From £4,880 per week
#3 Culture, tea and trekking
• Private Transfers
• Selected experiences
• In-villa cook service
Day 1: Fly overnight to Colombo.
Day 2: On arrival in Colombo, take a private transfer to one of our recommended hotels such as Maniumpathy. After settling in, stroll around the bustling and colourful streets of the capital on a guided walking tour. Historic highlights include the red mosque, the lighthouse on the vibrant waterfront and many architectural wonders influenced by Sri Lanka’s turbulent history.
Day 3: This morning travel to the region of the cultural triangle, the birthplace of the ancient Sinhalese civilization. Amid the jungle and scrubland terrain and set against a mountain backdrop, it is here you will uncover the remnants of Sri Lanka’s cultural and spiritual past. Whilst the mesmerizing Sigiriya Rock Fortress warrants the full attention of most travellers to cultural triangle, the former medieval capitals of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are must visits for those who wish to delve deeper into the foundations of Sri Lanka’s civilization. Within the triangle you’ll also find the parks of Kaudulla and Minneriya, ideal spots for elephant safaris in open-topped 4x4 vehicles. Spend two nights exploring the region staying at one of our recommended hotels, such as Ullagalla, Cinnamon Lodge or similar
Day 4: This morning ascend the ‘Fortress in the Sky’ – the Sigirya Rock fortress which rises perplexingly 200 metres from the scrubland below. It was built by the patricide King Kassapa (477 – 495 AD) and is considered to be one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning with a web of gardens, tanks and structures. Following your climb, take a short transfer to Polonnaruwa - referred to as the second ancient capital in the island. Established by King Vijayabahu 1 in 1070 A.D, the city is a testament to the discipline and greatness of the country’s mediaeval rulers and considered the best planned Archeological relic site in the country. Nearby you will find the sacred Maha Bodhi fig tree in the Mahamewna Gardens, Anuradhapura. It is said to be the southern branch from the historical Sri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment.
Day 5: Another must visit of the triangle is the Dambulla caves which can be visited this morning en-route to the Sri Lanka’s tea country. Dating back to the first Century BC, the cave complex has served as a pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus over the last 22 Centuries. It is largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka with over 80 documented caves in the surrounding region and the major attractions are spread over five caves which contain statues and paintings related to Gautama Buddha and his life plus battles and other historic recollections of the Island’s glorious past. Continue to the tea country of Sri Lanka where you will be able to pluck your own tea leaves in one of Sri Lanka’s many plantations. On a tea tour, grasp the full cultivation process and importance of the tea industry in Sri Lanka before experience high tea to add a flavourful end to your day. In the tea country, spend two nights at Rangala House with offers splendid views of the surrounding Knuckles Mountain Range.
Day 6: Today take a gentle trek in the Knuckles Mountain Range, a conservation area with a series of isolated cloud forests, harbouring an abundance of flora and fauna, some found nowhere else in the world. Although the range constitutes approximately 0.03% of the island’s total area it is home to a significantly higher proportion of the country’s biodiversity, especially endemics. The Manigala trail is a rewarding climb and will commence after a briefing at the commencing point in Illukkumbura. This trail will lead you to enjoy the true beauty of the Knuckles range which includes the captivating ‘Thelgamu Oya’ (river), paddy-fields surrounded by dramatic mountains and traditional villages surrounding the area. The panoramic view of the Range atop Maningala, the unique flat area on the top of the mountain which resembles the spine of the elephant and the interesting diversity of vegetation will simply take your breath away. In the evening, you have the option to visit Kandy for the evening puja at the Temple of Tooth. Temple of the Tooth Relic or ‘Dalada Maligawa’, is a masterpiece of ancient and traditional Kandyan architecture in which the Royal Palace complex and the Temple of the Tooth of Buddha are juxtaposed.
Day 7: Travel to Ella, an enchanting Hill-Country village boasting breath taking views and carpets of green tea fields. Ella or ‘water fall’ when translated into the local dialect Sinhala is situated approx. 3400 ft above sea level. The village is perfect to relax, unwind and soak in the atmosphere not forgetting a chance to enjoy panoramic views of Ella Gap, visit Ella Rock, enter the Ravana Caves and go on a trek to the summit of Little Adam’s Peak. Stay 1 night at Nine Skies, 98 Acres Ella or similar.
The Knuckles Mountain Range in central Sri Lanka, Kandy
Days 8- 13: Travel to the South coast and choose one of our spectacular South coast Villas such as Villa Helconia or Villa Frangipani. Enjoy a selection of day experiences from your villa including an afternoon tea in Galle Fort, a historic port town with a heavy Portuguese influence.
Day 14: Back to the airport for your return flight