Sri Lanka, Summer Adventure

May 2023

Effective from 1st October, the Sri Lankan Government has eased on some of the restrictions on visiting tourists. 

Transform your world with a two week guided adventure witnessing Sri Lanka’s Great Elephant Gathering”. Visit an Ancient Cave Temple. Try sighting the mysterious flying squirrel. Visit a working tea factory. Soak in breathtaking views of Sri Lanka’s Horton Plains National Park, white water raft the mighty Kelani River and enjoy rich culinary experiences and even a cooking lesson. 

Overview

  • Duration: 14 Days 
  • Dates: May 2023 
  • Airport – Meet & Greet @ Colombo International Airport (CMB)
  • Visa (***Required) Fees & Processing Included. 

Health & Safety

Effective from 1st October, the Sri Lankan Government has eased on some of the restrictions on visiting tourists. 

Full vaccinated passengers who have completed 14 days after the final vaccination, would require to obtain a negative PCR report 72 hours before embarkation or a negative Rapid Antigen Test 48 hours prior to embarkation. Upon arrival at the airport in Sri Lanka will be released to travel without additional PCR and overnight quarantine required.

Package Inclusions

  • This package includes meet & greet at Colombo International Airport (CMB). 
  • Guided activities transfers, meals & accommodation as listed. 
  • No hassles with all logistics planned, special activities, reservations, and excursions as listed in your itinerary. 
  • Covid test charge that will be scheduled by hosts 48 hrs. prior to departure from the lodge.
  • Our 4-part transformative travel process, including a 1 hr pre and 1 hr post journey virtual interview with all participants. 
  • Detailed packing checklist. 
  • Maps of destination. 
  • Guidance on travel policies, do’s and don’ts. 
  • Applicable taxes and/or credit card processing fee are included.
  • A shared google folder with all important documents (such as your parking pass, reservations information, phone numbers, addresses, and a packing checklist) will be accessible to you anytime, anywhere.

14 days, 13 nights

Outline Itinerary & Highlights

Arrive in Colombo International Airport (CMB) by noon where you will be met and chauffeured to the warm and welcoming Villa Hundria. Evening explorations may include exploring the lagoon, bird-watching at Muthurajawela, visiting the local fish market before enjoying a cooking class in Sri Lankan cooking. 

After an early breakfast, head to the Negombo Fish Market to get a feel of the busy life of a Sri Lankan coastal town.

Negombo is a fishing town where most of the locals hail from fishing families by centuries of descent. Currently, over 2,000 boats including traditional outrigger canoes called ‘oru’ in Sinhalese, catamarans and larger mechanized motor boats operate from Negombo harbor. The harbor is best visited early in the morning, when it is a hive of activity. Fishermen can be seen taking fish from their nets, vendors within the market bargain and trade and a variety of different fish species including herrings, sardines, snappers, beamers, croakers, groupers, parrot fish, sprats, catfish, mullets and shellfish such as prawn and crab are stored in all parts of the harbor.

While at the market, pick up some Negombo Lagoon Crab, and head to a nearby guest house where you will join the check in the kitchen to cook up the famous “Negombo Style” crab curry. This mouthwatering feast will be served to you for lunch. Do not forget to dive in and use your fingers to truly experience a Sri Lankan dining fiesta.

Afterwards, visit some of the historical sites in and around Negombo.

Negombo is known as the ‘City of Churches’ and the town is dotted with some historic and colorful Roman Catholic churches. It was one of the first territories occupied by the Portuguese who converted a large number of locals to Catholicism.  During the period of Dutch rule, Negombo was established as a major trading point and in the 15th century AD a network of inter-connected canals were built to transport spices such as Cinnamon from further inland to Negombo that extended as south as Colombo and as North as Puttalam along the coast. These waterways are inter-connected to the vast expanses of the Negombo lagoon which preserve vital biodiversity rich mangrove habitats abundant in flora and fauna. Some of the other historic colonial sites include the ruined remains of the Dutch Fort which was built in 1672, centuries old Portuguese and Dutch houses and numerous administrative buildings and Roman Catholic churches.

Overnight stay at Villa Hundira

Hotel- Villa Hundira

Meals- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, checkout from your villa, and journey North along the western coast towards Wilpattu National Park (4 hours’ drive).

En-route in Puttalam, stop over at the remote village of Sirambadiya to meet some amazing people who are the last remaining descendants of the African’s who came to Sri Lanka hundreds of years ago as soldiers. Known as the Kaffir people, they are now integrated with the native communities and have intermarried through the years. Meet their elders who will tell their story, and thereafter they would be pleased to showcase their colorful musical style known as Manja. After an immersive experience with these amazing people, continue on your journey towards Wilpattu.

Reaching the national park entrance, safari jeeps will await to meet you along with your hosts who will take you on a short drive on the outskirts of the national park to your safari camp.

Wilpattu Safari Camp is located in a five acre patch of forest tucked in between seasonal rice fields, chena cultivations and the Wilpattu National Park. The camp is built with having minimum impact to nature as possible, and the pathway leading to your tents are lined with endless trees. Your host at camp would provide you with a safety briefing before escorting you to your tents, as you are in the borders of the national park and hence would have wild animals including elephants near and in the camp at night. The tents are large and spacious with all comforts kept in mind from king size bedding to en-suite toilets.

After the formal check-in head to the dining area for a mouthwatering lunch, during which your host will give a brief about Wilpattu, its natural history, ecology and what you will hope to see during your afternoon game drive. After some tea or coffee, hop on your safari jeep and head into the park with your host for a guided game drive.

Popularly dubbed as ‘the land of the lakes’, Wilpattu National Park is famous for watching wildlife within its picturesque villus and dry evergreen forests. It is Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park which re-opened in 2010 after being closed for nearly three decades due to the civil war. Wilpattu is one of the top spots in Sri Lanka for watching Leopard and Sloth Bear.  Other larger animals seen regularly here include Elephant, Jackal, Mugger Crocodile, Sambar, Spotted Deer and Buffalo are among the larger animals regularly encountered.     

Return back to camp at dusk, and after some freshening up you can enjoy a drink by the roaring campfire, and listen to some “jungle stories” from your hosts, and whom will also interpret the various animal and bird calls you might hear. Dinner will be served at the main dining tent, after which you will be escorted to your tents. It would be advised by the camp to not wander about after dark, given there are elephants who tend to frequent this area. You will be perfectly safe in your tents, and will be given emergency numbers to call the camp staff for any emergency or request.

Relax in your comfortable bed, and slumber to the sounds of the Sri Lankan Jungle.

Hotel- Wilpattu Safari Camp

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner

After an early morning wake up call, enjoy some tea or coffee at the dining tent, before heading into the park once again for your morning safari. The mornings can be relatively chilly, and an extra jacket or jumper might come in as useful.

The more game drives one engages in the better chances of encountering wildlife including the highlight of any safari which is coming face to face with the elusive Sri Lankan Leopard. You might also see the Sloth Bear an almost comical looking animal with long shaggy black fur and long dangerous claws. The sandy roads of the park will take you across many landscapes from dark forests, to open lakes and meadows.

Stop over at the designated picnic stop deep inside the park for a much needed break as well as to enjoy a picnic breakfast. But be aware of the mischievous monkeys the Toque Macaques, who tend to steal food if left unattended. After breakfast, continue on your game drive, until the sun gets too hot, by when return back to camp at mid-day for some much needed rest, and lunch.

You can opt to relax at the camp for the remainder of the afternoon, or head out once again for an afternoon game drive. If you choose to stay at camp, you can relax in the verandah of your tent reading a book or take a short walk with one of the camp staff to the nearby lake and watch as the local village congregate to bathe in the lake after a hard day’s work, and maybe spot some elephants coming to drink at the opposite end of the lake.

At dusk, and after some freshening up you can enjoy a drink by the roaring campfire, and listen to some “jungle stories” from your hosts, and whom will also interpret the various animal and bird calls you might hear. Dinner will be served at the main dining tent, after which you will be escorted to your tents. It would be advised by the camp to not wander about after dark, given there are elephants who tend to frequent this area. You will be perfectly safe in your tents, and will be given emergency numbers to call the camp staff for any emergency or request.

Relax in your comfortable bed, and slumber to the sounds of the Sri Lankan Jungle.

Hotel – Wilpattu Safari Camp

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast at camp, checkout and journey towards Habarana ( 2 hours’ drive)

En-route stop over at the Ancient City of Anuradhapura for a guided tour,

Anuradhapura is an ancient historical city comprising of religious places of worship and Buddhist shrines constructed by the past Kings of Sri Lanka and was the island’s capital between the 5th century BC and the 11th century AD. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagobas of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha found enlightenment.

Afterwards head back on the road towards Habarana. Upon reaching your destination, check into the Other Corner Nature Resort. After formal check in enjoy lunch at the restaurant.

Built on a vast 5 acreage, in close proximity to the Habarana town, the chalets are hidden from view encompassing privacy and sanctuary. To preserve natural trails and to minimize encroachment there are no barriers erected around this jungle luxury resort. This in no way diminishes the sense of solitude and peace that envelopes guests. The Lodge and all Chalets are air-conditioned and fitted with modern toilets equipped with hot and cold water. The wilderness resort dining plans range from local rice and curry to international cuisine. Private dining is provided on request. Free Wi-Fi is also available. A shimmering pool is nestled among the shaded groves. Feel the fatigue ease as you bask in the tranquil waters – the perfect respite after a day of trekking. Lounge on a deck chair, sip a cold drink or indulge in a delicious snack off the poolside menu savoring the call of the birds around you.

Hotel- The Other Corner

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner

After an early breakfast head towards Sigiriya, and visit the ancient rock fortress.

Rising dramatically from the central plains, the enigmatic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization. Top of this rock contains ruins of an ancient palace complex, built during the reign of King Kasyapa (477AD – 495 AD) and surrounding rock is the Royal Garden. Ruins of various chambers, stairways and pools can be seen at the top of this rock. There is a stone stairway leading from the base to the top of the mountain. About half way to the top, there is a giant pair of lions paws which is in fact are the remains of a huge head of a lion whose open mouth served as the entrance to the royal palace. Surrounding the palace complex are the ruins of a garden complex consisting of two moats and various pools, some with water fountains still functioning after 1500 years.

Thereafter return back to your hotel for some leisure time and lunch.

In the afternoon, head towards Minneriya National Park to witness an amazing wildlife spectacle, the Great Elephant Gathering.

The Gathering of Elephants’, which is ranked among the world’s top wildlife viewing spectacles runs from June – October each year. Each afternoon, around 150 – 200 individual elephants come out of the forest in to the open to graze on the fresh green pasture by the water’s edge at Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks. You have excellent opportunities here to observe the social dynamics of the Asian Elephant as the large bulls in musth compete among each other and seek the females within the herd, while young calves with carefree abandon get up to their mischievous antics often to the displeasure of its alert mothers within the herd. Water birds such as Painted Stork, Asian Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork along with raptors such as White-bellied Sea Eagles and Grey-headed Fishing Eagles are abundant around these large man-made lakes.

Return back to your hotel at dusk.

Hotel- The Other Corner

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, head out towards Ritigala, you may need to switch to a safari jeep as the road can get pretty bumpy. Continue on some scenic village roads, until you reach your destination a traditional “Angam Maduwa” or Angampora Martial Arts School.

Angampora is Sri Lanka’s traditional martial art, which has been practiced for thousands of years by warriors to defend the island against foreign invaders. Subsequently it was outlawed by the British who colonized the country, and any person caught practicing the art were shot in the knees in order for them never to be able to practice this deadly art again. A yet some martial families practiced in secret and passed this art on to the next generations.

The master of the school will welcome you and explain the history and traditions of this art while his students practice. Thereafter the students will do a demonstration of their skills in hand to hand combat, weapons and acrobatics. The art is not just a form of fighting but also incorporates meditation, healing and astrology and a holistic way of life.

Thereafter head back to your hotel for some leisure time followed by lunch.

In the afternoon, head back out, this time towards Polonnaruwa, which was one of the largest Kingdoms and ancient cities in Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa took its place in history after King Vijayabahu I defeated the invading Cholas and moved the capital from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa. It is renowned for its well-preserved 12th century ruins and impressive stone culture. Exploring Polonnaruwa, which is today a UNESCO World Heritage site, one can see Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century. Visit the stunning Gal Vihare a series of Buddha statues etched into the rock face. The detail and skill in these beautiful rock carvings are astounding.

Return back to your hotel afterwards for some tea and refreshments, after which head back towards Dambulla, to reach a special location near a forest where you will go on a one of a kind night walk.

After dark go on  a guided nature walk with the resident naturalist along the forested nature trails in search of the endangered and elusive Grey Slender  Loris, a small nocturnal primate which has been regularly encountered and become resident within the property over  the past few years. Fishing Cat, Collared Scops Owl, Indian Civet and the Golden Palm Civet are some other species occasionally seen here.

Return back to your hotel afterwards for dinner and overnight stay.

Hotel- The Other Corner

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner

After an early breakfast checkout from your hotel and journey towards Kandy, (2 hours drive)

En-route stop over at Dambulla to visit the Ancient Cave Temple,

Dambulla Cave Temple, which is famous for its rock paintings and is among the best preserved monastic temple cave complexes in Sri Lanka. Dambulla’s origins as a place of worship dates back to the reign of King Valagamba in the 1st century BC, who took refuge in these caves when driven out of Anuradhapura by Chola invaders. Once he regained the throne, the king had the interior of the caves transformed in to magnificent rock temples. More paintings and statues were added over time by later kings. 

Back on the road, reach Kandy where you will visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic,

This sacred temple was built in the 16th century AD and is located adjacent to the Royal Palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy and overlooks the expanses of the Kandy lake. Referred locally as the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is the most revered site in the country. This temple complex houses the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, and with strong political sway to who holds possession of the tooth, as it was believed that the possessor of this sacred relic had the right to rule the country.

Thereafter head towards your hotel located outside the main city, and a perfect nature resort.

Hotel Tree of Life; standing tall in its antique splendour, has a glorious history since its conception in the year 1900. Reaching the 100th milestone, Tree Of Life, surrounded by 700 acres of tea plantations at Yahalatenna, recalls the glory days of playing home to the British soldiers who owned the surrounding estate area as well as being the perfect hideout for Lord Mountbatten during the dark period of Second World War.

After dinner, your naturalist/guide will take you around the hotel property which is well known to be the home of a very rare nocturnal mammal the Flying Squirrel. Witness this amazing animal glide through the air from tree to tree using its special adaptation.

Overnight stay in the hotel

Hotel- Hotel Tree of Life

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner

After checkout from your hotel, head to the Peradeniya Railway Station where you will hop on a train which will take you on one of the most scenic train rides in the world. The journey will take you all the way to Nanu Oya located in the central hills of the island.  (3-4 hours)

One of the best ways to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the central highlands is to travel by train. The train stations in Peradeniya and most of the towns in the highlands were built during the time of the British, where minimal changes have been made to the buildings giving it a distinct old world charm.  The train journey takes you through the back of small towns where you can see the local people go about their day to day work and through the mountain ranges providing beautiful views of the tea fields, patches of cloud forests, numerous streams and waterfalls.

Reaching Nanu Oya Station, hop back on your tour vehicle and head towards a working tea factory for a guided tour on the secrets of Ceylon Tea.

A visit to the hill country will not be complete without a visit to a tea factory and estate. You can stroll through the beautifully manicured tea fields and thereafter head to the tea factory where the magic of converting raw leaves into black tea happens. An art developed during the British colonial period, some machines used date back over 100 years. The creation of black tea is an art form which has remained relatively unchanged for over a century.

Afterwards reach Nuwara Eliya and check into your stay for the next 2 nights the beautiful Craigbank Bungalow,

The beautiful colonial bungalow has been transformed into a boutique hotel with all the colonial charm and grandeur along with modern comforts.

Sit back and relax at leisure in the beautiful property with cozy living areas as well as a large and spacious lawn and savor in the salubrious climes of Nuwara Eliya.

Hotel- The Craigbank

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner

Make an early morning start with a packed breakfast to Horton Plains National Park, which is Sri Lanka’s highest elevated national park lying approximately 7,000 feet above sea level and comprises of cloud forests and open grassland and UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Take a guided walk along the nature trails to a viewpoint known as World’s End with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. On the walk back you can stop over to see the impressive Baker’s fall in full flow. Sambar, Sri Lanka’s largest species of deer are encountered regularly in the plains close to the entrance while the shaggy coated Bear Monkey (Highland race of the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey) is occasionally seen within the forested areas. Many species of endemic birds can be found in the park including the Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush or Arrenga, and Sri Lanka Bush Warbler. Also a specialty in the park is to see the two endemic species of lizards found exclusively in this eco system, and nowhere else in the world. The Rhino Horned Lizard with its signature horn on its nose, and the tiny Pygmy Lizard. Both are special rarities in the park, along with many rare and endemic plant species, and endemic flowers which are found in the park. If you are truly lucky you might catch a quick glimpse of the elusive leopard, which is much larger and has a thicker coat than its lowland counterparts. This national park is truly an ecological treasure and one of the most important natural sites in Sri Lanka. The weather can be cold and windy and it is advisable to wear warm clothing during the visit.

Return afterwards back to the Craigbank and spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Go back in time to the days of the British Colonials who made this the tea capital of the world, with a delectable English High Tea. Savor some of the best tea on the island, along with some delicious snacks made fresh at the bungalow.

Overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya

Hotel- The Craigbank

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner + English High Tea

After checking out from Craigbank, head down towards Colombo, ( 5 hours drive)

En-route during your drive stop over at Kitulgala, a beautiful section of rainforest hugged by the mighty Kelani River for some whitewater rafting adventure.

The ultimate adventure, experience white water rafting along the fast flowing Kelani River. This adventure covers five major rapids and four minor rapids. This is an activity for guests 10 years and older. Proper safety instructions and safety gear, modern rafts as well as worlds class licensed operators make this an experience of a lifetime.

After your adventure, land at The Plantation Hotel where a changing room and towels will be provided. After which you can enjoy some lunch at the restaurant and head back on the road towards Colombo

Reaching Colombo you will check into the boutique property The Lake Lodge located in the heart of the city.

Step away from the frenetic pace of the rapidly developing city and discover a serene paradise that honors privacy, personalized service, Sri Lankan heritage and art. This chic and elegantly designed luxury boutique hotel in Colombo is nestled in the heart of the city, offering you the convenience to access a plethora of cultural, religious and historic attractions, restaurants, entertainment venues and the business district.

Hotel- Lake Lodge

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, head out for a guided tour of the busy markets of Pettah,

Colombo is a cosmopolitan city that has been influenced by multiple cultures, faiths, and traditions over the years. Within the heart of Colombo lies Pettah, a nerve center that drives the city’s economy. We invite you to explore the open air supermarket of Pettah, learn about its history, its people and its evolution from a simple trading hub to the vibrant, busy, heartbeat of modern Colombo’s commerce.

Your host will meet you at the Old Town Hall building where he will brief you about the adventure you are about to embark on. From here you will walk through the open air market, exploring its quirky nooks and crannies. You will meet traders, learn about historic buildings and marvel at their architecture as you navigate a maze of trade, traffic and local banter. After you exit Pettah you will take a short walk through the last remains of the colonial era Colombo Fort Wall and then explore a historic church erected during the Dutch colonial period. Once the tour is done, you can enjoy a cold pint of Lion Beer, Sri Lanka’s local brew.

Spend the remainder of the day at leisure.

Hotel – Lake Lodge

Meals- Breakfast , Lunch, Dinner

After checking out from you hotel and head back to the airport where you will bid farewell and catch your flight back home. (1 hours drive)

Meals- Breakfast

PACKAGE PRICING

Please note that all booking are subject to availably during the time of deposit. 

May 2023

13 nights
$ 4,950
Per Person
  • Double Occupancy
  • Our Signature Process

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Hightlights

  • Visit and tour the ancient city of Anradhapura. 
  • Visit the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. 
  • Go on safari in Minneriya National Park for the “Great Elephant Gathering”. Enjoy “jungle sundowners” after the safari 
  • visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. 
  • Night time go on a night walk to see the Loris 
  • Visit the Ancient Cave Temple of Dambulla. 
  • Reaching Kandy visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. 
  • Try sighting the mysterious flying squirrel with your seasoned guide.  
  • Take a scenic train ride through the hill country towards Nuwara Eliya. 
  • Visit a working tea factory for a guided tour and experience about Ceylon Tea 
  • Relax in Nuwara Eliya and enjoy proper English High Tea. 
  • Explore historic ancient forts, temples and ancient relics. 
  • Visit local fish markets, enjoy delicious seafood and traditional crab preparations. 
  • Witness age-old marshal arts practices, customs and ancient village life in Sri Lanka. 
  • Visit a working tea factory for a guided tour and experience about Ceylon Tea 
  • Visit Horton Plains National Park (very scenic highland national park with breathtaking views).
  • Colombo The Lake Lodge En-route stop over in Kitulgala for some Whitewater Rafting 
  • Colombo The Lake Lodge Explore the busy markets of Colombo with a local expert.

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