This brief tour combines culture and relaxation taking in some of Sri Lanka’s finest historical, archaeological and natural treasures whilst not forgetting the pleasures of a few days by the sea. Tour the Cultural Triangle visiting the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, the sacred cave temples of Dambulla and the inspiring sky citadel of Sigiriya. Travel to the bustling city of Kandy where you explore the Temple of the Tooth and the magnificent Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. Finish the trip with a few days at a charming boutique hotel with miles of beaches right on the doorstep.
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Meet and assistance on arrival at the airport by TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS tour executive and transfer to hotel for overnight stay. Thereafter you will be transferred to Hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast travel to Habarana the hub of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. Located in the north-central part of the island, Habarana is a part of Sri Lanka’s dry zone. Thanks to the genius of our ancient kings dating as far as the 05th Century AD, the Sri Lankan Dry Zone is anything but dry, with hundreds of lakes and reservoirs which are connected by an elaborate network of canals making up an old but great irrigation system. Aside from the benefit for agriculture and industry, the waterworks of the dry zone provide some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery and fertile habitat for the islands incredible bio-diversity. Remaining of the evening is free to relax. Overnight at the hotel.
Leave after breakfast for Anuradhapura; Sri Lanka’s ancient capital. 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 sampling 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. Proceed to Habarana concluding your day with dinner.
Morning, visit the very impressive 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress. This world heritage site consists of the remains of a palace on the top of the rock, a mid-level terrace that includes the Lion Gate and the mirror wall with its frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens', the lower palace on the slopes below the rock, and the moats, walls and water gardens that extend for some hundreds of meters out from the base. Later, an after bullock cart ride will take visitors through the village of Hiriwadunna, to a banana plantation where ripe bananas can be tasted and savoured fresh. Cross a scenic reservoir by Oruwa (traditional boat), its long, narrow shape gliding effortlessly on the water, to visit a Chena cultivation, wherein the shade of a treehouse of mud and thatched Palm leaves, the village of Hiriwaduna can be surveyed. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast leave for Polonnaruwa. Built-in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, Polonnaruwa is another World Heritage Site. It comprises the Brahmanic monuments built by the South Indian Cholas, and the ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I during the golden age of Polonnaruwa in the 12th century. Irrigation systems far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed, systems which to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the dry season. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya (4 huge statues of Buddha carved out of rock), the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, King Parakramabahu's statue, and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic. Thereafter proceed to your hotel and in the evening visit Minneriya National Park and do a jeep safari in Minneriya. Located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, the 8,890 hectares of Minneriya National Park consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to favourites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants. However, the central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built-in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena). During the dry season (June to September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze, as well as the huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few) that come to fish in the shallow waters.
Leave after breakfast for Kandy, stopping en route in Matale spice growing region for special insight to some unique Sri Lankan agriculture. First, stop at a coconut plantation to learn about the multitude of uses of this fascinating tree; see how the coconut is husked and its fibres used to make rope. Witness the collection of the sweet coconut water for a refreshing drink, the use of the coconut kernel for the extraction of coconut milk which forms the base for most Sri Lankan curries and the production of honey and sweet jaggery from sap collected from the coconut flower. Proceed to Kandy on reaching we check-in at the hotel relax until 6:00 pm then get ready to enjoy a drum and dance cultural show before concluding the day.
After breakfast at the hotel, drive out to Peradeniya Botanical Garden. This 147-acre garden was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was later expanded by the British. It offers an amazing variety of trees, plants, and flowers. Return to Kandy the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and listed as another UNESCO world heritage site. The name "Kandy" conjures visions of splendour and magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions, and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. Drive around Kandy Lake, built by the last Sinhala king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, in 1798. Visit Kandy town and bazaar, the arts and crafts centre, a gem museum, and a lapidary. Also, visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. Overnight stay at Hotel.
After breakfast leave for Nuwara Eliya; a tea country; where ever you look, you will see tea plantations, the rich full green of thousands and thousands of tea bushes. And out of the green in regular intervals, the white coloured tea factories will enchant your eyes. Occasionally you can see a few rice fields and near the villages, vegetable plantations or gardens. The small resort town of Nuwara Eli ya, situated at 2'070 m above sea level, lies on a little lake and is surrounded by mountains covered over and over by tea bushes. At the town boundaries there are a lot of vegetable plantations and flower fields, but also along the roads of Nuwara Eliya and in most of its gardens flowers are blooming. Transfer to hotel for overnight stay.
Wake up to the freshness of the tea garden enjoy a leisurely breakfast and get ready for a tea garden tour. The tea industry in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is over 150 years old. It is a traditional industry commenced by the British when Ceylon was a colony. Vestiges of the Colonial heritage are still evident, particularly in the tea-growing regions. Meet tea experts and scientists at the Tea Research Institute and learn about the latest scientific discoveries. Sharpen your tea tasting skills with experts. Remaining day is free to relax and enjoy beautiful surroundings. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast, enjoy a morning jeep safari to Yala National Park. Yala – Sri Lanka’s most known National Park is popular for Elephant, Leopard, Bear, Crocodile and Wild Boar. 97,800 hectares in extent, this is the second largest of Sri Lanka’s National Parks. Its open undulating terrain made it famous for elephants for many years, but recently the park has also received much fame through publicity by National Geographic and the Discovery TV channels, which focused on a leopard research/conservation and identification project. Claims have subsequently been made that Yala National Park has the world’s highest concentration of leopard per square kilometre. Vegetation is primarily grassland and shrub jungle with patches of dense growth while several salt and freshwater lagoons are a haven for a large variety of resident and migrant birds. Areas popular with leopard are rock strewn hillocks with dense shrub in which the animals hide. Thereafter proceed to the next destination and enjoy three nights at the beach resort.
After breakfast, enjoy a day excursion to the Mask Factory Museum st Ambalangoda, Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery. Kosgoda is famous for its turtle hatchery- operated by the Wild Life Protection Society of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1981 to protect Sri Lanka's turtles from extinction. The hatchery pays fishermen for eggs that they collect at night along the sandy beach. Visitors can see huge tanks filled with newborn turtle hatchlings. After being fed, the baby turtles are taken to the sea and released when they are 2-4 days old, usually during the safer hours of darkness. Although October to April is the main laying season, some eggs can be found at Kosgoda throughout the year. Before returning, explore Galle, said to be the famous Tarshish of the Bible where King Solomon obtained gems and spices.
Hotel accommodation with private facilities
Travel by chartered air-conditioned vehicles
Group assistance and transfers
Sightseeing as specified
Meals as specified
THO national tour leader (minimum 08 people)
Monument entry fees
Jeep safari at Minneriya National Park
Cultural Dance show in Kandy
Jeep safari in Yala National Park
Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery
Hiriwadunna Chena Village experience
Tea Factory tour in Nuwara Eliya
Bottled water while travelling
All current taxes
Any meals other than specified, drinks, laundry, mineral water, telephone calls, postage
Camera and Video entry charges at Monuments/Forts etc
Train or domestic airfares excluding those mentioned in includes column
Optional tour and meals unless otherwise mentioned in the includes column
Visa & passport fees
Travel insurance of any kind
Extra baggage charges
Early check-in or late checkout
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