12 days/10 nights accommodated. Departs Monday 22nd July, 2019 – returns Friday 02 August, 2019. Five star hotels and flying Singapore Airlines Premium Economy class.
Escorted from Auckland by Stephen Greenfield. This will be my 10th visit to Sri Lanka.
The end of this tour is flexible. You are welcome to stay longer in Sri Lanka or extend your tour to the Maldives and/or stopover in Singapore. Have a great holiday in a beautiful and fascinating country. I was able to assist in relief work after the 2004 tsunami and we will visit some of the communities helped then.
Day 1. Monday 22nd July, 2019. AUCKLAND –NEGOMBO
Meet your escort at Auckland airport and depart around midday for Colombo arriving near midnight. Transfer to our hotel.
Day 2. Tuesday 23rd July NEGOMBO–YAPAHUWA - HABARANA (BD)
Explore the ruins of Yapahuwa, one of Sri Lanka’s ancient capitals including the 100 metre rock fortress. Continue to Habarana. This evening enjoy a 4WD safari to see the ‘gathering of the elephants’ in Minneriya National Park.
Day 3. Wednesday 24th July. HABARANA – Anuradhapura and Sigiriya visits (BD)
Visit Anuradhapura established as a capital first in 380BC but it was under Devanampiya Tissa (247-207BC) during whose reign Buddhism came to Sri Lanka that Anuradhapura first flourished. Explore the ancient ruins including temples and water tanks. This afternoon visit Sigiriya the 5th century rock fortress, built by King Kashyapa (473-491AD), and now a World Heritage site. The 'Lion Rock' is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart, and extensive gardens, including the renowned water gardens, ring the base of the rock. Visit the world renowned 'Heavenly Maidens' rock frescoes and climb to the top to see the remains of the palace and its environments.
Day 4. Thursday 25th July. POLONNARUWA – KANDY. (BD)
Continue to ancient Polonnaruwa, a thriving commercial and religious centre - 800 years ago. The Chola dynasty made it their capital in in the late 10th century. It was abandoned around the 13th century. In 1982 UNESCO added Polonnaruwa to its World heritage List. This afternoon visit the Dambulla Rock cave Temple and continue to Matale to visit a coconut plantation and spice garden to learn the secrets of different spices and the different uses of the coconut before driving to Kandy, ancient hill country capital of Sri Lanka for 225 years from 1590. Accommodation and dinner at Mahaweli Reach Hotel. www.mahaweli.com
Day 5. Friday, 26th July. KANDY. (BD)
This morning we visit the elephant orphanage at Pinnuwala before exploring Kandy including the Temple of the Tooth relic and see the ancient manuscripts and Emerald Buddha. Also visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya to see its magnificent Orchid House and grove of splendid trees planted by eminent world figures. Drive around Kandy Lake and visit the Bazaar, the Arts and Crafts Centre, and the Gem Museum and Lapidary to discover the secrets of Sri Lanka's precious stones. This evening enjoy an introduction to Kandyan Culture. Accommodation at Mahaweli Reach Hotel.
Day 6. Saturday. 27th July. KANDY - NUWARA ELIYA. (BD)
We take a scenic train ride through the hills and massive tea plantations to Nanu Oya past Sri Lanka's highest mountain (8282 ft). Rejoin our vehicle and visit a tea plantation and tea factory en route to Nuwara Eliya - hill country retreat of the British Raj. Enjoy a short tour of Nuwara Eliya. Accommodation at the historic Grand Hotel.
Day 7. Sunday 28th July. NUWARA ELIYA – YALA NATIONAL PARK. (BD)
Drive to Ella to view the Ella Gap and Ravana Falls then on to Yala National Park for a safari by jeep. Yala is the largest National Park in Sri Lanka and is home of wild elephants, wild boar, buffalo, leopard, bear, deer, and crocodiles.
Day 8. Monday 29th July. YALA – GALLE. (BD)
Free time for another game drive – extra expense.
Drive along the beautiful southern coast through Matara to Galle. See the famous Stilt fishermen en route. This area is known for its high quality lace work and ebony wood carvers and you will have the opportunity to see and purchase their products. Accommodation at Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel for 2 nights.
Day 9. Tuesday 30 July. GALLE. (BD)
This morning we explore Galle and the site where the Portuguese first landed in 1505. The Dutch captured and fortified the Fort in the 17th and 18th Centuries. We explore the Fort with plenty of free time to wander as you wish in the Fort and town. You have the opportunity to visit a local family and learn the ‘science’ of creating Fish Ambul Thiyal which keeps fresh for many days without refrigeration, and Jack fruit curry. Overnight at the Lighthouse hotel in Galle.
Day 10. Wednesday 31 July. GALLE – BENTOTA. (BD)
We take a leisurely drive along the coast with a visit to a turtle hatchery and relaxing cruise on the Madu River for accommodation at the Bentota Beach Hotel.
Day 11. Thursday 01 August. BENTOTA - COLOMBO - DEPART. (BD)
Drive to Colombo for a city tour including the Fort, Bazaar, city and residential areas and National Museum. Dinner at the Nuga Gama Sri Lankan style restaurant before transferring to the airport mid evening. You will have the chance to freshen up and repack in day rooms before your flight home
You are welcome to stayover in Sri Lanka if you wish or why not stayover in Colombo for the night and fly to the Maldives for a few days beach time?
Day 12. Friday 02 August. COLOMBO - AUCKLAND
Depart Colombo early this morning for Singapore connecting directly to Auckland arriving late evening.
You are welcome to stopover in Singapore if you wish.
Tour Cost per person 2 per room $6,960 Single room $8,300
Tour cost includes:
** Premium Economy class air fares Auckland/Colombo/Auckland.
** Arrival and departure transfers
** 10 nights accommodation and breakfast at 5 star hotels in Sri Lanka. 10 dinners in Sri Lanka
** Comprehensive sightseeing in Sri Lanka including admissions on all activities listed for the group.
ADD THE MALDIVES
Stay in Colombo Saturday night and fly to Male Sunday morning. Transfer by speedboat to your island getaway for 3 nights (extendable) departing late Wednesday night for Singapore arriving Auckland Thursday night.
Total cost 18 days $ 8,950 share twin $9,900 single
Leopard – Yala National Park, 2012