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Discover Sri Lanka

Alternate Itinerary
December 24, 2018 - January 04, 2019 (12 Days)

Day 1 — Colombo

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.

Day 2 — Colombo/Wilpattu National Park

Depart early and visit a coconut plantation, learning about farming and popular coconut based products. Continue north to Wilpattu National Park, known for its leopard population. Explore the park by jeep and meet with a local expert to learn about conservation efforts and the issues of human encroachment on wildlife reserves. Spend the night at a safari camp located just outside the park. (1B, 1D)

Day 3 — Wilpattu National Park/Anuradhapura

Travel to the sacred city of Anuradhapura–a UNESCO World Heritage site. Walk through the ruins and discover ancient Buddhist monasteries and temples. Enjoy some free time this afternoon, during which you may opt to rent a bike. (1B)

Day 4 — Anuradhapura/Dambulla

Take a walk through Habarana, a rural farming village, and learn about daily life. Relax during a canoe ride on the lake, ride on a bull cart, enjoy a local lunch, and venture into the rice and vegetable fields. Later, continue to Dambulla for the evening. (1B, 1L)

Day 5 — Dambulla

Head to the legendary rock fortress of Sigiriya, a World Heritage site. Climb to the top of Lion Rock—crowned by the ruins of a fifth-century royal city—and take in stellar views at the summit. Afterward, enjoy some free time to explore Dambulla. (1B)

Day 6 — Dambulla/Kandy

Our next destination is the Golden Temple of Dambulla, which has drawn Buddhist pilgrims for more than 22 centuries. Venture into this extraordinary rock sanctuary to admire ancient Buddhist murals and statues. Then visit a spice garden in Matale to learn about the therapeutic uses of local spices. Continue to Kandy and enjoy a tour of the Temple of the Tooth, believed to house a tooth of the Buddha. This evening, listen to some traditional music at a cultural show. (1B)

Day 7 — Kandy

Today, visit the impressive Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya, considered a national asset. Explore the lush grounds and visit the orchid house and the giant fig tree on the great lawn. Afterward, visit Sthree Craft Shop and Café, a G for Good-supported social enterprise that helps local women and youth. Here we enjoy a handicraft demonstration, lecture, and afternoon high tea. Later, take advantage of some free time to walk through the city and around Kandy Lake. (1B, 1L)

Day 8 — Kandy/Nuwara Eliya

Travel through scenic mountains to the tea-producing town of Nuwara Eliya. Stop at a traditional tea plantation in the central highlands to gain insight into the process of growing tea and its effect on the Ceylon region. Enjoy a cup of pure Ceylon Tea, then continue exploring the English countryside setting –once governed by English and Scottish planters.Walk along grassy lanes, taking in stunning views of this countryside hamlet. Opt to enjoy high tea at the historic Grand Hotel. (1B)

Day 9 — Nuwara Eliya/Udawalawe

Enjoy a picnic breakfast and a hike in Horton Plains National Park, keeping an eye out for macaques and wild boars. Continue to our tented camp on the border of Udawalawe National Park, the best place on the island to see large populations of Asian elephants in the wild. This evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration by the camp chef and learn about local specialties. (1B, 1D)

Day 10 — Udawalawe

Set off on a game drive to spot elephants, monkeys, water buffaloes, and monitor lizards, as well as numerous bird species. Afterward, enjoy a lecture at the Elephant Transit Home, a haven for orphaned elephants who are rehabilitated then released back into the wild, many directly into Udawalawe National Park. (1B, 1D)

Day 11 — Udawalawe/Negombo

Drive to Negombo and enjoy free time to explore the city and check out the beautiful Portuguese and Dutch architecture. (1B)

Day 12 — Negombo

Depart at any time. (1B)