25 October 2016
Now that peace has been restored to the beautiful island of Sri Lanka there has never been a better time to visit. And on this five day tour you will see the highlights of the island which was formerly known as Ceylon. You will visit ancient temples and discover the history, get up close and personal with the animals at the must see Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, tour the royal city of Kandy and see the stunning botanical gardens and climb up to the amazing rock fortress of Sigiriya, known as the Lion Rock, which has great views over the surrounding countryside.
After your flight you will be transferred direct to Habarana an overnight stay. Rest of day is at leisure. HABARANA - the central point of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and the most convenient base for excursions to the Ancient historical cities – Anuradhapura 60 minutes, Polonnaruwa 45 minutes, Sigiriya/Dambulla 30 minutes, Ritigala 10 minutes and Minneriya National Park (site of the renowned “Gathering” of over 300 Elephant between July and September) 15 minutes. Though in the “Dry Zone” of the country, thanks to the genius of ancient kings the Sri Lankan “dry zone” is anything but dry, with hundreds of lakes and reservoirs connected by an elaborate network of canals making up a fascinating irrigation system which also provides some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery and fertile habitat for Sri Lanka’s incredible bio-diversity. This contributes to a large range of activity in the area – village and forest walks, bird and wildlife watching, Elephant Back Safari, cycling, trekking and boating. Habarana is the location of two of the country’s best hotels - The Cinnamon Lodge and The Chaaya Village, idyllically located by a peaceful lake and in extensive landscaped gardens which retain most of the original forest trees.
After breakfast your tour begins in earnest with a visit to to Sigiriya where King Kashyapa built his fortified palace on top of a huge rocky outcrop in the 5th century. On the way up see rock paintings of beautiful women considered as being part of the world's art treasure. In the afternoon visit Polonnaruwa, the capital of the island from the 11th to the 13th century. See incredible Buddhist art at the Tivanka Image House.
Today you will visit Kandy stopping at the fascinating Dambulla Cave Temples on route. In Kandy, the last capital of the Sinhalese kings, you will see the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha at Dalada Maligawa, venue of one of the most colourful pageants in all Asia, and later you will be taken to the Royal Botanical Gardens.
This morning you will visit the world famous Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawela. The orphanage is home to young elephants who have been displaced or lost from their natural habitat. Here you can bottle feed these magnificent creatures and watch them have a bath in the nearby river. Continue on to the capital city of Colombo for a city tour.
Colombo has long been regarded as the traditional gateway to the Orient and today is a fascinating city with a happy blend of East and West. You will have had time to visit the local bazaars the previous evening and today there may be time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before being transferred to the airport for your onward journey or flight home.
Standard fr £647pp
Deluxe fr £672pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated