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Buddha & Beach
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Dambulla & Polonnaruwa
Today you will set off for Polonnaruwa stopping en route at one of Sri Lanka’s most impressive cave temples, the Dambulla Rock Temple. This stunning complex of 5 caves contains over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre statue carved out of the cave rock. After exploring this ancient site we continue on to Polonnaruwa. This fascinating 11th century city is home to many interesting ruins and famous monuments including the Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa was once the capital and is also the second most ancient city in Sri Lanka. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sigiriya, village visit & Spice Gardens
This morning the tour heads to Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway.
Next you will take a jeep ride and short canoe trip to the village of Kayanwala. Here, we try our hand at preparing a meal of curry, dahl, spiced rice, pickle and more in the mud brick home of a local family. En route to Kandy we stop off at a spice garden in Matale, to see the different herbs and spices, which Sri Lanka is famous for. Here, you will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.
Arriving to Kandy, you will attend a cultural performance of traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.
Temple of the Tooth & Pinnawala Elephants
This morning you will take a sightseeing tour of Kandy - the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. Our first stop will be the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Legend has it that one of Buddha's teeth was taken from him as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was then smuggled into Sri Lanka in 313AD. It now attracts daily pilgrims who come bearing lotus flowers and frangipani. After driving around the Kandy Lake - built by the last Sinhala king, visiting the local bazaar and a gem museum you will take a Tuk Tuk ride up into the surrounding hills. This afternoon you will visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage where we meet some of the 78 elephants in their care. Some of these elephants were abandoned as babies, others born in the facility and unable to return to the wild and a few with disability - one elephant is blind. Today's highlight will be to watch the herd bathe uninhabited in the nearby river. Before returning to Kandy you will stop at the Geragama Tea Factory manufacturing 'Low Grown' and 'Long Leaf' tea.
Nuwara Eliya & Tea Plantation
This morning offers free time before transfering to the railway station for a scenic train trip. Passing kilometre upon kilometre of verdant tea plantations that hug the winding mountain passes, you will see waterfalls, suspension bridges and tea pickers on our journey up to Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea. Opt to sit outside, within the open viewing section of the carriage for uninterrupted views of the magnificent landscape. Upon arrival the tour will embark on a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya - an area known locally as 'Little England'.
Udawalawe NP Jeep Safari
Today we head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. Udawalawe is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan Elephant, the biggest of all the Asian Elephants in the wild. It is thought that there are around 400 elephants here. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, the cheeky Langur monkey and lots of types of deer. You will take an afternoon game drive here before returning to the hotel for the night.
Gem Mine & Colombo City Tour
You will travel back to Colombo this morning with a visit to the Gem Mine and Museum at Ratnapura. Sri Lanka is famous for its gem industry and is home to 40 out of the 85 types of gems that exist in the world.
Arriving to Colombo, the tour will commence a city tour seeing the Fort area in the north of the city, famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. The group will explore the Fort area in the north of the city, famous for its government buildings and interesting shops. You will see the somewhat unusual Gangarama Temple and take a stroll along Galle Face Green, a popular spot for kite flying and games of cricket.
Lazy days by the beach in Bentota
After breakfast the group will head south to the beautiful beach resort of Bentota. Transfer to your accommodation with the rest of the day at leisure.
Beach, pool & sunset cocktails
The beautiful palm fringed beaches of Bentota are without a doubt its biggest draw card, and once you set eyes on them you’ll understand why. Nestled on the Indian Ocean coast with warm crystal clear waters, Bentota offers visitors a whole host of watersports from snorkelling and scuba diving, to waterskiing and surfing – the choice is yours. Indulge in a glass of Toddy – a local coconut flavoured tipple, head to the spa and opt for an Ayurveda treatment the area is famous for, or simply while away the days on the beach cocktail in hand.
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