||Clarion Hotel Chennai
||Chennai – Pondicherry (Puducherry)
||The Promenade Pondicherry
||The Promenade Pondicherry
||Pondicherry – Thanjavur
||Ideal River View Resort
||Thanjavur – Madurai
||Madurai – Thekkady
||Poetree Sarovar Portico
||Thekkady – Kumarakom
||Aveda Resorts and Spa
||Aveda Resorts and Spa
||Kumarakom – Alappuzha
||Rainbow Premium Houseboat
||Alappuzha – Kochi
||Ramada Resort Cochin
||Kochi – fly to Colombo
||Colombo – Kandalama
||Amaya Lake Dambulla
||Amaya Lake Dambulla
||Kandalama – Kandy
||Kandy – Nuwara Eliya
||Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya
||Kandy – Nuwara Eliya
||Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya
||Nuwara Eliya – Beruwala
||Beruwala – Colombo – Departure
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Day 1: Clarion Hotel Chennai, Chennai
Chennai is Tamil Nadu’s coastal capital and one of India’s financial, cultural and tourism hubs. Attractions include the city’s beaches, museums, shopping areas and historical sites, particularly the centrally located Kapaleeshwar Temple – a historical shrine to the goddess Shiva, featuring gaudily decorative gopurams (towers) covered with colourful carvings – and the group of ancient rock-carved temples at Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located roughly 60 kilometres from the city centre. Also of interest is the Guindy National Park, which occupies nearly three square kilometres of greenery in the city centre and is home to an array of birds, reptiles and (mainly smallish) mammals.Overnight: Clarion Hotel Chennai .
Clarion Hotel Chennai offers easy access to Marina Beach and Tidel Park. This India hotel is also conveniently close to shopping at Chennai Citi Centre Shopping Mall, Express Avenue Shopping Mall and Spencers Plaza Shopping Mall, as well as Kapaleeshwarar Temple.
Guests can dine at either of the on-site restaurants, Twenty-Fifth Hour and North at 18 North Restaurant, grab a drink at the Purple Room lounge, relax in the outdoor pool, let loose on the dance floor and exercise in the fitness center. Other amenities include a free full breakfast, free high-speed internet access, and a free daily newspaper. All guest rooms offer a coffee maker, minibar, and flat-screen television. Some rooms offer a beautiful ocean view.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 2: The Promenade Pondicherry, Puducherry
Visit the museum to see the bronze gallery with its superb collection of Chola art. Drive through the flower and fruit market, past the High Court built in Indo-Saracenic style, the Fort Museum with its collection of colonial memorabilia and Marina Beach. Visit the San Thome Cathedral said to house the remains of St Thomas the Apostle, Kapaleeshwara temple.
Afternoon drive to Puducherry and check in at your hotel.
Puducherry – previously known as Pondicherry – is made up of four entirely separate enclaves along the Indian coast, all of which were colonised by the French in the 18th century. Named after the largest of these enclaves, this union territory has retained a strong European culture that makes it unlike any other place in India. Nowhere is this more evident than in Puducherry district, dubbed the ‘French Riviera of the East’, where antiquated colonial buildings line the quiet cobbled streets and tree-lined avenues of the old town, and many people still speak French as their first language.
Overnight: The Promenade Pondicherry
At the heart of the town’s ancient “French Quarter”. While interiors are ultra-modern with its clean minimalist design, the outside is colonial French.
The Promenade’s beautifully landscaped porch overlooking the sea is a great place to spend a relaxed evening. The fascinating Balinese motif lounge pool and the in-room reflexology and spa massages make it the perfect place to spend a blissful getaway.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 3: The Promenade Pondicherry, Puducherry
Visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram founded by the philosopher-saint Sri Aurobindo in 1926 to put into practice his ideals of a peaceful community. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science. It is also his final resting place. Also visit the Pondicherry museum, which has sculptures, archaeological finds, and memorabilia of the French colonists. See the Sacred Heart Church with its Gothic architecture and stained glass windows.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a spiritual community located in Pondicherry, in the Indian territory of Puducherry. The ashram grew out of a small community of disciples who had gathered around Sri Aurobindo after he retired from politics and settled in Pondicherry in 1910. On 24 November 1926, after a major spiritual realization, Sri Aurobindo withdrew from public view in order to continue his spiritual work. At this time he handed over the full responsibility for the inner and outer lives of the sadhaks and the ashram to his spiritual collaborator, “the Mother”, earlier known as Mirra Alfassa. This date is therefore generally known as the founding-day of the ashram, though, as Sri Aurobindo himself wrote, it had “less been created than grown around him as its center
Bed & Breakfast
Day 4: Ideal River View Resort, Thanjavur
Visit the 11th century Sri Brahadeeswara temple, built mainly of granite blocks and decorated with sculptures and frescoes. It is topped by a monolithic dome constructed from a single 80 tonne piece of granite, which was dragged to the top using a 6 km long ramp, in a technique similar to that used by the Egyptians to build the Pyramids.
Thanjavur Situated between Trichy and the coast of Tamil Nadu, Thanjavur is an important centre of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. It is also an agricultural hub, fondly known as the ‘rice bowl of Tamil Nadu’. It’s most visited monument, the Brihadeeswara Temple, is located at the centre of the city and a style of painting, called Tanjore, which is unique to the region, can be seen here. The temple forms part of the Great Living Chola Temples, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in and around Thanjavur. Thousands of people still worship at the Cholas’ grand Brihadishwara Temple every day.
Overnight: Ideal River View Resort Favourably located on the bank of the Cauvery within the culturally rich heritage town of Tanjore, is the Ideal River Resort. This family resort offers a cultural setting with comfortable accommodation.
Featured at the Ideal River Resort are guest rooms with river facing views, a restaurant, bar, Ayurveda spa, swimming pool and a gift shop. Cultural events take place at the resort’s classical theatre. Bicycles are available for hire to explore the surrounding riverside area. Other outdoor activity options include golfing and having barbeque parties. There’s also entertainment and activity options for kids at the Cyber Café which has video and PC games.
Peruvudaiyar Kovil, which is also famous as Brihadeeswarar Temple, Rajarajeswaram and RajaRajeshwara Temple, is located at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu state of India. It is one Hindu temple, which they dedicate towards Lord Shiva. It is one luminous example of major heights, which Cholas achieves within Tamil architecture. This temple is one tribute and one reflection of power of its supporter Raja Raja Chola I. this temple remains as India’s largest and Indian architecture’s one of greatest glories. It is also a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Great Living Chola Temples”.
This great temple is India’s one of most prized site for its architecture. It stands in middle of fortified walls added probably in sixteenth century. There is one temple tower, which people call as Vimana. It is 216 feet or 66 meters high. It is also one among tallest tower in whole world in its kind. Kumbam, Chikharam or Kalasha, which is bulbous, or apex structure on top of temple, people believe that it is made out of a single stone carving.
Day 5: Heritage Madurai, Madurai
Take a half-day city tour of Madurai visiting the great Meenakshi Temple dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva. It is an outstanding example of Dravidian temple architecture, with towering Gopurams covered with stucco images of gods, goddesses and animals. The sanctuary is open only to Hindus. Also visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace, a gracious 17th century building in the Indo-Saracenic style famous for stuccowork on its domes and arches.
In the evening watch Aart ceremony.
Located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Madurai is the oldest existing city on the Indian peninsula, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a recorded history spanning more than 2500 years. It is known as ‘the city of temples’ due to its countless ancient Hindu shrines, including the great Meenakshi-Sundareswar Temple, spread over 6 hectares and featuring a series of 50-metre-high gateway towers that can be seen from afar. The best time to visit Madurai is between October and March, when temperatures are between 20-35 degrees.Overnight: Heritage Madurai
Heritage Madurai rings with historic charm that echoes in every hallway and every room. Lounge by the Olympic-sized temple tank pool, or luxuriate in a plunge pool in your own private villa. Dine under a 200-year-old banyan tree, serenaded by bird calls while enjoying the perfect meal prepared by your own personal chef, perfectly tempered to your particular taste buds. Take a leisurely ‘historic’ walk through the corridors where every stone has a story to tell.
One of the main attractions around Madurai is the cultural experience of visiting the Meenakshi Amman temple and the Nayakar Mahal. Recreational activities for guests at the hotel are swimming, playing badminton and hiring out mountain bikes to explore the surrounding area. There is also a choice of 3 dining options namely the Banyan Restaurant, the Swig & Tee Bar, and the Coffee Shop.Meenakshi Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple cityof Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi, and her consort, Shiva, here named Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2,500 year old city of Madurai and is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature though the present structure was built between 1623 and 1655 CE.It houses 14 gopurams (gateway towers), ranging from 45–50m in height. The tallest is the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured vimanas, the shrines over the garbhagrihas (sanctums) of the main deities. The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day, around 25,000 on Fridays, and receives an annual revenue of sixty millionINR. There are an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple. It was on the list of top 30 nominees for the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. The annual 10-day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival, celebrated during April and May, attracts 1 million visitors
Day 6: Poetree Sarovar Portico, Thekkady
Visit spice plantation. You will see verities of spices indigenously grown here. The surrounding filled with its aroma will sooth your soul. The spice plantation in Thekkady is one of the major spice plantations in Kerala. These plantations are captivating farms to wander in, since different spices are cultivated in different sections of each plantationKalaripayattu: is a martial art which originated as a style in Kerala during the 13th Century AD. The word kalari first appears in Sangam literature to describe both a battlefield and combat arena. The word kalari tatt denoted a martial feat, while kalari kozhai meant a coward in war. Each warrior in the Sangam era received regular military training. It is considered to be one of the oldest fighting systems in existence. It is now practiced in Kerala.
A tourist attraction in Kerala, Thekkady is a district located at the Periyar National Park. Thekkady comprises of evergreen forests and savanna grass lands. This area is known for its natural spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove. Wild life creatures found in this region include elephants, tigers and sambar to name a few.
Overnight: Poetree Sarovar Portico
From the shaded seclusion of this property, designed with minimalist and aesthetic principles, guests can relax in luxury and admire unforgettable views over the Periyar forest and across expansive mountain ranges, with the distant backdrops of waterfalls and the ever-providing Periyar River. From each room, guests can soak in a calm and serene vibe, a feeling of being one with the land, distinct to Periyar and Thekkady.
Witness Kalaripayattu Show (Ancient Indian Martial Arts)
Witness Kalaripayattu Show (Ancient Indian Martial Arts)
The Shaolin monks have made their disciplined displays of Kung Fu world famous, but few know that their art was learned from Bodhi Dharma, an Indian monk who was a Kalaripayattu master. Legend traces this form of martial arts back 3000 years and here, in Kerala, you have the chance to experience a display of this most ancient of art forms.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 7: Aveda Resorts and Spa, Kumarakom
Boat ride: Periyar is South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary, encompassing an area of 777 sq. km. Set on the attractive man-made Periyar Lake, it attracts over 300,000 visitors a year. Though the sanctuary was made a part of Project Tiger in 1973, it is better known for its elephants.
Take a boat ride on Lake Periyar, and see the wildlife around the lake as you cruise along its banks. Apart from elephants, bison, sambar, wild boar, langur, otter and flying squirrel are common. There are also 246 species of birds and 112 species of butterfly.Later drive to Kumarakom. Day at leisure.
One of Kerala’s most alluring backwaters is Kumarakom, a hub of biodiversity where mangrove forests are mixed in with rice paddies, coconut palms and bursts of white lilies. This vivid subtropical peninsula juts into Vembanad Lake and is a popular place to study yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic massage, and from which to take bird-watching, boating and fishing trips. Nearby attractions include the Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls, just two kilometres from Kumarakoram, which cascade down the mountain slopes from roughly 30 metres above, and Pathiramanal (meaning ‘sands of midnight’) a beguiling island and bird sanctuary in the middle of the lake.Overnight: Aveda Resorts and Spa
Aveda Kumarakom is the newest boutique luxury resort in the picturesque and naturally endowed lake Vembanad area, the famous backwaters of Kerala. The resort is designed to relax and rejuvenate soul, body and mind. Enjoy the solitude and immense natural beauty that will simply delight you and connect you to the nature and God. An untouched, rustic and timeless beauty surrounds the resort. Watch the slowly changing scenery pass you by. A perfect setting for a relaxing holiday with endless memories etched on your soul.
Luxury residences in Aveda Kumarakom include lakefront and lakeview villas with private plunge pool, luxury cottages, suites and rooms as well as the largest infinity swimming pool in Kerala. The resort offers an open poolside restaurant cum lounge ‘ La Breeze’, a lounge bar and a specialty seafood restaurant ‘The Vembanad Catch’.Activities
Take a trip to the aromatic spice plantations of Thekkady
Take a trip to the aromatic spice plantations of Thekkady
Take a trip to the fragrant spice plantations of Thekkady to get acquainted with the best-quality spices of the entire world. Organised by Hi Tours, the tour will incorporate a walk through these lush green spice plantations, which you will find all over the place in the district. As you will enter the spice estate, a lingering aroma of spices will surely rejuvenate your senses.
Thekkady is a small district in the verdant state of Kerala, which is known for its natural reserves, captivating hills and lush green spice plantations. The verdurous Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary falls under this region. This national park is mostly known for its elephant safaris, which take you deep inside the wilderness for that thrilling experience. Besides, the region also provides opportunities for adventurous treks and mountain walks owing to the hilly terrain around. However, the most important facet of this district is that it dons a rich green blanket encompassing picturesque spice plantations.
Considered to be the heartland of spices, Thekkady has around 50 sq. km area in and around Periyar Tiger Reserve, which draws tourists with its fresh spice aroma. From cardamom, clove, pepper, nutmeg to vanilla, a huge variety of spices is cultivated here. While you are here, do not miss out on a tour of these aromatic spic plantations.
Hi Tours representative will take you to one of these spice plantations where you can breathe in the aroma and fragrance of these robust fresh spices. As you take a walk through the entire estate, you will get a chance to witness the local workers who indulge in various cultivation and production activities to make these best-quality spices available at your door step. If you wish you can also buy souvenir spice packets for your loved ones at various souvenir shops available at these spice plantations.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 8: Aveda Resorts and Spa, Kumarakom
The tourist village of Kumarakom lies in the scenic backwater area, on the shore of the pleasant Vembanad lake. Here an old rubber plantation around the lake has been developed into a bird sanctuary. Visit the bird sanctuary. The main attractions are local birds like the waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck, as well as the migratory Siberian cranes. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 9: Rainbow Cruises Premium Houseboat, Alappuzha
Embark the houseboat. You will sail in the Vembanad lake through the canals and village.
Lunch and dinner will be provided on board.
Commonly known as Alleppey, the Alappuzha district is a tourist destination of Kerala, with the backwaters being its popular tourist attraction. Tourists often explore this region through various houseboat cruises. This area is also known as the ‘Venice of the East’ as its a region featuring canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons.Overnight: Rainbow Cruises Premium Houseboat
The Rainbow Cruises experiences begins with a trip through the canals and backwaters which will mesmerize passengers while they discover the traditional beauty and culture of Alappuzha. One will see fine and virgin ravines and rivulets, virgin landscapes, long stretches of winding canals and waterways dotted by tiny hamlets and lush green paddy fields manned by scarecrows and unimaginable village life.
The Premium Houseboat provides accommodation with air conditioning per passenger request. Rainbow offers a blend of home style cooking with creative selections of savory spices and robust ingredients in Kerala dishes that explode with flavor.
Backwater Experience on HouseboatBackwater Experience on Houseboat
Alapuzha (Venice of the East) or Alleppey as it is popularly known is the most prominent township in the backwaters. The Backwaters of Kerala is a network of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets formed by more than 900 km of waterways. The backwaters have a unique ecosystem – freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea.
The Kerala houseboats takes tourists on a cruise along the emerald waterways. Modified to meet a novel concept of holidaying, the kettuvalloms (houseboats) are comfortably furnished with an open lounge, one or two bath attached bedrooms and a kitchenette, and are extremely eco-friendly, merging smoothly into the panorama. Every houseboat is manned by a crew of 3 men, usually a cook, guide and oarsman.
The Deluxe Houseboat has 2 bedrooms containing one bed that caters to a maximum of 2 passengers per room. Then there’s another 2 bedrooms with 2 beds in each catering to 4 passengers per room. And lastly, there’s 1 bedroom that features 3 beds catering to a maximum of 6 passengers.Included
Day 10: Ramada Resort Cochin, Kochi
Disembark the houseboat and drive to Cochin.
Take a tour of the city visiting the Dutch Palace, which has some of India’s most beautiful murals, the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays & Saturdays) in the heart of Jew Town and the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets. See St. Francis Church where Vasco da Gama was originally buried, and the Santa Cruz Church with its pastel coloured interior and carved wooden panels
Evening watch Kathakali dance show.
Also known as Cochin, Kochi is a city in southwest India’s coastal Kerala state. This attractive city has served as a popular port for over 600 years and is known for its eclectic architecture and its array of religious monuments, museums, galleries, cafes and antique shops. The city stretches across a number of peninsulas and islands, which can be reached by a network of water taxis and bridges. The majority of Kochi’s visitor highlights can be found on the peninsula of Fort Kochi. These highlights include the St Francis Church, the oldest European-built church in India; and Mattancherry Palace, which dates back to 1557 and contains some exceptional Kerala murals and temple art. Other must-see attractions include the Kerala Folklore Museum, displaying more than 4,000 cultural and ethnic artifacts; the 16th-century Jewish Synagogue; and the local market, where the air is filled with the aroma of exotic spices.Overnight: Ramada Resort Cochin
The Ramada Resort Cochin is near to the Kochi City Center and 45 minutes from Cochin International Airport. Guests staying at this hotel can enjoy a range of amenities. Work out in the fitness center or swim laps in the pool, then unwind in the hot tub, whirlpool, sauna or steam room. Connect with family and friends using high-speed internet access from the comfort of the hotel room or WI-FI in the lobby, restaurant or bar. In the morning, enjoy continental breakfast and a free newspaper before heading out. Additionally, the hotel offers a laundry service and valet, dry cleaning and limousine services.Activities
Enjoy a mesmerising Kathakali dance performanceEnjoy a mesmerising Kathakali dance performance
Gear up for an enchanting and exhilarating experience as the Hi! Tours representative will arrange for a beautiful Kathakali dance performance for you in the port city of Kochi. As the dancers will enter the stage in colourful dramatic costumes, you will get amazed with the sheer grandeur and aura, the dancers bring along with them. The classical music being played in the backdrop will slowly soothe your mind, transforming your soul into some other world.
The designated person from Hi! Tours will receive you in Kochi, the colonial name of which is Cochin. Situated on the south-western coast of peninsular India, the city has earned the sobriquet, ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. This is because of this strategic location that has served traders from ancient times. Owing to such strong trade relationship with the outside world, the architecture is reminiscent of various cultures like Dutch, Portuguese and British.
As you reach the city, the representative will take you to witness a mesmerising performance by Kathakali dancers.
A traditional dance form of the state of Kerala, Kathakali literally signifies story play. This means that the dancers enact a story with their hand movements and expressions, without any dialogue. Initially a dance form perform by only men, it has now accepted women dancers too. Since the entire focus of the dance is on acting or abhinaya, the costumes used are very dramatic, loud, huge and ornate. Another important aspect of this dance is the facial make-up. The make-up is done with fine detailing and is very intricate. It is so dense that it almost looks like a dancer is wearing a colourful mask. The dance performances are usually a narration of episodes from ancient mythological stories like the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 11: Ramada Colombo, Colombo
Board flight to Colombo . Upon arrival get transferred to your hotel.
The throbbing metropolis, Colombo – located in the West – is not only the country’s commercial capital, but also the turbine that impels above 50% of the national GDP flanking Colombo’s fancy urban development effort. Drive along the clean streets edging the crystal white Race Course – horse racing hub in 1893 & World War II airstrip – furnished today with lavish clothing, food & tea boutiques. Head along Bauddhaloka Mawatha towards ‘Arcade’ facing a historic waypost, the Independence Square.
Sri Lanka’s seaside metropolis offers a laid back atmosphere coupled with a mixture of crumbling colonial buildings and glinting skyscrapers. Stroll to Pettah, Colombo’s main market and be dazzled by the variety of gems, the brightly coloured fruit and vegetable stalls and the plethora of ayurvedic medicines on offer. Sample some of the city’s fine fare, from curries to crabs, in any one of the beachfront bistros or inner city dining rooms. Nature lovers should head to Galle Face Green, a grassy promenade along the Indian Ocean for a stroll or take a scenic train ride to Mount Lavinia beach.Overnight: Ramada Colombo
Ramada Colombo is a 4 star hotel located in the heart of the city. Those on leisure can appreciate a quick drive or pleasant stroll leading to the city’s hot spots for entertainment and shopping.
Ramada Colombo presents a great stay combining supreme functionality with comfortable features. The hotel has luxury leisure amenities such as the swimming pool with a Jacuzzi which is adjacent to the coffee shop. Guests are welcome to unwind in the steam and sauna room. Also found at the Ramada Colombo is a specialty restaurant, lounge and a gift shop for souvenir shopping.Included
Bed & Breakfast
Day 12: Amaya Lake Dambulla, Kandalama
Transfer from Colombo to Dambulla via Pinnawala (Approx ; 4.5 hrs drive )
As you enter the 25 acre coconut property, do not be surprised to witness baby elephants being bottle fed or moving around freely causing absolutely no harm to anyone. It is rightly a sincere sight to observe how these gentle giants – orphaned and sometimes three-legged – are taken care of since 1975 at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Up to date, over 20 calves have been born here, and it is surprising to hear that some of its inmates have even seen their grand children during the past few decades! Watch as they feed at 9:15 am, 1:15 pm & 5:00 pm and take a river bath twice a day at 10:00 am & 2:00 pm respectively for an experience that could never be felt anywhere else on earth!
In the city of Dambulla lies a hub which has been treasured by many kings since the 1st century B.C. Today, an icon in the face of Sri Lanka, Dambulla Rock Temple houses some of the most unique drawings in magnificently constructed 5 cave temples flanking the golden temple of Dambulla. Observe how exquisitely cave paintings are done along walls that shelter 150 statues of Lord Buddha. As you enter the retreat, look straight up to the gigantic Buddha statue glittering in gold over a land, which today houses an important junction in the country’s economic and cultural uplifting.
Sitting pretty in the centre of pearl-shaped Sri Lanka is Kandalama Reservoir. The light tropical forest, caves and reservoir provide a natural habitat for a variety of fauna and flora including butterflies, deer, wild boar, porcupine and three species of monkeys. In addition, there are over 170 species of resident and migrant birds such as babblers, barbets, bulbuls, parakeets, woodpeckers and sunbirds. Not far off is the historic Aligala (Elephant Rock) jungle caves that date back to the third century BC and Sigiriya Rock, an ancient palace perched on top of a 200m rocky outcrop.Overnight: Amaya Lake Dambulla
Set on the tranquil banks of the magnificent Kandalama Lake, this showpiece resort captures the essence of Sri Lankan design, culture and tradition. Enjoy lush tropical gardens against a dramatic backdrop while uplifting, catchy raban melodies welcome you.Activities
The Pinnawala Elephant OrphanageThe Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage situated northwest of the town of Kegalle, halfway between the present capital Colombo and the ancient royal residence Kandy. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife Department in a 25 acre coconut property adjoining the Maha Oya River. The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to the many orphaned Elephants found in the jungles of Sri Lanka.
In 1978 the orphanage was taken over by the National Zoological Gardens from the Department of Wildlife. A captive breeding program was launched in 1982. Since the inception of the program over 20 elephants have been bred here. The aim of the orphanage is to simulate a natural habitat to these elephants. However, there are some exceptions: the elephants are taken to the river twice a day for a bath, and all the babies less than three years of age are still bottle fed by the mahouts and volunteers.
Each animal is also given around 76 kg of green matter a day and around 2 kg from a food bag containing rice bran and maize. The orphanage which boasts to have the largest herd of captive elephants in the world is very popular and visited daily by many Sri Lankan and foreign tourists. The main attraction is clearly to observe the elephants bathing which is quite a spectacle.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 13: Amaya Lake Dambulla, Kandalama
Transfer from Dambulla to Sigiriya (Approx ; 20 minutes’ drive )The 5th century rock citadel of King Kasyapa and World Heritage Site – Sigiriya – doesn’t only boasts of ancient Sri Lankan engineering & urban planning supremacy but also acclaims to be one of the finest monuments of art & culture. Step through the gigantic ‘Lion Paws’ – overlooking the symmetrical royal gardens below – to comprehend the absolute splendor that once dominated this rock fortress. Surrounded by ramparts & moats the Lion Rock – resembling the mythological ‘City of Gods’ – is coated by frescoes that relate to Gupta style paintings found in Ajanta caves of India. Walk in the shade of an eminent ‘mirror wall’ embracing the Western face of Sigiriya representing an artistic hundred meters laminated with graffiti. Wander into the well-fabricated museum downstairs for an epic journey of yesteryears to realize how the citadel floated above citizens with the castle, ponds and irrigation systems that pumped water right onto its summit with an ingenious hydraulic system describing a colossal masterpiece of the great king which remained a wonder in Asia for centuries.
Transfer from Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa (Approx ; 1.5 hrs drive )
Rising with the decline of Anuradhapura, the city of Polonnaruwa – medieval capital & crown jewel of King Parakramabahu I – remains superior proof of ancient culture & heritage blended with religious beliefs. Walk across its scattered walls of the World Heritage Site – blessed by stupas, resting Buddha statues, irrigation canals and fantastically carved Hindu sculptures – while observing the relic house – Watadage – which boasts of beautiful stone carvings. Take a close glance and you will realize a subtle Hindu influence on architecture and statues found in Polonnaruwa. Or sit by the side of Galviharaya and observe the absolute beauty gushing out of every bend of its huge Buddhist statues. Nissankamalla Council Chamber is however, a head-spinning beauty to just sit back and observe with its swaying pillars reminding the aesthetics of a powerful kingdom which rests beside Parakrama Samudraya – sea of Parakramabahu & masterpiece of irrigation!
Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Sigiriya is an ancient palace located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavangsha, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 14: Earl’s Regent , Kandy
Transfer from Dambulla to Kandy via Matale (Approx ; 3.5 hrs drive)An agricultural zone in the Central Province, Matale seldom drops off the maps due to its remarkable contribution through flagship crops of the island extending from tea, rubber & vegetables to spices. Spearheading the Rebellion back in 1848, Matale today takes immense pride in its story woven around spices. Stop by the side of a spice garden – into which you will be most welcome – and observe the therapeutic values of spices & processes over a refreshing cup of herbal tea! Or spend sometime idling on the hardened streets if you mean a real town adventure filled with voices and colors.
Last ruled by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe – before it was brought under the British rule in 1815, Kandy – the World Heritage Site & last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings – crafts an array of culture, history and heritage in the minds of visitors across the globe. Experience an ancient Kandyan legacy engraved around its crown jewel, the temple of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. A stroll across this small lakeside town – cradled among the misty hills – will feature the Kandy City Centre – bundled with latest and world class brands, bazaar, an arts & crafts centre, as well as a gem museum & lapidary.walk in color as you glide through fresh fruits and vegetables in the Kandy market. Fine tube your evening by stepping to the beat of traditional music & drumming amplified by a cultural show enhancing the rich and vibrant culture of the Wonder of Asia, Sri Lanka.Kandy
The second major city in Sri Lanka (the other being Colombo) lies in the midst of the Kandy Plateau, an area of tropical tea plantations. A prominent feature is Kandy Lake, to the north of which lies the golden-roofed Temple of The Tooth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and important place for Buddhist worship, as it is said to house a tooth relic of Buddha. Other fascinating places include the Ceylon Tea Museum, the Buddhist Publication Society, the Ayurvedic centre in the Amaya Hills nearby, the Kandyan Art Association and Cultural Centre, where crafts people can be seen at work, and the Kandy Muslim Hotel, which offers the finest spiced curries served with naan or rotis.Overnight: Earl’s Regent
Earl’s Regent is an ideal refuge set among the misty hills of the ancient kingdom of Kandy. The hotel’s airy and spacious rooms combine the essence of tradition and Kandyan heritage together with modern day luxuries, redefining the sense of opulent living at the elegant hotel. Earl’s Regent features a wide range of facilities and services. Guests can enjoy a relaxing swim in the outdoor pool, work out at the gym and indulge in rejuvenating treatments at the spa. Business travelers can make use of the meeting facilities, free WI-FI internet access and business center. The hotel offers an ideal destination choice for a corporate retreat or a vacation.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 15: Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya, Nuwara Eliya
Transfer from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya via Tea Plantation (Approx ; 3 hrs drive)
Sri Lanka, Tea and Tourism are words which cannot be separated. Take a tour to the cold & misty hills that take pride of an ultimate tea tour, covering lush green blankets of tea plantations. Or just step into a tea factory processing the prestigious brand of Ceylon Tea, to observe a rich tradition kept alive up to date. As you observe the hissing and swishing of machines, inhaling the heavenly scent arising from these facilities, make sure to end your day in style over a perfectly blended cup of pure Ceylon Tea.
Misty steep roads, twisting through lush green blankets of tea bushes in a cool climate, remind visitors that they are within the range of the renowned British colonial retreat, Nuwara Eliya. Augmented by an English countryside atmosphere, the city of light – once governed by English & Scottish planters – is still studded with colonial bungalows, hedgerows & one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in the world. A hike through the green grass and red-brick walls should present breathtaking views of a buzzing countryside hamlet. Drive through green valleys of the hill country pierced by endless waterfalls & dotted by tea pluckers draped in bright-colored saris. Or rent a bike for a gentle ride along the banks splashed by the waters of Lake Gregory.Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is a beautiful mountain station 1868m above sea level. The city is well-kept and neat, and with its British like red-brick walls, mock-Tudor half-timbering and a country club, complete with hunting pictures and mounted trophies, it is sometimes referred to as “Little England”. The surrounding areas offer breath-taking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery and most importantly a wonderful break from the heat and humidity of the coast. Tea Estates, waterfalls, and mountains complete the picture.Overnight: Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya
An elegant High Tea on a manicured lawn, sip a stiff brandy by the blazing fire after a round of golf in the chill air. It may be the 21st century, but colonial splendor still reigns in all it’s past glory at the Grand Hotel. Built in 1891, this was the palatial residence of the former Governor of Sri Lanka, Sir Edward Barnes. Today, ultimate comfort and the best of traditions from the ‘good old days’ can be enjoyed at this famed hill country landmark.
The Grand Hotel offers a blend of old world charm and elegant comfort with 145 guest rooms to choose from, all with peaceful views of misty hills. Superior luxury also awaits in 3 presidential suites and 3 junior suites. From there, beautifully laid out award winning gardens where rare roses bloom can be viewed.Included
Bed & Breakfast
Day 16: Cinnamon Bey , Beruwala
Transfer from Nuwara Eliya to Beruwala (Approx : 6 hrs drive )
Evening leisure at beach
The first Muslim settlement in Sri Lanka, Beruwala was established by Arab traders around the 8th century AD. The island’s oldest mosque, Kechimalai, can be found here, built on a rocky peninsula overlooking the town. Beruwala is the starting point of the 130-kilometre-long (81 miles) stretch of beach known as the “golden mile” ending in Bentota. The area in town known as “China Fort” is renowned worldwide as a gem trading centre. Visit the Pathea gem market and marvel at the myriad of precious gemstones and jewellery on offer.Overnight: Cinnamon Bey
Cinnamon Bey is a luxurious getaway in Beruwala. Visitors are welcomed by a sprawling tropical Asian paradise fronted by a broad golden beach within the calmness of the lagoon. The resort name as well as the Turkish architecture was inspired by the area’s history.
This large 5-star resort has 200 guest rooms that are abundant with space and luxury. The rooms and suites are complete with a living room and terrace that opens out to views of the sea.
The specialty of Cinnamon Bey is in the variety of dining venues, each of which has a sea view. An extensive range of 8 outlets caters to varied palates, using different culinary methods borrowed from myriad cultures around the world including experience based dining, some of which will be experienced for the first time in Sri Lanka.Included
Bed & Breakfast
Day 17: Cinnamon Bey , Beruwala
TTransfer from Beruwala to Galle (Approx ; 1.5 hrs drive )Galle, the epic Southern capital, is the intersection where classic Dutch architecture meets a tropical setting creating a vivid atmosphere in beauty. Walk the Dutch-haunted streets listening to the creaks of wooden saloon doors and observe how European architecture mingles with South Asian traditions today flooding cultural enthusiasts on a global scale. Its original ramparts and bastions preserved up to date showcase evidences of a heritage preserved for more than 3 1/2 centuries. Walk clockwise within the fort to observe the ‘old gate’ carrying the British coat of arms. Flanking the old gate is the Zwart bastion – the oldest of all – and the lighthouse standing 18 feet in its glory next to the Point Utretcht Bastion. This Dutch bliss is painted with streets that spread in a rectangular grid pattern pierced with houses carrying Dutch colonial style verandas. Hop into the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex to be mesmerized by an array of souvenir selections. However, its hallmark stands a reality where the Dutch fort remains a working community with its usual buzz of administrative offices, court complex, commercial buildings, churches and Southern folks frequenting its streets bracing the air of the Elysium of architecture, Galle!
Transfer from Galle to Balapitiya (Approx ; 30 minutes’ drive )
Balapitiya is where one could just sit back and observe how ecology and culture combines under the sun! Cut through the clear water of Madu River – a lifeline of Balapitiya – and head towards Kotu Duwa, the small island housing a temple that dates back to ancient Sinhalese kings. Or, sail through tunnels of shady mangroves swaying alongside Madu River – hiding an ecological treasure – to witness the tranquility of this bio-diversity hot spot which boasts of reptiles, mollusks and over 70 species of fresh water fish. Today the region – which is strong in observing rural folk life in the island – does not only boast of cinnamon plantations in abundance, but also has a fine ‘fish pedicure center’ – one of the most potent & latest rejuvenation techniques. Apart from these amenities Balapitiya has also become a household name in the minds of bird watchers ensuring a thrilling offshore experience.
Bed & Breakfast
Day 18: Departure
Transfer from Beruwala to Airport for departure. (Approx. ; 2 hrs drive )
- Accommodation: Our unique select hotels/guest houses with clean rooms, reliable service and safe for foreign travellers.Meals: Meals as mentioned in the program outline, are included
- Meals: As mentioned with the program.
- All entrance fees for sites are included in the tour with the exception of those that are mentioned otherwise.
- Air-conditioned transport throughout the tour (as per sightseeing program and hotel transfers).
- Experienced and professional chauffeurs.
- Sightseeing as mentioned with the tour details.
- English speaking guide and/or trip leaders.
Services do not include:
- Entry visas (if applicable).
- If you book your flights yourself, you may be required to pay an additional cost for the airport transfers. Please contact our office to confirm.
- International Airfare (except mentioned otherwise).
- Domestic Airfare (except mentioned otherwise).
- Personal expenses such as phone calls, drinks, use of mini-bar at the hotels, laundry or personal medications.
- Any expenses that may arise due to unforeseen natural or political situation.
- Insurance: We strongly recommend that all clients consider buying Trip Cancellation/Interruption + Medical Travel Insurance. Contact our office for a quote.
- Tips and gratuities to porters, guides, drivers and trip leaders.
- This trip may only operate with a minimum number of participants.
- Sudden changes in the foreign currency rates can impact the prices. We can only protect our prices as long as they do not change over 5%.