TRAVEL TO SRI LANKA

CLASSIC SRI LANKA – 11 Nights

D1 – AIRPORT – COLOMBO

Arrival in Colombo, welcome to the international airport by your driver with a garland of flowers and en route to the commercial capital, Colombo.

Transfer to your hotel, installation in your room. To refresh yourself then you will come out for a guided tour of the city of Colombo.

It is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka and is close to the current administrative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura – Kotte. The port of Colombo was influenced as early as the 5th century, when ships from Rome, Arabia and China came trading with the Sinhalese Kings for their supply of spices and precious stones. His fate has changed over the centuries, as many nations have struggled to gain dominance over his precious treasures. This era of colonization, ended peacefully, with independence, in 1948. The city is a contrast in itself; with its colonial villas, its possibilities to eat in the greatest gastronomic restaurants, its modern shopping centers with luxury and international brands and on the other hand its suburbs of cans, the congested smoke of its streets and its noisy markets and smelly. Despite its small size, Colombo offers a varied selection of Tuk Tuk ride experiences, visit of its market – Pettah, enjoy a Kottu, play a round of golf, enjoy a tea in one of its 5-star hotels on the edges of the Indian Ocean. With its shops, crafts and precious fabrics, Colombo is the best place to shop at the last minute.

Back to your hotel,

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Colombo.

D2 – COLOMBO – GALLE

After your breakfast at the hotel, drive to the south coast of the island to Galle. (You will take the highways)

En route, a walk on the Bentota River. You will also visit a sea turtle protection center.

Transfer to your hotel, installation in your room.

Then your driver will drive you for a guided tour of the walled city of Galle.

Galle was first known as Gimhathiththa (although Ibn Battuta, in the 14th century referred to the city as Qali) before the arrival of the Portuguese in the mid-16th century. It then became the main port of the island. Galle reached the peak of its development in the 18th century, when the island was part of the Dutch colonial empire. With the arrival and domination of the English it was supplanted by Colombo whose new colonial power developed the port.

Galle is an admirable example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south-east Asia, illustrating the interactions between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions. In its fort one can still see some old Dutch houses, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Indeed, it represents the largest fortress built in Asia by European settlers. Other notable monuments include St. Mary’s Cathedral built in the late 19th century by the first Bishop of Galle, Joseph Van Reeth and his fellow Jesuits.

Back to your hotel.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Galle.

D3 – GALLE – YALA

After your breakfast at the hotel, en route for a long drive to the far south region of the island towards Yala National Park.

Departure for your 4×4 jeep safari in Yala National Park.

Yala National Park is about 1,259 km2, it is one of the largest national parks in Sri Lanka. It is located southeast of the island and has the advantage of having beaches because of the ocean. The park is home to many animals: wild elephants, wild boars, wild buffaloes, leopards, bears, deer and crocodiles … Swarms of migratory and native birds are also a pleasure for the eyes.

Transfer to the hotel, installation in your room – end of free day.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Yala.

D4 – YALA – KATARAGAMA – BUDURUWAGALA – ELLA 

After your breakfast, then take the road to the mountainous region.

A stop for visiting the sacred Hindu temple of Kataragama.

It contains the spear of Murugan, a Hindu god of war with 6 faces and 12 armed arms, identified here as Kataragama Deviyo. The first scene immerses you directly in the atmosphere of the place. Faithful, in single file, appear in front of a sacred rock holding a coconut in their hands with arms outstretched, they meditate before throwing it with force so that it is smashed on the rock.

Then continue on your way to Ella.

On the way, visit the Buduruwagala temple.

Buduruwagala (which means “Buddha stone image”) is the name of an ancient Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. The site is located 5 km southwest of the city of Wellawaya important road junction of the district of Moneragala in the province of Uva. The neighboring monastery has been continuously occupied for eleven centuries. The site – because of its isolation in the jungle – was a very popular place of hermitage.

Merveille forgotten in the middle of the forest, where you can access by a track and on foot. A set of bas-reliefs, the largest of which is more than 15 m high (9th or 10th century), corresponds to a time when Mahayana Buddhism made a temporary breakthrough on the island. A standing figure of Buddha (15 m) is framed by two sets of 3 characters each of which has a bodhisattva over 7 m high. Avalokitesvara is surrounded by a bare-breasted goddess, Tara and Sudhanakurama.

Visit the scenic town of Ella including a hike in Little Adams Peak.

Transfer to the hotel, installation in your room.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Ella.

D5 – ELLA – NUWARA ELIYA             

After your breakfast at the hotel, depart for Nuwara Eliya by train. One of the most beautiful train rides in the world. Your car will be waiting for you at Nanuoya Station.

You will take your vehicle to Nuwara Eliya, then visit a tea plantation and its factory.

At the heart of Ceylon tea, now the world’s 3rd largest producer, Sri Lanka is nicknamed “The Tea Island” and produces one of the best varieties in the world. The domains, all British-sounding, follow each other and are similar. In the morning, the incipient lights are revealed in the most exquisite way: reflections, colors and reliefs of verdant plantations, shady corners of the surrounding factories or the shimmering saris of the pickers, crossed along the roads. Visit a tea plantation and its tea factory, where the best tea in the world is produced. Here you can observe everything about the tea process and its manufacture. You can also see how the tea is graded. And taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory.

Guided tour and city tour of Nuwara Eliya.

Transfer to the hotel, installation in your room.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

D6 – NUWARA ELIYA – KANDY  

After your breakfast at the hotel, you will take the road to the religious capital, towards Kandy, en route a stop to observe the beautiful waterfalls and continuation on Kandy

The number of waterfalls in Sri Lanka is truly proportionate compared to its modest size. Most are in the Central Mountain region. These waterfalls, all spectacular, can be admired easily by avoiding long detours just off the main roads you can not, inevitably, miss them during your visit to Sri Lanka. Abundant springs from the central mountains flow through the rivers to the plains of the island. In their haste not to miss their rendezvous with the ocean in the distance, they cross rocky surfaces of cliffs that they meet on their way. The term Ella in Sinhalese is translated by Cascade – in rainy season it will be necessary to pay attention to the leeches.

Kandy is located in the heart of the mountainous massif of Sri Lanka, 500 m above sea level, this ancient capital of the Sinhalese kings, coffee center then tea under English rule, Kandy, is the capital of the mountains. It is located on a green plain in the middle of majestic hills, this city is surrounded by the largest river of Sri Lanka: the Mahaweli. Pleasant, with a temperate climate, thanks to its geographical location and its historical past, it is, in fact, a favorite place for travelers. It is built around an artificial lake. Kandy is famous for its temple of the tooth of the Buddha, indeed it was brought in the 4th century, according to legend in Sri Lanka. It has kept its character as the island’s religious capital and is one of the most important places of world Buddhism.

Transfer to the hotel, installation in your room.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Kandy.

D7 – KANDY –  PINNAWALA –  PERADENIYA – KANDY  

After your breakfast at the hotel, depart for Pinnawala and visit its elephant orphanage.

This is one of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka and for good reason: except perhaps at the Esala Perahera of Kandy, the traveler will not see these pachyderms so closely. It was founded by the government to help the “disadvantaged elephants” (abandoned, injured, mistreated …), it hosts more than sixty pachyderms, long since become one of the emblems of Buddhism, including a dozen are born in captivity. The orphanage is also a center for research and reproduction for animals in captivity. You will see them washed in the river between 10:00 and 12:00 and eat from 1:15 to 5:00 pm. You can see them in semi-freedom in the Pinnawala Park: run in the large meadow, be fed in a pen or bottle for babies, and still take their bath in the nearby river.

The traveler will be able to take some free time, and not to miss to observe them, to take pictures of them, opportunities to do a little shopping in the main alley which is lined with artisan shops, A council, not to miss, “the factory” or recycle the excrement of elephants to make paper.

Back on Kandy and hike in the botanical garden of Peradeniya.

Located in the suburbs near Kandy, it is renowned for its impressive collection of orchids. In addition, there is a spice garden of medicinal plants and many palm trees. Extensive for 60 hours, this ancient Kandy Kings Park, originally designed as a Queen’s Garden in the 14th century, and the residence of the Kandy Princes in the 18th century, is reputed to be one of the most beautiful gardens botanical world. In hiking, you can discover the extraordinary diversity of this tropical vegetation, including the alley of royal palms, the waterfront road lined with bamboo, the road of bats, the garden of spices, the orchid pavilion, the anthurium greenhouse and its begonias.

The garden is home to a majestic alley of royal palms planted in 1950. There are also various trees planted by personalities who visited the garden, including a cannonball tree planted by King George V. Another remarkable tree is a gigantic Java fig tree covering an area of ​​2,500 m2. A colony, frugivorous bats, is installed in this garden.

Visit the city of Kandy, its market its shops, small walk in “Tuk-Tuk” around the lake.

Then, guided tour of the sacred temple of Kandy at the time of the ceremony.

High place of Buddhism, originally, it was part of a large architectural complex that included the residence of kandyan rulers. This temple preserves the relic of the Buddha’s tooth. It is kept in a safe for his safety. This relic has long played an important political role, because to possess it was to hold power over the country. Monks perform daily “Puja” ceremonies (3 per day), in the inner chamber of the temple. These rituals take place at dawn, at noon and at dusk. On Wednesday, the relic is symbolically washed This temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.

Back to your hotel.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Kandy.

D8 – KANDY –  MATALE –  NALANDA GEDIGE –  DAMBULLA – HABARANA

After your breakfast at the hotel, drive to the historical cultural region north of the island towards Dambulla.

En route visit a spice garden in Matale. Tea tasting and massage with oils based on spices and plants.

Sri Lanka is renowned for its spices for over 1000 years. To realize this, there’s nothing like visiting a garden with most spices. There are all the exotic spices, courses, from an “olfactory” initiation to spices: pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, coriander, vanilla, turmeric, curry leaf … C ‘ is, nevertheless, an approach more centered on Ayurvedic medicine than their culinary use.

Tasting of teas with spices and demonstration of the therapeutic virtues of each plant.

Then, visit the ancient temple of Nalanda Gedige.

Remarkable archeological site, located in the vicinity of Matale is an extraordinary fusion of Hinduism and Buddhism. Its history began in 1893. It is located in the middle of rice fields, surrounded by low hills and rural villages, in a very wooded landscape.

Some of the elements of this site are definitely Hindu, like the mandapam or the waiting room. Yet, there is no sign of Hindu gods. There are erotic but eroded Buddhist tantric sculptures, much like the famous Khajuraho in India. The sections of the facades are richly decorated and dates back to the 7th century style that flourished in Chenai – Madras, South India.

Then continue on Dambulla and the last guided tour of the day, of its golden rock temple.

This Buddhist temple is built in a large granite boulder that contains an important cave complex, also named Raja Maha Vihara and dating from the 1st century. It is the largest and best preserved cave complex in Sri Lanka. The site consists of 5 shrines, 4 main monasteries. It contains 157 statues, 153 images of the Buddha. 3 royal images and 4 images of deities. The mural paintings, covering 2100 m2, represent, among others, the temptation of Buddha by the demon Mara and her first sermon. There are also statues of Hindu deities Vishnu and Saman.

Transfer to the hotel, installation in your room.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Habarana.

D8 – KANDY –  MATALE –  NALANDA GEDIGE –  DAMBULLA – HABARANA

After your morning breakfast at the hotel, morning departure for the ascent of Sigiriya Fortress, the Lions Rock, before the hot weather of the day.

On the steep slopes and at the top of a red stone rock 180 m high, the “Lion Rock”, which dominates the jungle on all sides, remains the ruins of the citadel whose parricide King Kassyapa (477-495) made his capital to protect himself from his brother. A series of galleries and stairs that open into the mouth of a colossal lion built of brick and plaster, allow access to the site. A fortress of stone, surrounded by gardens, ponds. Sigiriya was inhabited in the past, and used as a monastery in the 5th century BC. This site is considered one of the most important of the millennium. The gardens of Sigiriya are among the oldest “Petit Versailles” landscaped gardens in the world. Sigiriya has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982.

Then go for a hike in the local village of Hiriwadunna.

Hiriwaduna

The hike begins with a walk along Wewa Lake until the participants reach the village of farmers. There, they will be embarked in traditional canoes or canoes and will cross the lake. All the extraordinary wildlife that lives in this ecosystem will awaken all the senses of travelers. Also hike in a rice field, and walk in a cart pulled by an ox. Possibility of lunch in the traditional village with your fingers, the dishes will be served in banana leaves or lotus. Women will teach you a simple recipe.

Transfer to the hotel, installation in your room.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Habarana

D10 – HABARANA – POLONNARUWA – MINNERIYA – HABARANA

After your breakfast at the hotel, you will set off on the road for a guided tour of the Polonnaruwa historic site, the island’s second most historic capital.

It is the second largest historic capital of the island. Its temples and palaces, whose remains stretch along a large lake, are all the work of a single King, Parakrama Bahu, between 1153 and 1186. This city symbolizes both the rebirth of the Sinhalese civilization and its last splinters. After the invasion of the island by the Tamils ​​and the destruction of Anuradhapura, it was King Vijaya Bahu who drove out the Tamils ​​and set up his new capital at Polonnaruwa. But it was Parakrama Bahu who gave him his hour of glory, before it falls into oblivion and is engulfed by the jungle. The monumental remains of the fabulous garden city are impressive. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Polonnaruwa covers 22 hectares and has many well-preserved monuments, including the Gal Vihariya, which includes four colossal Buddhas carved into a rock wall.

In the afternoon make a 4×4 safari at the Minneriya reserve

Minneriya National Park is a national park in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The area was designated a national park on August 12, 1997, after being originally declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1938.

Back to your hotel.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Habarana.

D11- HABARANA – NEGOMBO

After your breakfast at the hotel, drive to Negombo.

Transfer to the hotel, installation in your rooms.

Then your driver will take you on a guided tour of the city of Negombo, its fish market, and free time to make your last purchases and find the souvenirs to bring back to France.

Because of its proximity to the airport, Negombo is often a temporary stopover before approaching Sri Lanka. It is a picturesque fishing village near a lagoon and has a large beach. It is one of the most important fishing ports on the west coast. Negombo is a lively fishing village, surrounded by a lagoon and the sea. It is a very catholic city with many churches. From the beach, we see catamarans, boats typical of fishermen “sea workers”. It is also Negombo who transmitted the catamarans, whose ancestors are piles of trunks assembled by ropes, that can still be seen in the waters of Negombo. Two Tamil language words kattu (link) and maram (tree) have been used for centuries for typical Sri Lankan boats.

The main attraction of this resort is undoubtedly the sea and water sports. That being said, the traveler can also take a stroll on the side of the fish market that takes place every morning (except Sunday) or on the side of the old Dutch fort which dates from 1678.

Return to the hotel.

Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Negombo.

D12 – NEGOMBO –  AIRPORT

After your breakfast at the hotel, road will take you to Colombo International Airport.

At the appointed time, transfer to the international airport for your return flight.

*** Regarding the organization of the last day everything will depend, really of your departure time ***