Sri Lanka - Island Explorer
Sri Lanka, Family, 14 days - from £1,295 (land only) - from €1,555 (land only) - from $2,135 (land only)
Day 1: Arrive in Colombo, KE land only package services begin with single timed transfer to our hotel in Sigiriya. Afternoon free to relax or explore the hotel's nature trail.
Day 2: Today we have a bicycle ride around the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and the surrounding villages. We have a picnic lunch by the lake. The afternoon can be spent by the pool or we can take an optional jeep safari in the Minneriya National Park to see herds of over 250 elephants. Overnight hotel Sigiriya.
Day 3: A pleasant morning's walk through farmland and villages takes us over a river in a farmers wooden catamaran, an Ox cart ride and a stop for some coconut milk at a local village. We return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon visit the Rock Fortress at Sigiriya. This World Hertiage Site is a unique complex of water gardens, frescos and gigantic lions feet carved from the rock. Overnight Hotel.
Day 4: We depart for Kandy, Sri Lanka's hill capital. Enroute we stop at Matale to visit the Alu Vihare Temple. Here the monks patiently transcribe Buddist history and legend to Ola Leaf manuscripts. Once in Kandy we visit a batik manufacture and spend some time learning and making a batik of our own to take home. Overnight hotel Kandy.
Day 5: We set off for Kitulgala, the film location of 'Bridge over the River Kwai'. Nowadays Kitulgala is an excellent place for adventure activities. We cross the Kelani river in a dugout canoe and have a short trek in the forest reserve surrounded by many endemic birds and plants. We reach a small pool where we can swim and relax. Overnight hotel on the banks of the Kelani River.
Day 6: This morning we have an exhilarating white water rafting excursion on the Kelani River. This is a level 3 rafting trip trip suitable for people from 8 years to 60 years. In the afternoon we depart for Nuwara Eliya past waterfalls and a visit to a tea planation. Overnight forest lodge in Nuwara Eliya.
Day 7: After breakfast we enjoy an amazing 3-4 hour trek in the Horton Plains to 'Worlds End' and 'Baker Falls'. Horton Plains National Park is magical with its misty mountains, grasslands, marshes, icy streams, lakes and waterfalls. At 'Worlds End' the plateau drops off 1000m and we see the delightful waterfalls - Baker Falls. In the afternoon we transfer to the hotel in Bandarawela.
Day 8: We transfer in our vehicle to the Dambetenne tea factory and then to the top of Liptons Seat for some fantastic views of the rolling plantations. We have a picnic lunch and then walk down (1hr). Back in Banadarawela we have can join the local children playing cricket. Overnight hotel Banadarawela.
Day 9: Today, we drive to the Udawalawe National Park, the best national park in the island for seeing wild elephants. After settling in to our fixed camp, we have an early evening jeep Safari. We return to camp just outside the park and have a BBQ next to the river. Camp.
Day 10: After a leisurely breakfast we depart for Udawalane to visit the Elephant Transit Home. Here injured or orphaned baby elephants are rehabilitated and released back into the safe environment of the Udawalane National Park. This afternoon we visit Yala National Park, famous for it's elephants, leopards, bear, crocodiles and wild boar. Overnight Tissamaharama
Day 11: This morning we have an optional second visit to Yala National Park in search of the Leopard before we leave for the beach resort at Mirissa. In the early evening we visit the Rakawa Turtle sanctuary where we can see turtles laying their eggs (peak season Jan to May, although they do lay all year). Return to beach hotel.
Day 12: Free day to relax by the pool or the sea. Optional snorkelling and between November to April we have the option of a whale watching trip to see Blue Whales. Overnight hotel Mirissa.
Day 13: After breakfast we depart for Colombo. We stop at Galle to explore the old Dutch fort and walk along the impressive ramparts. We briefly visit Colombo before checking in to our hotel near the airport.
Day 14: KE land only package services end after breakfast and the transfer to the airport.
The altitudes attained on this holiday are not extreme and the maximum altitude attained is no more than the equivalent of a pressurised cabin on an international flight. You may ‘feel’ the altitude the first time you are above 2000 metres but all that is required is a slower pace to compensate. You should pay particular attention to your hydration levels while walking above 2000 metres.