Sri Lanka Offbeat

Highlights: Negombo - Anuradhapura - Jaffna - Dambulla - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya - Beruwala - Colombo Hotels:
Negombo (Waikkal) - Suriya Resort Kammala 4*
Anuradhapura - Rajarata Hotel Anuradhapura 3*
Jaffna - Jetwing Jaffna 4*
Habarana - Cinnamon Lodge Habarana 4*
Kandy - Amaya Hills 4*
Nuwara Eliya - Galway Heights Hotel 3*
Beruwala - Cinnamon Bey Beruwala 5*
Colombo - The Hilton 5* Itinerary: Sri Lanka is a lush, tropical island paradise, known to ancient Greek mariners as TAPROBANE. Arab traders called it Serendib – hence the word "serendipity", meaning discovery by happy accident. It was famously described by Marco Polo as "undoubtedly the finest island of its size in the world". This is a culturally rich and environmentally diverse country, with nine World Heritage Sites (the oldest dating back to the 3rd Century BC); 86 species of mammals (including elephant and leopard) and more than 400 bird species (including 26 endemics); a colorful array of flowering plants and trees, and a Hill Country famous for tea; 14 National Parks out of 100 areas protected by the government; and an Indian Ocean coastline boasting palm-fringed and sandy tropical beaches. Day 01: Airport - Negombo Boatride (Half board)
You will be warmly welcomed by our representative who will guide you throughout the tour. After the formalities at the Airport, proceed to your first hotel in Negombo. Once reached, check-in to the hotel (Approx. transfer time: 30mins) and enjoy a boat ride at Negombo lagoon. The lagoon is fed by a number of small rivers and a canal. It is linked to the sea by a narrow channel to the north, near Negombo city. Overnight accommodation at Suriya Resort in Waikkal Day 02: Negombo - Anuradhapura - Cycle Tour (Half board)
Rise up early and proceed to Anuradhapura. (Approx. transfer time: 4hrs)
Once in Anuradhapura, commence a sightseeing tour of the ancient city by cycle Visit the ruins of the first capital founded in the 05th century BC. Here is found the largest number of ancient monuments of a great civilization. Buddhism found its first real home in Sri Lanka at Anuradhapura, and it thus contains some of Sri Lankan Buddhism’s most secret sights The “Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, planted from a cutting from the original “Bo Tree” under which the Buddha received enlightenment, continue to draw thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. The pillars of the brazen palace which once had nine stories, the image of the Samadhi Buddha which is one of the finest pieces of Buddhists sculpture, the twin ponds, guard-stones and the moon-stones are amazing remains of a great civilization. There are also monuments such as Ruwanveli Seya Dagoba with its famous elephant wall from the 2nd Century B.C. and the Thuparama Dagoba from the 3rd Century B.C. On completion, proceed and check-in to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day in leisure. Overnight accommodation at Rajarata Hotel in Anuradhapura Day 03: Anuradhapura - Jaffna Sightseeing (Half board)
After an early breakfast, proceed to Jaffna. (Approx. transfer time: 4hrs)
Once reached, commence a mini sightseeing tour. You will be visiting Jaffna market, Jaffna Fort and Jaffna Public Library (Library is closed on Mondays). Tellingly, one of the first major buildings to be rebuilt after the 2002 ceasefire was Jaffna's Public Library. It had been burnt down by pro-government mobs (some say forces) in July 1981, a destruction that many Tamils deemed a cultural attack – few acts were more significant in the build-up to civil war. On completion, proceed to your hotel and check-in. Overnight accommodation at Jetwing Jaffna Day 04: Jaffna Sightseeing (Half board)
After breakfast, visit the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple.
This huge Hindu temple, crowned by a towering god-encrusted, golden-ochre gopuram, is one of the most significant Hindu religious complexes in Sri Lanka. Its sacred deity is Murugan (or Skanda), and during cacophonous puja – at 5am, 10am, noon, 4.15pm (small puja), 4.30pm (‘special’ puja), 5pm and6.45pm – offerings are made to his brass-framed image and other Hindu deities like Ganesh in shrines surrounding the inner sanctum. It's about 1.5km northeast of the centre. Visit Jaffna’s most famous ice cream shop - ‘Rio Ice Cream’ and try it! On completion, proceed to Keerimalai and visit a hot water spring. The Keerimalai Hot Spring is a natural spring located in the Keerimalai area of Jaffna. The source of the water is an underground fresh water spring in Tellipallai, Maviddapuram. The spring is considered as a holy pond, with many Hindu and other devotees patronizing it seeking miraculous healing, remedy for impotency, and physical wellbeing. On completion, proceed to Casuarina beach and relax. White sand and shallow azure waters at a bustling Jaffna beach. A serene 45 minute drive from Jaffna’s bustling centre brings you to the idyllic Casuarina Beach, named after the fuzzy pine-like casuarina trees that line the long stretch of shore. The beach is popular with tourists and locals alike because of its bright white sand and shallow azure waters. Try and make it down in the early morning before the crowds arrive. If you want to really experience the beauty of the shallow seas track down a fisherman to drive you out on his boat. Return to the hotel on completion. Overnight accommodation at Jetwing Jaffna Day 05: Jaffna - Dambulla (Half board)
After breakfast, checkout and proceed to Dambulla. (Approx. transfer time: 5hrs)
Once reached, check-in to the hotel and relax. Visit the Dambulla Rock Cave temple in the evening. Dambulla Cave Temple is a vast isolated rock mass and it was here that king Valagambahu took refuge in the 01st century B.C. He later turned the caves into a rock temple. Dambulla is a world heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and ceiling found here are over 2000 years old and is the largest area of painting found in the world. The caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock and spanning 14 meters. On completion, return to the hotel. Overnight accommodation at Cinnamon Lodge Day 06: Dambulla - Sigiriya - Minneriya - Dambulla (Half board)
Today after breakfast, proceed to Sigiriya and visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. (Approx. transfer time: 45mins)
Proceed to climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress which is known as the 8th wonder of the world. This rock fortress was built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century A.D. and was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. In a sheltered a pocket, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes. The summit of the rock, with an area of nearly one hectare was the site of the palace and the outer wall was built on the very brink of the precipice. The UNESCO sponsored Central Cultural Fund has restored Sigiriya 5th century water gardens to their former glory. On completion, proceed to Minneriya National Park and enjoy a wild jeep safari. (Approx. transfer time: 30mins) Located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, Minneriya is yet another haven for the elephants that migrate from surrounding jungles to enjoy the lush grass fields on the banks of the Minneriya reservoir, during the dry season. Reports of elephant sightings range from an impressive 100 to 200. Endemic monkeys as well as many resident and migratory bird species also can be spotted along with endemic reptiles such as the painted-lip lizard. Among the reptiles that dwell here, are the saltwater crocodile, the Indian python and the water monitor. The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena). This tank is generally known as a place to observe the elephants that come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few) that come to fish in the shallow waters. On completion, return to the hotel and relax. Overnight accommodation at Cinnamon Lodge Day 07: Dambulla - Hiriwadunna - Kandy (Half board)
Today after breakfast, proceed on an authentic village experience in Hiriwadunna. (Approx. transfer time: 30mins)
This is a super jungle and village experience which is a popular tourist attraction. Have an early departure to a point off the main road where you will begin a scintillating walk over village paths, a tank (ancient reservoir) bund and forest. Cross a little jungle rivulet by catamaran to reach a farmer’s simple "wattle and daub" house where the breakfast/ lunch can be consumed. The villager will offer some tea and may be sweetmeats. Proceed half an hour by foot and bullock cart to a point where a vehicle meets you for the transfer to the hotel, a truly Sri Lankan experience. Enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan lunch. On completion, proceed to Kandy. En-route, visit a spice garden in Matale. (Approx. 2hrs) For centuries, spices have been one of Sri Lanka's celebrated exports. Spices are mostly grown in home gardens (as a home industry) and used not only to flavor food but also for medicine and cosmetics Enjoy a 15mins Head & Shoulder massage.
On completion, continue to proceed to Kandy and check-in to the hotel. (Approx. transfer time: 1.5hrs) Overnight accommodation at Amaya Hills Day 08: Kandy Sightseeing - British Garrison Cemetry (Half board)
After breakfast, embark on a sightseeing tour of Kandy town.
Kandy, perhaps is Sri Lanka’s most beautiful town. Set 488 meters above sea level, Kandy is Sri Lanka’s most visited place after Colombo. The focal point of the town is the golden-roofed ‘Dalada Maligawa’, where the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is enshrined. There are numerous shrines and temples in and around Kandy, where you will see rare paintings, frescoes, and stone carvings. Temple of the Tooth Relic Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. It is located in the royal palace complex which houses the Relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple. Thereafter you will have the time to do some shopping in Kandy, where you could fetch souvenirs in wood, copper, silver, brass, ebony, bronze, ceramics, lacquer work, handlooms, batiks, jewelry and reed-ware at bargain prices!! Next- Sightseeing of Kandy with Upper lake drive, Market square etc. and visit the British Garrison Cemetery. British Garrison Cemetery is a British cemetery in Kandy, Sri Lanka, for British nationals who died in Ceylon On completion, return to hotel and relax Overnight accommodation at Amaya Hills Day 09: Kandy - Nuwara Eliya Sightseeing & Lover's Leap (Half board)
After breakfast, check-out and proceed to Nuwara Eliya. (Approx. journey time: 3hrs)
Once reached, commence a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya. This highland civic of Nuwara Eliya often referred to as the ‘’Little England” for its colonial style bungalows, Tudor style hotels, well-kept gardens, meticulous hedges, shrubberies and of course not to forget the cool climate. This was once a small village hidden amongst the wooded green mountains, hence the name “Eliya” meaning “a clearing” in Sinhala, until colonial civil servant John Devy saw the potential in 1819, which initiated the budding milieu for British colonial hands to have a pause from the heat and the city commotion. Henceforward, the colonial style bungalows, horse racing venues, golf courses and clay pigeon shooting became customary events in Nuwara Eliya. In 1870 following the Coffee Blight, Sir James Taylor introduced tea and converted Nuwara Eliya, into a commercial and a coffee planting centre. On completion, proceed to Lover’s leap falls. Lovers leap is an impressive water fall which is known for its romantic folklore. To reach this place one has to go through the tea factory and reach the tea manager’s bungalow along a dirt road. Visitors can reach this destination by following the signs that are there and eventually one can reach a rock face and a Shiva shrine. Just beyond the shrine one can see the cascading water fall. Legend has it that lovers have leapt to their deaths from this water fall and hence the name Lovers Leap. On completion, check-in to the hotel and relax. Overnight accommodation at The Galway Heights Day 10: Nuwara Eliya - Local Market - Handunugoda - Tea Estate - Galle - Bentota (Half board)
Early in the morning, proceed to Handunugoda. (Approx. transfer time: 6hrs)
En-route, stop at a local vegetable market and taste the Sri Lanka’s most famous desert ‘Curd & treacle’ Curd & Treacle. This is a must try dessert during your stay in Sri Lanka. Curd (Mee kiri) is a traditional dessert prepared with buffalo milk and it goes well with palm treacle(kithul pani). Southern Sri Lanka is popular for the best curd, although this dish can be found anywhere in Sri Lanka. On completion, continue to proceed to Handunugoda Tea Estate in Galle. Handunugoda Tea Estate is a family owned plantation in Tittagalla, Ahangama within the Southern Province On completion, commence a sightseeing tour of Galle Fort. Galle is a coastal town where the Dutch presence is still visible. Galle was an ancient port (said to be the legendary Tarshish of the Bible), and our first international commerce and trade centre. Today, Galle is the bustling provincial capital and administrative centre of the south. It is famous for its lovely Unawatuna Bay, where the sea is reef protected and therefore safe for swimming. The old Dutch “Star Fort” (a World Heritages Site) covering 36 hectares, the well-preserved Groote Kerk (Dutch Church), Dutch Government House, the New Oriental Hotel (built in 1684) old bell tower and a tide-based Sewage-System, also introduced by the Dutch. In Galle they still make the Dutch ‘pillow-lace’ and do fine ebony carving and gem polishing. On completion, proceed to Beruwala and check-in to the hotel. (Approx. transfer time: 1.5hrs) Overnight accommodation at Cinnamon Bey Day 11: Beruwala - Mask Museum - Turtle Hatchery - Beruwala (Half board)
Early in the morning, proceed to Ambalangoda Mask Museum. (Approx. transfer time: 1hr)
Mask making is a popular tradition in Sri Lanka. Many Sri Lankan mask artisans ply their trade along the Western, South Western and Southern coasts of the island. Of these, the Ambalangoda area on the South Western coast of Sri Lanka is renowned for its talented artisans. Ariyapala and Sons is an important landmark in the town of Ambalangoda that famed for its history and expertise mask carving and culture. And the best place to get your fill of mask lore is the Ambalangoda Mask Workshop and Museum is Sri Lanka. On completion, proceed to Kosgoda Sea Turtle Coservation Project. (Approx. transfer time: 30mins) The Turtle Hatchery opened in 1996, buys turtle eggs from the fishermen in an attempt to discourage them from poaching & selling the eggs for food. Witness how the newborn turtles are being cared for until they are ready to be released back to the ocean. The wide sandy beaches that exist round the island of Sri Lanka are utilized by several of the marine turtles for laying their eggs. The commonest of these are the Loggerheads and the Leathery turtle while the green turtle is a less common visitor. On completion, proceed to Beruwala and check-in to the hotel. Overnight accommodation at Cinnamon Bey Day 12: Beruwala Leisure (Half board)
Enjoy the beach stay – Vehicle will not be at your disposal. Overnight accommodation at Cinnamon Bey Day 13: Beruwala - Colombo City Tour (Bed and breakfast)
After breakfast, check-out and proceed to Colombo. (Approx. transfer time: 02hrs)
Once in Colombo, commence a city tour. Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and the largest city with the highest population, Colombo is situated in the Western Province. It is a fascinating town which has a blend of eastern and western cultures where all colors of the island are drawn together. Many visitors appreciate the city’s colonial heritage and enjoy the vast range of fine shopping and dining outlets that can be located within the rush of its urban b

Offer Includes

Flights from London Heathrow with Qatar Airways
Airport taxes
13 nights accommodation as per itinerary
Air-conditioned vehicle along with the services of an English speaking chauffeur guide from arrival up to your departure
15 Minutes head & Shoulder massage at spice Garden
Traditional Sri Lankan style lunch in Hiriwandunna
Curd & Treacle in a local Market
Rio ice-cream in Jaffna

Meal Plans

  • As per Itinerary