Situated in the Indian Ocean and located just off the Southern Coast of India, Sri Lanka has been often considered the pearl of the Indian Ocean. As a result of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia. It was also an important stop on the ancient Silk Road.
Sri Lanka has also been a center of the Buddhist philosophy and culture from ancient times, being the nation where the Buddhist teachings were first written down as well as the oldest continually Buddhist country.
Sri Lanka boasts a diverse range of cultures, languages and religions. The Sinhalese people from the majority of the population, Tamil people who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, form the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include Moors, Burghers, Malays, and the aboriginal Vedda people.
The country is famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, gemstones, coconuts, rubber and cinnamon the last of which is native to the country. The island contains tropical forests and diverse landscapes with high biodiversity. The country lays claim to a long and varying history of over three thousand years, having one of the longest documented histories in the world.
With a location just above the equator the country enjoys a lovely tropical climate that provides relatively constant weather throughout the year. Despite this, it also features two main monsoon seasons that bring about heavy periods of rain. Namely South-West Monsoon (May to July) and North- East Monsoon (December to January).
Sri Lanka has no marked seasons. This tiny island which is not more than 65,610 km2 in area is home to 08 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As result of being so small the hot and humid lowlands and the salubrious hill country are separated only by a few hours motoring
It is important that you visit the link in order to get an idea of what to do and what not to do while in the country – www.srilanka.travel/travel_tips
Sri Lanka World Heritage Tour
Arrival at the Katunayake International Airport and be met and garlanded by our English speaking chauffeur/ National guide. Thereafter transfer to Mount Lavinia Hotel and immediate check-in. In order to have the room ready on arrival, the booking will be made from the previous day.Leisurely breakfast at the hotel.Thereafter transfer to the commercial capital of Sri Lanka – Colombo
Colombo – the trade and commercial capital has long been the traditional gateway to the Orient. Sri Lanka’s largest city, it is located on the west coast and draws together all the cultures, religions and influences of foreign lands into a pot-pourri of sounds, smells and a kaleidoscope of colour. The original traders and settlers – the Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch and the British have left in their wake churches and monuments, names and religions, costumes and food and smatterings of their languages which have been absorbed into the speech of the Sri Lankan. Today, Colombo is a fascinating city – a happy blend of east & west, past & present, with a charm of its own. A less known but amazingly true fact is that
Colombo has a superb range of high quality restaurants serving food from all over the world and some of the best shopping opportunities in Asia. The main seaport of Sri Lanka is in Colombo & adjoining it, is Pettah, a local bazaar & trading area. Other places of interest are the beautiful Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, mosques, the historic Wolfendhal church, (1749) residential areas where you find the stately homes of the affluent, the Colombo Museum, the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, the New Parliament in Sri Jayewardenepura, the Folk Art Centre, Art Galleries, Parks, Independence Square, the Zoo, the Ceramic Corporation famous for its well known brand “Noritake” and ODEL the renowned shopping centre.
Rest of the day at leisure for optional activities and shopping. Return to the hotel. Dinner & overnight at Mount Lavinia (Colonial Hotel – Direct Ocean View)
Breakfast at the hotel. Thereafter leave for Anuradhapura. Arrive in Anuradhapura and check in at Ulagalla Resort. The rest of the day at leisure by the pool or for other optional activities. Dinner & overnight at Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura (Boutique Hotel – Ulagalla Chalet)
Leave with a packed breakfast to the Wilpaththu National Park and do a jeep safari. Wilpattu National Park (Willu-pattu; Land of Lakes) is a park located on the island of Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes) – Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located 30km west Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo). The park is 131, 693 hectares and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. Wilpattu is one of the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world renowned for its Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. The Leopard population in Wilpattu is still not yet known
Thereafter transfer back to Anuradhapura (01st capital of Sri Lanka) and do a city tour including a visit to the Ruwanwelisaya, Isurumuniya and Sri Mahabodhiya
Anuradhapura – a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the north central part of the Island was the first capital (5th century BC – 9th century AD), the centre of the island’s Buddhist civilization and undoubtedly the grandest city of ancient Sri Lanka. In antiquity and the interest, it is the equal of any ancient ‘buried city’ in the world. The oldest historically documented tree on earth (over 2,200 years old) – The Sri Maha Bodhi, brought as a sapling of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment, and the island’s oldest Buddhist shrines – some dating back to the 3rd century BC, impressive white ‘dagabas’ (relic chambers) and monuments embellished with handsome stone carvings or sculpture, pleasure gardens, beautifully executed stone baths and ponds and a superb irrigation system of reservoirs and canals are the main attractions of Anuradhapura. Specific places to visit are – the Brazen Palace (2nd century B.C.), with 1600 significant stone columns are the remains of a magnificent multi-storied residence for monks – an engineering marvel at the time, Ruwanweli Seya (2nd century B.C) the most famous of all the dagoba’s, originally depicted the perfect water- bubble shape that modern restoration has not been able to accurately reproduce, Samadhi Buddha (3rd century B.C.) regarded as the finest rock sculpture in the island – depicting the Buddha in a state of deep meditation, Isurumuniya rock temple (3rd century B.C.) known for its rock carving of the “Lovers”, Kuttam Pokuna, twin ponds (3rd century B.C.) which were used by monks of this glorious era as a bathing pool. Thuparama (3rd century B.C.), the oldest dagoba in the island – enshrines the right collarbone of Buddha, Ratnaprasada with the best preserved Guard Stone, Mahasena’s Palace with its renowned Moonstone, Abayagiri and Jetevanarama – a huge dagoba said to the largest brick built structure in the world.
(Note: we will not be able to visit every sight as mentioned in the description as the time is limited)
Return to the hotel. Dinner & overnight at Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura (Boutique Hotel – Ulagalla Chalet)
Leave after an early breakfast for Jaffna to explore territories which have been closed to visitors for the past 30 years. Prepare for days of exploration. The drive will take approximately 04 1/2 hours. Notice the subtle but definite change in the terrain as the otherwise dominant coconut palms all but disappear and the landscape is taken over by the mysteriously beautiful Palmyra Palms which are iconic of Sri Lanka’s north and east. If early enough you may be lucky to see wild elephants crossing the A9 road… As you travel further north, time seems to slowdown as you see fewer and fewer vehicles on the road. The landscape seems to stretch to impossibly distant horizons on either side of the road.
Arrive in Jaffna and check-in at PJ Hotels Jaffna.
Explore the town of Jaffna including visits to the 15th century Nallur Kovil also known as the Kandaswamy Temple, the Jaffna library and museum the busting main street which is a hive of economic activity and the grand old Dutch Fort of Jaffna. Return to the hotel
Dinner & overnight at PJ Hotels Jaffna, Jaffna (Unclassified [03 Star] – Deluxe Room)
After an early breakfast for Kurikadduwan jetty which is located on the western tip of the Jaffna peninsula. The 45 minute drive at sunrise will be a special treat as many long causeways need to be crossed as the road connects mainland Jaffna with the smaller islands of Kayts and Punkudutivu. It will be interesting to stop and watch fishermen as they glide along the lagoon on catamarans to check traps they’ve set for fish, prawns and other shellfish. Arrive at the jetty and take a 30 minute boat transfer to the Island of Nainativu to visit the Naagadeepa Temple and the Hindu Kovil
The Nagadeepa Purana Rajamaha Viharaya is one of the sixteen most sacred places of worship by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Pilgrims have been coming to the Nagadeepa since about the 1st century AC to worship at its famous Rajayathana stupa. The Rajayathana stupa was constructed by two warring Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara, at the site where Lord Buddha during His second visit to the country on a Bak Maha Amawaka Poya Day, five years after attaining Enlightenment, intervened and mediated in settling a dispute over the possession of a gem-studded throne. The precious throne was offered to the lord Buddha, was returned to the
Naga Kings and was later enshrined in this Rajayathana stupa.
Proceed from Naagadeepa to the incredible island of Delft… Undoubtedly the most remote location in Sri Lanka… The Portuguese called it Ilha das Vacas, the Dutch called it Delft. Locally it is known as Neduntivu. Situated in the Palk Straits, north- west of Jaffna, this island, famed for its wild ponies is the largest in the Palk Strait, estimated to be 4717 hectares, 8 km long and 6 km across. There are about nine churches here and the Hindu religion is also practiced. There are several fishing hamlets and the communities make dried fish. There is also a post office. The Indian shore is visible from certain points in Delft.
The main mode of transport for locals is the bicycle and visitors have to go around in small trucks or mini tractors. Rough benches are secured at the back of the trucks, but travelers best be prepared for a bumpy and bone-rattling ride on the rough terrain!
The waters surrounding the island are turquoise blue and one can wade up to about 300 meteres into the sea. There are also fascinating coral formations around. A most distinct feature of Delft is the many boundary walls built by residents with the exclusive use of large corals…Huge expanses of Aloe vera grow wild on the almost white sands.
Spend the day exploring Delft… Have a picnic lunch in a scenic location… Most important to bring your swimwear in order to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience of bathing in the clear, undisturbed waters off the coast of Delft…
Return to Kurikadduwan jetty and drive back to Jaffna. Dinner & overnight at PJ Hotels Jaffna, Jaffna (Unclassified [03 Star] – Deluxe Room)
Jaffna to Kuchchaveli (Approximate distance and drive time: 260kms & 04 1⁄2 hours)
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Kuchchaveli which is situated approximately 35kms north of Trincomalee. Arrive in Kuchchaveli and check in at Jungle Beach Resort. In the little coastal village of Kuchchaveli, on the eastern seaboard of Sri Lanka, Jungle Beach is every bit as its name implies; spectacularly set in an entirely natural and harmonious blend of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated virtues – its wondrous beaches and teeming jungles.
Nestled within a secluded 10-acre reserve, sandwiched between the vast Indian Ocean and a lagoon filled with colourful birds, this luxury beach hotel in Trincomalee beckons with over 4km of private beaches, tropical mangroves and endless pursuits Rest of the day at leisure to relax by the pool or on the beach.
Dinner & overnight at Jungle Beach Resort, Kuchchaveli (Boutique Hotel – Lagoon Cabins)
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Trincomalee and take a city tour including a visit to the Koneswaram temple
Trincomalee which is a natural deep-water harbour that has attracted sea farers like Marco Polo, Ptolemy and Sea Traders from China and East Asia since ancient times. Trinco, as it is commonly called, has been a sea port since the days of the ancient Sri Lankan Kings. Take an optional boat excursion to Pigeon Island (approximately duration will be 03 hours) Important: Depending on how rough the sea is, the naturalists at the hotel will decide whether this can be done or not.
Return to Kuchchaveli and at leisure. Dinner & overnight at Jungle Beach Resort, Kuchchaveli (Boutique Hotel – Lagoon Cabins)
Leave after an early breakfast for the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya.
Sigiriya – 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 theperiod of Sigiriya’s glory. Built by King Kashyapa (477-495 A.D), the “Lion Rock” is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200m from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town and the base is ringed by a moat, rampart, and extensive gardens. The world-renowned frescoes (originally 500, of which only 19 remain today) which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway are painted in earth pigments on plaster. The old stairway to the top led through the mouth of a crouching lion but today only the huge paws remain giving an indication of the massive proportions of the head. The Remains of the handsome royal citadel are on the summit and several caves for meditation, audience platforms and baths complete the unique site.
Thereafter transfer to Habarana and check in at Cinnamon Lodge
Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner & overnight at Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana (05 Star – Superior Room)
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa (02nd capital of Sri Lanka) and take a city tour.
Polonnaruwa – this medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rose to fame as the capital (10th – 12th century AD) after the decline of Anuradhapura. The entire landscape of the region is punctuated by huge man-made reservoirs, the most famous of which is the Parakrama Samudra or the Sea of Parakrama, larger in size than the Colombo harbour. The monuments are relatively well preserved and give clear evidence of the glory of Sri Lanka’s past. Highlights are the Royal Palace complex including the Kings Palace and Audience Hall, the Quadrangle with its concentration of ancient heritage and the spectacular Gal Vihare complex of four massive images of the Buddha, cut from a single slab of granite – a highlight of ancient Sri Lankan rock carving. Some of the best examples of the Hindu influence – the Temples of Shiva, intricate statues of Hindu Gods, fascinating Budhist temples, the Lankatileka and Watadage, the Galpotha, the Lotus bath, the Kiri Vihare Dagoba and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth are other impressive sights.
Transfer back to the hotel. In the evening take a 01 hour elephant back safari.
Dinner & overnight at Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana (05 Star – Superior Room)
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the Hill Capital – Kandy en route making a visit to the Rock Cave Temple of Dambulla and a spice garden in Matale and witness spices growing in their natural habitat and Learn about spices and their use in Sri Lankan cuisine.
Dambulla – located in the north central province this UNESCO World Heritage Site which dates back to the 01st century BC, is an amazing complex of 05 caves, first used as a refuge by an ancient king who on regaining his throne, commissioned magnificent carved images within the living rock. Later kings made further improvements and the caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is a colossal figure spanning 15 meters. Cave inscriptions from the 2nd Century BC are found and on the walls are many paintings most of which belong to the Kandy period (early 19th century). This temple is a perfect location to view evolution of ancient Sri Lankan art and is an important historical site due to the amalgamation of the material from many eras.
Proceed to Kandy and check in at Cinnamon Citadel.
Kandy – a lovely exotic city, the Hill Capital and last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which retains an aura of grandeur, time has not affected. Encircled by hills, with a tranquil lake in its centre, it is the site of the renowned temple that enshrines the Tooth Relic of the Buddha and the Royal Botanical gardens – home to one of the world’s best collections of Orchids. A cultural sanctuary where many legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive, Kandy and its satellite villages are the centre of the islands handicraft industry (items of wood, brass & silver) exquisite silver or gold jewellery and precious gems of many varieties including the world’s best blue and star sapphires. The highlight of the city’s calendar is the Esala Perahera, when a replica of the casket enclosing the Tooth is taken in procession for ten glittering nights in July/August by exotically costumed dancers, drummers and approximately 100 Elephants.
In the afternoon take a city tour of Kandy including a visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Later in the afternoon witness a cultural dance show
Return to the hotel. Overnight at Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy (04 Star Deluxe Category – Superior Room)
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the lovely hills of Nuwara Eliya. You will feel how the climate and the geography changes in just a few hours.
Nuwara Eliya – Sri Lanka’s premier hill resort with a fine bracing mountain climate, Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country, producing some of the world’s best tea. The mountain slopes and valleys are a carpet of velvety green tea plantations, interspersed with gushing streams and tumbling waterfalls. Red or green roofed plantation bungalows, English country style homes and hotels with lovely flower gardens, a fine 18 hole golf course and a racecourse gives Nuwara Eliya a decidedly British character
Arrive in Nuwara Eliya and take a sightseeing tour including a visit to a Tea Factory where you will witness how the world famous Ceylon Tea is produced.
You are now in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. Thereafter transfer to Nanu Oya and check in at Langdale by Amaya and rest of the day at leisure.
Dinner & overnight at Langdale by Amaya, Nanu Oya (Luxury Boutique – Superior Room)
Leave after an early breakfast for a city tour of Negombo including a visit to the fish market.
Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer to Negombo and check in at Jetwing Beach. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner & overnight at Jetwing Beach, Negombo (05 Star – Deluxe Room)
Negombo – sometimes known as “Little Rome” due to the profusion of Christian Churches, this archetypical fishing village has now grown to a major beach resort on the west coast, north of Colombo and 15 minutes from the International Airport. The wide sandy beaches and safe sea bathing are major attractions, as is the fish market where busy trading of a variety of fish, prawns and crabs takes place each morning (except Sunday) when the fishing craft return to shore. Traditional large sailed outrigger canoes are a picturous sight in this village which was once a trading port for the Portuguese and Dutch. Other attractions are the old Dutch fort gate built in
1672 now a part of the prison and the Dutch Canal which was then a supply route for the Dutch administration
Rest of the day at leisure.
Dinner & overnight at Jetwing Beach, Negombo (05 Star – Deluxe Room)
Departure transfer to the airport