Day 1: New Zealand–– Colombo
Depart New Zealand today on your flight to Sri Lanka.
Day 2: Colombo (D)
On arrival, you will be warmly welcomed by the representative and will be decorated with garlands of “Temple tree” flowers. Then you will be introduced to the local tour guide.
If you are arriving early, you can enjoy a Colombo city afternoon tour. A drive through the city taking you to the busy commercial areas as well as the tree-lined residential, Cinnamon Gardens. Visit Fort, the former British administrative center and military garrison, Sea Street – the Goldsmith’s quarters in the heart of Pettah, the Bazaar area, where is also a Hindu Temple with elaborate stone carvings, and the Dutch Church of Wolfendhal dating back to 1749. Also visit the BMICH, see the replica of Avukana Buddha and Independence Square. Return to hotel in the evening.
Day 3: Colombo – Pinnawala – Kandy (B,D)
After breakfast leave for Kandy en-route visiting the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. It started in 1975 to house the abandoned and the wounded, the orphanage has grown to be a big family today. The number of elephants has increased to more than 40 now, including baby Elephants brought from various parts, as well as the babies born, as a result of the captive breeding program. A unique experience never to be missed.
Enjoy a Cultural Dance Show in the evening before heading back to the hotel in Kandy for a good night rest.
Day 4: Kandy – Sigiriya – Kandy (B,D)
This morning visit Sigiriya and climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Sigiriya is home to the 5th Century “Fortress in the Sky” which is perhaps the most fantastic single wonder of the Island. It is also known as Lion Rock because of the huge lion that used to stand at the entrance to the fortress. Within its triple-moated defense, the huge rock rises almost to a sheer height of 500ft. On its summit are the foundations of what was once a great and sumptuous palace and gardens complete with swimming pool. On one of the stairways, the only known ancient work of Sinhala secular painting survived in the form of Frescoes of life-sized damsels in all the freshness and delicacy of their original colour.
Then a Kandy city tour, the hill capital, venue of the annual Perahera. The last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings was finally ceded to the British in 1815. Kandy is an example of the Buddhism’s influence in Sri Lanka today. Temple’s shrines and monasteries keeping alive Buddhist traditions are everywhere.
Later visit The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Ever since 4th Century A.D, when the Buddha’s Tooth was brought to Sri Lanka hidden from sacrilegious hands in an Orissan princess’ hair, the Relic has grown in repute and holiness in Sri Lanka and throughout the Buddhist world. It is considered Sri Lanka’s most prized possession. (Approx 1 hour)
Day 5: Kandy – Nuwara Eliya (B,D)
After breakfast, we visit Royal Botanical Gardens, 147 acres in extent, started in 1374 as a pleasure garden of the King’s of Kandy. There are more than 5000 species of tree and plants. Some and endemic as well as flora from the tropical world. Spice garden and Orchid House are popular with Touri
Then proceed to Nuwara Eliya, visiting Tea Factory & Plantation. Nuwara Eliya – The ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, is set against beautiful backdrops of Mountains, Valleys, Waterfalls and Tea Plantations. It is supposed to be one of the coldest places on the island, but is really just like an England spring day although the temperature does drop at night. All around Nuwara Eliya you will see evidence of the British influence. Houses are like country cottages or Queen Ann style mansions.
Day 6: Nuwara Eliya (B,D)
After an early breakfast (or with packed breakfast), proceed to Horton’s plains for trekking, you may enjoy the day in the cold weather leisure.
Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. This region was designated a national park in 1988. It is also a popular tourist destination and is situated 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Nuwara Eliya and 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Ohiya.
The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. In Sinhala the plains are known as Maha Eliya Plains. Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The plains’ vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest, and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan sambar deer feature as typical mammals, and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. Forest dieback is one of the major threats to the park and some studies suggest that it is caused by a natural phenomenon.
Day 7: Nuwara Eliya – Yala – Hambantota (B,D)
This morning, leave Nuwara Eliya for the Safari at Yala National Park. It is 378 sq. miles in extent. Yala was established in 1938 from, what originally was a Sportsman’s shooting reserve.
This is the most famous and well developed National Park where wild animals and birds could be observed. The Wild animals include Elephants in herds of varying sizes, Leopards, Wild Boar, Wild Buffalo, Crocodiles, Peacocks, Jackal, Sloth Bear and other animals. The bird-life comprises of about 130 species including the resident and migrants. Painted storks, Paradise Flycatcher, Grey Herons, Serpent Eagle, Sea Eagle, Black-Necked Stork, Spoonbills, Pelicans add colour to the bird-life in the park.
Then go to hotel in Hambantota or Tangalle for a good rest.
Day 8: Hambantota (B,D)
After all exciting visits and activities, today is free at your own leisure.
Day 9: Hambantota – Galle – Colombo (B,D)
After breakfast at the hotel, we can have look the famous stilt fishermen. You may have a chance to experience the life of a stilt fisherman in the sea. Then onward to Galle visiting the Galle Fort.
Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, and then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 423 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.
The fort has a colourful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world. The heritage value of the fort has been recognized by the UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv, for its unique exposition of “an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries.”
After drive back to Colombo for a good night rest.
Day 10: Colombo –– New Zealand (B)
Today is free to explore the city at your own pace. At the appropriate time you will be transferred to the airport for your homeward flight.
Day 11: New Zealand
Arrive home today.