The Sri Lankan culture you see today is a product of 30,000 years of history and is very much interlinked with the lives and traditions of the local people. Join Aitken Spence Travels, one of the leading tour agents in Sri Lanka as you learn more about this heritage; visit ancient kingdoms, explore breathtaking natural landscapes and even have the chance to get up close to gentle giants of the wild!
On arrival, you will be met by an Aitken Spence Travels representative, following which, begin your journey to Kandalama via Pinnawala.
En route visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Inaugurated in 1975, this orphanage began by providing caring for seven orphan elephants. Though its objectives were also linked with tourism, it soon focused on conservation and to become an educational centre.
The free movement of the herd enhanced the chances for both sexes of elephants to mate; the nearby river played a dominant role in this regard, and in 1984, the first baby of Pinnawala was born. It is significant that some of the orphan elephants have even seen their “grandchildren” being born here! The success story of Pinnawala has drawn the attention of scientists from all over the world. A considerable number of books and research articles on the orphanage have been published in several languages. The members of the Pinnawala herd have also been filmed, videoed and photographed thousands of times by professionals.
Visitors today have the chance to get up close to these majestic creatures be it during feeding time or when they all head to the nearby river for a cooling and sometimes playful bath.
On completion of your visit proceed to your hotel in Kandalama.
After a hearty breakfast, you may choose an optional excursion to Sigiriya.
Here you have the chance to climb the fifth century Sigiriya Rock Fortress which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by King Kashyapa (477- 495 AD). The 'Lion Rock' is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70-hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock. Visit the famed frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock, approached by a spiral stairway. These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster and are a truly wondrous sight.
Return back to your hotel to unwind and look back at the day’s adventures.
After breakfast, it is time to bid farewell; proceed to Kandy en route visiting a spice garden in Matale to see different spices for which Sri Lanka is famous for. Here, you have the chance to see different spices and learn about how some of these spices are grown and processed. Witness a cookery demonstration as part of the tour.
Proceed from Matale to your hotel in Kandy and check-in.
You can leisurely spend the afternoon however you please.
After breakfast proceed to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya.
These gardens were first created during the reign of a Sinhala king and served the purpose of being a pleasure garden for royalty. The British, who subsequently took over the Kandyan Kingdom, expanded and made improvements to this picturesque site. Encompassing 147 acres, the Royal Botanical Gardens features an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers and is a great place to explore amidst nature’s beauty.
On completion of your visit to the gardens, set off on a city tour; Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with much to discover. The name “Kandy” conjures visions of splendour and magnificence and many of its legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive.
Drive around the Kandy Lake built by the last Sinhala king, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798. Visit the bustling Kandy town and bazaar, as well as the arts and crafts centre, a gem museum and a lapidary. Additionally, head to the Temple of the Tooth, which houses a Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha and is the focal point of an annual festival known as the Kandy Esala Perahera.
Thereafter witness a cultural show which offers more insight into the city’s rich culture and traditions.
End the day relaxing at your hotel.
After breakfast proceed to Nuwara Eliya; en route visit a tea plantation and a tea factory in the region where the best tea in the world is produced. Here you could observe all about the process of manufacturing tea and also see how it is graded. As part of the tour, taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory.
Thereafter continue to Nuwara Eliya; because of its invigorating mountain climate and scenery, this charming town is the island’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea. While the nation’s highest mountain Piduruthalagala (8,282 feet) is located here, this idyllic mountainside hideaway is home to one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in South Asia as well.
End the day at your Nuwara Eliya hotel.
After breakfast, it’s time to proceed to Colombo via Kitulgala.
The Kelani River (the broadest river in Sri Lanka) which flows through Kitulgala was the main location where the Oscar-winning movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai" was filmed. On the hill above this town, a prehistoric cave was recently discovered containing large middens of shells from some unknown civilisation. Kitulgala today, is also famed as being the country’s premier white water rafting destination.
Following your stop here, make your way to the island’s commercial capital and check-in at a hotel in Colombo.
In the afternoon embark on a city tour of Colombo, which like many commercial capitals in developing countries is rapidly evolving. Almost overnight, skyscrapers arise from where old buildings once stood. Yet in some parts, the old-world charm is retained. For example, there is a 100-year-old clock tower and several British built colonial buildings in this metropolis by the sea.
Other places of interest are the Pettah Bazaar - where one can shop and bargain for a wide range of items, Hindu and Buddhist temples and residential areas where you can find stately homes. Other attractions include the National Museum of Colombo, the Dutch Museum and the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH); an outright gift to Sri Lanka from the People's Republic of China, it is one of the most popular venues in the city for exhibitions and conferences.
As night falls, head back to your hotel in Colombo and look back at the thrilling excursions of the day.
After breakfast it is time to bid adieu; transfer to the airport in time for departure.