Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt. This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, and Ceylon. Discover refreshingly Sri Lanka!
Your tour starts from Negombo, a characteristic Fishing Town North of Colombo. It is a Gourmet’s Paradise with Sea Food in plenty. Apart from the above, it has a unique charm of its own with a beautiful Lagoon, narrow streets and Churches dotting the landscape.
Minneriya National Park is a haven for flora and fauna. Being part of the elephant corridor, you have guaranteed sightings of elephants throughout the year. Every year during August to October, one of the most awesome wildlife spectacles “The Gathering” takes place. Over 300 elephants are seen making their way to Minneriya tank as the ancient tank slowly dries up giving way to fresh grass and shoots which is a feast in abundance.
This morning visit the Sigiriya Rock fortress – thought to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. Standing more than 200m tall over the surrounding plains, the rock is said to be a solidified magma plug, from a long eroded and extinct volcano. On its summit are the remains of a palace, built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century AD. The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, today the city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the kingdoms first rulers. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.
Like Sigiriya, Dambulla is a vast isolated rock mass and it was here that king Valagam Bahu took refuge from invasions in the 1st century B.C., later turning the caves into a rock temple. Kandy was the last royal capital and it is one of the most charming towns in Sri Lanka, famous for its gorgeous setting beside a lake, cradled by hills and surrounded by the sinuous lines of tea plantations. The city of Kandy is considered as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site as it is home to the Sacred Temple of the Tooth, most revered by Buddhists. Kandy was the last Kingdom of Sri Lanka.
The Galle Fort built with solid granite by the Dutch, in 1663, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia, built by European occupiers. In recent times Galle has acquired a reputation for becoming a cultural center by hosting the now famous and very popular annual literary festival during the first quarter of the year with famous international writers and poets participating.
Colombo — bursting with life and colors, the island’s largest city that was once the capital of Sri Lanka, is now its commercial hub. This modern city with an ancient heart is a monument to its colonial history. Its architecture is influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Today, it is a mix of modern architecture among colonial buildings.
Fly home from Colombo and farewell to the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”.