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THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

Colombo • Anuradhapura • Dambulla • Polonnaruwa • Minneriya National Park
Sigiriya • Matale • Kandy • Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
Nuwara Eliya • Horton Plains • Yala National Park • Bentota • Galle • Mt. Lavinia

January 20 - February 1, 2018 • 13 days
$4470 per person double occupancy beginning and ending in Colombo
Plus Sri Lanka visa $35
Airfare additional
Single Supplement $1410

 

Day by Day Itinerary


January 20 Arrive Colombo
Saturday

Welcome to Sri Lanka! Upon arrival at Bandaranaike (Katunayake) International Airport (CMB), receive a warm welcome and a group transfer to the hotel in Colombo.

Overnight at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo
Superior Room

January 21 Colombo
Sunday Anuradhapura

A brief stop at the National Museum, a splendid early British colonial building, will give one an excellent introduction to three thousand years of the island’s history with artifacts, sculpture, bronzes, and water colors all displayed.

Leave for Anuradhapura, the island’s oldest capital city. Pass through villages and fields of rice, coconut and rubber. On the way we’ll make arrangements to visit an organic coconut plantation, and then continue to an important Hindu shrine, a major pilgrimage center, reputedly connected with the Ramayana legend. Lunch en route in a local restaurant. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Sanctuary at Tissawewa, Anuradhapura, Deluxe Room

January 22 Anuradhapura
Monday Mihintale - Dambulla

In Anuradhapura, we see monuments that cover thousands of years of the island’s history: massive brick dagobas, the Brazen Palace, the Sacred Bo Tree, the image of the Samadhi Buddha, Isurumuniya temple and Twin Ponds. The reservoirs, the pleasure gardens, palaces and exquisite sculptures show a high level of development. Time permitting, visit Mihintale, and then drive on to Dambulla. Lunch en route in a local restaurant. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Heritance Kandalama,
Superior Room

January 23 Polonnaruwa
Tuesday Minneriya National Park

We have an early departure for Polonnaruwa to visit the medieval capital with its unique mixture of Chola and Sinhala architecture and sculpture. On the way back to Dambulla in the late afternoon, visit Minneriya National Park to watch for herds of wild elephants. Lunch en route in a local restaurant. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Heritance Kandalama,
Superior Room

January 24 Dambulla – Sigiriya
Wednesday Matale – Kandy

At the World Heritage Site in Sigiriya, early morning bird watchers can look for falcon and swifts as they climb the rock fortress. View the famous frescoes painted in a rock pocket; they are reminiscent of those found in the Ajanta Caves in India. See the landscaped gardens, some of the oldest surviving in the world, and the “Mirror Wall”. The new museum is small and well worth a visit, useful for those who cannot climb the 600 foot rock. Drive on to Kandy via Matale, the spice growing region to see cardamom, cloves, and also coffee and cocoa plantations. On the way we might watch craftsmen at work in batik, wood carving, perhaps metal (silver). Lunch en route in a local restaurant. The early evening is at leisure in Kandy. In the late evening, visit the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site, Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, to witness the night-time rituals. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy
Superior Room

January 25 Pinnawela Elephant
Thursday Orphanage

After breakfast we make an excursion to Pinnawela to see the Elephant Orphanage that was originally established for abandoned and injured elephants. Today it is also a breeding center. Watch the feeding of baby elephants (some by bottle). What a delight to see them frolic in the nearby river during their daily bath. On our way back we’ll see the UNESCO cited 14th century wood carvings at Embekke Temple, stone carving at Gadaladeniya and exquisite paintings in the Lankatilleke Temple, each with their three fascinatingly different styles. Lunch en route in a local restaurant. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy
Superior Room

January 26 Nuwara Eliya
Friday

Move on to the high hills – where we’ll see a different skill – women picking the leaves that make your cup of high quality tea! Watch it being processed when you stop at a factory en route as we ascend into the hills, climbing from 1,800 feet to over 5,000 feet in the 55 miles to Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya retains much of its 19th century colonial architecture with its park, race course and the Botanical Gardens (the highest of three, and once an experimental agricultural station). The island’s tallest mountains surround you – ranging from 7000 - 8000 feet. The next day, we wind through to the lush natural vegetation of the mid-country and lower montane regions. Lunch en route in a local restaurant. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya, Deluxe Rooms

January 27 Nuwara Eliya
Saturday Horton Plains

For those who wish we have the option of an early morning trek to Horton Plains. It is a hike of about 2.5 miles one way by circular route along a rocky path. Enjoy the view from 7,000 feet at the “World’s End”, which on a clear morning offers a spectacular view 50 miles to the sea (view is weather permitting). Hiking to the mini “World’s End” at Horton Plains is a slightly shorter trek. This 7813-acre National Park is a complex of enchanting natural beauty of the island. This is also a habitat to leopards, sambhur, deer and some birds: eagle, blue magpie, wood pigeon, yellow eared bul-bul, fan-tail warbler and white-eye. There are 247 species of butterflies, as well as rare orchids, keena (Calophyllum sp) trees and exotic sphagnum mosses, the only one of its kind in the world. Horton Plains is a watershed of tremendous importance containing the second and third highest mountains in Sri Lanka.

For those who wish to stay in Nuwara Eliya, the morning is free followed by a walk around the city and Lake Gregory.
(B-L-D)

Overnight at Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya, Deluxe Rooms

January 28 Yala
Sunday

On to the dry zone of Yala. Yala National Park is one of the best-preserved and protected Wildlife Sanctuaries in Sri Lanka. Visitors have the rare opportunity to see Mother Nature’s great creation. Elephants, sloth, bears, spotted deer, wild boar and many varieties of birds by the thousands both endemic and migratory may be spotted from one’s vehicle. It also boasts the highest concentration of leopards in the world! We will stay in a hotel close to the Yala National Park. Lunch en route in a local restaurant. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Jetwing Yala, Superior Room

January 29 Yala – Bentota
Monday

Drive to the coastal town of Bentota to relax at our resort here in the oldest of the island’s holiday towns.

We will thoroughly enjoy architect Geoffrey Bawa’s Club Villa, where you can settle in for a 3-night stay. Once famous for its oysters, today Bentota is a base from which one can visit Galle. Lunch en route in a local restaurant. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Club Villa, Bentota,
Deluxe Room

January 30 Bentota
Tuesday

Although you may enjoy the local beach for a day of leisure in this sublime setting we have arranged a safari launch cruise on the Madu River, a visit to a turtle hatchery and a guided tour of Geoffrey Bawa’s 15-acre property. The river safari visits a cinnamon farm where tenants make cinnamon sticks and powder. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Club Villa, Bentota,
Deluxe Room

January 31 Galle
Wednesday

We make a full day excursion a short distance down the coastal highway to Galle. This is another major handicraft center, where we can see lace, silver and ebony craftsmen at work. En route visit the renowned Geoffrey Bawa’s country home, his beloved Lunuganga. Geoffrey Bawa is Sri Lanka’s best-known architect, and his work is seen in many resort hotels throughout Southeast Asia. At Lunuganga, we walk in a garden dotted with cottages, landscaped by Bawa himself in his inimitable style. Galle is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest ports, and it has a good maritime museum set in the massive ramparts of the fort. The fort now has a sophisticated community of locals and expats, boutique hotels and even a Literary Festival in January. (B-L-D)

Overnight at Club Villa, Bentota,
Deluxe Room

February 1 Bentota
Thursday Depart Colombo

Transfer to the Colombo, CMB airport. Farewell to Sri Lanka! (B)

Or perhaps you’ll stay on for a few more days of relaxation.

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

 

 

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

 

Colombo • Galle • Kataragama • Yala National Park • Nuwara Eliya
Horton Plains • Kandy • Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage • Matale • Dambulla
Kandalama • Sigiriya • Hiriwadunna Trek • Polonnaruwa
Minneriya National Park • Passikudah • Batticaloa • Negombo

August 2018 • 13 days
per person double occupancy beginning and ending in Colombo
Plus Sri Lanka visa $35
Airfare additional

Click here to see photo album from our January/February 2015 tour by Paulette Lewis

Preliminary Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Colombo
Welcome to Sri Lanka! Upon arrival at Bandaranaike (Katunayake) International Airport (CMB), receive a warm welcome and a group transfer to the hotel early this morning in Colombo, which is the commercial capital of the island.

Take a gentle drive through the city to visit a museum, art gallery and shops. Our drive also takes us to the Fort and Pettah¬–the commercial area of the city and tree-lined Colombo in 07 Cinnamon Gardens. Colombo 3, 4, 5 and 8 are the prime residential areas of the city. Visit the Fort, Pettah the Hindu Temple at Sea Street and the Dutch Church at Wolfendaal, dating back to 1749. The historic Davatagaha Mosque, Independence Hall, B.M.I.C.H, are also some of the attractions in Colombo. (L-D)
Overnight Stay at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Superior Room

Day 2 Colombo-Galle
Drive to Galle, the southern capital and port from Roman times and check in to our hotel. During our sightseeing, visit Galle Fort. A continuous rampart, it was built by the Dutch from the mid 17th century and continued by the British. It encircles the city, interrupted by 14 massive bastions. The best way to see the fort is to walk the length of the walls (about 90 minutes). Continue to the 17th century Dutch fort and the new Maritime Museum. (B-L-D)
Overnight Stay at Galle Lighthouse Hotel, Galle, Deluxe Room

Day 3 Galle-Kataragama
Yala

Down to the dry zone and the southern plain of Yala. Drive on to Kataragama, a pilgrimage town sacred to Buddhist, Hindu and indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka. The Kirivehera and shrine of Murugan draws devotees of all faiths. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Jetwing Yala Hotel, Yala
Superior Room or Laya Safari Hotel

Day 4 Yala National Park
Nuwara Eliya

Enjoy a half a day safari by jeep to Yala National Park. It is approximately 4,100 square miles and is located in the south eastern corner of the island. Its northern boundaries border on the Lahugala elephant sanctuary and it has the added bonus of a scenic ocean frontage.

Yala National Park is one of the best-preserved and protected Wildlife Sanctuaries in Sri Lanka. Visitors have the rare opportunity to see Mother Nature’s great creation. Elephants, sloth, bears, spotted deer, wild boar and many varieties of birds by the thousands both endemic and migratory may be spotted from one’s vehicle. It also boasts the highest concentration of leopards in the world!

En route to Nuwara Eliya we visit a tea plantation and tea factory. Along the way we see women picking the leaves that make your cup of high quality tea! Watch it being processed at the factory before we ascend into the hills.

Nuwara Eliya was founded by Sir Samuel Baker - the Nile explorer. Among some of Sri Lanka’s most verdant hillsides at 5900 feet above sea level, the city is more reminiscent of the days of the English tea planters than any other place in Sri Lanka. This is hardly surprising, for Nuwara Eliya was built entirely during the 19th century and its architecture mimics that of an English country town, with redbrick walls and mock Tudor half-timbering. It retains much of that 19th century colonial architecture with its park, race course and the Botanical Gardens. The island’s tallest mountains surround you – ranging from 7000 - 8000 feet. Though the British planters and officials who found Nuwara Eliya a congenial place to escape from the heat of the lowlands are long gone, Sri Lanka’s well-to-do still migrate to its cool climate during the hottest parts of the year and especially during the Sinhalese New Year holidays in April. With mountain forests, wilderness areas and national parks in easy reach, it also boasts an 18-hole golf course, which is Asia’s oldest. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya
Deluxe Room

Day 5 Nuwara Eliya
Horton Plains - Kandy

Early morning we will have the opportunity to take an excursion to Horton Plains; it is a hike of about 2.5 miles one-way (about 4.5 hours). Or you may take the mini “End of the Earth” trek. Here enjoy the view from 7,000 feet at the “World’s End”, which on a clear day offers a spectacular view 50 miles to the sea (view is weather permitting). This 7813-acre National Park is a complex of enchanting natural beauty of the island, located 7000 ft. above sea level. This is also a habitat to leopards, sambhur, deer and some birds: eagle, blue magpie, wood pigeon, yellow eared bul-bul, fan-tail warbler and white-eye and some 247 species of butterflies, as well as rare orchids, keena (Calophyllum sp) trees and exotic sphagnum mosses, the only one of its kind in the world. Horton Plains is a watershed of tremendous importance containing the second and third highest mountains in Sri Lanka.
Leave for Kandy, the last capital of the kings. Kandy is at 1640 feet above sea level, and as Sri Lanka’s second largest city has a climate that comes as a pleasantly cool contrast to hot and humid Colombo. Amid lush green fields and plantations, evident of the region’s well-watered fertility, the city stands within a loop of the Mahaweli Ganga–Sri Lanka’s greatest river. On the north shore of Kandy Lake is an artificial reservoir which was completed in 1807 during the reign of the last king of Kandy, Sri Wickrama Rajasinha. Overlooking this north shore of Kandy Lake, in the center of town, the Temple of the Tooth is a place of pilgrimage for millions of devout Buddhists from all over Sri Lanka. The Tooth Relic itself is claimed to have come to Sri Lanka some 1600 years ago, when a certain princess from southern India brought it to Anuradhapura, which was then the most powerful kingdom in Sri Lanka. The existing temple began in 1687 and was added to by a succession of Kandyan kings over the next 95 years as kings and kingdoms rose and fell. It is painted pale rose and is surrounded by walls adorned with elephant carvings, a moat and is roofed with terracotta tiles. The temple receives a steady flow of pilgrims and tourists.

During our visit we see the Temple of the Tooth, bazaars, Kandyan Arts Association and Upper Lake Drive. This evening we enjoy a Kandyan dance performance. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Earls Regency Hotel, Kandy, Deluxe Room

Day 6 Kandy
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
Esala Perahera Festival

After breakfast we make an excursion to Pinnawela to see the Elephant Orphanage that was originally established for abandoned and injured elephants. Today it is also a breeding center. Watch the feeding of baby elephants (some by bottle). What a delight to see them frolic in the nearby river during their daily bath. Feeding and bathing times are at 9:15 AM and 1:15 PM. On the way visit the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya. It has more than 4000 species of ornamental, decorative and medicinal plants, which are either indigenous or introduced. Delight as we wander through Orchid house.

Today enjoy one of the great highlights of our trip – the Esala Perahera Festival. During this fascinating procession Kandy is turned into a fairy-tale town. The Esala Perahera is a street parade of a richly decorated tusked elephants accompanied by musicians, dancers, singers, acrobats. It is the most extravagant of all Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Earls Regency, Kandy
Deluxe Room

Day 7 Kandy-Matale
Kandalama

Today we drive to Kandalama via Matale, the spice growing country. See luscious cardamom, pepper, cloves plants and also coffee and cocoa plantations. On the way we can watch craftsmen at work in batik, wood carving and perhaps metal (silver).

Drive to Dambulla and Dambulla Cave Temple, which contains Sri Lanka’s finest cave temples within five large caverns, the largest being 164 feet deep and 20 feet in height. There is sitting, standing and reclining Buddha images by the dozen, as well as Hindu Gods. Each cave is decorated with mural paintings of scenes from the Buddha’s life. These murals are much more modern than the carvings, some of which are 200 years old. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Heritance Kandalama Hotel, Kandalama, Superior Room

Day 8 Sigiriya
Kandalama

At the World Heritage Site in Sigiriya, the “Fortress in the Sky”, early morning bird watchers can look for falcon and swifts as we climb this 600-foot rock staircase. Sigiriya was developed by King Kasyapa, the parricide king. View this masterpiece of design with its famous frescoes painted in a rock pocket; they are reminiscent of those found in the Ajanta Caves in India. See the landscaped herb and water gardens, some of the oldest surviving in the world, and the “Mirror Wall” as well as the palace remains. The new museum is small and well worth a visit and should be open by 8:30 AM following your climb.

Return to the hotel for breakfast followed by a drive to do the Hiriwadunna Trek. We have the opportunity to ride a bullock cart through a village and take an adventure voyage by a catamaran safari at the scenic lake.

Today we enjoy a traditional lunch prepared by the village women at a local house. The meal will be prepared by the traditional method using earthenware pots and firewood as fuel. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Heritance Kandalama Hotel, Kandalama, Superior Room

Day 9 Kandalama
Polonnaruwa
Minneriya National
Park

After breakfast we make an excursion to Polonnaruwa, the medieval capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th - 13th A.D. It enjoyed great political, economic, and social revival during the period of the Kings Vijayabahu 1, Parakramabahu the Great and Nissankamalla of the Polonnaruwa period. The monuments are better preserved than at Anuradhapura. The Parakrama statue, royal palaces, audience halls, Vatadage, Thuparama, Rankoth Vehera, Kiri-Vehera, Gal-Vihara, Lankatilake and Tivanke Image House are some of the interesting monuments here. Hindu influence in the buildings, arts and crafts is largely visible due to the constant invasions from south Indian Kingdoms.

On the way back we take a jeep safari to Minneriya National Park. The extent of this national park is about 22,000 acres. There are wet lands, which have international importance as well as animal and plant species which are plenty in the dry zone. Wild elephants, various amphibians, local and immigrant bird species also abound. About 160 species of birds, two endemic monkeys, nine amphibians, 25 reptile species, 26 fish species and more than 78 butterfly species have been found in this area. There are bamboo trees, which are rare in other parks and wild elephants can easily be seen. Return to our hotel. Drive to Passikudah for our beach stay. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Anantaya Resort, Passikudah, Superior Room

Day 10 Passikudah
Enjoy a full day at leisure in this beach-side town. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Anantaya Resort, Passikudah, Superior Room

Day 11 Passikudah
Batticaloa

Today we have the opportunity to venture out from Passikudah to the nearby town of Batticaloa to learn of its Hindu Heritage and see the Mamangam Temple. Hindus around the world consider it historically important since it is believed that it was built on the location where “Rama” performed his prayers to Shiva. Return to Passikudah where the balance of the day is at leisure. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Anantaya Resort, Passikudah, Superior Room

Day 12 Passikudah
Negombo

Drive to Negombo near the airport for our last night so transfers to the airport may be easily arranged. (B-L-D)
Overnight stay at Jetwing Beach Hotel, Negombo, Deluxe Room

Day 13 Negombo
Depart Colombo

We’ll bid a fond farewell to Sri Lanka as we transfer to the Colombo CMB airport for our departure.

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

© 2017 Travel Concepts International, Inc. CST 2005743-40

Travel Concepts International, Inc.
Cultural Tours to Better Understand the World and Its People

5500 Bucks Bar Road • Placerville, CA 95667 U.S.A. • Voicemail/Telephone/Fax 1-530-621-3007
Voicemail/Tollfree in U.S.A. 1-800-762-4216
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wen@SeriousTraveler.com • Web site www.SeriousTraveler.com