On arrival in Cochin you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon is spent at your leisure.
Half day city tour of Cochin and a traditional lunch in the eco-friendly village of Kumbalanghi. The city of Cochin was founded in 1341 following a flood which created a natural and safe harbour and quickly became the chief port on the Malabar Coast. From the 1400's it attracted Jewish, Arab and Christian settlers from the Middle East as a result of the Royal Family's move to the city from Muziris, 50 kms north. The Europeans began settling from 1500's as the Portuguese, Dutch and English competed to control the port and the lucrative spice trade. The city has three distinctive regions Ernakulam, the modern region to the East, and the older districts of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin located on a peninsula in the west. We are staying in the heart of the historic Fort Cochin, India's Oldest Indo European town.
After breakfast we head to Alleppey where we join our backwaters cruise boats. Backwaters or Kuttanad is a district in Kerala an enchanting landscape of dyaks, canals, rivers and deltas fed by 3 major rivers that flow down from the Western Ghat mountain chain. The entire system depends on water and boat as the main means of transportation. The backwaters extend far into the countryside as deep or shallow canals or channels, and are navigated by ketuvallam or boats, ranging in size from one person ketuvallam to large open goods transporters. Like most waterways in India, life encroaches and daily activities such as washing are centered by such waterways. Coconut oil extraction is one of the main industries on the backwater. There will opportunities during the cruise to stop at village tea shops to sample the refreshing green coconut juice, or tea, and visit churches, sacred groves and market places.
Overnight on houseboat.
After enjoying sunrise over the backwaters we continue cruising before disembarking at Boat Jetty. Return transfer to your Cochin hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax and explore.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Colombo. Upon arrival at Colombo Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Negombo.
After Breakfast we proceed to Habarana, en-route we stop at Kurunegala for a traditional Sri Lankan cookery demonstration and lunch. Stop of at the spectacular cave temples of Dambulla, before continuing to the village of Habrana.
After an early breakfast we visit the spectacular Sigiriya Rock Fortress which was built by king Kasyapa in the 5th century A.D. as a royal citadel. In a sheltered pocket, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescs. The summit of the rock, with an area of nearly one hectare was the site of the palace, the outer wall of which was built on the very brink of the precipice. The UNESCO-sponsored Central Cultural Fund has restored Sigiriya's 5th century Water Gardens to their former glory. Continue to Kandy, a city of arts and crafts as well as culture and history. This evening enjoy a cultural performance by traditional Kandyan dancers and drummers including devotional "Fire Walking". Overnight: Kandy
Today we visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha and the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya (one of the finest of its kind in Asia with more than 5000 species of flora, and once the headquarters of Lord Mountbatten). Journey by road to Nuwara Eliya, "Little England" nestled in a wooded basin at the foot of Mount Pidurutalagala Sri Lanka's highest peak; this region at 6,183ft above sea-level has a cool, crisp climate unknown elsewhere in Sri Lanka. En route visit a Tea Factory and a Plantation to witness the manufacturing process of world famous "Ceylon Tea" and to taste a pure unblended cup of factory fresh tea before it is sent to the Tea Auctions in Colombo. Overnight: Nuwara Eliya
Today we travel to Colombo. The afternoon will be at leisure to explore the markets, do some last minute shopping or sightseeing or just relax by the pool. Overnight: Colombo.
Transfer to Colombo airport for your departure flight to Male. On arrival at the International airport at Male, you will be transferred to your dhoni. Our dhonis are all equipped with motors as well as private cabins and a sun deck. You will be introduced to the crew before cruising to the uninhabited island of Waagali or to a resort island. Our chef will show off his skills with a buffet lunch aboard. We have the rest of the day to spend swimming and snorkeling before anchoring for the night. It is a wonderful spot for your first lesson in snorkeling the beautiful coral reefs of the Maldives! (Beach towels, snorkel and flippers are all provided on board.)
On the Maldives Dhoni Cruise there's only one thing to do, relax and enjoy! After breakfast we cruise to the nearby atoll and the village of Felidu. Felidu Atoll is still quite untouched and its main industry is fishing. Our cruising time will be 4 to 5 hours. We spend the day in the village, meeting the local people and observing their lifestyle before returning to our dhoni for an evening at the lagoon.
We have plenty of time to relax today as we cruise to the beautiful uninhabited island of Vashugiri. At the beach, you can go skin-diving, snorkeling or swimming. Our crew will organise a beach barbeque where we can enjoy a feast of local seafood. We spend the night at anchor and you may choose to sleep up on deck beneath a blanket of stars.
Today we cruise to the picturesque inhabited island of either Felidhoo or Keyodu. Here we will meet the islanders, explore the local towns and have some time for local entertainment in the evening. We return to the dhoni in the evening.
We leisurely cruise back to Male Atoll. You will have time to visit Male city where you may like to do a bit of souvenir shopping, visit the museum or fruit market before we cruise to a nearby resort island for our final night at anchor.
Waking up on the dhoni, we have breakfast before being transferred to the airport.