– Arrival & Overnight Stay at Goldi Sands Hotel, Negombo
On arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, you will be met by our Walkers Tours representative and transfer to Negombo before spending the evening at leisure by the beautiful beach.
DAY 02 – Overnight Stay at Sorowwa Resort & Spa, Habarana
After breakfast depart to Habarana. Where you can spend the day at leisure, exploring the grounds of the hotel or the nearby town before preparing for an exciting day of new cultural experiences.
DAY 03 – Overnight Stay at Sorowwa Resort & Spa, Habarana
After an early breakfast visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress which houses the remnants of an ancient Sri Lankan kingdom. Spend the evening taking a Jeep safari at Minneriya/ Kaudulla National Park. The tank just outside your hotel and hotel’s bird trails also present a relaxing way to spend your day. If time permits you can take a bird watching tour around the hotel.
DAY 04 – Overnight Stay at Earl’s Regent, Kandy
After breakfast, set off on your journey to the Last Kingdom of Sri Lanka – Kandy. En route visit the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple. A UNESCO world heritage site that dates back to the 1st century BC. Once in Kandy witness a cultural show and visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic.
DAY 05 – Overnight Stay at Heaven Seven Hotel, Nuwara Eliya
After an early breakfast visit Udawatta Kele Forest Reserve for a few hours of bird watching. Exciting for both bird watchers and those who want to spend the day surrounded by nature. Then proceed to Nuwara Eliya, climbing up to the central highlands and spend the rest of the day taking a short walk in Victoria Park.
DAY 06 – Overnight Stay at Kithala Resort, Tissamaharama
Leave very early in the morning with a packed breakfast for the Horton Plains for a morning of great birding. Take in the beautiful sites of the surrounding landscapes and after lunch visit Yala National Park.
DAY 07 – Overnight Stay at Silan Mo Hotel, Mirissa
Early morning, enjoy a game drive at the Yala National Park. Experience the majestic creatures of the wild in their natural habitat. An exciting experience that is not to be missed. In the afternoon proceed to Mirissa.
DAY 08 – Final Day
Leave for an early morning whale watching excursion. This is a must do for those visiting the country as Sri Lanka is considered one of the best locations in the world for Whale and Dolphin watching. Thereafter proceed to the Airport in time for the connecting flight.
Within 20 minutes by car from the airport, on the west coast of Sri Lanka some 35km north of Colombo, the former fishing village of Negombo is now a hot spot for tourists. Negombo has a vibrant after-beach night life with a slew of bars and restaurants. The beach itself is shared with fishermen and one of the most photographed scenes is of the fishing boats red sails in the sunset.
There is plenty of beach action too, such as kite surfing, whale watching and boat rides. There several dive stations and Negombo is a popular destination for windsurfing competitions. Negombo has many resorts and holiday inns that are up to the mark for those who wish to stay for some time. These places will give you easy access to enjoy all the activities and some even have packages to offer.
Called by many names including “The Lion Rock” for its initial name of “Sinhagiri”, Sigiriya is near the town of Dambulla and is a colossal column of rock nearly 200m high. It was a royal citadel for 18 years (477-495) when it was fortified by King Kasyapa. The architectural and irrigational technologies of Sigiriya, such as the Water Gardens, still baffle engineers. The climb up steep steps of metal with railings passes a wall decorated with frescoes of bare-breasted women. Art experts consider them unique.
The summit of the rock is a hectare in area and the outer wall of the palace was constructed on the brink of the rock with gardens and ponds softening the harshness of the eerie. Since it was constructed over 1,500 years ago, it is claimed by enthusiast as the Eighth Wonder of the World and is anyway a World Heritage Site.
MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK
Minneriya National Park. Sitting in the centre of the cultural triangle, Minneriya is a good alternative to the busier parks in the south and it’s easy to weave in a day here between visiting the ancient cities. The dry season, preferably from June to September, is the best time to visit the 8,890 hectare park when the ancient tank, the lake that dominates the area, dries out and the grasses and shoots push through. During this time it is possible to see herds of up to 150 elephants feeding and washing, as well as toque macaques, sambar deer and leopards. The hungry bird flocks include cormorants and painted storks. Minneriya, closest by car to the ancient city Polonnaruwa, was upgraded from a nature reserve to a national park because of the increased number of tourists coming to see the elephants.
DAMBULLA ROCK TEMPLE
The Dambulla temple has five caves and 157 statues of the Lord Buddha, many paintings on the ceilings and walls that emphasis the artistic talent of ancient days. The history of the caves, rock and temple dates from the first century B.C. The fascination of these caves is not only the statues but also the many intricate and delicate paintings that cover the ceiling and walls, created with indigenous traditional paints.
Because of the history, archaeological and artistic implications, the premises were declared as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1991. The temple has been in use for over 22 centuries and still holds a sense of benevolence and spirituality. Visitors may climb up steps to the temple and the view from the top of the rock is as inspiring as the temple’s golden interior.
The ancient kingdom of Kandy is home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha as well as Edwardian buildings, a king-made lake, a nature reserve and exciting shops.
As the second largest city of the island and the capital of the Central Province, Kandy has grown from being a medieval kingdom to a friendly, busy city set in forested hills and surrounded by tea plantations and close to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya. As well as the Temple of the Tooth, there are many Buddhist monasteries and Hindu places of worship to visit, and cultural dance performances to watch.
Kandy is a convenient base to stay for a few days while exploring the Cultural Triangle as there are comfortable hotels to suit every budget. The city is easily accessible from Colombo by rail, road and float plane.
TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH RELIC
The golden canopy of the medieval Temple of the Tooth is a landmark dominating the ancient kingdom, now modern city, of Kandy
The Sacred Relic of Buddha’s tooth was brought from India in the 4th century before being housed in a specially created temple in Kandy in the 16th century. The moat and octagonal structure were added later. The tooth relic is enclosed in seven golden caskets enriched with gemstones, in the shape of a Stupa, within the depths of the temple. The temple is open to visitors.
Officially declared a National Park in 1988, Horton Plains in the hill country 32km by road from Nuwara Eliya, stretches 3,000ha across the highlands to plunge at World’s End. The Park receives rainfall from both northeast and southwest monsoons as well as inter-monsoonal rains; three main rivers namely Kelani, Walawe and Mahaweli, the longest river of the country, begin in this area.
The plains are popular for trekking and rich in biodiversity with much of the flora and fauna found in the Park being endemic and only found there. Forests are dominated by a range of giant tree ferns and the Park is also famous for flowers and there is wild life aplenty such as leopard, sambhur and wild boar. Though this is a cold highland plateau the bird diversity is very high.
YALA NATIONAL PARK
Yala National Park is also known as the Ruhunu National Park and is one of the biggest jungles in the country. Set in the southeast of Sri Lanka, it is a 305 km drive from Colombo. Elephants are the Park’s main attraction although leopards are seen frequently and sloth the bear occasionally. Yala is also home to hundred species of birds, endemic and foreign, including the jungle fowl, Sri Lanka’s national bird, and flocks of peacocks. Yala also has a beach front and swamps haunted by crocodiles.
As one of the first National Parks established in Sri Lanka (in 1938), Yala is an established place for tourists to visit and stay as it has plenty of accommodation near its gates, both luxurious and budget and even camping; morning and evening safaris by jeep can be arranged easily.
Mirissa’s harbour is known as the best place to charter a boat for whale and dolphin watching from November to April. The tourist settlement on the coast at Mirissa has sprung up in response to backpackers flocking there to enjoy hours of paragliding, body boarding and sea kayaking as well as snorkelling and diving. For surfing, the seas are ideal during the months of September to April.
The beach at Mirissa is popular with budget and mainstream tourists although upmarket properties are opening close by. It lies off the south coast road at 150km from Colombo and can be reached quickly via the new Southern Expressway from Colombo to Matara. The best beach cove stretches east of the headland that separates Mirissa from Weligama Bay and is lined with sunbeds and restaurants in thatched shacks.