Immerse yourself in the spirit of Sri Lanka with its rich Buddhist heritage, and let friendly locals welcome you with a warm smile. Explore colonial hill stations, tea plantations and ancient, lost cities. Afterwards, it’s time to relax on the beach!
Colombo, the bustling capital city of Sri Lanka, has something for everyone! A strategic port on the ancient Spice Route, the city is a potpourri of colonial influence, from the British to the Portuguese and Dutch.
City Highlights of Colombo Venture out to explore the interesting and historical landmarks of this colorful and teeming city. Wander the exciting Pettah area where you can soak up the hustle and bustle of the bazaar. Religions peacefully co-exist in this neighborhood and you can discover many temples and mosques. Discover the affluent residential area of Cinnamon Gardens and take a trip to the town hall, located close to Independent Square and Old Parliament. If you get tired of the urban jungle, the sea front awaits you at Galle Face Green. As Colombo strives to join the cosmopolitan chic clique, there are an increasing number of stylish eateries and boutique galleries for you to indulge in.
Declared a world heritage city by UNESCO, the sacred city of Anuradapura is considered Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and the Island’s capital for many centuries.
Highlights Of Anuradhapura Uncover an ancient world with your tour of what was once a sacred capital city over one thousand years ago. Observe some of the largest bell-shaped dagobas (Buddhist stupas) in the country, made of small sundried bricks. There are also ancient drinking water reservoirs, various sculptures, palaces and temples to explore. Witness the sacred Bo (Bodhi) tree, that was grown from a sapling of the very tree that Lord Buddha sat under when he attained enlightenment 2,5000 years ago. Today it’s recorded as the oldest tree in history! Visit Isurumuniya Vihara, a temple and monastery, where you can admire fascinating stone carvings of lovers, elephants and a royal family. There’s also a reclining Buddha that has been cut from the rock. This culturally-rich is generously surrounded by lakes, paddy fields and undulating rocks.
Jeep Safari In Wilpattu National Park Wilpattu National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest wildlife parks. Enjoy a jeep safari over varying natural habitats to see many ‘big game’ like Water Buffalo, Spotted Dear, Sloth Bear, Elephants and the largest population of Leopards. Spot unusual species of birds like Asian Open-bills, Whistling Teals, Eurasian Spoonbills, Kingfishers, Water Monitors and Mugger Crocodiles. See colorful Butterflies like Great Eggfly, Glad-eye Bush-brown, Blue Mormon and Crimson Rose flitting.
Sigiriya is the ideal location if you wish to venture back in time! Unearth this UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back 5,000 years to the Mesolithic period.
Dambulla Rock Cave Temple Visit Encounter the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka during this one hour visit! Dating back to the 1st century, the Dambulla rock caves became a Buddhist temples when they were converted into residential quarters for monks. You will be amazed by the five caves that sit under a vast overhanging rock. Each one now acts as a shrine room and contains numerous images of Lord Buddha and bodhisattvas, as well as various gods and goddesses. Mural paintings line the walls, depicting Buddha’s journey to enlightenment and his teachings. Throughout the centuries, this has been a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists.
Highlights Of Sigiriya Sigiriya, which translates to Lion’s Rock, is aptly named as it juts out of a granite peak, standing tall at 180 meters and dominating the surrounding dense jungle. Witness Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which is uniquely shaped and can be seen from great distances. You can also discover the fascinating rock paintings and frescoes of Sigiri apsaras (mythical dancing damsels), painted inside the cavity of the western rock face. Discover the style of 7th to 10th century graffiti by visiting the Mirror Wall! Kindly note that this activity requires a good level of physical fitness due to the steep steps to reach the fortress.
Day Trip To Polonnaruwa (From Sigiriya) Polonnaruwa..the medieval capital of Sri Lanka, was the second capital city of the country after the destruction of the ancient city of Anuradhapura in 993 (from 10th-12th century AD). Note ancient Sri Lankan architecture from the 12th Century..see Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the monumental ruins of the garden city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century. Visit the ruins of the King’s Council Chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, the Royal Pavilion, the Vatadage Relic House, Kiri Vehera and Gal Vihare; see Art, Architecture and Sculpture at Gal Viharaya, Thuparamaya Image House and Lankatilaka Image House.
Half Day Jeep / Elephant Safari In Minnerya Park (From Sigiriya) Set out on a Wild Elephant and/or Birding Jeep Safari’s to Minneriya Park, ideal for the ‘off season’ safari enthusiast. Situated in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka betwixt 4 ancient cities, it spans 8,889 hectares. Be lucky to see large herds of over 100 elephants together. Look out for birds like the Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot; mammals like Sambar, Spotted Deer, Leopard, Sloth Bear; and endemics like the Toque Macaque and Purple-faced Langur.
Kandy was established in the 14th century and was the last independent city and capital of the Singhalese kingdom.
City Highlights of Kandy Explore Kandy, the last royal capital and a major city in Sri Lanka. Located at an altitude of about 500 m above sea level, the valley of Kandy is surrounded by magnificent hills, aromatic tea plantations, and is set by a lake. Visit the gold-roofed Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalda Maligawa) housing the most sacred Buddhist relic, a tooth of Lord Buddha. A pleasant way to spend a few hours is to take a leisurely stroll around Kandy Lake, a protected lake where fishing is banned. Enjoy traditional dance performances that capture the imagination and connect audiences to the tribal roots of the performers.
Nuwara Eliya, which translates as the city of lights, is a beautiful city within the hill country of Sri Lanka’s Central Province that overlooks its rolling lush green vegetation.
Ceylon Tea Experience (Half Day) Discover the source of the perfect brew with a visit to a local tea plantation, accompanied by a local naturalist. After learning the correct method of harvesting this popular brew, you can venture to a factory to see how the leaves are processed. You will be provided with a mask and soft protective clothing for safety, and can choose either a guided or self-guided tour, whichever you prefer. Finish up with a tea tasting where you can enjoy the completed product: the world renowned Ceylon tea. This activity can be enjoyed all year around, but note that during rainy season, leeches are more prevalent in the gardens. (Full Day, Private Activity & Transfer; Timing: 0900 hrs -1500 hrs; Fitness Level: Moderate as includes some walking.; Travel time to activity: 20 minutes).
Bird Watching At Tea Factory (If You Stay At Tea Factory) Heritance Tea Factory follows a strict green philosophy and does much to conserve nature. The lovely tea gardens are home to several rare species of birds and flora. Feast your eyes on the myriad colors of this avian paradise and marvel at the 50 varieties of migratory birds that come from as far away as Europe and Siberia. You can also observe the yellow-eared bulbul and the Sri Lanka white eye that are endemic to this region.
Half Day Hike To Horton Plains Adventure seekers can go hiking at an altitude of 2,134m to the ‘World’s End’ – a sheer 1,000 feet vertical escarpment, a unique feature of Horton Plains. The scenic beauty impresses even the most discerning traveler. If lucky, catch a glimpse of the Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Sri Lanka Magpie, Black-throated Munia, Black-napped Hare and Giant Squirrel.
Udawalawe National Park lies southeast of Colombo and rests at the feet of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. There are believed to be 250 wild elephants who have made Udawalawe their home, with a further 200 who roam around.
Udawalawa National Park – Safaris Head out on an exciting jeep safari into Udawalawe National Park with up to six other guests to witness the large herds of Asian elephants that grace the park. With your experienced naturalist and chauffeur on hand to assist you with locating the wildlife, there are also chances of spotting an array of other mammals, including the rusty-spotted cat, the fishing cat, and the Sri Lankan leopard. If you are lucky you may even see the rare Sri Lankan sloth bear. Several species of deer, the spotted chevrotain, wild boar, golden jackal, the Asian palm civet, and the water buffalo also wander around. Monkeys such as the tufted grey langur monkey and the toque macaque are generally curious about human guests. It’s an ideal location for bird watching, and you can spot various endemic and migrant species.(Morning / Afternoon Half Day Shared Activity & Transfer. Private safaris can also be arranged; Fitness Level: Easy; Suitable all year.)
Yala National Park is a sprawling natural paradise teeming with wildlife, in southeastern Sri Lanka.
Half Day Jeep Safari In Yala National Park Safari in style with an unforgettable adventure on a morning or evening jeep safari through the forests of Yala National Park. You can enjoy an upfront and close encounter with the abundance of wildlife who live here. There are about 44 species of mammals, including elephants and deer, and many reptiles and lagoon fauna. If you enjoy birdwatching then there are 125 bird species to be spotted, particularly around the wetlands where waterbirds and waders have made a home. The park is home to the endangered subspecies of the Panthera Pardus Kotiya, which is only found in Sri Lanka. Kindly note that Yala sometimes closes during the months of September and October for maintenance.
Galle offers a unique historical and cultural perspective into the development of Sri Lanka during its colonial era.
Half Day Whale Watching Tour From Mirissa Enjoy a half day being entertained by delightful whales and dolphins! Sri Lanka’s Mirissa is the ideal place to commence your boat safari tour. A 3-4 hour boat safari allows rare, close encounters to watch scores of spinning dolphins and the world’s largest living mammals – whales. View these beautiful warm Indian Ocean creatures from the observation deck. See lue, Bryde´s, Sperm, Fin, and sometimes Killer whales; also Common, Bottlenose, Spinner, Risso’s and Striped dolphins. Glimpse occasional turtles, Bluefin tuna and flying fish. Get your camera ready as the boat reduces speed or switches off engines and these fascinating creatures swim close.
Highlights Of Galle Fort Unearth history and glance into what life in a 16th century port city would have been like as you experience the legends and myths of Galle Fort as you amble around. There are many archaeological artefacts on display at the Maritime Museum, including 800 year old items salvaged from shipwrecks. Witness how today’s locals live within this colossal Dutch fortress and UNESCO World Heritage site. There is an abundance of chic and boutique shops, where you can purchase gems, handmade lace and antiques. Unwind in pretty garden and terrace cafés, and admire the coastal beds of pure blue ocean and coral reefs.
Negombo is a bustling beach town with plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation! Nestled on the rim of Negombo Lagoon, the town boasts a long stretch of buzzing yet beautiful beach, and is located close to Colombo.
Dutch Canal Boat Ride Enjoy the sights and sounds of life in Sri Lanka with a boat ride along the Dutch-made Hamilton Canal. Once a supply route for the Dutch administration, old churches and fishing villages, this 100km long still used Dutch Canal running through the town, is an ideal way to gain insight of the area from a different perspective. Along the way, see water monitors, crocodiles, monkeys, varieties of fish and birds. Visit Muthurajawela and take a nature trip to Negombo lagoon in a small boat.
Enchanting Travels took the rough outline for the individually tailored trip we wanted and followed it closely using their experience of places/hotels/activities. We were most impressed with the result. We greatly enjoyed the trip and there were no problems. They found a guide/chauffeur with excellent English language skills. We will choose them for our next Southeast Asia or Africa trip.