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Serendip Ceylon

Tours
Serendip Ceylon
DATES

09 MAY 2020 - 22 MAY 2020
 


RATES
from NZD$7350 per person
Single rate from NZD$9200

Hover over rates for other currencies.


*Rates are per person based on Twin Share & Single Room
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*A 'Willing to Share' is possible on this tour. Please enquire.
*Please ask us about International Flights
*Please ask us about Travel Insurance


Serendip Ceylon Serendip Ceylon Serendip Ceylon Serendip Ceylon Serendip Ceylon
Serendip Ceylon

SERENDIP CEYLON; BOUTIQUE SRI LANKA 

 

Marco Polo considered Sri Lanka “the finest island of its size in the entire world”. This special tour through the Tear Drop Island is a journey that has been created specifically with women in mind. It incorporates enriching cultural experiences, splashes of luxury, exotic cuisine and as much adventure as you would like.

Circumnavigate the island in style. This tour takes in some of Sri Lanka’s finest historical, archaeological and natural treasures whilst not forgetting the pleasures of a few days by the sea. Tour the Cultural Triangle visiting the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, the sacred cave temples of Dambulla and the inspiring sky citadel of Sigiriya. Travel to the bustling city of Kandy where you can explore the Temple of the Tooth. Travel to a mountain station and surround yourselves with tea plantations and amazing views. Enjoy Wild Life safaris in one of Sri Lanka’s best known National Parks and visit UNESCO Heritage Sites. Finish this incredible journey with a few days of pure relaxation at a charming boutique hotel with miles of beaches right on the doorstep.

This fabulous itinerary includes nature safaris, a tea plantation experience & a fabulous cooking immersion. You will be staying in wonderful accommodation ranging from delightful boutique hotels to hill country Estates.

This itinerary is perfect for a pre-or-post side trip to the Maldives or Southern India. Please ask us about possible extensions.  

Tour Overview
Duration
13 Nights - MAY 2020
Start Point
Colombo
Finish Point
Colombo
Tour Style
Hosted Tour
Accommodation
Boutique Hotels, Jungle Resort
Meals
As per itinerary
Transport
Private air-conditioned vehicle, tuk-tuks, safari-jeeps
Max Group Size
Min 6, Max 10 Guests
Tour Inclusions
  • *VIP Arrival Service
  • *Departure transfer 
  • x2 nights at Galle Face, Colombo
  • x2 nights at Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura 
  • x1 night The Radh, Kandy
  • x2 nights Heritance Tea Factory, Nuwara Eliya
  • x2 nights Jetwing Yala, Palatupana
  • x2 nights Le Grand Galle, Galle
  • x2 nights The Habitat, Kosgoda
  • Cocktails & Canapes at Galle Face
  • Lunch at Gallery Cafe, Galle
  • x1 Dinner at Ulagalla Resort
  • Lunch at Sri Lankan Spice Garden
  • All Inclusive at Heritance Tea Factory
  • x1 Dinner at Jetwing Yala
  • Lunch at Cinnamon Plantation
  • Lunch with Gem Merchant in Galle
  • Farewell Dinner at The Habitat
  • Breakfast daily at all hotels
  • Selyn Fairtrade Handloom Factory visit
  • UNESCO Dambulla Golden Temple & Cave
  • Guided 'tuk tuk' tour of UNESCO Anuradhapura Kingdom Ruins
  • Sri Lankan Garden Experience at Matale with hosted lunch
  • Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy
  • Train journey to Nuwara Eliya
  • Tea Factory Tour, Tea Tasting and tea Plucking with a resident Tea planter
  • x2 Jeep wildlife safaris in Yala National Park
  • Story of Cinnamon Experience + lunch
  • Guided walking tour of UNESCO Galle Dutch Fort 
  • Hosted lunch at a Gem Merchant's house in Galle Dutch Fort
  • Hosted by Jemma Wilson, Owner Mai Journeys
  • Local Sri Lanka National Guides throughout
  • Air conditioned deluxe private transport throughout - with cushions, sarongs (for temples), socks (for temples), mozzie repellent, refresher towels, water
  • In-vehicle wi-fi
  • Water replenishment whilst in Tour Van
  • All entrance fees for UNESCO sites and those other activities listed
  • *If on suggested group Flights. If oustide of these flights, then you will need to pay a supplement service.
Tour Highlights
  • Anuradhapura Kingdom - UNESCO site
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress
  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Private guided visits to the UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy
  • A stay in the hill country – with the best climate in Sri Lanka, incredible scenery and the chance to pluck some tea.
  • Guided Safaris in Yala National Park
  • World Heritage Galle Dutch Fortress
  • Rest, relaxation and beach time at Balapitiya
  • Ayurveda spa sessions (optional)
  • Gorgeous boutique accommodation
  • Incredible food

Tour Itinerary

Open all
Day 1 - 09 May - Arrive Colombo.
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Welcome to Sri Lanka. 
On arrival, our Representative will meet you and you will be fast-track all the way through immigration and escorted to the Silk Route Lounge. You will be greeted with a cup of tea and be assisted with changing money at this time if you wish. Once your luggage is delivered to the lounge, porters will accompany you through a special VIP track to your private vehicle. Proceed to Colombo (50 minutes away) and to our hotel. Head to your room for a good night's sleep, ready for the first day of exploration. 

Overnight Galle Face Hotel, Colombo.

Day 2 - 10 May - Colombo
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Colombo is a bustling metropolis that once functioned the main port for the Portuguese, Dutch and British. It has colourful tapestry of various cultures; from ancient Buddhist temples and stunning colonial architecture to the modern shops and art galleries. 

This morning we will all meet at breakfast for a an introduction and briefing about the tour. 

AM: After breakfast, we join our local host on a ‘tuk tuk’ tour of Colombo’s culture. Start from the Seema Malakaya, a floating temple located just outside the heart of Colombo where you will learn much about the Buddhist philosophy which plays an intrinsic part in the daily life of most Sri Lankans. From there head to one of the most iconic kovils in the city, built purely out of granite as a tribute to God Shiva, and then to Kochchikade church, a place where devotees of all religions gather in search of solace. Wind our way through the bustling streets of Pettah, where everything and anything you can possibly imagine can be found in any of the hundred shops you will encounter. Stop and enjoy a cup of masala chai as our guide explains the history behind the area.

Lunch at the Gallery Café . (Paradise Road) The Gallery Café is housed in the former offices of world-renowned Sri Lankan architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa.

After lunch, for those that wish, we will visit Barefoot Gallery. Barefoot products are designed in Sri Lanka and every item is designed and made either by workers at home or by local artists and craftsmen. There are no factories and no production lines; each worker is responsible for the quality of his or her final product.

We return to the hotel for evening cocktails and canapes. After this, you can dine at the hotel if you wish (to own account), wander over to The Ministry of Crab (a Sri Lankan institution) or retire after a fabulous - but busy - day.

Overnight Galle Face Hotel, Colombo. (B / L / Cocktails & Canapes)

Day 3 - 11 May - Anuradhapura
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This morning after breakfast we travel to Anuradhapura.

En-route we visit the Selyn Fairtrade Handloom Factory in Kurunegala for a guided experience including visits to its dying plant and handloom village. Founded in 1991, Selyn started its work with 15 women and now has nearly 1000 members within its organisation. It is a social business based on the principles of Fairtrade in order to uplift the living standards of rural women (and men), by providing them with sustainable employment while keeping alive the local tradition of the handloom.

We stop for a bit to eat at Saruketha.

Continue on for a visit to UNESCO Dambulla Golden Temple & Cave complex. The Dambulla Cave Temples are the largest and best-preserved rock cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, towering 160 m over the surrounding plains with more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Five of the caves contain ancient statues and paintings related to and depicting Lord Buddha and his life. The climb from the base is not strenuous – and can be done at a leisurely pace. It takes approximately 30 minutes - there are approximately 200 steps. You will need to cover your knees and shoulders – and access the inner chambers barefoot or with socks.

We then arrive at our gorgeous accommodation - Ulagalla Resort. We dine in the hotel restaurant this evening. 

Overnight Ulagalla Resort. (B / D)

Day 4 - 12 May - Anuradhapura
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Dating back to the fourth century BC, Anuradhapura was the first civilization to be built in Sri Lanka and remained the spiritual and secular capital of the island for well over a millennium. Anuradhapura contains some of the island’s most sacred Buddhist shrines and was established around a cutting said to be from the fig tree under which the Buddha sat and gained enlightenment. This cutting – the Sri Maha Bodhi – is Anuradhapura’s spiritual heart and is thought to be one of the world’s oldest trees. The extensive ancient ruins of Anuradhapura cover 40sqkm: you will find three colossal tanks, enormous, towering dagobas, the remains of a palace, Isurumuniya Vihara rock temple and Royal Pleasure Gardens. At its height, the city was dotted with monasteries and home to over 10,000 monks.

This morning we will tuk-tuk through the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura; alongside scenic paddy fields, hidden villages and cleverly thought-out irrigation systems. Pedal around some of the most architecturally stunning structures including Abayagiri Dagoba, the largest Buddhist monument in the world. You will also visit the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree, a branch of the historical Sri Maha Bodhi in India under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment.

We return to the hotel for an afternoon of leisure. Swim, relax, read, spa.....

Overnight Ulagalla Resort. (B / D)

**There will be an option to climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Sigiriya, known as Lion Rock, was built on top of a huge boulder in the 5th century. A palace; a rock fortress; the hidden castle of King Kasyapa; a Buddhist monastery from the 14th century.  Sigiriya consists of 1200 steps. The first part is a leisurely walk through the pleasure gardens. Then you start to climb. The entire duration of the experience takes approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on the speed at which you want to climb. Cost will be dependent on the number of people wishing to join. 

Day 5 - 13 May - Kandy
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After breakfast we leave for Kandy.

En-route, we visit a Sri Lankan garden for a hosted walking tour followed by a delicious home-cooked meal. The Sri Lankan garden is a working spice and fruit farm, nestled in a rural village in Matale. Set on the upper half of a mountain on fifteen and a half acres, the garden is filled with Pepper, Nutmeg, Cocoa, Coffee, Papaya, Jackfruit, Passion fruit, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Banana, Coconut, Rubber, Teak and Mahogany. We will be greeted by the planter with fresh juice sourced from the farm, then go on an easy walk with the planter to learn about the crops and trees. Then we enjoy a delicious, traditional home cooked rice and curry lunch, prepared with fresh herbs and vegetables sourced mainly from the plantation. The planter will join us for lunch and share his knowledge on the exotic vegetables and herbs.

We continue onto Kandy, and check into our boutique lodgings for the night - The Radh Hotel.

After a rest and refresh, we will whip out and visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic and the local markets. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple 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 Sri Lankan kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple. Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily worship in the inner chamber of the temple & rituals are performed three times daily: at dawn, at noon and in the evenings. 

We will have a walk around the Central Markets - where we will predominantly find consumable goods like fruits, spices, and local delights.

Overnight The Radh Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 6 - 14 May - Tea Country
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After a leisurely breakfast we transfer to the Railway Station to catch the train (departing at 11.10am) to Nuwara Eliya’s Nanu Oya Station (arriving approx. 12.45pm). Our van will pick us up at the Nanu Oya Station and transfer us to Heritance Tea Factory (approx. 01 hour away).

This is one of the most scenic train rides in Asia. The dramatic landscape of the highlands alight as we wind past lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls. Do not expect white gloves and silver service though! That said, the train ride is fabulous in that it is an everyday experience for Sri Lankans of all walks of life. *Please note: the Railways Authority only release tickets 2 weeks prior, so if tickets are unavailable we will travel by road.

Overnight Heritance Tea Factory. (B / Boxed Lunch / Dinner)

Day 7 - 15 May - Tea Country
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This  morning after breakfast, don a saree, be provided with a basket and collect your own leaves. We will be taken out to the organic tea fields and shown which leaves to pluck. You’ll find that it takes a bit of practice to make sure the leaves end up in your basket rather than on the floor! Professional tea pluckers will accompany you – you’ll be amazed at how efficiently and quickly they manage to fill their baskets by comparison. 15kg a day that is their target. Return to the Heritance Mini Tea Factory, where the chief tea taster will inspect our efforts and reject any leaves that are unsuitable. We will be taken on a tour of the Mini Tea Factory and learn about the whole process; from the initial drying of the leaves, through rolling, fermenting and sifting, to produce the different types of tea.

Tea tasting is the process in which a trained taster determines the quality of a particular tea. Due to climatic conditions, topography, manufacturing process, and different clones of the Camellia sinensis plant (tea), the final product may have vastly differing flavours’ and appearance. These differences can be tasted by a trained taster in order to ascertain the quality prior to sale. A tea taster uses a large spoon and noisily slurps the liquid into his/her mouth – this ensures that both the tea and plenty of oxygen is passed over all the taste receptors on the tongue to give an even taste profile of the tea. The liquid is then usually spat back out into a spittoon before moving onto the next sample to taste. The flavour characteristics and indeed leaf colour, size and shape are graded using a specific language created by the tea industry to explain the overall quality.

Our afternoon is free to relax in these gorgeous surroundings. Heritance is high in the mountains of Nuwara Eliya. The expanse of the former withering loft – where fresh leaves were laid to dry, now serves as 54 cosy havens of rest for guests. Tall windows that once aided the drying process still maintain their role as providers of natural light – the views; breath-taking as ever, now have avid admirers to ponder them. The stately charms of yesteryear also linger in the dark wood and light linen décor – good nights, colonial style. So take time out to rest, read or visit the spa for a massage or Sri Lankan style Therapy.

Overnight Heritance Tea Factory. (B / Lunch / Dinner)

Day 8 - 16 May - Yala
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Today is a relatively big travel day, so after breakfast, we will transfer at leisure to Yala.

We will stop en-route at Jetwing Kaduruketha for a light snack (03 ½ hours away - to own account)

Continue to Jetwing Yala (about 2.5 hours away).

Check-in to Jetwing Yala, and our afternoon is free. Jetwing Yala is on the southern coastline and comes with the benefit of direct beach access. There is also a lovely and large swimming pool. There is also Step the blissful sanctuary of the spa, where you can enjoy luxurious treatments designed to relax, refresh and revitalise you by the seas of Sri Lanka.

Overnight Jetwing Yala (B) 

Day 9 - 17 May - Yala NP
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This morning we enjoy a private wildlife safari from 0600am to 0900am at the Yala National Park (about 15 minutes away). You can either take with a package breakfast with you, or return after the safari and enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

Yala National Park is the second largest national park in Sri Lanka, covering 979 square kilometres. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka.

At the meeting point ie the entrance gates of Yala National Park, we will meet our tracker and driver who will take us on a 2.5 to 3 hour game drive into the National Park. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. The experience is designed to make you experience the spirit of Yala, with knowledgeable trekkers and disciplined drivers. The park is teeming with elephants, leopards, wild boar, spotted deer, crocodiles and jackals.

This afternoon, we can enjoy another private wildlife safari from 1500pm to 1800pm in the National Park. 

Overnight Jetwing Yala (B / D) 

Day 10 - 18 May - Galle
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After breakfast, we proceed to Galle.

En-route, we visit a Cinnamon Plantation (03 ½ hours away) for an exclusive hosted experience to learn the ‘story of Cinnamon’ followed by lunch. The gentle coastal hills of southern Sri Lanka are especially suited to the growth of cinnamon and remains a major export of Sri Lanka. Eulogized in poetry from the Song of Solomon to Michael Ondaatje, more than any spice it has become subject of romance. A local cinnamon planter will greet us with a cinnamon infused juice before we make the climb to the estate. We encounter local peelers from the estate and nearby small-holdings gathered at a shed to process and extract cinnamon oil. There are many women peelers at work and at times the entire family gets involved. Observe the peelers at work, hear about the uses and healing properties of cinnamon and it’s grading.

Continue to Galle, and check into the Le Grand Galle, our lovely accommodation for the next 2 nights. Our afternoon and evening is at leisure. For those that wish, we can wander down to the Old Fort and have afternoon drinks at the Galle Fort Hotel. (own account). And we can then enjoy dinner at Fortaleza. (own account).

Overnight Le Grand Galle (B / L)

Day 11 - 19 May - Galle
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This morning, meet our local host and enjoy a walking tour of UNESCO Galle Dutch Fort.

Recognized as one of the few remaining living forts in the world, the 17th century fort in Galle covers nearly 150 acres of land and houses over 400 buildings. Initially built by the Portuguese, the fort was later fortified by the Dutch and then taken over by the British in the 1800s. The entrance of the fort still has the coat of arms of the Dutch owned VOC and the British insignia. We start our walk from the new entrance of the Galle Fort and wander along three of the 14 bastions, all with mount canons to protect it from outside invasions. Each bastion has its unique set of characteristics – the moon bastion showcases 19 canons, the largest number in the fort and the Black Fort which was believed to have housed firearms and gun powder. We will stroll through cobblestoned pathways and navigate the cafes, hotels and charming old houses owned by generations of Galle families to get an insight in to their lives, culture and history.

We then have a private lunch at the home of renowned gem expert, gem merchant and 04th generation resident of the Dutch Fort, Ifthikar Mahuroof. Spend a few hours in conversation with one of the most remarkable authorities on coloured stones and mining of our times, in a warm and cozy residence just minutes from the Galle Fort. A philosopher and a philanthropist, Ifthikar has travelled to all corners of the world, his family having ties with the international community since the 17th century through the world of diplomacy and trade. Ifthikar’s own journey as ‘Sri Lanka’s Gem King’ and the world’s greatest traveller, has been remarkable. His wife, Shahira cooks up a storm of the most fresh and delicate seafood in a wonderful home cooked spread.

Return to our hotel for an afternoon / evening of leisure. 

Overnight Le Grand Galle (B / L)

Day 12 - 20 May - Kosgoda
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After a leisurely breakfast, free time and a return to the old Fort if you wish, we continue to Koggala (approx. 01.5 hours away) mid afternoon.

We check-in to our lovely accommodation, The Habitat, and our afternoon is free. The Habitat is situated on a sparkling stretch of sandy beach, giving you the most contemporary of comforts, all with a touch of magic. Spend your afternoon whiling away the hours in the gorgeous pool, with poolside dining, tropical concoctions and the Indian Ocean just steps away. Or indulge in the Ayu Spa. Ayu offers ancient healing, soothing rituals, calming aromatherapy and much more.

Overnight The Habitat (B)

Day 13 - 21 May - Kosgoda
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Today is a full day of pure leisure, rest and relaxation. Spend the day around the pool, walking along the beach, or in the Spa.

You can also have an optional visit to the Turtle Conservation Hatchery. The Turtle Care Centre at Kosgoda beach is one of 18 turtle hatcheries along the southern coast and was established in 1981. It is also very popular as all five species of turtles that visit Sri Lanka nest in Kosgoda. This is not so with many of the other hatcheries around the island whose beaches host only some of the species. The centre functions mainly as a hatchery and makes huge efforts to increase the rate of hatching, and survival of baby turtles in their very initial stages. However, the Care centre also works on sick or injured adults; treating them and releasing them back into the ocean. They also run volunteer programs and awareness programs for local and international visitors.

This evening we will meet for a cocktail in Moonu, and enjoy our farwell dinner in Salt.

Overnight The Habitat (B / D)

Day 14 - 22 May - Departure
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This morning after breakfast, we depart to the Colombo Airport (approx 02.5 hours away).

Thank you for sharing this extroardinary journey with us. 

About this tour

Galle Face, Colombo - Sri Lanka’s iconic landmark, The Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green. Many rooms offer spectacular sea views, some with private balcony, and all furnished in elegant colonial style décor. Enjoy a sophisticated afternoon tea at The Verandah or dinner at 1864 Restaurant, a Pimms on the Chequerboard or a Cuban experience at King of the Mambo, these are some ‘must do’ whilst in Colombo.

Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura - Ulagalla Resort, a boutique hotel with a touch of traditional elegance and aristocracy, offers you a unique experience of luxury amidst a natural, remote, and uninhabited environment. It is nestled in a sprawling 58-acre lush green garden with a 150-year-old mansion at its centre, rich with cultural heritage and historical significance. There are 25 villas with private pools, designed and built to maintain the ecological balance of the surroundings.

The Radh, Kandy - The Radh Hotel, is a  boutique hotel in the heart of Kandy near the historical Temple of Tooth. The Radh Hotel is an oasis of calm and unrivalled luxury. With exterior design and interior décor inspired by design motifs that are unique to the Kandyan Kingdom, The Radh is an architectural masterpiece, a perfect fusion of the classic & contemporary. A luxury boutique hotel with 30 deluxe rooms and suites, The Radh is so named as a tribute to the former ‘Royal’ glory of the ancient Kingdom of Kandy and its splendid heritage. If you’re a connoisseur of culture, history, refinement and taste, The Radh is your perfect abode in Kandy.

 

Heritance Tea Factory - Located in the cool climes of Nuwara-Eliya surrounded with mountains and estates of Sri Lanka's very own Tea, Heritance Tea Factory Hotel is one of the most unique hotels in the country. A modernized architectural masterpiece of an old rundown tea factory used under the British rule, this hotel offers guests the ambiance of the Colonial times while providing one of the best services to make your stay worthwhile.

Jetwing Yala - Beautifully positioned between the serene tranquility of the Indian Ocean and the natural wonders of Yala National Park, Jetwing Yala rests within an uncharted patch of coastal wilderness at the end of Sri Lanka’s southern shoreline. With convenient accessibility to both the road and the sea, our home of Sri Lankan hospitality remains comfortably connected amidst the coastal wilds of our tropical island.

Le Grand Galle - Nestled upon a majestic cliff edge, overlooking the breath-taking Indian Ocean, the iconic Le Grand Galle sets the benchmark for luxury Galle resorts. It stands proudly near Galle Fort, an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has ultra-modern facilities and impeccable service standards. 

The Habitat - The Habitat, Turtle Beach, is situated on a sparkling stretch of sandy beach. Home to the famous sea turtles, Kosgoda is one of the most vibrant places in the south of Sri Lanka. All of the rooms have balconies facing the Indian Ocean with the waves crashing on to the glorious beach just beyond the fabulous swimming pool and garden.

Practicalities

Visas: You will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. In addition, if you intend visiting Sri Lanka on a short visit,you will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to arrival. The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is an official authorization for a Short Visit to Sri Lanka and is issued through an on-line system. You need to obtain an ETA if you intend visiting Sri Lanka as a Tourist, on Business or on Transit. No passport copies, documents or photographs are required to obtain the ETA. ETA holders will be issued a 30 day Short Visit visa at the port of entry in Sri Lanka.

Weather: Sri Lanka’s position close to the Equator means that temperatures remain fairly constant year-round. Coastal and lowland areas enjoy average daytime temperatures of around 26–30°C (often climbing up well into the 30°Cs during the hottest part of the day). Temperatures decrease with altitude, reducing to a temperate 18–22°C in Kandy, and a pleasantly mild 14–17°C in the Hill Country and the highest parts of the island – nights in the hills can be quite chilly, with temperatures sometimes falling close to freezing. Humidity is high everywhere, rising to a sweltering ninety percent at times in the southwest, and averaging sixty to eighty percent across the rest of the island.

Language: Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages in Sri Lanka. English is a 'link' language and generally understood by most people and is easy to get by. English is spoken at all hotels, major restaurants and shops.

Food: Sri Lankan dishes are based on rice, with a large variety of vegetables, fish & fruits. The uniqueness of Sri Lankan food influenced by invaders and traders - Indians, Arabs, Malays, Moors, Portuguese, Dutch and English all whom have left a mark on the Sri Lankan diet, will surely make your trip a voyage of culinary discovery. The Lankan food served in your hotel is toned down a little bit due to the sensitive stomach of most tourists. International food of any kind is found in all major Sri Lankan Restaurants. Most coastal towns have excellent seafood including prawns & delicious crab. Being a tropical country, Sri Lanka is blessed with a large variety of fruits. Some fruits like mangoes and Bananas (known an plantains here), come in over a dozen of sub varieties of shapes, sizes & tastes! Fuits such as Rambutan, Pineapple, Mangosteen, Papaya (Papaw), wood apple, melons, passion fruit, guavas, etc., are but a small sample of the amazing variety of fruits to be discovered and enjoyed.

Drinks: Sri Lanka is famous for it's tea, and pride themselves in, producing 'Ceylon Tea', the finest tea in the world. There is a local version of coffee, which is a bit strong. But Colombo is the only place that you could get a really good espresso. Highly recommended are the fresh fruit juices. Sri Lanka has it's own variety of local beer. Sri Lanka also has two extremely popular local varieties of local beverages - Toddy and Arrack. Toddy is a natural drink, produced from one or other palm trees. Fermented and refined toddy becomes Arrack. Some varieties are real "rocket fuel". Imported beer and foreign liquors cost almost the same as in most western countries. Thambili or King Coconut is a sweet, clean and cheap natural drink that you'll find by the wayside. It's extremely cooling and refreshing. We advise you not to drink tap water unless it is purified. Bottled water is recommended. Most hotel rooms have boiled water in thermos flasks, which is safe to drink.

Currency: The Sri Lankan currency is the Rupee (Rs), divided in to 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 & 2000. Breakdown larger notes when you change money - it can sometimes be a problem to breakdown a larger note (500, 1000 or 2000). Hotels and other tourist establishments will quote you the price in US$ or Euro and collect in Rupees at the prevailing exchange rate.

Credit Cards: Credit Cards are widely used and accepted by local establishments (even in small towns). The most widely used card types are Visa and MasterCard, with Amex to a lesser extent. It would be a convenient option to use your Credit Card (valid for international use) whenever possible. Due to currency regulations in Sri Lanka, credit card charges cannot be made in foreign currency. Local establishments will apply the daily exchange rates on the day of your payment and convert foreign exchange rate to Sri Lankan Rupees.

ATM's: ATM's are available in most main cities. You can take cash against Visa / Mastercard in most ATM'S. However, as different banks accept different cards, we advice you ensure that your card is valid for use in Sri Lanka by contacting your bank. Watch out for the Maestro or Cirrus logo.

Dress Code: Dress modestly at religious sites. You should remove your shoes and hat when entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple, if carrying an umbrella unfurl it. Your legs & shoulders should be covered; never enter a temple in beach wear (i.e. shorts or singlet).

Photography: Ask permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. Minority groups in particular are often unhappy to have their photo taken. Travellers should avoid paying for the right to take a photo as this has been found to encourage a begging mentality. In small villages, at home-stays or trekking, the use of videos may not be permitted as requested by the local people, and we ask for courtesy and discretion with still cameras. Ask permission before taking pictures either of people or inside temples or other sacred places. For example, it is forbidden to take photographs inside the cave temple complex of Dambulla. Never use flash on murals inside temples and other places; it can damage them. You are not allowed to use flash at the frescoes at Sigiriya, but where there is no ban, please behave responsibly. Never pose beside or in front of a Buddha statue (i.e. with your back to the statue). Such conduct is considered extremely disrespectful. Never take a photo of a monk without asking permission. Never take photos of airports, roadblocks or anything to do with the military.

Voltage: The voltage is Sri Lanka is 220/ 240 volts

Plugs: Sri Lankan hotels have two types of plug bases; either the UK (Type G) or India (Type D).

The facts

Not Included:

  • International Airfares & taxes - Please enquire
  • Travel insurance - Please enquire
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature ie phone calls, laundry, excess baggage etc
  • Passport & visas
  • Tips / gratuities for Guides / Driver - we will guide you on this.
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered


Hotel Rooms:
Every hotel on this tour is different in room size, services, location, category and decor. The utmost care has been taken in selecting these hotels, so we have the most comfortable stay. 

The Right Hand Rule: Always give, receive and eat  with your right hand. It is extremely bad mannered to use your left hand for eating.

Respect Cultural Differences: Things are done differently in Asia, and Sri Lanka is no exception. Please make sure in your dealings with local people you accept these differences. As a traveller you should keep as calm, cheerful and friendly as humanly possible. Patience and courtesy are virtues that open many doors in Sri Lanka!  Demanding tourists do not get smiles, service or respect.

Environmental Responsibility: Pollution and waste management is a huge problem throughout the world. Unfortunately in many parts of Asia, disposal systems are inadequate and recycling of plastics is limited. We suggest avoiding plastic packaging where possible and take along your own bag when shopping. Plastic bags will be offered for everything. Collect and dispose in the next town. The law protects certain endangered species of flora & fauna. Export & in even possession of these species as well as of wild animals, birds, reptiles etc., is illegal. The production and sale of items made from wild animals and reptiles, e.g.: Leopard skins, crocodile skins, elephant tusks etc., is also illegal. Never break coral, or brush against it. Coral is basically a colony of living organisms and damaging them, might kill them. Never buy coral if it's offered for sale. Similarly don't buy sea shells or turtle shells (or eggs). All of Sri Lanka's five species of Turtle are endangered. If you happen to spot a turtle, when being take out on a boat, discourage the driver from circling it; this sort of harassment is very stressful to the turtle.

Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.

DATES

09 MAY 2020 - 22 MAY 2020
 


RATES
from NZD$7350 per person
Single rate from NZD$9200

Hover over rates for other currencies.


*Rates are per person based on Twin Share & Single Room
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*A 'Willing to Share' is possible on this tour. Please enquire.
*Please ask us about International Flights
*Please ask us about Travel Insurance


Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - 09 May - Arrive Colombo.

Welcome to Sri Lanka. 
On arrival, our Representative will meet you and you will be fast-track all the way through immigration and escorted to the Silk Route Lounge. You will be greeted with a cup of tea and be assisted with changing money at this time if you wish. Once your luggage is delivered to the lounge, porters will accompany you through a special VIP track to your private vehicle. Proceed to Colombo (50 minutes away) and to our hotel. Head to your room for a good night's sleep, ready for the first day of exploration. 

Overnight Galle Face Hotel, Colombo.

Day 2 - 10 May - Colombo

Colombo is a bustling metropolis that once functioned the main port for the Portuguese, Dutch and British. It has colourful tapestry of various cultures; from ancient Buddhist temples and stunning colonial architecture to the modern shops and art galleries. 

This morning we will all meet at breakfast for a an introduction and briefing about the tour. 

AM: After breakfast, we join our local host on a ‘tuk tuk’ tour of Colombo’s culture. Start from the Seema Malakaya, a floating temple located just outside the heart of Colombo where you will learn much about the Buddhist philosophy which plays an intrinsic part in the daily life of most Sri Lankans. From there head to one of the most iconic kovils in the city, built purely out of granite as a tribute to God Shiva, and then to Kochchikade church, a place where devotees of all religions gather in search of solace. Wind our way through the bustling streets of Pettah, where everything and anything you can possibly imagine can be found in any of the hundred shops you will encounter. Stop and enjoy a cup of masala chai as our guide explains the history behind the area.

Lunch at the Gallery Café . (Paradise Road) The Gallery Café is housed in the former offices of world-renowned Sri Lankan architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa.

After lunch, for those that wish, we will visit Barefoot Gallery. Barefoot products are designed in Sri Lanka and every item is designed and made either by workers at home or by local artists and craftsmen. There are no factories and no production lines; each worker is responsible for the quality of his or her final product.

We return to the hotel for evening cocktails and canapes. After this, you can dine at the hotel if you wish (to own account), wander over to The Ministry of Crab (a Sri Lankan institution) or retire after a fabulous - but busy - day.

Overnight Galle Face Hotel, Colombo. (B / L / Cocktails & Canapes)

Day 3 - 11 May - Anuradhapura

This morning after breakfast we travel to Anuradhapura.

En-route we visit the Selyn Fairtrade Handloom Factory in Kurunegala for a guided experience including visits to its dying plant and handloom village. Founded in 1991, Selyn started its work with 15 women and now has nearly 1000 members within its organisation. It is a social business based on the principles of Fairtrade in order to uplift the living standards of rural women (and men), by providing them with sustainable employment while keeping alive the local tradition of the handloom.

We stop for a bit to eat at Saruketha.

Continue on for a visit to UNESCO Dambulla Golden Temple & Cave complex. The Dambulla Cave Temples are the largest and best-preserved rock cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, towering 160 m over the surrounding plains with more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Five of the caves contain ancient statues and paintings related to and depicting Lord Buddha and his life. The climb from the base is not strenuous – and can be done at a leisurely pace. It takes approximately 30 minutes - there are approximately 200 steps. You will need to cover your knees and shoulders – and access the inner chambers barefoot or with socks.

We then arrive at our gorgeous accommodation - Ulagalla Resort. We dine in the hotel restaurant this evening. 

Overnight Ulagalla Resort. (B / D)

Day 4 - 12 May - Anuradhapura

Dating back to the fourth century BC, Anuradhapura was the first civilization to be built in Sri Lanka and remained the spiritual and secular capital of the island for well over a millennium. Anuradhapura contains some of the island’s most sacred Buddhist shrines and was established around a cutting said to be from the fig tree under which the Buddha sat and gained enlightenment. This cutting – the Sri Maha Bodhi – is Anuradhapura’s spiritual heart and is thought to be one of the world’s oldest trees. The extensive ancient ruins of Anuradhapura cover 40sqkm: you will find three colossal tanks, enormous, towering dagobas, the remains of a palace, Isurumuniya Vihara rock temple and Royal Pleasure Gardens. At its height, the city was dotted with monasteries and home to over 10,000 monks.

This morning we will tuk-tuk through the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura; alongside scenic paddy fields, hidden villages and cleverly thought-out irrigation systems. Pedal around some of the most architecturally stunning structures including Abayagiri Dagoba, the largest Buddhist monument in the world. You will also visit the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree, a branch of the historical Sri Maha Bodhi in India under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment.

We return to the hotel for an afternoon of leisure. Swim, relax, read, spa.....

Overnight Ulagalla Resort. (B / D)

**There will be an option to climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Sigiriya, known as Lion Rock, was built on top of a huge boulder in the 5th century. A palace; a rock fortress; the hidden castle of King Kasyapa; a Buddhist monastery from the 14th century.  Sigiriya consists of 1200 steps. The first part is a leisurely walk through the pleasure gardens. Then you start to climb. The entire duration of the experience takes approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on the speed at which you want to climb. Cost will be dependent on the number of people wishing to join. 

Day 5 - 13 May - Kandy

After breakfast we leave for Kandy.

En-route, we visit a Sri Lankan garden for a hosted walking tour followed by a delicious home-cooked meal. The Sri Lankan garden is a working spice and fruit farm, nestled in a rural village in Matale. Set on the upper half of a mountain on fifteen and a half acres, the garden is filled with Pepper, Nutmeg, Cocoa, Coffee, Papaya, Jackfruit, Passion fruit, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Banana, Coconut, Rubber, Teak and Mahogany. We will be greeted by the planter with fresh juice sourced from the farm, then go on an easy walk with the planter to learn about the crops and trees. Then we enjoy a delicious, traditional home cooked rice and curry lunch, prepared with fresh herbs and vegetables sourced mainly from the plantation. The planter will join us for lunch and share his knowledge on the exotic vegetables and herbs.

We continue onto Kandy, and check into our boutique lodgings for the night - The Radh Hotel.

After a rest and refresh, we will whip out and visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic and the local markets. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple 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 Sri Lankan kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple. Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily worship in the inner chamber of the temple & rituals are performed three times daily: at dawn, at noon and in the evenings. 

We will have a walk around the Central Markets - where we will predominantly find consumable goods like fruits, spices, and local delights.

Overnight The Radh Boutique Hotel (B / L)

Day 6 - 14 May - Tea Country

After a leisurely breakfast we transfer to the Railway Station to catch the train (departing at 11.10am) to Nuwara Eliya’s Nanu Oya Station (arriving approx. 12.45pm). Our van will pick us up at the Nanu Oya Station and transfer us to Heritance Tea Factory (approx. 01 hour away).

This is one of the most scenic train rides in Asia. The dramatic landscape of the highlands alight as we wind past lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls. Do not expect white gloves and silver service though! That said, the train ride is fabulous in that it is an everyday experience for Sri Lankans of all walks of life. *Please note: the Railways Authority only release tickets 2 weeks prior, so if tickets are unavailable we will travel by road.

Overnight Heritance Tea Factory. (B / Boxed Lunch / Dinner)

Day 7 - 15 May - Tea Country

This  morning after breakfast, don a saree, be provided with a basket and collect your own leaves. We will be taken out to the organic tea fields and shown which leaves to pluck. You’ll find that it takes a bit of practice to make sure the leaves end up in your basket rather than on the floor! Professional tea pluckers will accompany you – you’ll be amazed at how efficiently and quickly they manage to fill their baskets by comparison. 15kg a day that is their target. Return to the Heritance Mini Tea Factory, where the chief tea taster will inspect our efforts and reject any leaves that are unsuitable. We will be taken on a tour of the Mini Tea Factory and learn about the whole process; from the initial drying of the leaves, through rolling, fermenting and sifting, to produce the different types of tea.

Tea tasting is the process in which a trained taster determines the quality of a particular tea. Due to climatic conditions, topography, manufacturing process, and different clones of the Camellia sinensis plant (tea), the final product may have vastly differing flavours’ and appearance. These differences can be tasted by a trained taster in order to ascertain the quality prior to sale. A tea taster uses a large spoon and noisily slurps the liquid into his/her mouth – this ensures that both the tea and plenty of oxygen is passed over all the taste receptors on the tongue to give an even taste profile of the tea. The liquid is then usually spat back out into a spittoon before moving onto the next sample to taste. The flavour characteristics and indeed leaf colour, size and shape are graded using a specific language created by the tea industry to explain the overall quality.

Our afternoon is free to relax in these gorgeous surroundings. Heritance is high in the mountains of Nuwara Eliya. The expanse of the former withering loft – where fresh leaves were laid to dry, now serves as 54 cosy havens of rest for guests. Tall windows that once aided the drying process still maintain their role as providers of natural light – the views; breath-taking as ever, now have avid admirers to ponder them. The stately charms of yesteryear also linger in the dark wood and light linen décor – good nights, colonial style. So take time out to rest, read or visit the spa for a massage or Sri Lankan style Therapy.

Overnight Heritance Tea Factory. (B / Lunch / Dinner)

Day 8 - 16 May - Yala

Today is a relatively big travel day, so after breakfast, we will transfer at leisure to Yala.

We will stop en-route at Jetwing Kaduruketha for a light snack (03 ½ hours away - to own account)

Continue to Jetwing Yala (about 2.5 hours away).

Check-in to Jetwing Yala, and our afternoon is free. Jetwing Yala is on the southern coastline and comes with the benefit of direct beach access. There is also a lovely and large swimming pool. There is also Step the blissful sanctuary of the spa, where you can enjoy luxurious treatments designed to relax, refresh and revitalise you by the seas of Sri Lanka.

Overnight Jetwing Yala (B) 

Day 9 - 17 May - Yala NP

This morning we enjoy a private wildlife safari from 0600am to 0900am at the Yala National Park (about 15 minutes away). You can either take with a package breakfast with you, or return after the safari and enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

Yala National Park is the second largest national park in Sri Lanka, covering 979 square kilometres. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka.

At the meeting point ie the entrance gates of Yala National Park, we will meet our tracker and driver who will take us on a 2.5 to 3 hour game drive into the National Park. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. The experience is designed to make you experience the spirit of Yala, with knowledgeable trekkers and disciplined drivers. The park is teeming with elephants, leopards, wild boar, spotted deer, crocodiles and jackals.

This afternoon, we can enjoy another private wildlife safari from 1500pm to 1800pm in the National Park. 

Overnight Jetwing Yala (B / D) 

Day 10 - 18 May - Galle

After breakfast, we proceed to Galle.

En-route, we visit a Cinnamon Plantation (03 ½ hours away) for an exclusive hosted experience to learn the ‘story of Cinnamon’ followed by lunch. The gentle coastal hills of southern Sri Lanka are especially suited to the growth of cinnamon and remains a major export of Sri Lanka. Eulogized in poetry from the Song of Solomon to Michael Ondaatje, more than any spice it has become subject of romance. A local cinnamon planter will greet us with a cinnamon infused juice before we make the climb to the estate. We encounter local peelers from the estate and nearby small-holdings gathered at a shed to process and extract cinnamon oil. There are many women peelers at work and at times the entire family gets involved. Observe the peelers at work, hear about the uses and healing properties of cinnamon and it’s grading.

Continue to Galle, and check into the Le Grand Galle, our lovely accommodation for the next 2 nights. Our afternoon and evening is at leisure. For those that wish, we can wander down to the Old Fort and have afternoon drinks at the Galle Fort Hotel. (own account). And we can then enjoy dinner at Fortaleza. (own account).

Overnight Le Grand Galle (B / L)

Day 11 - 19 May - Galle

This morning, meet our local host and enjoy a walking tour of UNESCO Galle Dutch Fort.

Recognized as one of the few remaining living forts in the world, the 17th century fort in Galle covers nearly 150 acres of land and houses over 400 buildings. Initially built by the Portuguese, the fort was later fortified by the Dutch and then taken over by the British in the 1800s. The entrance of the fort still has the coat of arms of the Dutch owned VOC and the British insignia. We start our walk from the new entrance of the Galle Fort and wander along three of the 14 bastions, all with mount canons to protect it from outside invasions. Each bastion has its unique set of characteristics – the moon bastion showcases 19 canons, the largest number in the fort and the Black Fort which was believed to have housed firearms and gun powder. We will stroll through cobblestoned pathways and navigate the cafes, hotels and charming old houses owned by generations of Galle families to get an insight in to their lives, culture and history.

We then have a private lunch at the home of renowned gem expert, gem merchant and 04th generation resident of the Dutch Fort, Ifthikar Mahuroof. Spend a few hours in conversation with one of the most remarkable authorities on coloured stones and mining of our times, in a warm and cozy residence just minutes from the Galle Fort. A philosopher and a philanthropist, Ifthikar has travelled to all corners of the world, his family having ties with the international community since the 17th century through the world of diplomacy and trade. Ifthikar’s own journey as ‘Sri Lanka’s Gem King’ and the world’s greatest traveller, has been remarkable. His wife, Shahira cooks up a storm of the most fresh and delicate seafood in a wonderful home cooked spread.

Return to our hotel for an afternoon / evening of leisure. 

Overnight Le Grand Galle (B / L)

Day 12 - 20 May - Kosgoda

After a leisurely breakfast, free time and a return to the old Fort if you wish, we continue to Koggala (approx. 01.5 hours away) mid afternoon.

We check-in to our lovely accommodation, The Habitat, and our afternoon is free. The Habitat is situated on a sparkling stretch of sandy beach, giving you the most contemporary of comforts, all with a touch of magic. Spend your afternoon whiling away the hours in the gorgeous pool, with poolside dining, tropical concoctions and the Indian Ocean just steps away. Or indulge in the Ayu Spa. Ayu offers ancient healing, soothing rituals, calming aromatherapy and much more.

Overnight The Habitat (B)

Day 13 - 21 May - Kosgoda

Today is a full day of pure leisure, rest and relaxation. Spend the day around the pool, walking along the beach, or in the Spa.

You can also have an optional visit to the Turtle Conservation Hatchery. The Turtle Care Centre at Kosgoda beach is one of 18 turtle hatcheries along the southern coast and was established in 1981. It is also very popular as all five species of turtles that visit Sri Lanka nest in Kosgoda. This is not so with many of the other hatcheries around the island whose beaches host only some of the species. The centre functions mainly as a hatchery and makes huge efforts to increase the rate of hatching, and survival of baby turtles in their very initial stages. However, the Care centre also works on sick or injured adults; treating them and releasing them back into the ocean. They also run volunteer programs and awareness programs for local and international visitors.

This evening we will meet for a cocktail in Moonu, and enjoy our farwell dinner in Salt.

Overnight The Habitat (B / D)

Day 14 - 22 May - Departure

This morning after breakfast, we depart to the Colombo Airport (approx 02.5 hours away).

Thank you for sharing this extroardinary journey with us. 

About this tour

Galle Face, Colombo - Sri Lanka’s iconic landmark, The Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green. Many rooms offer spectacular sea views, some with private balcony, and all furnished in elegant colonial style décor. Enjoy a sophisticated afternoon tea at The Verandah or dinner at 1864 Restaurant, a Pimms on the Chequerboard or a Cuban experience at King of the Mambo, these are some ‘must do’ whilst in Colombo.

Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura - Ulagalla Resort, a boutique hotel with a touch of traditional elegance and aristocracy, offers you a unique experience of luxury amidst a natural, remote, and uninhabited environment. It is nestled in a sprawling 58-acre lush green garden with a 150-year-old mansion at its centre, rich with cultural heritage and historical significance. There are 25 villas with private pools, designed and built to maintain the ecological balance of the surroundings.

The Radh, Kandy - The Radh Hotel, is a  boutique hotel in the heart of Kandy near the historical Temple of Tooth. The Radh Hotel is an oasis of calm and unrivalled luxury. With exterior design and interior décor inspired by design motifs that are unique to the Kandyan Kingdom, The Radh is an architectural masterpiece, a perfect fusion of the classic & contemporary. A luxury boutique hotel with 30 deluxe rooms and suites, The Radh is so named as a tribute to the former ‘Royal’ glory of the ancient Kingdom of Kandy and its splendid heritage. If you’re a connoisseur of culture, history, refinement and taste, The Radh is your perfect abode in Kandy.

 

Heritance Tea Factory - Located in the cool climes of Nuwara-Eliya surrounded with mountains and estates of Sri Lanka's very own Tea, Heritance Tea Factory Hotel is one of the most unique hotels in the country. A modernized architectural masterpiece of an old rundown tea factory used under the British rule, this hotel offers guests the ambiance of the Colonial times while providing one of the best services to make your stay worthwhile.

Jetwing Yala - Beautifully positioned between the serene tranquility of the Indian Ocean and the natural wonders of Yala National Park, Jetwing Yala rests within an uncharted patch of coastal wilderness at the end of Sri Lanka’s southern shoreline. With convenient accessibility to both the road and the sea, our home of Sri Lankan hospitality remains comfortably connected amidst the coastal wilds of our tropical island.

Le Grand Galle - Nestled upon a majestic cliff edge, overlooking the breath-taking Indian Ocean, the iconic Le Grand Galle sets the benchmark for luxury Galle resorts. It stands proudly near Galle Fort, an iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has ultra-modern facilities and impeccable service standards. 

The Habitat - The Habitat, Turtle Beach, is situated on a sparkling stretch of sandy beach. Home to the famous sea turtles, Kosgoda is one of the most vibrant places in the south of Sri Lanka. All of the rooms have balconies facing the Indian Ocean with the waves crashing on to the glorious beach just beyond the fabulous swimming pool and garden.

Practicalities

Visas: You will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. In addition, if you intend visiting Sri Lanka on a short visit,you will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to arrival. The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is an official authorization for a Short Visit to Sri Lanka and is issued through an on-line system. You need to obtain an ETA if you intend visiting Sri Lanka as a Tourist, on Business or on Transit. No passport copies, documents or photographs are required to obtain the ETA. ETA holders will be issued a 30 day Short Visit visa at the port of entry in Sri Lanka.

Weather: Sri Lanka’s position close to the Equator means that temperatures remain fairly constant year-round. Coastal and lowland areas enjoy average daytime temperatures of around 26–30°C (often climbing up well into the 30°Cs during the hottest part of the day). Temperatures decrease with altitude, reducing to a temperate 18–22°C in Kandy, and a pleasantly mild 14–17°C in the Hill Country and the highest parts of the island – nights in the hills can be quite chilly, with temperatures sometimes falling close to freezing. Humidity is high everywhere, rising to a sweltering ninety percent at times in the southwest, and averaging sixty to eighty percent across the rest of the island.

Language: Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages in Sri Lanka. English is a 'link' language and generally understood by most people and is easy to get by. English is spoken at all hotels, major restaurants and shops.

Food: Sri Lankan dishes are based on rice, with a large variety of vegetables, fish & fruits. The uniqueness of Sri Lankan food influenced by invaders and traders - Indians, Arabs, Malays, Moors, Portuguese, Dutch and English all whom have left a mark on the Sri Lankan diet, will surely make your trip a voyage of culinary discovery. The Lankan food served in your hotel is toned down a little bit due to the sensitive stomach of most tourists. International food of any kind is found in all major Sri Lankan Restaurants. Most coastal towns have excellent seafood including prawns & delicious crab. Being a tropical country, Sri Lanka is blessed with a large variety of fruits. Some fruits like mangoes and Bananas (known an plantains here), come in over a dozen of sub varieties of shapes, sizes & tastes! Fuits such as Rambutan, Pineapple, Mangosteen, Papaya (Papaw), wood apple, melons, passion fruit, guavas, etc., are but a small sample of the amazing variety of fruits to be discovered and enjoyed.

Drinks: Sri Lanka is famous for it's tea, and pride themselves in, producing 'Ceylon Tea', the finest tea in the world. There is a local version of coffee, which is a bit strong. But Colombo is the only place that you could get a really good espresso. Highly recommended are the fresh fruit juices. Sri Lanka has it's own variety of local beer. Sri Lanka also has two extremely popular local varieties of local beverages - Toddy and Arrack. Toddy is a natural drink, produced from one or other palm trees. Fermented and refined toddy becomes Arrack. Some varieties are real "rocket fuel". Imported beer and foreign liquors cost almost the same as in most western countries. Thambili or King Coconut is a sweet, clean and cheap natural drink that you'll find by the wayside. It's extremely cooling and refreshing. We advise you not to drink tap water unless it is purified. Bottled water is recommended. Most hotel rooms have boiled water in thermos flasks, which is safe to drink.

Currency: The Sri Lankan currency is the Rupee (Rs), divided in to 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 & 2000. Breakdown larger notes when you change money - it can sometimes be a problem to breakdown a larger note (500, 1000 or 2000). Hotels and other tourist establishments will quote you the price in US$ or Euro and collect in Rupees at the prevailing exchange rate.

Credit Cards: Credit Cards are widely used and accepted by local establishments (even in small towns). The most widely used card types are Visa and MasterCard, with Amex to a lesser extent. It would be a convenient option to use your Credit Card (valid for international use) whenever possible. Due to currency regulations in Sri Lanka, credit card charges cannot be made in foreign currency. Local establishments will apply the daily exchange rates on the day of your payment and convert foreign exchange rate to Sri Lankan Rupees.

ATM's: ATM's are available in most main cities. You can take cash against Visa / Mastercard in most ATM'S. However, as different banks accept different cards, we advice you ensure that your card is valid for use in Sri Lanka by contacting your bank. Watch out for the Maestro or Cirrus logo.

Dress Code: Dress modestly at religious sites. You should remove your shoes and hat when entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple, if carrying an umbrella unfurl it. Your legs & shoulders should be covered; never enter a temple in beach wear (i.e. shorts or singlet).

Photography: Ask permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. Minority groups in particular are often unhappy to have their photo taken. Travellers should avoid paying for the right to take a photo as this has been found to encourage a begging mentality. In small villages, at home-stays or trekking, the use of videos may not be permitted as requested by the local people, and we ask for courtesy and discretion with still cameras. Ask permission before taking pictures either of people or inside temples or other sacred places. For example, it is forbidden to take photographs inside the cave temple complex of Dambulla. Never use flash on murals inside temples and other places; it can damage them. You are not allowed to use flash at the frescoes at Sigiriya, but where there is no ban, please behave responsibly. Never pose beside or in front of a Buddha statue (i.e. with your back to the statue). Such conduct is considered extremely disrespectful. Never take a photo of a monk without asking permission. Never take photos of airports, roadblocks or anything to do with the military.

Voltage: The voltage is Sri Lanka is 220/ 240 volts

Plugs: Sri Lankan hotels have two types of plug bases; either the UK (Type G) or India (Type D).

The facts

Not Included:

  • International Airfares & taxes - Please enquire
  • Travel insurance - Please enquire
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature ie phone calls, laundry, excess baggage etc
  • Passport & visas
  • Tips / gratuities for Guides / Driver - we will guide you on this.
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered


Hotel Rooms:
Every hotel on this tour is different in room size, services, location, category and decor. The utmost care has been taken in selecting these hotels, so we have the most comfortable stay. 

The Right Hand Rule: Always give, receive and eat  with your right hand. It is extremely bad mannered to use your left hand for eating.

Respect Cultural Differences: Things are done differently in Asia, and Sri Lanka is no exception. Please make sure in your dealings with local people you accept these differences. As a traveller you should keep as calm, cheerful and friendly as humanly possible. Patience and courtesy are virtues that open many doors in Sri Lanka!  Demanding tourists do not get smiles, service or respect.

Environmental Responsibility: Pollution and waste management is a huge problem throughout the world. Unfortunately in many parts of Asia, disposal systems are inadequate and recycling of plastics is limited. We suggest avoiding plastic packaging where possible and take along your own bag when shopping. Plastic bags will be offered for everything. Collect and dispose in the next town. The law protects certain endangered species of flora & fauna. Export & in even possession of these species as well as of wild animals, birds, reptiles etc., is illegal. The production and sale of items made from wild animals and reptiles, e.g.: Leopard skins, crocodile skins, elephant tusks etc., is also illegal. Never break coral, or brush against it. Coral is basically a colony of living organisms and damaging them, might kill them. Never buy coral if it's offered for sale. Similarly don't buy sea shells or turtle shells (or eggs). All of Sri Lanka's five species of Turtle are endangered. If you happen to spot a turtle, when being take out on a boat, discourage the driver from circling it; this sort of harassment is very stressful to the turtle.

Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.