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Tour of Sri Lanka – Serendipity and Beyond

  • Holidays to Sri Lanka
  • tour of sri lanka

Arranging  a Tour of Sri Lanka is very popular and one of the most popular destinations for travellers in 2019 . Sri Lanka is an island paradise, lined with amazing golden sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters.The oceans are rich with life, and amazing coral reefs. Sri Lanka boasts a rich natural heritage, with amazing wildlife  and incredibly for an island of its size can boast of iconic wildlife such as leopards, elephants and sloth bears. The island is also regarded as a biodiversity hot spot and teams with endemic birds, reptiles, amphibians as well as plant species  found nowhere else on earth. With numerous man-made lakes and rivers running through its interior, lush tropical rainforests, mangroves and coastal lagoons, misty highlands laden with waterfalls and dry zone scrub jungles, Sri Lanka comprises of a wide range of picturesque landscapes and natural habitats which can be compared to that of a much larger continent.

Venture into an ancient land with thousands of years of history of ancient cities and a vibrant culture with amazing  architectural monuments and incredible feats of engineering which can be linked to the origins of Buddhism in the country with magnificently constructed stupas and the ruined remains of ancient kingdoms. Taste the wonderful flavours of the local cuisine using fresh produce from land and sea. Boasting of a unique culinary heritage, Sri Lankan cuisine is rich in spices with its own distinct flavour and is a fusion of traditional dishes mixed with influences from traders and colonial powers. Experience the misty  highlands and tea country and have a cup of the world famous Ceylon Tea. The real treasure of Sri Lanka are its people, a rich multi-cultural and multi religious society. The warm hospitality and friendly nature of Sri Lankans will make anyone feel welcome. Get to know the people of this island , their ways of life and their amazing stories. Fall in love with the land like no other.

Our  tour of Sri Lanka is aimed at bringing you closer to the “real Sri Lanka” which is its people and way of life. You will journey through various landscapes and meet many people from diverse walks of life, but are all true Sri Lankans. This curated experience has been carefully planned and exclusively offered to Pope&Sons clients, bringing you close to understanding what makes this multi-cultural, multi-religious melting pot of an island such an exciting destination.

Tour of Sri Lanka - Serendipity and Beyond

Day 1
Upon landing at the Bandaranaike International Airport, you will be given a warm Sri Lankan welcome by your chauffer guide. Thereafter your will journey towards the Southern town of Galle (2.5 hours drive), Upon reaching Galle, check into your hotel located within the Historic Galle Fort, A charming boutique hotel, this chain of properties has its unique historic story. There’s a reason why Galle features so prominently in the tales of ancient travellers. Ptolemy (AD 100 –c.170) thought it important enough to feature near the centre of his map of the world. Over the centuries it became a popular port of call on any voyage to thispart of the world. Chinese, Indian, Javanese, Arab and European sailors came calling in droves. Many of them never left. So while Sri Lanka becamehome to many nationalities and cultures that visited its shores, Galle cemented its place as the island’s melting pot.

Hotel : Fortaleza Hotel

Room Category : Standard Turquoise Double Basis:

Half board (Breakfast and Dinner)
Day 2
In the morning enjoy a culinary experience with a local host inside the fort.

An immersive encounter for which the basis is local food: Muslim inspired biryani along with a bevy of spicy condiments, an assortment of hoppers and accompanying curries, or a simple but wholesome plate of rice and curry featuring seafood. It brings to the fore the diversity in cuisine that Sri Lanka boasts of. Through a cooking session hosted by Mrs.Shahira Mahuroof, a renowned force in Southern Sri Lankan fare, learn the intricate methods involved in the preparation of a few of these local staples and delicacies. The meal is made richer through the narration of her life’s plentiful, experiences.

Learn to prepare a delicious meal with a Galle based host whose expertise in cooking has brought her much fame in the area. Whether it’s a Biryani, a Seafood feast or hot hoppers with accompaniments, she will take you through an unforgettable culinary journey. The Island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) has served for centuries as a focal point for the confluence of different groups of people and cultures. The settling of these various ethnicities was often accompanied by the assimilation of their cuisine and culinary traditions into those of the nation’s. In the process, and due to the intermingling of these early groups, numerous ingredients, spices and flavours influence our palates today. Our cuisine draws heavily from the simple food of native, traditional agricultural society, the spice-heavy cuisine of South India, certain flavours found in parts of East and North India, Muslim influences stemming from North Africa and the Levant, Javanese cooking traditions from the Malay Archipelago, the cuisine of Portugal and the Netherlands due to their colonial influence, and to a lesser degree even the hunter-gatherer diet of our aboriginal population- the Veddhas. Within the cozy setting of her spacious kitchen and beautiful, open-styled home, Shahira introduces some of these flavours through a scrumptious full meal. The passing down of age old recipes is an intimate and emotional affair. Mindful of this notion, she imparts this culinary wisdom to those who partake in this unique, local experience in a loving manner, while also sharing numerous simple kitchen secrets that are essential in the authentic preparation of any Sri Lankan meal. She expertly guides you through the individual steps that go into preparing each course and ensures that the participants are actively involved throughout.

In the evening join a 5th Generation resident of the fort on a unique walking tour.

Nestled within fourteen strategically erected bastions, which demarcate Galle Fort’s extent, are numerous places of worship, a plush hotel originally used as the Dutch Governor’s residence, an old warehouse utilized to safekeep ship equipment and store spices, several local schools, a post office, a lighthouse, a clock tower, and an assortment of other in service and non-functional buildings, all crisscrossed by a grid pattern of streets. The lives of many different groups of people - primarily the Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghers, and Malays - unfold slowly along its cobbled pathways and byroads. The cultural labyrinth that is the Galle Fort is also a centre for commerce, and it sustains the livelihoods of the diverse population listed above. Its, mostly, single-storey low houses which were built in accordance with the Dutch colonial style of architecture, have now been converted into several rows of quaint restaurants, bars, cafes, mini-libraries, clothing stores, jewellery shops, knickknack corners and everything in between, by their longstanding owners and also a select few who have managed to secure valuable retail space here in more recent years. Unobtrusively, culture and modern commerce exist in palpable harmony. It certainly makes for fascinating viewing and an out-and-out local, culture-intensive experience with a heavy historical stance to it.

A budding filmmaker, and a fifth generation member of a prominent gem trading family from Galle, the host wishes to promote an attitude of simplicity through his various efforts. Atheeq comments on the sights that the Galle Fort Walk affords while guiding you through it gently, to supplement the richness of this novel, alternate experience. Simplicity, in the form of maintaining this micro-economy by firmly supporting locals, their ideas, and their businesses, is one aspect that he wants to reinforce through this walk. Towards this end, it helps that even as young boy he got up to plenty of mischief within the fort’s immediate environs and, therefore, allowed him to form family-like bonds with many of its inhabitants. Also, he expends much energy in improving sustainable business practices within the vibrant Fort community and in promoting local culture to those who partake in the Galle Fort Walk. His message of simplicity and contentedness can be discerned in the few hours that you share with him/he shares with you. It is refreshing, and it punctuates the historical and cultural leaning this experience takes.

Hotel : Fortaleza Hotel

Room Category : Standard Turquoise Double

Basis: Half-board (Breakfast and Dinner)  
Day 3
Once you checkout from Galle, journey towards Colombo (2.5 hours drive)

Upon reaching Colombo check into your hotel, the historic Galle Face Hotel.

Sri Lanka’s iconic landmark, The Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green.One of the oldest hotels east of the Suez, The Galle Face Hotel embraces its rich history and legendary traditions, utilizing them to create engaging, immersive experiences that resonate with old and new generations of travellers alike. No visit to Sri Lanka is complete without staying at this majestic hotel, built in 1864 and recently restored back to its former glory.

In the evening meet a local foodie who will take you on a journey across the city of Colombo on a street food experience.

As your host guides you through lesser-known parts of Colombo, discover how a beguiling range of street food and its culture connect the city’s people. Wander through Colombo as evening draws in, where food, often in unusual guises, is everywhere. Begin with a shot of local Arrack in a well-worn local bar and wander past enticing higgledy-piggledy streets peeking between buildings. On thriving Hulfsdorp Street indulge in traditional sweet treats and pots of bubbling curry with packed dinner-time crowds. Grab a tuk-tuk to the evening buzz of Galle Face to join families, friends and your final food vendors for a main meal. You will never be pressured to try food or drink and we cannot guarantee hygiene standards but this is the perfect opportunity to learn about the city’s sights and aromas.

Hotel : Galle Face Hotel

Room Category : Superior room

Meal Plan- Half Board
Day 4
After you checkout in the morning, you will journey towards the hill capital of Kandy (4 hours drive)

Upon reaching Kandy, check into your hotel,

Thereafter begin exploring this historic town and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Known as the “Cultural Capital” of Sri Lanka and a UNESCO world heritage site, Kandy was established in the years 135AD by King Wickramabahu and was named Senkadagalapura at the time. In 1592 Kandy became the official Capital of the last Sinhalese Kingdom as the coastal areas were conquered by the Portuguese invaders. The hill capital remained a stronghold despite constant invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch during the 16th , 17th and 18th century and also by the British (most notably in 1803) which were repelled thanks to the hilly landscapes, and guerilla tactics of the Sinhalese forces. The last ruling dynasty of Kandy was the ‘Nayaks’ of Kandy while the Kingdom preserved its independence until it finally fell to the British in 1815, mainly due to the lack of support of the noble families. The British deposed the last king, Sri Wikrama Rajasingha, and all claimants to the throne, thus ending the last traditional monarchy of Sri Lanka.

Visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic,

This sacred temple was built in the 16th century AD and is located adjacent to the Royal Palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy and overlooks the expanses of the Kandy lake. Referred locally as the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is the most revered site in the country. This temple complex houses the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, and with strong political sway to who holds possession of the tooth, as it was believed that the possessor of this sacred relic had the right to rule the country.

Afterwards you will enjoy a cultural dance show,

The best way to experience the music and dance culture of Sri Lanka, especially the Kandyan traditions is to witness a cultural dance show in Kandy which provides an insight into the array of dances and playing of drums linked to Sri Lanka’s ancient traditions with the participants dressed in their decorative costumes. Each costume, dance and act signified a story, and the performances will take one on a visual and sensual journey through time and space. Performances such as fire walking and fire breathing as well as Kandyan drumming and devil dancing will be showcased in this show

Hotel : Cinnamon Citadel

Room Category : Superior room

Meal Plan- Half Board
Day 5
After you checkout in the morning, you will journey towards the hill capital of Kandy (4 hours drive)

Upon reaching Kandy, check into your hotel.

Thereafter begin exploring this historic town and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Known as the “Cultural Capital” of Sri Lanka and a UNESCO world heritage site, Kandy was established in the years 135AD by King Wickramabahu and was named Senkadagalapura at the time. In 1592 Kandy became the official Capital of the last Sinhalese Kingdom as the coastal areas were conquered by the Portuguese invaders. The hill capital remained a stronghold despite constant invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch during the 16th , 17th and 18th century and also by the British (most notably in 1803) which were repelled thanks to the hilly landscapes, and guerilla tactics of the Sinhalese forces. The last ruling dynasty of Kandy was the ‘Nayaks’ of Kandy while the Kingdom preserved its independence until it finally fell to the British in 1815, mainly due to the lack of support of the noble families. The British deposed the last king, Sri Wikrama Rajasingha, and all claimants to the throne, thus ending the last traditional monarchy of Sri Lanka.

Visit the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic.

This sacred temple was built in the 16th century AD and is located adjacent to the Royal Palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy and overlooks the expanses of the Kandy lake. Referred locally as the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is the most revered site in the country. This temple complex houses the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha, and with strong political sway to who holds possession of the tooth, as it was believed that the possessor of this sacred relic had the right to rule the country.

Afterwards you will enjoy a cultural dance show.

The best way to experience the music and dance culture of Sri Lanka, especially the Kandyan traditions is to witness a cultural dance show in Kandy which provides an insight into the array of dances and playing of drums linked to Sri Lanka’s ancient traditions with the participants dressed in their decorative costumes. Each costume, dance and act signified a story, and the performances will take one on a visual and sensual journey through time and space. Performances such as fire walking and fire breathing as well as Kandyan drumming and devil dancing will be showcased in this show

Hotel : Cinnamon Citadel

Room Category : Superior room

Meal Plan- Half Board
Day 6
After breakfast, head out towards Habarana, from where you will hop on a safari jeep and take a ride across remote village trails, towards a traditional martial arts school. Known as Angampora, this is one of if not the most ancient fighting form in the world. Practiced for thousands of years, and passed down from generation to generation, this art was once banned by the British Colonials. The punishment if caught practicing is to be shot in the knees and never to be able to practice again. This art is a holistic way of life, where fighting form is only one part of it, and it also encompasses traditional healing and medicine, meditation, and astrology. The master of this school provides free medication based on his traiditonal practices to the public once every week. Master Sumedha and his students practice this ancient art in this remote location and will grand private access to a display and interactive session at the school. The fighting form involves hand to hand and weapons combat. The meeting and experience will entail much tradition and solem respect akin to visiting a temple with ladies requested to dress modestly and no smoking or profanity allowed.

After your experience, you will head to the ancient forest hermitage of Ritigala.

Ritigala is an ancient retreat of Buddhist monks, where the ruins of a 1st Century BC monastery lie hidden deep within the forest. Its height and the local weather patterns create a microclimate different from that of the surrounding plains, and Ritigala is home to a variety of rare species of plant and animal. Its biodiversity is now strictly protected and the area is today demarcated as a Strict Nature Reserve. During your excursion to Ritigala, you trek through the dry evergreen forest and pass through the remains of ancient stone bathing-pools, bridges and courtyards.

Afterwards you will return back to your hotel for overnight stay.

Hotel : Aliya Resort and Spa

Room Category : Deluxe Room

Meal Plan- Half Board
Day 7
After an early breakfast head towards the Sigiriya Rock Fortress for a climb into this amazing UNESCO heritage site.

Rising dramatically from the central plains, the enigmatic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka's single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilisation. Top of this rock contains ruins of an ancient palace complex, built during the reign of King Kasyapa (477AD – 495 AD) and surrounding rock is the Royal Garden. Ruins of various chambers, stairways and pools can be seen at the top of this rock. There is a stone stairway leading from the base to the top of the mountain. About half way to the top, there is a giant pair of lions paws which is in fact are the remains of a huge head of a lion whose open mouth served as the entrance to the royal palace. Surrounding the palace complex are the ruins of a garden complex consisting of two moats and various pools, some with water fountains still functioning after 1500 years.

Afterwards, you can head towards Polonnaruwa which is the second ancient capital of Sri Lanka for a guided tour.

Polonnaruwa took its place in history after King Vijayabahu I defeated the invading Cholas and moved the capital from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa. It is renowned for its well-preserved 12th century ruins and impressive stone culture. Exploring Polonnaruwa, which is today a UNESCO World Heritage site, one can see Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.

After your tour, head towards the massive Parakrama Samudraya reservoir where you will join a local fisherman in his outrigger canoe, and will journey across this scenic ancient tank towards an island which is teeming with species of birds. Your guide will act as translator and you can interact with the fisherman, who will share his life story and way of life. He will cast his nets into the waters, which you too can try ones hand at, which may look easy but is much more difficult than it seems. Afterwards sip a cup of local made tea and witness the sunset over this historic tank build by King Parakramabahu I.

Hotel : Aliya Resort and Spa

Room Category : Deluxe Room

Meal Plan- Half Board
Day 8
Today have an early checkout after breakfast, and you will head towards Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first capital dating back over 2 millennia. Go on a guided tour of the ancient city. Anuradhapura is an ancient historical city comprising of religious places of worship and Buddhist shrines constructed by the past Kings of Sri Lanka and was the island’s capital between the 5th century BC and the 11th century AD. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagobas of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha found enlightenment.

After your tour, head back on the road towards Wilpattu, where check into Wilpattu Safari Camp which is located in the buffer zone of Wilpattu National Park. After your welcome at the camp, the camp manager will brief you on the safety detail of the property. You need to be aware that this is right next ot the national park and hence wild animals do occasionally roam in the area, hence at night it is imperative to remain in ones tent after dinner. The tents are all inclusive with attached bathroom, comfortable bedding and other amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

After dinner retire to your tent, and be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the forest.

Hotel : Wilpattu Safari Camp

Room Category : Safari Tent

Meal Plan- Full Board
Day 9
Early morning, hop on a safari jeep and go on a full day game drive along with a packed breakfast, into Wilpattu National Park.

Popularly dubbed as ‘the land of the lakes’, Wilpattu National Park is famous for watching wildlife within its picturesque villus and dry evergreen forests. It is Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park which re-opened in 2010 after being closed for nearly three decades due to the civil war. Wilpattu is one of the top spots in Sri Lanka for watching Leopard and Sloth Bear. Other larger animals seen regularly here include Elephant, Jackal, Mugger Crocodile, Sambar, Spotted Deer and Buffalo are among the larger animals regularly encountered.

Lunch will be served inside the park.

You also have the option of doing a mid-day excursion to Kudurumalai point along the Wilpattu coastline, believed to be the location where Prince Vijaya and the first group of Indian settlers set foot to Sri Lanka. The area is characterized by steep cliffs and fossilized limestone remains and provides panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

Wilpattu is also an excellent birding location particularly in the winter months with over 200 recorded species including a variety of raptors such as Crested Serpent, Changeable Hawk and White-bellied Sea Eagles, Brown Fish Owl; the endemic Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Woodshrike and a large number of water birds and waders by the water’s edge near the villus.

Hotel : Wilpattu Safari Camp

Room Category : Safari Tent

Meal Plan- Full Board
Day 10
Today, spend the morning at leisure at camp,

Once you have checked out you will be transferred back to the airport for your reluctant flight home (3.5 hours drive)

This is just one example of a tour of Sri Lanka and we can create a made to measure itinerary to suit your needs. Please call us on 01926 935747 or email escape@popeandsons.co.uk to start your escape plans.

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