The Enchanted Island

Resort: The Enchanted Island
Operator: Cox and Kings
Destination: Sri Lanka
Price From: £1845.00

Overview

The island nation of Sri Lanka has a wealth
of cultural, archaeological and natural
treasures. This comprehensive tour visits
both the popular and some of the lesserknown
sites in northern, central and
southern Sri Lanka.

Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Colombo

Overnight flight from London (regional connections available) to Colombo with Sri Lankan Airlines. (N)

Day 2: Colombo

Arrive in Sri Lanka’s cosmopolitan capital and transfer to the Cinammon Lakeside (or similar) for 1 night. After settling into your hotel, get to know your fellow travellers over afternoon tea at the iconic Galle Face Hotel, a seafront hotel with a rich history. (N)

Day 3: Dambulla

This morning head to the Cultural Triangle, a picturesque region with an abundance of heritage-listed sites. Stay 3 nights at the Heritance Kandalama hotel (or similar) in Dambulla, an ideal base from which to discover the country’s rich heritage. (B)

Day 4: Anuradhapura Mihintale

Explore Sri Lanka’s first ancient capital, Anuradhapura, which was established around the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree, said to be the oldest tree planted by hand in the world. The city was the capital for nearly 1,500 years and has a beautiful array of Buddhist shrines and relics waiting to be explored. Afternoon visit to Mihintale, the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. (B)

Day 5: Sigiriya Polonnaruwa

Continue your exploration of Sri Lanka’s famed Cultural Triangle by visiting one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic sights this morning – the Unesco Sigiriya rock fortress that rises dramatically from the central plains. A climb to the top offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Continue to Polonnaruwa, an impressive archaeological site packed with ancient structures including tombs, temples and stupas. (B)

Day 6: Dambulla Kandy

Morning visit to Dambulla, home to Asia’s most impressive and vast cave complex. Admire the many Buddhist murals and statues, some of which date back as far as the first century BC. Continue to the beautiful hill station of Kandy and stay 2 nights at the Earls Regency (or similar). Afternoon orientation tour before enjoying a traditional and colourful Kandyan dance performance. Nearby you will find one of Sri Lanka’s holiest sites, the Temple of the Tooth, said to contain the tooth relic of Buddha. The evening Puja ceremony held here is a fine spectacle where prayers and music fill the air. (B)

Day 7: Kandy

Kandy is set on the shores of a beautiful manmade lake and the area abounds in rich and varied plant life. After a leisurely breakfast, stroll through the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens and admire the flora, the butterflies and birdlife and most notably, the impressive collection of exotic orchids. Spend the afternoon at your leisure – maybe explore Kandy’s bustling markets or just relax at your hotel. (B)

Day 8: Nuwara Eliya

Early morning drive to Nuwara Eliya hill station, which perfectly epitomises the hill country’s mix of misty mountains, lush tea plantations and tumbling waterfalls. Situated at 2,000 metres above sea level, Nuwara Eliya attracted the British in the 18th century and their legacy is still visible. Stay at the Heritance Tea Factory (or similar) for 2 nights. (B)

Day 9: Horton Plains

Early morning visit to Horton Plains, situated on Sri Lanka’s highest plateau (this excursion involves a 2.5-hour walk*). The plains form an undulating plateau over 2,000 metres high and are a beautiful area of grasslands, interspersed with patches of forest. Enjoy the panoramic views over the spectacular escarpment and observe the monkeys and sambar deer that inhabit the area. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 10: Ella Yala

Transfer to Ella; the view through the Ella Gap – a break in the hills – is one of the finest in Sri Lanka. Visit the Rawana Ella Falls and impressive Buduruwagala statues before continuing to Yala. Stay 2 nights at Jetwing Yala (or similar). (B)

Day 11: Yala

Rise early for a morning wildlife safari in Yala National Park. Covering 1,300 sq km, Yala National Park encompasses a diversity of jungle habitats, including scrub, brackish lagoons and riverside locations. Creatures that may be seen include elephants, leopards, sloth bears, spotted deer, sambar deer, wild pigs, jackals, marsh crocodiles and a great variety of birdlife. (B)

Days 12-13: Galle Ahungalla

Drive to Ahungalla, stopping for a visit to the Elephant Transit home and tour of Galle fort. Stay 2 nights at Heritance Ahungalla or upgrade to the Taj Bentota Resort & Spa (Superior Charm Seaview room) from £85. Following day at leisure to relax before your flight home. (B)

Day 14: Fly to London

Transfer to Colombo and fly to London with Sri
Lankan Airlines. (B)

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