Sensational Sri Lanka - Aug 14
AUD 300 off per couple for bookings paid by 31 March
Sri Lanka - a tropical island paradise - has been off the radar for the Aussie traveler due to 20 years of civil unrest.
Lonely Planet voted Sri Lanka as the top destination for 2013 in its Best in Travel publication.
Now that peace has reigned for the past 4 years the travellers are flocking black in droves.
A small country the size of Tasmania, Sri Lanka boasts a variety of experiences that are all easily accessable:
Beautiful beaches, tropical climate, ancient Buddhist culture, lush green hills, tea plantations, wildlife parks and exotic food.
This tour takes in the best of what the island has to offer. The timing of the tour allows us to take in the islands biggest festival - the Kandy Esala Perahera - with its pulsating colourful Elephant processions, the Elephant Gathering in Minneriya where up to 300 elephants congregate, Tea plantations and the historic sea port of Galle. Add to this the wonderful ancient Buddhist monuments, exquisite food, great shopping and wonderful hospitable people and we have a sensational tour.
1-15 Aug 2014:
Negombo-Kandalama-Sigiriya –Minneriya - Kandy – Nuwara Eliya – Yala – Galle – Colombo
1 Aug 14: You will be met on arrival at the International Airport (Katunayake)and transferred to your beach hotel in Negombo. Check-in is after 12 noon. Jetwing Beach (sea-view rooms)
2, 3 & 4 Aug 14: Travel to Kandalama stopping for lunch (own cost) at Pinnawela to watch the elephants from the orphanage bathe in the river. Visit the ancient rock cave temples of Dambulla. Opt for a Sigiriya Fortress climb (extra cost) . Travel to Minneriya National Park. August is the dry season and our best chance for the gathering of the elephants around the water tank. Up to 300 elephants congregate at the reservoir making for spectacular viewing. Do a morning village and nature walk to observe local plants, farming and life of the rural people. Heritance Kandalama Hotel (luxury Sigitriya view rooms) (3B+3D). Feature meal: Multicourse Cave dinner.
5 Aug 14: Travel to Kandy – the cultural capital and seat of Buddhism in Sri Lanka – visiting the beautifully ladscaped Peredenia Botanical Gardens on the way. Amaya Hills (B+D)
6 Aug 14: Visit the Kandy Temple of the Tooth Relic.The highlight of our stay here is viewing the procession of the Tooth Relic as part of the Esala Perahera celebrations. Enjoy the Kandyan drummers and dancers, fire twirlers and the beautifully decorated elephants on parade. Amaya Hills (B+D)
7 & 8 Aug 14: Take a train ride to the hills of Nuwara Eliya dotted with tea plantations, verdant jungle and sparkling waterfalls. Enjoy the crisp mountain air and learn how tea is made at the hotel’s mini-tea factory. Tea Factory Hotel (2B+2D). Feature dinner is at the hotel’s train carriage fine dining restaurant – TCK 6685
9 & 10 Aug 14: Take the scenic route via Ella to Yala National Park. Enjoy 2 safaris. Fingers crossed for a leopard sighting however there is a variety of wildlife on offer to keep us happy should we miss the spotted one. Chhaya Wild (2B+2D). Feature meal: bbq bush dinner at a waterhole.
11 & 12 Aug 14: travel to the historic coastal town of Galle. We explore this fort city and enjoy 2 nights at the famous Lighthouse Hotel (2B+2D). Enjoy a Sri Lankan curry cooking class and and feature dinner at the Cinnamon fine dining restaurant.
13 & 14 Aug 14: Explore the capital of Colombo over the next 2 days on a walking tour and catch up on some shopping. Cinnamon Lakeside/Taj Samudra (2B+2D) Feature seafood dinner.
15 Aug 14: Departure – transfer to the airport for your flight out of Sri Lanka (B)
B= Breakfast D = Dinner
Award winning accommodation: Heritance Kandalama, Lighthouse Gall and HeritanceTea Factory Nuwara Eliya
Reserved Seating for the Kandy Esala Perahera procession
Minneriya National Park - Elephant Gathering (up to 300 elephants)
2 x Jeep Safari in Yala National Park
Nature & Village walk in Hirawaduna
Walking Tour & Cooking class in Galle
Tea Plantation & Factory experience
Train ride from Kandy to Tea Plantations
Colombo walking tour
14 night Twin share accommodation
14 Breakfasts + 13 Dinners (5 feature dinners)
All sightseeing with English speaking guide
Monument entry fees
Tipping on tour
Travel Talk escort
Airfares (from $1100 pp)
Visa (USD 30)
Any other items not mentioned
AUD 5295 PP twin-share
Single Supplement AUD 1495
Add on a Trincomalee 4 night beach stay from AUD 695 per person^
Chaaya Blu Beach Resort Trincomalee
AUD 695 per person twin share
Breakfast and Dinner daily
15 Aug 14: Transfer to the Ratmalana airport for your flight to picturesque China Bay. From here you are driven to your beach side resort for the next 3 nights.
16 & 17 Aug 14: Enjoy the turquoise blue waters of the Bay Of Bengal at this idyllic beach location. You have the option of a dolphin and whale watching tour or snorkelling in the clear waters off Pigeon Island (additional costs involved).
18 Aug 14: Transfer to China Bay airport for your flight to Ratmalana. You are then transferred to the International airport for your flight home.
I had attempted to obtain tickets for the Palace on Wheels (POW) from a specialist rail tour company in the United States, only to be informed that the ticket allocation has been exhausted on the date we wanted to travel. I incidentally mentioned this to Andre as part of a broaderPeter Bermingham