Sri Lanka Highlights Tour
Sri Lanka, Discovery, 14 days - from £1,195 (land only) - from €1,675 (land only) - from $1,940 (land only)
Day 1: Rendezvous at Colombo Airport. KE land only package services start with a transfer to Dambulla at the heart of Sri Lanka's 'cultural triangle'. We then have the rest of the day to relax. Overnight hotel.
Day 2: This morning we have a three hour trek through villages and along the shores of a Wewa, manmade reservoir, where we can see amazing birds, butterflies and possibly crocodiles whilst watching the people go about their morning tasks. We return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon we drive to the ancient city of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the visit we return to our hotel.
Day 3: Today we visit another ancient city at Polonnaruwa, famous for its temples and man-made lakes. In the afternoon we have the option of a safari in Minneriya National Park before returning to our hotel.
Day 4: Early this morning we have a catamaran ride out on the lake. This is a chance to see first hand the techniques of the local fishermen who cast their nets in time honoured fashion. We will have a picnic breakfast out on the lake while watching the myriad birdlife. In the afternoon we visit the impressive Sigiriya Fortress built atop the 'Lion Rock'. Overnight at our hotel.
Day 5: After breakfast we depart for Kandy, the home of the Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka's sacred relic. On the way we stop to visit Matale where we have an easy walking tour of the Spice Garden. Overnight in Kandy
Day 6: After an early breakfast we drive for 45 minutes to the Tamarind Gardens a unique 'Live Like a Local' home-stay located on the banks of the Mahaweli Weewa. Here we stay on a working farm in modern chalets which are built to the design of local village homes and participate in the routines and activities of the village.
Day 7: An optional early start to feed the cows and chickens is followed by a hearty breakfast. We then head up into Sri Lanka's 'Hill Country', the tea growing region. We visit a tea factory to witness how the tea is picked and processed and then proceed to Nuwara Eliya. Finally, we continue to the hill station of Bandarawela where we check in to our hotel.
Day 8: After an early breakfast we take the narrow guage railway which winds through the Hill Country to Patipola, the highest point on the line. From here it is a short drive to the Horton National Park where we make an easy walk to the spectacular 'World's End' and Baker falls. We return to Bandarawela for a second night at the hotel.
Day 9: We start the day with a short walk through the town of Bandarawela and the vegetable gardens which surround it, giving an insight into the simple life of the community here. Afterwards we drive to Yala National Park via the Ella and the Ravana Ella Waterfall. We stay overnight in a hotel in Tissamaharama.
Day 10: In the morning we make a visit the town and shrine of Kataragama which is probably the holiest place in Sri Lanka. In the afternoon we have an exciting jeep safari in the Yala National Park which is home to elephant, Bear, Crocodile and Wild Boar. as well as having the world's highest concentration of leopard per square mile! Overnight in Tissamaharama.
Day 11: A free morning to relax in Tissamaharama. For those who wish there is the option (at extra cost) to have a second jeep safari in the Park. In the afternoon we drive to the beach resort at Tangalle located at the southern tip of the island where we check into our hotel.
Day 12: A free day to enjoy the beach or to explore the coast. After dinner we drive for 20 minutes to the Rakawa Turtle sanctuary, a 2km stretch of protected coastline. The sanctuary is home to 5 species of marine turtle which nest here and sitting beside these incredible creatures will be an indelible memory of the holiday.
Day 13: After breakfast we drive back towards Colombo. On the way we stop at Galle to explore the old Dutch fort and walk along the impressive ramparts. We visit the capital Colombo before heading to our last night's hotel located near to the airport.
Day 14: KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. A complimentary group transfer to the airport is provided.
Note that the itinerary in 2014 will be extended by a day to 14 days (Land Only) and will include a stay at the unique Tamarind Gardens 'Live-like-a-local' project. Contact KE for further details.