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Day 1 London Heathrow - Sri Lanka
Depart the UK for an overnight flight to Colombo.
Day 2 Colombo, Sri Lanka (D)
On arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel in Colombo. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Cinnamon Lakeside (1nt).
Day 3 Colombo - Kandalama (B,D)
Proceed after breakfast to the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala (approx 3 hours drive). Established in 1975, the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage began with seven orphaned elephants and after assistance by local and foreign elephant experts, Pinnawala commenced a successful captive breeding programme with the first baby born in 1984. Your visit will coincide with feeding time of the baby elephants and afterwards, the entire herd is taken to bathe at the nearby river. Continue by road to Kandalama (approx 2 hours drive) and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Heritance Kandalama Hotel (3nts)
Day 4 Polonnaruwa - Minneriya (B,D)
Travel to Polonnaruwa this morning (approx 1 hour 30 minutes drive). This former capital is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and many of the ruins, which date back to the 11th and 12th centuries, are in excellent condition. Visit the ruins of the Royal Palace; the Gal Viharaya, which has four splendid statues of Buddha carved out of rock; the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath and the statue of King Parakramabahu. In addition, places of worship to see include the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic. Travel onwards to Minneriya National Park where you will embark on a jeep safari. Along with elephants, Minneriya is home to abundant species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and butterflies. Return to the hotel (approx 1 hour drive).
Day 5 Sigiriya (B,D)
Travel to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Sigiriya Rock Fortress (approx 45 minutes drive). Built by King Kashyapa during the 5th century, the unusually beautiful ‘Lion Rock’ citadel rises 650 feet out of the scrub jungle and was the innermost stronghold of the fortified town. A moat, rampart and extensive gardens, including the renowned water gardens, ring the base of the rock and by climbing the spiral stairway you can see the extraordinary frescoes of the “Heavenly Maidens” of Sigiriya. Return to the hotel and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 6 Kandalama - Dambulla - Matale - Kandy (B,D)
This morning travel to Dambulla rock temple (approx 25 minutes drive), which was built during the 1st century and is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex of five caves, with over 21,000 square feet of painted walls and ceilings, contains over 150 images of Buddha, including the colossal figure carved out of rock and spanning almost 46 feet. Proceed onwards to Kandy (approx 2½ hours drive), stopping en route to visit a spice garden in Matale, where you will see some of the many different spices for which Sri Lanka is famous. Cinnamon Citadel (2nts)
Day 7 Kandy - Peradeniya - Kandy (B,D)
Begin the day with a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya (approx 20 minutes drive), which was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and later expanded by the British. It covers around 147 acres and is a walker’s paradise with extensive well-kept lawns, pavilions, an octagonal conservatory, fernery, a giant Javan fig tree and numerous flower beds. However, perhaps the most visited attraction is the orchid house, where over 500 varieties are nurtured. Return to Kandy where you will embark on a city tour. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and now a World Heritage Site as many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. Drive around the Kandy Lake, visit Kandy town, the bazaar, an arts and crafts centre and a gem museum before visiting the Temple of the Tooth, which houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic - a tooth of the Buddha. Enjoy a cultural show before returning to your hotel.
Day 8 Kandy - Nuwara Eliya (B,D)
Depart after breakfast for Nuwara Eliya (approx 3 hours drive), Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort with its lush green tea planations, scenic mountains, rolling hills and cascading waterfalls. Nuwara Eliya is the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea. It’s also where Sri Lanka’s highest mountain is located along with one of the finest 18 hole golf courses in South Asia. You will visit a tea plantation and a tea factory to learn about the process of manufacturing tea and how it is graded, before sampling a cup of pure Ceylon tea, whilst drinking in the sheer magnificence of the verdant scenery dotted with the bright colours of the sari-clad tea pickers. Heritance Tea Factory (2nts).
Day 9 Nuwara Eliya (B,D)
Today you are free to explore at your leisure. Perhaps wander into the town centre, which is thoroughly Sri Lankan, but look closely and you’ll see colonial bungalows, pretty rose gardens and even red telephone boxes. The main attraction, however is the glorious scenery and within easy reach of your hotel are numerous trails, which you can follow on foot or by bicycle (additional cost for bicycle hire), and will allow you to truly appreciate the scenic beauty of this region. When in search of a quiet retreat, try the hotel’s cosy library where you can settle in a cane chair and catch up with events in the daily paper or if you fancy some light reading, there are shelves of bestsellers.
Day 10 Nuwara Eliya - Yala National Park (B,D)
Travel via Bandarawela and Elia and also by the Rawana waterfalls en route to Yala National Park (approx 6 hours drive). Whilst much of the day is spent travelling, there are numerous comfort stops along the way to allow you to stretch your legs. Cinnamon Wild (2nts).
Day 11 Yala National Park (B,D)
Early this morning you will set off by jeep for a game drive of Yala National Park (a packed breakfast is provided by the hotel). Yala is the largest national park in Sri Lanka and its terrain is very diverse, ranging from dense jungle to grasslands, lakes, wetlands, flat plains, rocky outcrops and sandy beaches. This varied environment supports one of the richest and most varied collections of wildlife in the country, including a substantial elephant population, elusive sloth bears, an abundant birdlife and, a significant leopard population – the densest population of these cats anywhere in the world. As you drive through the park you may also see a number of crocodiles in both the rivers and pools along with flocks of migratory and indigenous birds. Return to the hotel for some time to relax beside the pool before setting off later in the afternoon for another game drive.
Day 12 Yala National Park - Bentota (B)
Depart after breakfast for the drive to Bentota, which lies on Sri Lanka’s south west coast (approx 4½ hours drive). On arrival you’ll be greeted with the wide expanse of golden sands that face the Indian Ocean and your welcoming hotel, which was designed by the world-renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa and is set beside the beach amongst shady palms. Avani Bentota Resort & Spa (3nts).
Days 13-14 Bentota (B)
Two full days at leisure. For those not content to relax beside one of the inviting swimming pools or laze by the ocean, there are an array of watersports nearby which include everything from windsurfing and wakeboarding to canoeing on the calm waters of the lagoon. Alternatively, you may wish to take an excursion along the river (additional expense) or perhaps dive and snorkel around the reefs that can be found close to shore. For some indulgent pampering the Avani Spa has a selection of popular treatments and Ayurvedic massages.
Day 15 Depart Sri Lanka (B)
Time to say goodbye. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home after a memorable Sri Lankan holiday. Alternatively, extend your stay at at the Avani Bentota Resort & Spa from £45pppn. Turn over the page for what’s included.
Speak to a specialist today by calling 08444 937 094
Price shown is per person based on two adults sharing and is subject to availability and change. Premier Travel are acting as an agent of Premier Holidays ATOL 2713.
Terms and conditions apply. Tour is subject to minimum numbers – confirmed by 30 April 17.