Highlights: Bandaranaike - Minneriya National park - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya - Udawalawe - Induruwa
Home to some of the most intriguing places, beautiful beaches and people who are reputed to be the warmest and hospitable in the world, Sri Lanka is truly a dream destination for the avid traveler. This beautiful country has lots to offer to tourists and its richness and beauty evokes a feeling of contentment, peace and bliss in its visitors. Marco Polo stated that he considered Sri Lanka to be the finest island of its size in all the world and you’ll likely agree after exploring its fabled delights. Despite being so small in size, it offers a diversity that is unmatched by any other. Picturesque landscapes, a warm culture and endemic wildlife and more, Sri Lanka is indeed a true paradise for visitors. With an amazing number of attractions from sunny gold and white sanded beaches, mysterious and ancient cities, beautiful fauna and flora, finest handicrafts, world famous gems, colorful festivals and people famous for their warmth and hospitality it is a great tourist destination and paradise. Visitors are often spoilt for choice given the amount of attractions that Sri Lanka has to offer. One of the best things about Sri Lanka is that all major tourist attractions in Sri Lanka are just a few hours’ drive away from each other. A perfect mix of history, culture and modernity, Sri Lanka today thrives through its deep-rooted traditions and a personality that draws so many back time and again. Day 1: Arrive in Bandaranaike International Airport
Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, collect your baggage, meet and greet with the chauffeur guide, and proceed on your tour of the island. Proceed to Habarana on arrival, en-route visiting the Millennium elephant foundation where you could take one of the elephants on a gentle stroll or give it a bath! Once in a life time experience. (This can be done en-route only if the flight is in the morning) There are about 10 elephants in the foundation, and you can also enjoy an elephant back ride without Howdah (Howdah - The metal or Wooden seats/ saddles used by elephant riding places to carry up to 06 people at one time during elephant rides).MEF uses a slightly padded blanket as an alternative solution for Howdah, while limiting the number of riders and having short rides. There is an option of walking with elephants for about 40 minutes. (Which is not included in the package-tickets can be purchased at the site)The Millennium Elephant Foundation is situated on a 15 acre estate known as Samaragiri, which has been home to the Samarasinghe family for many generations. The family has owned elephants since the 1960's and in 1979 Mr. Samarasinghe (1939 - 1991) opened the estate to the public as the "Elephant Bath". Currently the MEF is home to 5 cow (female) elephants. The youngest, Pooja was the first captive elephant to be bred in Sri Lanka, born in 1984. It is estimated that the MEF grounds have a total holding capacity of 10-15 female elephants; of course consideration can be given to male elephants if necessary. In an effort to increase awareness and generate the funds needed for the maintenance and care of our elephants, the MEF actively welcomes visitors and encourages one to one interaction with them. Arrive in Habarana. Proceed to Minneriya National park to enjoy an afternoon game drive to witness the elephant gathering ,where the elephants socialize, bathe and even find mates! This happens during the period of drought (July/August to September). One of the most spectacular natural scenes you will ever see! The Elephant Gathering at Minneriya is a sight to behold. During the dry season (July to September) water supplies reduce drastically in this region. To cope with this, the elephants congregate around the Minneriya reservoir where grasses are rich and fertile. The elephants come from areas beyond the reservoir and at times herds with numbers as large as 300 – 400 can be seen. For any observer this is an incredible moment since this is not only a simple elephant migration.. Minneriya National park which is famous for its migrant heard of wild Elephants. -As the drought in the Sri Lankan dry zone heightens every year in June and most national parks in the area are parched; there remains only one oasis - "Minneriya National Park". Here too the magnificent Minneriya Tank reduces in size by more than half giving rise to fresh grassland. Abundant grazing land and water draw many herds from the surrounding forests, which converge at Minneriya National Park during the months prior to the rains which are expected in September, resulting in an amazing gathering of over 300 elephants. An incredible experience....." On completion, check in at the hotel and relax.
Overnight in Habarana on BB Basis. Day 2: Minneriya National park
Pack your breakfast and, and today you will engage in a morning jeep safari at Minneriya National park. On completion, proceed on a village trek in Hiriwaduna. Hiriwaduna is 30-45 minutes – drive from Sigiriya, Trek through the archetypal Sri Lankan Typical village. The trek begins with an awesome walk along a bund of a Wewa or manmade reservoir. The reservoir itself, the surrounding scrub jungle, marshland and village are a hive of morning or an evening activity. The amazing birdlife, butterflies and possible sightings of crocodile only add to the charm of seeing the villagers as they go about their early morning tasks of fishing, or washing clothes at the periphery of the lake. Return to your accommodation.
Overnight in Habarana on BB Basis. Day 3: Kandy
Check out after breakfast and proceed to Kandy. Rock Fortress of Sigiriya - This World Heritage site - a spectacular Rock Fortress - is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. The most impressive elements of the unique complex are the Water Gardens, the Frescoes of beautiful maidens, the Mirror Wall with ancient graffiti, the Lion platform and the Summit with an area of 1.6 hectares which was completely covered with buildings during the period of Sigiriya’s glory. Also, Visit a spice garden in Matale to see spices growing in their natural habitat and learn about spices and their use in Sri Lankan cuisine on your way to Kandy. Arrive at your destination, Kandy. This lovely city is the Hill Capital of Sri Lanka and was the last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings. It still retains an aura of grandeur which has been unaffected by time. Encircled by hills, with a tranquil lake in its center, it is the site of the renowned “Temple of the Tooth” and the Royal Botanical Gardens - home to one of Asia’s best Orchid collections. Kandy and its satellite villages are the center of the island’s handicraft industry and its traditional dances are the most lively and spectacular in the country. Enjoy a sightseeing tour in Kandy including, Oriental Market Place, Bazaar and Gem Lapidary. The city tour will take you to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, a magnificent golden roofed temple, Arts & Crafts workshop, Oriental Market Place, Bazaar and Gem Lapidary. Check in at the hotel; spend rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Kandy on BB basis. Day 4: Nuwara Eliya
After Breakfast Take to the misty mountains of Nuwara Eliya where you will be able to visit a lush green tea plantation and the famous Ramboda falls en route to capture some amazing photographs. Join the tea pluckers as they pick the famous tea leaf and a bud before being introduced the process of manufacturing some of the world’s finest tea. Enjoy gorgeous vistas of the surrounding countryside before retreating to the warmth of your hotel. Nuwara Eliya -Sri Lanka's premier hill resort with a fine bracing mountain climate, it is also the heart of Sri Lanka's tea country, producing some of the world’s best tea. The mountain slopes and valleys are a carpet of velvety green tea plantations, interspersed with gushing streams and tumbling waterfalls.’ Proceed on a city tour in the evening.
Overnight in Nuwara Eliya on BB basis. Day 5: Udawalawe
Proceed to Udawalawe after breakfast. Engage in an afternoon game drive in Udawalawe national park, which is the best place to see wild elephants in Sri Lanka with approximately 400 elephants residing within the area of 31,000 hectares. Udawalawe National Park. Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. Check in at the hotel. Spend the evening at leisure.
Overnight in Udawalawe on BB basis. Day 6: Udawalawe
Enjoy Breakfast at the hotel, check out and proceed to your beach resort after visiting the Elephant Transit home in Udawalawe where you get to see over 50 injured or orphaned baby Elephants. Witness bottle feeding for baby elephants. Feeding time – 09.00 Am/ 12.00 PM/ 3.00 PM/ 06.00 PM. In elephant transit home you also have the opportunity to donate milk powder for baby elephants as well. Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe which is sponsored by the Born Free Trust. Here, injured or orphaned elephants from around the island are brought and given treatment and care. Once the elephants are strong enough and old enough they are relocated in the wild at Udawalawe National Park. Arrive at your beach resort, check in spend these days at leisure by the beach.
Overnight in Induruwa on BB basis. Day 7: Induruwa
Enjoy breakfast and spend the day at leisure.
Optional: Water sports –Not included in quote, Payments directly to the hotel.
Overnight in Induruwa on BB basis. Day 8: Departure
Transfer to the Bandaranaike International Airport in time to meet departure flight.