Authentic Sri Lanka
Type: Authentic Tour
Duration: 14 Days
Best Time to Travel: September – March
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Authentic Sri Lanka - Itinerary
Immerse yourself in Sri Lanka’s natural wonders on this very special tour. Visit Jaffna and the north of the country, which until the last ten years was out of bounds for tourists. Explore Sri Lanka’s cultural heartland in and around Kandy and discover the island’s diversity as we visit Hatton in the mountains with landscaped tea plantations and unspoilt beaches at Weligama on the coast, fames for its whale watching opportunities.
Colombo - Waikkal
Arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport Colombo where you will be met and welcomed by your Sri Lankan guide. Transfer by road to Waikkal (approx. 30 minutes) and your hotel for checking-in. The remainder of the day is free at leisure.
Waikkal – Anuradhapura
Depart Waikkal for Anuradhapura (about a 4 hour drive). Anuradhapura, once the greatest religious centre of the ancient world, was Sri Lanka's first capital. Founded by King Pandukabhaya in 380 BC, it was until 1000 AD the seat of royalty for 119 successive Singhalese kings as well as thousands of monks in dozens of monasteries. Here is the holy bo-tree, which was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which the Buddha found enlightenment more than 2,500 years ago.
Enjoy a fascinating evening tour of the city.
Anuradhapura – Jaffna
After breakfast we drive to Jaffna, capital of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.
Arrive in Jaffna and the rest of the day is free at leisure.
Historically, Jaffna has been a contested city. It was made into a colonial port town during the Portuguese occupation of the Jaffna peninsula in 1619. The Dutch took it from the Portuguese, only to lose it to the British in 1796. After Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, the political relationship between the minority Sri Lankan Tamils and majority Sinhalese worsened and after the Black July pogrom, civil war erupted in 1983. The rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) occupied Jaffna in 1986 until 1995. The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) briefly occupied the city in 1987. The LTTE again occupied the city from 1989 until 1995, when the Sri Lankan military gained control.
After an early breakfast we explore the city. Our stops include Nallur Kandaswamy Temple – one of the most important temples in the Jaffna Peninsula, dating back to the 15th century. We follow this with Naga Viharaya Temple, an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists who believe that this is the place where the sapling from the Bodhi tree of Lord Buddha arrived in Sri Lanka.
Visit Jaffna Fort originally built by the Portuguese in 1619 and expanded on by the Dutch during the second half of the 17th and the 18th centuries to facilitate trading activities of Sri Lanka’s northern region. Our final stop for the day is the Keerimalei springs. Keerimalai is a natural spring lying next to the sea west of Palaly. A bathing tank is built surrounding this pool and only the walls separate the waters of the spring and the sea. Although close to the sea, the water is fresh and emanates from an underground fresh water spring. The spring is popular with Hindus who believe it possesses healing qualities.
Jaffna – Habarana
This evening we have a game drive in Minneriya National Park. Minneriya National Park is an ideal eco-tourism location consisting of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to Sri Lanka’s favourites’ such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants. However the central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank built in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena.
Proceed to Polonnaruwa. The second capital (846 AD-1302 AD) of Sri Lanka is a well-preserved city of ancient dagobas, moonstones, beautiful parks, massive buildings and stunning statues. The majestic King's Council Chamber, the Lotus Bath, the Lanka Thilaka Viharaya, the Gal Viharaya (rock temple) and the statue of one of Polonnaruwa's great kings, Parakramabahu, are a few of this capital's memorable sights. The Sea of Parakrama - a vast 12th century man-made reservoir dominates the city.
On completion proceed to a local village in Polonnaurwa and enjoy a local cooking experience and lunch. Return to the hotel and remainder of the day at leisure.
Habarana – Kandy
Depart for Sigiriya Rock. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on top of the rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion.
From Sigiriya we drive to Kandy stopping en route at Dambulla Cave Temples, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains. There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over five caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Buddha’s life. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods and goddesses.
We begin the day with a sightseeing tour of Kandy. A lively city, Kandy is surrounded by rolling hills and forest. The last capital of the Singhalese Kingdom, this hill country city is famed for its lake and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth.
Visit the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth and witness a traditional cultural dance show.
Kandy – Hatton
Drive to Hatton stopping along the way at a tea plantation. There is the opportunity to climb Adam’s Peak. Remainder of the day is free at leisure.
After breakfast, visit the Seven Virgins Mountain Range – so called because of its seven peaks. The range is filled with abundant natural vegetation including tea and bamboo. The Seven Virgins range is ideal for those who love adventure, hiking, wildlife and nature.
Hatton - Weligama
After breakfast, drive to Weligama (approx. 5 hours). Embraced in the warmth of the Indian Ocean and sought after by sun seeking surfers Weligama has an untouched and unspoiled feel to it.
Remainder of the day is free to relax and enjoy Weligama.
Weligama – Galle - Weligama
Embark on a cycling tour of Galle Fort. We pass lagoons, paddy fields, the Galle town outskirts and the fruit, vegetable and fish markets. We avoid the main roads and stick to paths and back roads. The cycling tour can either be done early morning or late afternoon for sunset.
Return to Weligama and stop along the way to see the locals doing some ‘stilt-fishing’.
Early morning with packed breakfast for Dolphin and whale watching. The seas off the coast of Mirissa are some of the world’s best for blue and sperm whale watching, an entrancing experience not to be missed. With the continental shelf so close to the surface, these magnificent creatures are continuously in view as they travel their ancient migration routes. Your early-morning expedition will be accompanied by a naturalist guide who will ensure you get the best views—and the best opportunities to capture once-in-a-lifetime wildlife photographs. You will then return to you hotel for some well-earned rest and relaxation.
Weligama - Colombo
Return to Colombo to the airport for your onward flight.
- Room accommodation in twin share
- Private transportation by car/ minivan
- Experienced English speaking Sri Lanka tour guide
- Drinking water in car / minivan (1 litre)
- Daily breakfast
- Game drive at Minneriya National Park
- Cultural dance show in Kandy
- Cooking experience in Polonnaruwa
- Visit to Adam’s Peak (optional)
- Whale watching at Mirissa
- Cycling tour of Galle Fort
- Entrance and sightseeing fees as mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival and departure transfers
What's Not Included?
- Drinks during meals
- Optional tours
- Sri Lanka visa
- Any personal expenses such as laundry, hotel phone etc
- Tips and gratuities
- Waikkal – Suriya Resort (Deluxe Room)
- Anuradapura – Forest Roack Garden Hotel (Deluxe Room)
- Jaffna – The Thinnai (Suite Room)
- Habarana – Habarana Village by Cinnamon (Superior Room)
- Kandy – Madulkelle ea & Eco Lodge (Deluxe Lodge)
- Hatton – Mandira Bungalows (Deluxe Room)
- Weligama – W15 Weligama (Standard Room)
- Mirissa – Ubuntu By Lantern (Courtyard Room)