DAY 1: AIRPORT – PINNAWALA – KANDY
Meet and assist on arrival at the airport by our representative. Transfer to Kandy via Pinnawala. Pinnawala – 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 grandchildren during the past few decades! Watch as they 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!. You can enjoy a walk with an Elephant and help mahout to bathe the Elephant and feed at the Millennium Elephant Foundation located near the orphanage.
Late afternoon do a city tour of Kandy – Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name ‘Kandy’ conjures visions of splendor and magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions, and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. Drive around the Kandy Lake built by the last Sinhala king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798. Visit the Kandy town, the bazaar, an arts & crafts center and a gem museum/lapidary. Also visit the Lord Skhanda Temple, Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter witness a cultural show. If requested, we can arrange a boat ride at Kandy Lake. Overnight stay at a hotel in Kandy.
DAY 2: KANDY – THE ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS – TEA PLANTATION – NUWARA ELIYA Transfer to Nuwara Eliya. En-route visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, tea factory/plantation, strawberry farm, Hanuman temple, Gayathri Mata Temple of Ramayana and Ramboda waterfall.
The Royal Botanical Gardens – This beautiful garden is located 4 miles off Kandy. It was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British. It covers approximately 147 acres and is a walkers paradise with extensive well kept lawns, pavilions, an octagon conservatory, fernery, a giant Javan fig tree, and numerous flower beds. The best attraction is the orchid house.
Tea Factory / Plantation – Sri Lanka, Tea and Tourism are words which cannot be separated. Take a tour to the cold & misty hills that take pride in 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. Visit Sita Temple and Ashok Vatika (Hakgala Botanical Garden) of Ramayana. Enjoy leisure walk and water sports at Gregory Lake Park.
Nuwara Eliya – Because of its invigorating mountain climate and scenery, is Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea. Sri Lanka’s highest mountain Pidurutalagala (8282 feet) is located here. Gregory Lake Park offers a chilling atmosphere for visitors. Nuwara Eliya also has one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in South Asia. Overnight stay at a hotel in Nuwara Eliya.
DAY 3: NUWARA ELIYA – KITULGALA – SOUTHWEST COAST
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to South West Coast via Kitulgala. Kitulgala – Kitulgala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. The Kelani River (the broadest river in Sri Lanka) flowing through Kitulgala was the main location where the Oscar-winning movie ‘The Bridge over the River Kwai’ was filmed. On the hill above this town, a prehistoric cave was recently discovered containing skeletal remains from some unknown civilization. Kitulgala is also a base for white-water rafting, which starts a few kilometers upstream.
En route sees scenic St. Clair and Devon waterfalls. Visit Kosgoda and Balapitiya at the southwest coast in the afternoon.
Kosgoda – Both locals and international volunteers battling it out for ”Sea Turtles’ Sake” is a common sight at Kosgoda. This vibrant tourist destination sitting calm along the Southern coast of Sri Lanka – apart from its traditional industries of fisheries and cinnamon cultivation – was later recognized by the Wildlife Protection Society who studded the region with a Sea Turtle Conservation Project which operates on a formidable scale today. Indirectly, this has become a watering hole of flipper & shell enthusiasts!
Balapitiya – Where one could just sit back and observe how ecology and culture combine 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 freshwater fish. Today the region – which is strong in observing rural folklife on 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. Overnight stay at a hotel on South West Coast.
DAY 4: SOUTHWEST COAST – COLOMBO CITY & SHOPPING TOUR
Do a city and shopping tour of Colombo – Colombo like many capital cities in developing countries is fast changing its’ face. Almost overnight, skyscrapers arise from where old buildings once stood. Yet in some parts, the old-world charm is retained.Sightseeing/visits – National Museum, Independence Square, Galle Face Green, Old Parliament, Hindu Temple, Town Hall, Gangarama Buddhist Temple, and Seema Malaka, Beira lake, National Zoo, 200 years old clock tower, handicraft shops, gem and jewelry shops, Pettah local market, Colombo fort railway station.
DAY 5: COLOMBO – AIRPORT
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer from Colombo to Airport for departure.