FABULOUS SRI LANKA: SEAT – IN – COACH TOUR
Destinations : ROUTE: HABARANA | KANDY | NUWARA ELIYA | YALA
Day 1 – Day 1: Arrival – Pinnawala – Dambulla – Habarana (180km – 04 hrs)
Arrival in Colombo International Airport and drive to Dambulla. En route visit Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – App. 55 miles from Colombo, off the Colombo – Kandy road is Pinnawela, where an orphanage was started in 1975 to house the abandoned and the wounded elephants. The number of elephants has increased to more than 65 now; including Baby Elephants brought from various parts, as well as the 23 babies born, as a result of the captive breeding programme. The best time to visit is the feeding time from 0930-1000 hrs and 1330-1400 hrs and the bathing time from 1000- 1030 hrs and 1400-1430 hrs when all the elephants are taken to the river close by.
Thereafter proceed to Dambulla and visit the Rock Cave Temple in Dambulla.
Dambulla – is a vast isolated rock mass 500 feet high and a mile around the base. Here is found the famous Rock Temple dating to the First Century B.C. The caves of Dambulla sheltered King Walagamba during his 14 years of exile from Anuradhapura. When he regained the throne he built the most magnificent of Rock Temples to be found in the Island. In the first Cave is a recumbent image of the Buddha 47ft long cut out of the Rock. There are images of deities associated with Buddhism all around. The frescoes on the walls and the ceiling are the oldest here but they are over painted in the Kandy period. In the Second Cave, the finest and the largest of all, there are 150 life-size statues of the Buddha in various postures with few statues of Gods and Kings. The ceiling is also covered with frescoes, which depict great events in the life of the Buddha and landmarks in the history of the Sinhalese people.
On completion drive to the hotel in Habarana / Sigiriya
Dinner & Overnights stay in Habarana / Sigiriya
Day 02 - Habarana – Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa – Habarana (140km – 3.5 hrs)
After breakfast drive to Sigiriya and visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
Sigiriya – is a “World Heritage Site” and 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 Palace on the summit of the 600-foot high rock. On its summit are the foundations of the Royal Palace, Water Tanks to supply water and all other buildings and at the edges the guardhouses. On one of the stairways the only known ancient work of Sinhala secular painting survived in the form of Frescoes of 21 lives sized damsels in all the freshness and delicacy of their original color. The Water Gardens, Fountain Garden, summerhouse, Boulder Gardens and the Caves with the enclosed are should not be missed.
Thereafter proceed to Polonnaruwa and visit the archeological park in Polonnaruwa.
Polonnaruwa – another “World Heritage Site” was the Capital of Sri Lanka from 11th – 13th Centuries, contains some splendid and spectacular statues. Lankatilake, Tivanka and Thuparama are the most beautiful and largest Image Houses and Tivanka has the best example of frescoes of the Polonnaruwa period. Rankoth Vehera and Kirivehera are well preserved large stupas, and Gal Vihare – a rock shrine, has four Buddha statues, two seated, one standing and one reclining and Parakrama Bahu statue are examples of Sinhalese stone carver. The Vata-da-ge is a unique creation of the Sri Lankan artists.
On completion drive to back to the hotel in Habarana / Sigiriya.
Day 03 - Habarana – Matale – Kandy (100km -2.5hrs)
After breakfast drive to Kandy. En route visit a traditional Spice Garden in Matale.
Spice Gardens at Matale – You will see many spice gardens at Matale and in Mawanella on the Colombo-Kandy road where Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper Creepers and all other spice trees, plants and creepers are planted for visitors to see them. Spice products are also available for those who would like to buy them. At all Spice Gardens visitors are taken round explaining each tree and plant and at the end explaining the use of them food preparations.
Thereafter proceed to Kandy. After arriving in Kandy go for a City tour.
Kandy – the hill capital is another “World Heritage Sites”. It was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings during the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule and finally ceded to the British in 1815 after an agreement. To the Buddhist of Sri Lanka and the World, Kandy is one of the most sacred sites as it is the home of the “Dalada Maligawa” – Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Close by are the remains of the Royal Palace (Maha Wasala), Palle Wasala- where the Queens stayed-now used for the National Museum, Meda Wasala where other close relatives lived, Audience Hall, Natha Devala and Vishnu Devala are situated. The Bathing Pavilion (Ulpenge) is by the Lake and in the Center of the lake is the Island called “Kiri samudraya” (Milk white ocean) used by the kings as the summerhouse. Today it is the center of Buddhism, Arts, Crafts, Dancing, Music and Culture. Visitors can see these Dance & Music at the daily Cultural Performances held at several places in the city.
Thereafter visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy
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.
Afterwards you will visit a gem museum, in which individual gemstones are exhibited in detail. There you will learn how beautiful jewelry is produced from the many precious stones which are found here in Sri Lanka. After the visit to the Museum, you have the chance to witness the famous Kandyan Dancing show.
Day 4: Kandy – Peradeniya – Nuwara Eliya (100km -3hrs)
After breakfast visit the Botanical Garden in Peradeniya.
Royal Botanical Gardens – Peradeniya – 147 acres in extent; Started in 1374 as a pleasure garden of the Kings of Gampola and Kandy. There are more than 5,000 species of trees, plants and creepers. Some rare and endemic as well as flora from the tropical world are found in the gardens. Spice Garden and Orchid House are popular with tourists. There are 5 Palm Avenues beautifying the gardens, the earliest and tallest Palm Avenue (Royal Palm Avenue) was planted in 1905 and the Double Coconuts from the Seashells Island, with the largest seed of all plants in the world is one such avenue.
Thereafter drive to Nuwara Eliya.
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 coolest places in the Island, but it is really just like an English spring day, although the temperature does drop at night. All around Nuwara Eliya you will see evidence of the British influence, houses like country cottages or Queen Ann style mansions. The Victoria Park, in the middle of the town, is a lovely place for a stroll or a picnic and is also good for Birding as you get some rare birds in this Park. Seasons may be absent elsewhere in Sri Lanka, but here you can read them by the flowers, which bloom in the spring (March to May) and the fall (August and September). These are the “seasons” when low-country folk flock to Nuwara Eliya to escape the sea level heat and humidity.
Day 05- Nuwara Eliya - Ella – Yala (200km -5hrs)
After breakfast drive to Yala via Ella.
Ella – 127 miles from Colombo and 8 miles from Bandarawela. on the leeward side of the central mountains. The view from Ella Gap is one of the most spectacular scenic sights in Sri Lanka – the landscape falls away in a dizzy drop of 3000ft to the eastern plains. The Ella rock is famous for the cave of Ravana a legendary king of Sri Lanka ruled during the pre-historic times. The 1080 foot high waterfall few miles from the Ella Rest House is one of the most beautiful falls in the country.
In the afternoon go for a Jeep Safari in Yala National Park.
Yala (Ruhuna) National Park- the Ruhunu National Park covers 126,786 hectares including the Strict Natural Reserve (Block II). The most familiar is Block I (14,101 hectares) and this block was established in 1938. Yala is famous for its big herds and large number of Elephants, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Crocodiles, Mongoose, Wild Boar, Wild Buffalo, and many other animals. More than 130 bird species are recorded which includes the resident and winter visitors. There are 7 Bungalows inside the Park with few Camp Sites.
Day 06 - Yala – Galle - Beach Hotel / Departure (360km -6.5hrs)
After breakfast drive to Galle.
Galle – Sri Lanka’s most historically interesting town is Galle. It was a major port until about 100 years, but today still handles shipping and sailing boats in the natural harbor. Stroll around the lighthouse and harbor or visit the old town where you can see the traditional lace makers and wood carvers and purchase some the finest souvenirs.
The Dutch Fort – Galle – The South Coast’s major city is Galle, whose oldest landmark is the massive Portuguese and Dutch Fort which is a “World Heritage Site” in which the central city is contained. But the city may be much older. Some scholars believe it to be the “Tarshish” of the Old Testament, to which King Solomon sent his merchant vessels, and to which Jonah fled from the Lord. Today, the 90 -acre Galle Fort shows no evidence of the Portuguese founders. The Dutch incorporated the Portuguese northern wall in a great rampart in 1663. A second, taller wall was built inside of it. Between the two walls, a covered passage connected the central bastion with the Fort’s two half bastion’s overlooking the sea. The Dutch also installed a sophisticated drainage system, complete with brick-lined underground sewers that were flushed twice a day by the high and low tides. The original gate to the fort was by the harbour. It is still there, marked by the British Coat-of-arms on the front and the Dutch V.O.C. (Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie) with the Coat-ofarms with a rooster crest, is on the inner side of the Fort.
Finally you have the choice to decide whether you want to be taken to the west / south coast to extend your beach holiday, or to the airport to Colombo for you departure flight.