25 September 2016
Sri Lanka is a wonderful, and nowadays a very safe country to explore, and on this comprehensive 11 day tour you will see so many of the amazing highlights. You will be taken to visit the stunning rock fortress of Sigiriya, many of the country's ancient cities, the fascinating cave temple at Dambulla, bustling and colourful Kandy, with its beautiful botanical gardens, the world famous elephant orphanage at Pinnawela, the cool and inviting colonial hill stations in tea country and end with a relaxing four days soaking up the tropical sunshine at a superb luxurious beach resort.
On arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport near Sri Lanka's capital city Colombo you will be met by one of our tour representatives and driven the four hours to the Heritance hotel in Kandalama where you will be staying for the next three nights. Relax in the hotel's luxurious surroundings after the long journey and hear about all the exciting things that you will be seeing and doing over the next 10 days.
One of the many highlights of the tour today when you visit Sigiriya, also known as the Lion Rock, one of Sri Lanka's seven World Heritage sites. This ancient rock fortress and ruins of a castle was once the home to King Kasyapa. A testiment to ancient artistry and architectural ingenuity, Sigiriya has many attractions including its gardens, world renowned frescos and mirror wall and the views from the top after climbing a winding metal staitcase are stunning. Return to Kandalama and in the afternoon enjoy a game drive at the MInneriya National Park which is home to sambar deer, leopards, elephants and huge flocks of birds.
Leave early morning for nearby Hiriwaduna for a three hour trek through this archetypal Sri Lankan village. Begin with an awesome walk around a man made reservoir and scrub jungle seeing birds, butterflies and possibly crocodiles. Then meet the villagers as they go about their early morning tasks of fishing or washing clothes at the edge of the lake. You wade through a shallow stream and use a farmer’s catamaran as the trek continues through dense forests where you may see monkeys, bears and pythons. Return to your hotel and in the afternoon there is an optional excursion to Polonnaruwa, the second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms
Today you leave Kandalama and drive to Kandy stopping at the Rangiriya Dambulla Cave Temple on the way. This World Heritage Site is an amazing complex of five caves, first used as a refuge by an ancient king who commissioned magnificent carved images within the living rock. Later kings made further improvements and the caves contain more than 150 images of the Buddha. Then you stop for a break at the Matale Spice Gardens where you can indulge your senses and sample some of the homeopathic remedies of the East. Continue to Kandy and check in to your hotel before going on a city tour visiting the famous Temple of the Tooth, the country's most sacred temple. In the evening enjoy a Kandyan cultural dance show.
This morning you head off to the quiet and picturesque town of Nuwara Eliya. The drive takes you through the country's tea plantations and once in the town the rest of the day is at leisure so you can enjoy the simplicity and beauty of life in the cool hill country. Nuwara Eliya is Sri Lanka's premier hill resort with a fine bracing mountain climate and is also the heart of the island's tea country. The mountain slopes and valleys are a carpet of velvety green plantations, with gushing streams and 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. Later return to your hotel in Kandy.
After breakfast this morning you are taken to visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This world famous orphanage has been operating for more than 30 years, nurturing orphaned calves, treating the feeble and rehabilitating the injured. Today, the orphanage has 60 elephants and you see them being fed, at play and the highlight of the visit bathtime, when they frolick in the nearby river. After this fascinating day with the elephants you will be driven the three hours to your final destination of the tour, the luxurious Heritance resort hotel at Ahungalla.
After seeing all the famous sights on your Sri Lanka tour now it's time to relax in the luxurious surroundings of your beach hotel for the next four days and reflect on all that you have done. At the Heritance Ahungalla style and substance mix like a classic cocktail and if you ever tire of soaking up the tropical sunshine there are plenty of activities and tours in the area which can be booked.
Just as the turquoise infinity pool seems to blend into the ultramarine Indian Ocean, award-winning cuisine fuses the best of east and west at the Heritance Ahungalla, which will weave a little magic into your holiday memories while promising you the finest hospitality and best luxury services of all Sri Lanka beach hotels. While staying here you can enjoy the infinity pool, the green pool, the fitness centre, play tennis and outdoor games and sample theme night dinners. There is also a kids club, library and shopping arcade.
Another day in paradise. At the hotel's Diviyan Spa the philosophy is simple - they want to make you feel better and more beautiful. The three fundamentals are professional expertise, professional treatments and professional products. The spa's own line of blended pure massage oils and genuine herbal cosmetics are made in Sri Lanka from the finest natural ingredients and the experienced therapists from Bali will ensure that you have a relaxing, rejuvenating and memorable session.
Make the most of your last full day at this luxusious oasis. Among the things to do in the area are hot air balloon rides, a Madhu river safari, visit the Kosgoda turtle hatchery and Moonstone mines, see mask carving at Ambalangoda, go whale watching, visit historic Galle for a city tour, take a cycle safari or an elephant ride. There isn't a dull moment during your stay at wonderful Ahungalla.
Today your memorable Spirit of Sri Lanka tour comes to an end. Have a final swim in the ocean or one of the hotel pools before being picked up and driven the three hours back to the international airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey home. However, before leaving you can extend your holiday with a visit to Colombo and stay for a few days experiencing life in the bustling capital city.
Double Room fr £958pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated