Day 1: Airport.
Arrive at the Bandaranaike International airport, Katunayake. You will be met and assisted on arrival by our staff. Leave for Kalutara, a resort town in the south (78 km, approx. 2 hour drive). On arrival, check in at the hotel. Afternoon leave for Pahiyangala, Asia’s largest natural rock cave where pre-historic man lived 37,000 years ago. This is a large cave around 200 ft. in length and 150 ft. in height where 3000 people could be accommodated at a time. Valuable fossils of the prehistoric man have been found in this pit. The famous Chinese traveler monk Fa-Hsien who visited Sri Lanka in the 5th A.D. had made this cave his temporary abode and hence the name Pahiyangala. At the top of the rock is dense jungle home to many animal species. The temple is located at the bottom of the rock. On completion, return to the hotel. Overnight stay at a hotel in Kalutara or Wadduwa.
Day 2: Sinharaja.
After breakfast leave for Sinharaja Forest Reserve via Ratnapura (140 km, approx. 4 hour drive). One of the UNESCO World heritage sites and the least disturbed and biologically unique lowland rain forests remaining in Sri Lanka. It is a treasure trove of endemic species including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Because of the dense vegetation wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry zone national parks as Yala. Bird watching is particularly interesting as it is home to 95% of the endemic birds of Sri Lanka. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 3: Kitulgala / Nuwara Eliya.
After breakfast leave for Nuwara Eliya via Kitulgala through beautiful tea plantations. On arrival in Nuwara Eliya, check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at a hotel in Nuwara Eliya.
Day 4: Nuwara Eliya / Horton Plains.
Early morning leave for Horton (40 km – approx. 1½ hour drive), the highest plateau in the country is one of the very important National parks in Sri Lanka especially for its topographical variations. It has unique vegetation and is famous for many rare and endemic highland birds. The most awesome physical feature of the Horton Plains is the escarpment that falls 880 meters to the lowlands of the southern region of the island. Aptly known as the ‘World’s End’ the view from the precipice of the countryside below towards the south coast is spectacular. Dawn or early morning is the best time for observing it.
On completion return to Nuwara Eliya. Set in the heart of Tea country and situated 1890 meters above sea level, this beautiful town of Nuwara Eliya is where the British succeeded in creating an English countryside with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne with well-kept lawns with hedges. On arrival in Nuwara Eliya commence a sightseeing tour of the city. Visit the Nuwara Eliya Town, Market place, Golf Course, (one of the finest 18 holes Golf Courses in Asia) the Hill Club, and drive around this hill station viewing Lake Gregory. Overnight stay at a hotel in Nuwara Eliya
Day 5: Kandy.
After breakfast leave for Kandy (79 km – approx. 3 hour drive). En route visit a tea plantation and a tea factory. At the tea factory witness the process of manufacture of tea from plucking of the green leaves to packaging of the processed tea. On arrival in Kandy, check in at the hotel. Afterwards, commence a sightseeing tour of Kandy, the bustling hill country capital which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the pink painted famous Temple of the Tooth which houses the most sacred religious relic, the tooth of the Buddha. Kandy is also popular because of the annual festival known as the Esala Perahera where the inner casket covering the tooth relic of the Buddha is taken in a grand procession through the streets of the city held annually in the month of July or August. Drive past the picturesque premises of the University of Peradeniya and visit the Market Place, and an Arts & Crafts Showroom. Then drive along the Upper Lake road to get a panoramic view of the Kandy Lake built in 1807 and is an attractive centerpiece to the town. Also visit the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, where a rare collection of tropical exotic and indigenous flora including the famous Orchid House could be viewed. Late evening enjoy the Kandyan Cultural show at the Kandyan Arts & Cultural Centre. The show features the graceful and rhythmic dancers and drummers culminating in an impressive fire walking display. A visit to Gadaldeniya, Embekke and Lankathilaka could be arranged on request. Overnight stay at a hotel in Kandy
Day 6: Dambulla / Sigiriya.
After breakfast proceed to Dambulla (79 km – approx. 3 hour drive), visiting a Spice garden in Matale en route. On arrival visit the famous Golden Rock cave temple of Dambulla which has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, a vast isolated rock mass with its five caverns is the largest best preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 sq. meters) are of particular importance as are the 157 statues including a 47 foot long statue of the recumbent Buddha. The ceiling of one cavern is fully illustrated with paintings that follow the natural folds of the rock so closely that it appears to be made of cloth. The complex of caves is one of the most impressive Buddhist Temples in the world. On completion, check in at the hotel. Afternoon climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress(a UNESCO World Heritage site) built by King Kassapa in the 5th century A.D. which was a Royal Citadel for more than 18 years. The lion rock is a citadel of unusual beauty, rising 200 meters from the scrub jungle. The base of the rock is ringed by a moat and rampart and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens. The majestic Lion’s Paw picturesquely guards the stairway of the palace on the summit. See the famous frescoes of the “Heavenly maidens” of Sigiriya in a sheltered pocket of the rock and the 10 foot high Mirror Wall. On completion, check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at a hotel in Dambulla.
Day 7: Polonnaruwa / Colombo.
After breakfast at hotel, leave for Polonnaruwa (67 km – approx. 1½ hour drive), the Capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th century, a well-planned medieval city defended by enclosing walls (around 5 km. which still remain),graced by palaces, shrines, monasteries, pavilions, parks, ponds and irrigation lakes. Polonnaruwa is strewn with ruins in a resplendent state of preservation. Of these the ‘Vatadage’ and the ‘Thuparama Image House’ are the most spectacular. The ‘Gal Vihara’ which consists of statues of the recumbent, standing and seated Buddha have been cut from a single granite wall and rank among the true masterpieces of Sri Lankan Art. Thereafter proceed to Colombo (214 km – approx. 5 hour drive). Check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at a hotel in Colombo
Day 8: Departure.
After breakfast leave to the Airport for your departure flight (30 km, approx. 1 hour drive).
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