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DATES: 31st August – 16th September 2024
Colombo, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Polonnaruwa, Minneriya National Park, Sigiriya, Hiriwadunna, Dambulla Cave Temples, Matale Spice Garden, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Hortain Plains, Ella, Yala, Kaluthara, Galle, & Bentota.
SATURDAY, 31st AUGUST/SUNDAY, 1st SEPTEMBER
We meet at Malta International Airport at 12.30pm for our Emirates flight to Dubai. Our flight departs at 3.35pm and arrives at 1.05am (1st September). We then board our flight to Colombo which departs at 2.40am and arrives at 8.35am. Upon arrival we are transferred to Colombo, check in at hotel: Radisson Colombo Hotel in Colombo (or similar). Today, a Sri Lankan lunch is included.
MONDAY, 2nd SEPTEMBER
After breakfast, we start our first excursion – Colombo Walk. Colombo Walk is a great way to experience the heart of the city in a fun way. Pick up from the hotel will take us to the Old Dutch Hospital where we will start (an approx. 2-3 hour walk). During this walk we will admire Colombo Lighthouse, Portuguese, Dutch and British Colonization, Clock Tower Queens House (Present President House), General Post Office, Colombo Harbor Pettah Bazzar, Main Street, Red Mosque (Known as Jami Ul Alfar Mosque) 2nd Cross Street, Manning Market, Floating Market & For Railway Station. We taste freshly cut King Coconut, locally known as ‘Thambili’. We will end at Colombo Fort area and we are transferred back to our hotel. Later, we leave to enjoy a Sri Lankan lunch (extra) and after some time for shopping. Return to hotel and overnight.
TUESDAY, 3rd SEPTEMBER
After breakfast, we proceed to Habarana. On our way we visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – a caring home for abandoned and wounded elephants. It is currently a home to several elephants which started off with the introduction of five abandoned baby elephants to the premises. Later we arrive and check in our hotel Village by Cinnamon in Habarana (or similar).
WEDNESDAY, 4th SEPTEMBER
Breakfast and today’s excursion takes us to Polonnaruwa Heritage Site. Polonnaruwa, the Capital of Sri Lanka between the 11th and 13th century, offers splendid and spectacular statues. Sri Lanka’s splendid medieval capital was established as the first city of the land and Kings ruled the country from here 800 years ago when it was a thriving commercial and religious centre. The glories of that period can be found in the archaeological treasures that present a good idea of how the city looked like in its heyday. The archaeological park is a delight to explore, with hundreds of ancient structures – tombs, temples, statues and stupas. Later we will enjoy an exciting evening Minneriya Safari – a jeep safari tour of Minneriya National Park that gives us the opportunity to see herds of elephants throughout the year. Return to hotel and overnight.
THUSRSDAY, 5th SEPTEMBER
Breakfast and then we explore Sigiriya Rock – an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matele district near the town of Dambulla. It’s a historical and archaeological site dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 370m selected by King Kasyapa to build his palace on top and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. Many locals call it the eight wonder of the World. The main entrance is in the shape of huge lion feet and the views from the top are breath-taking. We experience the authentic rural life during a village tour in Hiriwadunna followed by local authentic lunch (included). Hiriwadunna is a quaint village in the centre of Habarana, where one finds more trees than people. The village tour is an interesting experience in learning the village life of the country which is laid back unlike the hustle bustle of city life. Encounter a bullock cart ride for a traditional experience. Enjoy the cool breeze and observe scenic views whilst passing through the lush countryside and scrub lined mud paths. There are colourful catamarans lined up at the banks of the artificial lake which is surrounded by jungles and there is a hub of activity by birds and butterflies and you can witness some villagers fishing in their boats or washing their clothes on the banks. Interact with the village folk and indulge in a home cooked meal by them with their own home grown produce. Return to the hotel and overnight.
FRIDAY, 6th SEPTEMBER
Today after breakfast we leave for another full day excursion and at the end we will arrive at Kandy. Our first stop being Dambulla Cave Temple, a World Heritage site also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla. Situated in the central part of the country, Dambulla is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex of the country. One finds more than 80 caves in the surrounding area and the main attractions containing statues and paintings are spread over 5 caves. We will also visit a Spice Garden in Matale. For centuries, spices have been one of Sri Lanka’s famous exports. Spices are mostly grown in home gardens (as a home industry) and used not only to flavor food but also in medicine and cosmetics. We later explore Kandy – a beautiful city surrounded by mountains. It also homes significant historical and religious attractions such as the Temple of the Tooth Relic – a jewel in the heart of the old city, captivating and majestic. Later we watch a cultural Kandyan dance show. Overnight in Radisson Kandy Hotel (or similar).
SATURDAY, 7th SEPTEMBER
After breakfast we visit Bahirawa Kanda Temple, situated on the hill of Bahirawakanda. It’s called the Sri Maha Bodhi Viharaya and it’s most well-known for its giant Buddha statue which can be seen from almost any point in the city of Kandy. Built in 1972, the statue shows Lord Buddha seated in the Nirvana pose, which is the position associated with his first Enlightenment. Reaching a height of more than 25 metres, it is one of the tallest statues of Buddha in Sri Lanka. Return to the hotel. Dinner & overnight stay at Kandy.
SUNDAY, 8th SEPTEMBER
We start our day with breakfast, check out and we proceed to Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as ‘Little England’. Enroute, we visit a Tea Factory, one of the main sources of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka and recognized as Ceylon Tea. It is renowned for its high quality aroma and taste. In the afternoon drive thru the Nuwara Eliya city for a short city tour including the Nuwara Eliya Gold course, Racecourse Grounds, The Nuwara Eliya Post Office which is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest post offices & explore the lush green promenades and frolic through the picturesque garden of Victoria Park. Dinner and overnight at Araliya Red Hotel (or similar) in Nuwara Eliya.
MONDAY, 9th SEPTEMBER
This morning we leave for a safari at Horton Plains National Park. At a level of over 7000 ft above sea level, Horton Plains is the highest plateau in the country and its unique landscape and wilderness attracts numerous visitors. The most famous and stunning feature of the park is the World’s End, where the plateau comes to a sudden end, and drops straight down for 880 meters. The scenic plains of the park are excellent walking grounds for visitors. The park is one of the prime locations to observe large number of Sambur (Cervus unicolor). Due to the abundance of extensive grasslands for feeding and adjoining forest patches for protection provide ideal conditions for Sambur population to thrive here at the park. After that we can smell the bloom at Hakgala Gardens that has a history dating back to 1862. This is the exotic pleasure garden where King Ravana kept the depressed Sita, insisting that she marries him. Dinner and overnight.
TUESDAY, 10th SEPTEMBER
After breakfast we head to the quaint little town of Ella. Along the way we enjoy breathtaking views and picturesque valleys that stretch for miles. Scenic paths are reachable by steps and a moderate trail offering picturesque views. We visit Ravana Waterfall that is one of the main waterfalls, located just 10minutes away from the city centre. Ravana Waterfalls, a spectacular gap in the southern mountain wall where the land falls away in a dizzy drop of 3000 ft to the southern plains and the sea, which is visible in the far distance on a clear day. Later we walk along Nin Arch Bridge, one of the best places to visit while in Ella. A 30 minute walk through woods leads to beautiful architecture hidden between lush green tea fields. In Ella we have the possibility to go the to Mega zipline, stretching for more than half a kilometer offering a bird’s eye view of the beautiful hills of the island. Get on board at Mini Adam’s Peak and fly over iconic tea estates and lush greenery overlooking the famous Ella Gap. Overnight at Heaven’s Edge Hotel in Ella (or similar).
WEDNESDAY, 11th SEPTEMBER
We start off with breakfast and then we make our way to Yala. Today an exciting safari awaits us at Yala National Park – the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Yala is known for holding the highest concentration of leopard in the world. The vast extent of the park is mainly scrub jungle with rocky outcrops and dotted with many salt and fresh water lagoons. Elephant, leopard, sloth bear, crocodile, wild buffalo and sambur thrive here, as well as herds of spotted deer, wild boar, langur and macaque monkeys and many small mammals. Over 215 species of birds can be seen with peacocks being a common sight. Overnight stay Chaarya Resort Hotel (or similar).
THURSDAY, 12th SEPTEMBER
After breakfast, we check out and proceed to Kaluthara. Enroute we visit Galle sites including Galle Dutch fort, light house. Galle Fort, located on the southern coast of the country, is one of the five historical monuments which one must visit when in Sri Lanka. Today it is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site and it’s a stunning blend of architecture, archaeology and history amidst a beautiful tropical setting. The Galle Fort attracts many tourists and locals not just because of its historical appeal but the buzzing life inside the monument with lively shops and cafes, museums, villas and lifestyle shops to complete your experience. We then proceed to Galle Fort Lighthouse, one of the oldest in Sri Lanka built in 1848. It is one of the most visited attractions of the fort due to its picturesque surroundings, perfect for a serene stroll. Later we arrive at our hotel – Tangerine Beach Hotel (or similar) in Kaluthara.
FRIDAY, 13th SEPTEMBER
Today after breakfast we take the opportunity to enjoy a full day at leisure. Overnight in Kaluthara.
SATURDAY, 14th SEPTEMBER
After breakfast we explore Bentota, starting from Brief Garden, a Japanese style design that will take you back to colonial days. We then proceed to the turtle hatchery a successful conservation effort established to protect Sri Lanka’s turtles from extinction having has five out of seven species of turtles in the world. All 5 species have been recorded to nest along specific areas of Sri Lanka’s coast. Most vulnerable of all are their eggs, which are left uncovered on beaches all around the coast. Later we have the opportunity to enjoy a Madu River boat safari down the beautiful river, a wetland estuary spreading over 900 hectares of which 770 hectares is covered with water and 64 islands. Whilst our last visit is at Cinnamon island, famous for it’s age-old cinnamon plantation where we learn about its process and uses.
SUNDAY, 15th SEPTEMBER/MONDAY, 16th SEPTEMBER
This morning we have breakfast and enjoy our last day in Sri Lanka. Later in the afternoon we are transferred to the airport of Colombo for our Emirates flight departing (16th September) at 3.15am and arriving at Dubai at 6.00am. This is followed by our connecting flight departing Dubai at 8.00am and arriving in Malta 2.05pm.
PRICE PER PERSON
Adult in Triple (on request)
Adult in Twin €2449
Adult in Single €2899
Visa cost €55
Emirates flights to/from Colombo via Dubai
14 nights accommodation in 4* hotels (+ late check out on the last day)
14 buffet breakfasts, 2 lunch & 15 dinners
All transfers as per program
All excursions guided by English speaking driver/guide, as indicated in itinerary
Entrance fees as per program
Services of tour leader
Minimum group size is based on 20 passengers
Note: A Maltese passport with a validity date of 6 months beyond departure date.
Visa: Please ask at the desk for requirements.
Vaccines: Kindly check with the National Immunisation Service at Floriana Health centre.