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Culture and Nature


On arrival you will be met by a representative of Exotic Holidays International.


From here you will be transferred to Colombo, where shopping and a city tour can be done in the afternoon. Being the country's commercial capital, Colombo is the largest city in Sri Lanka. It is a busy and vibrant city, with a mixture of modern life, colonial buildings and ruins. Some notable landmarks in Colombo include the two World Trade Centre towers - the tallest completed building in the country and the third tallest twin tower in South Asia, the Independence Hall at the Independence Square in Cinnamon Gardens - which was built for commemoration of the independence of Sri Lanka from the British rule, the Old Colombo Lighthouse - which was first constructed as a clock tower in 1860, the Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque - which was recognized as the landmark of Colombo by sailors approaching the port, and the Galle Face Green - the city's largest and most elegant promenade.


Dinner and overnight stay: Trans Asia Hotel, Colombo - 5* OR Ceylon Continental Hotel, Colombo - 4*


Leave for Sigiriya after breakfast. En route visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.


The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 to care for abandoned and wounded elephants. The orphanage is open to the public daily, and all admission fees are used to look after the elephants. Sigiriya is perhaps the most awe-inspiring wonder of the island. With its history dating back to prehistoric times, the rock rises 370m above sea level and is visible for miles in all directions. At the summit of the rock is the fortified palace with its ruined buildings, its cisterns and its rock sculptures. According to chronicles, the entire complex was built by King Kasyapa(AD 477 – 495), and it was later used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.


Dinner and overnight stay: Amaya Lake Hotel, Dambulla - 4* OR Hotel Sigiriya 3½*.


Visit Polonnaruwa after breakfast.


Home to the ancient monuments built by the Cholas and the ruins of the famous garden-city created by King Parakramabahu I during the 12th century, Polonnaruwa is the second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms. It was also the country's second capital, following the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993 and was inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1982.


Thereafter proceed to Kandy. En route visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a spice garden, and a batik factory in Matale.


The Dambulla Cave Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is located 72km north of Kandy. It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka and the rock towers over 160m over the surrounding plains. The caves in the surrounding area have over 150 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of Gods and Goddesses, as well as paintings. Located 25km from Kandy, the Spice Garden at Matale is a delightful place to stroll in fragrant greenery and learn about nutmeg, pepper vines, clove trees and curry, cinnamon and the precious cardamom, a relative of ginger. Visitors may also purchase spices, traditional remedies and cosmetics or taste a herbal brew. The batik factory contains a variety of batik items, and visitors may witness the manufacturing process of beautiful batik prints.


Being the hill capital of the country, Kandy was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is also the venue of the perahera and temples, shrines and monasteries are found everywhere, keeping Buddhist traditions alive. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, also known as the Dalada Maligawa, is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy and is located in the royal palace complex which houses the Relic of the tooth of Buddha, which is considered to be Sri Lanka’s most prized possession.


Dinner and overnight stay: Amaya Hills Hotel - 4* OR Topaz Hotel - 3½*.


After breakfast, visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya.


The Peradeniya Botanical Gardens cover over 60 hectares and are the largest botanic gardens in Sri Lanka. The history of the gardens date back to as far as 1371 when King Wickramabahu III kept court at Peradeniya, near Mahaweli Ganga. The garden is home to over 300 varieties of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees.


Thereafter leave for Nuwara Eliya, and visit a tea estate and factory on the way.


Nuwara Eliya offers breathtaking views of misty mountain peaks, verdant green valleys, flowery meadows and cascading waterfalls. It is blessed with pleasant mountain air and has a cool climate despite the country's tropical weather. Being only 180 kilometres away from Colombo, Nuwara Eliya is also known as “Little England” since the British had once tried to turn this city into a typical English village. Rest of the day at leisure.


Dinner and overnight stay: Grand Hotel 4* OR Galway Forest Lodge, Nuwara Eliya 3½*.


Proceed to Yala after breakfast.


Yala National Park covers over 979 square kilometers and is the most visited national park in Sri Lanka. The most often-spotted inhabitants of the vast Yala National Park are elephants, but visitors might also be able to spot leopards, sambhur, spotted deer, sloths, crocodiles, monkeys, wild boar, porcupines and a variety of species of birds. Yala is also dotted with a number of archaeological sites, like the Magul Maha Vihara ruins, dating from the 1st century BC.


Dinner and overnight stay: Rosen Renaissance Hotel, Kataragama - 4*





Transfer to Galle after breakfast for a beach stay. Do a city tour of Galle en route.


Being the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south and south-east Asia, Galle is the main city in the most southerly part of the island. The city had been a prominent seaport long before western rule in the country, and it is believed to be the main entrepot for Cinnamon which was exported from Sri Lanka as early as 1400 BC. It is also believed to be the seaport from which King Solomon drew ivory, peacocks and other valuables. The southern coast is also home to some of the best beaches in the country.


Transfer to Colombo afterwards.

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