Sri Lanka has a recorded history that spans back 3000 years. Like its massive neighbour India, Sri Lanka is a diverse country, home to many religions, ethnicities and languages. It is also still blessed with a variety of wildlife that has survived alongside this human civilisation, on this small island for centuries. Today it offers tourists a diverse experience - from the modern city of Colombo with its skyscrapers to national parks teeming with elephants and religious and cultural buildings of multiple origins.
Days 2 - 3
Sri Lanka’s seaside metropolis of Colombo offers a laid-back atmosphere coupled with a mixture of crumbling colonial buildings and glinting skyscrapers. Stroll to Pettah, Colombo’s main market and be dazzled by the variety of gems, the brightly coloured fruit and vegetable stalls and the plethora of ayurvedic medicines on offer. Sample some of the city’s fine fare, from curries to crabs, in any one of the beachfront bistros or inner city dining rooms. Nature lovers should head to Galle Face Green, a grassy promenade along the Indian Ocean for a stroll or take a scenic train ride to Mount Lavinia Beach.
Days 3 - 6
Situated in the northern Matale District of Sri Lanka, the small village of Sigiriya is best known for its proximity to the magnificent Sigiriya ‘Lion Rock’. The village offers some comfortable accommodations and a variety of restaurants for visitors to enjoy when stopping over to view the famous rock.This ancient rock fortress rises abruptly from the lush landscape and reaches over 200 metres in height. Crowning this massive outcrop are the ruins of an ancient civilisation, which are considered to be one of the best -preserved examples of ancient urban planning and have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk through the lily-dotted moats, lush gardens and cave shrines, through the grand lion-paw entrance, and climb the series of steep staircases passing beautiful murals painted on the sheer rock walls, and enjoy exploring the ruins and soaking up spectacular views of the surrounds.
Days 6 - 8
The second major city in Sri Lanka (the other being Colombo) lies in the midst of the Kandy Plateau, an area of tropical tea plantations. A prominent feature is Kandy Lake, to the north of which lies the golden-roofed Temple of The Tooth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and important place for Buddhist worship, as it is said to house a tooth relic of Buddha. Other fascinating places include the Ceylon Tea Museum, the Buddhist Publication Society, the Ayurvedic centre in the Amaya Hills nearby, the Kandyan Art Association and Cultural Centre, where crafts people can be seen at work, and the Kandy Muslim Hotel, which offers the finest spiced curries served with naan or rotis.
Days 8 - 10
Nuwara Eliya is a beautiful mountain station in Sri Lanka known for its incredible scenery and abundant tea plantations. Sometimes referred to as “Little England’, the city is well-kept and neat and features British-style red-brick walls, mock-Tudor half-timbering and a very English country club. The surrounding areas offer breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery, and most importantly a wonderful break from the heat and humidity of the coast. Tea Estates, waterfalls, and mountains complete the picture. Visitors can take guided tours of the tea plantations, meander through the roses, take a picturesque walk to the ‘Lovers’ Leap’ waterfall, and meander through orchids and giant cypresses at the Hakgala Gardens. Other highlights include the Seetha Amman and Nuwara Eliya Buddhist Temples and the Galway's Land National Park.
Yala National Park
Days 10 - 12
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park (block 1) and Kumana National Park or 'Yala East' for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.
Days 12 - 15
Pronounced ‘gawl’ in English, Galle is the best example of a walled city built by the Portuguese in South Asia in the 16th Century. It was extensively fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century. When you enter the old city gates of this World Heritage Site you can’t help but notice the grand colonial houses and boutique shops and of course the beautiful beaches on the fringes of town. Attracting many luxury travellers from around the world, the town is also a favourite with cricket fans who rate the Galle International Stadium to be one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world.