leads to a cliff offering stunning views where we serve you a picnic lunch.

Following lunch, re-enter the forest before reaching a very remote tea estate and its village. Here you will be able to interact with the local villagers who were originally brought to Sri Lanka from India to work in the tea estates introduced by the British.  Their way of life is still quite primitive. Witness ladies plucking tea and weighing their plucked tea harvest. You are encouraged to interact with them. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Misty Mountain Lodge or similar

Day 8 - Horton Plains National Park

Wake up around 6 am and enjoy the views over the mist clad mountains from the garden whilst sipping a warm cup of Ceylon Tea. After breakfast, you will start trekking to Horton Plains through the tea estates and then through the forest overlooking some of the best scenery in the hill country which the ordinary traveller to Sri Lanka is not privileged to witness.

When you emerge from the forest, you will be then transferred to the entrance gate of the Horton Plains National park before starting another trek of approximately four hours inside Horton Plains National Park to ‘Worlds End’ and the breathtaking Bakers Falls. Sri Lanka’s highest plateau is about 2200 metres above sea level in the central mountain country. This ‘Fen” is a very scenic region with an astounding variety of scenery, from mountains to grasslands and marshes to trout streams. Sri Lanka’s best flavoured high-grown teas grow in the surrounding areas. Take in the spectacular views from ‘Worlds End’ where the plateau plunges more than 300m in a straight sheer drop. Featuring a cool and bracing climate, this region is excellent for trout fishing and also very good hiking country. Distinctive flora (many English field flowers grow on the plains), colourful butterflies and many rare highland birds are among the highlights. You will also have the chance to visit Chimney Pools and water levels permitting, take a cool refreshing dip. During this trek, you will be served a picnic lunch. When you return to the park entrance after your trek, you will be transferred back to your hotel. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Misty Mountain Lodge or similar

Day 9 - Udawalawe National Park

After breakfast, drive to Udawalawe. This afternoon, enjoy a jeep safari at Udawalawe National Park as you search for local wildlife. Udawalawe National Park, the best park on the island for Elephant spotting.

Udawalewe National Park is an area of 31,800 hectares that was declared a protected sanctuary with full National Park status in 1972. The park area falls within two provinces of Sri Lanka. It has an annual rainfall of 1520mm and an average temperature of 29.4ºC. Surrounded by mountain ranges, the terrain of the park is a mixture of grassland that, of all Sri Lanka’s wildlife reserves, best rivals the savannah of Africa and shrub jungle. Teak plantations, water holes and two important factors make this park special – the large Udawalewe Reservoir and the Walewe River, which ensure a supply of water for the fauna within. Internationally renowned for its large herd of elephants, the park is also known for several species of deer, wild boar, the dangerous wild buffalo, jackal and very rare sightings of leopard. (B)

Overnight at Big Game in Udawalawe or similar

Day 10 - Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Enjoy breakfast in your hotel this morning before heading to Sinharaja rainforest, home to most of Sri Lanka’s endemic birdlife. Sinharaja Forest Reserve is considered one of the most important natural habitats in Sri Lanka. This majestic rainforest was deemed an International Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and deservedly designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1989. The forest offers a huge diversity of species, both flora and fauna, with a large proportion of those being indigenous to the country and some more specifically endemic to Sinharaja itself. (B,D)

Overnight at Rainforest Eco Lodge or similar

Day 11 - Bentota

After breakfast, drive to Bentota. This afternoon, visit Benthara Galapatha Temple. Legend has it that the river which flows through here is said to be haunted by a demon lying in its murky depths, ready to prey upon anyone crossing. Old timers living along the banks of this river have recalled how their ancestors, before they crossed the river, invoked the blessings of the guardian deities such as Kataragama and Vishnu for a safe crossing. Close to this Bentota river lies an ancient temple named Benthara Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara. Associated with this river, this temple is also aptly named Bhimathitha Vihara. (B,D) 

Overnight at Club Villa in Bentota

Day 12 - Departure

The morning is yours until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)