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Sri Lankan Discovery

SPECIAL DEPARTURES 11 & 16 AUG - KANDY FESTIVAL
Watch in awe as thousands of dancers, drummers and torchbearers in traditional costumes weave their way through the crowds during Sri Lanka's biggest and most spectacular festival. Includes seats in the viewing gallery to watch the pageant at night.
One of Asia's true hidden gemsBe charmed by the unspoilt natural beauty, friendly people and ancient history of Sri Lanka. Discover the island's beautiful culture, lush jungles and fascinating ancient cities. Explore exotic tea and spice plantations and witness the plentiful wildlife in national parks.Elephants aboundOur Sri Lankan journey begins with a tour of Negombo, followed by a visit to the world famous Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Check out our video link opposite to watch the young elephants play, eat palm leaves, drink bottles of milk and bathe in the river. It's an unforgettable experience.Enjoy the tropical scenery & ancient ruinsFrom here, we explore Sri Lanka's secluded monastic ruins of Ritigala. Located in a lush forest, the ruins are hidden within a beautiful setting of streams and pools. Our next stop is Sigiriya, considered to be one of the Wonders of the Ancient World and a must-see in Sri Lanka. This famous rock fortress and palace is set amongst beautiful gardens. Soak up the atmosphereOur journey continues to Kandy, where we'll visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. If you take this tour in August, you'll also experience the colourful Kandy Festival - one of the most important festivals on the Buddhist calendar. Next it's on to the Matale Spice Plantations and tea-growing region of Nuwara Eliya. Here we'll have time to sample Ceylon tea and learn about the tea-making process. We then head to the coast, where we get to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, stunning beaches and crystal clear waters.

Inclusions

Travel

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to Sri Lanka. Taxes included
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles (excluding jeep-safari vehicle and water based activities)
  • Tipping Made Easy, $200pp prepaid

Accommodation & Meals

  • 15 nights in good quality hotels (3-4 star)
  • Day use of hotel on day of departure
  • Enjoy a Sri Lankan BBQ dinner prepared by a local family
  • 15 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 12 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

Tour Guides

  • English-speaking locally based guides
  • English-speaking national guide throughout (based on a min. of 7 passengers)

Sightseeing

Negombo and nature

  • Observe Negombo's everyday life at the local fish markets, watching the fishing trade go about their business selling an amazing variety of fish and seafood, fresh from the early morning's catch.
  • Cruise the beautiful Gin Oya River, surrounded by lush vegetation, while listening to the amazing bird sounds as the evening breaks. Watch the sun set over the beach before joining a local family for a hosted barbecue on the banks of the river.
  • Watch the elephants from the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage as they bathe and play during their daily swim. A truly spectacular experience - we are just metres from these majestic creatures as they enjoy their time in the river.

Ancient city ruins

  • Take a fascinating journey through one of the oldest and largest of Sri Lanka's ancient cities, Anuradhapura. This sacred city was the political and religious capital for around 1,300 years before being abandoned in 993, after an invasion. Remarkably hidden in dense jungle for many years, it is now accessible and is home to the oldest documented tree in the world, the Sri Maha Bodhi.
  • Tour the secluded monastic ruins of Ritigala, located in a lush forest rarely visited by tourists. This mystical place is incredibly beautiful and unspoilt, with shady forests filled with streams, pools and granite boulders and ancient elegant stone pathways that lead to ruins of various meditation platforms and ayurvedic hospitals.
  • Visit the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, the island's capital between the 11th and 13th century. Built alongside a large artificial lake, there are well-preserved ruins of palaces, bathing pools, stupas and exquisite rock sculptures of Buddha at the Gal Vihara.

Sigiriya, safaris, spices and serene temples

  • Enjoy an afternoon jeep safari in Minneriya National Park searching for Sri Lankan wildlife including sambar deer, leopards and elephants. The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank, built in the 3rd century AD by King Mahasena. During the dry season (June-September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze as well as huge flocks of birds, cormorants and painted storks to mention just a few.
  • Enjoy a 4 night stay at our spectacularly located hotel in Sigiriya, with views of the majestic Sigiriya rock fortress.
  • Tour the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. Explore the ruins of the capital, built by the Parricidal King Kasyapa (477-95). This UNESCO World Heritage site is both a geological and historical marvel. Formed by magma from an extinct volcano, for centuries it was home to buddhist monks.
  • Visit a typical home in a Sri Lankan village for lunch. Walk through the paddy fields and enjoy the cool breeze whilst getting acquainted with local village life.
  • Tour the serene cave temples of Dambulla, filled with hundreds of hand-carved statues and hand-painted frescoes. These cave temples were built by King Valagam Bahu in the 1st century BC in gratitude for the shelter he sought in the caves when fleeing India's invaders. The caves are completely covered by ancient frescoes depicting both religious and secular scenes.
  • Visit the Matale Spice Plantations, growing a variety of spices such as cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg. Sri Lanka is renowned for its spices having been initially colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.

The cultural heart of Sri Lanka

  • Tour the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. Ever since it was founded in the 16th century, it has housed one of the most sacred relics of Buddhism, a tooth of Buddha collected from his funeral pyre. It is now protected within the gold-roofed Temple of the Tooth. Witness the blessing ceremony wiith all the fanfare, drums, trumpets and Monks dressed in bright colours performing their rituals.
  • Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya. Initially a royal park, in 1821 under British rule it became a Botanical Garden. Here exotic crops such as coffee, tea, nutmeg, rubber and cinchona (quinine) were first tested and went on to become important to the country's economy.
  • Enjoy a cultural show and local traditional Kandyan dance performance including the cobra dance and mask dance.

Unwind with a cup of Ceylon tea in Nuwara Eliya and enjoy the magnificent scenery

  • Join the locals and marvel at the stunning highland scenery for a short journey by train before continuing by road to the colonial city of Nuwara Eliya, winding through lush countryside and tea plantations.
  • Learn about the tea-making process and sample some high-grade Ceylon tea at a plantation. It all started around 1867 when Ceylon tea was first being developed by British planter James Taylor. The rest is history!
  • Visit the St. Clair and Devon Falls, just outside Nuwara Eliya. Known as Little Niagara of Sri Lanka, St. Clair Falls is one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka. Nearby Devon Falls was named after an English coffee planter by the name of Devon, whose plantation is situated nearby.

Safaris and the south coast

  • Enjoy a jeep safari in Yala National Park, with one of the highest density leopard populations in the world.
  • Drive along the stunning south coast to the great walled city of Galle and see the World Heritage-listed Dutch Fort.
  • Spend 2 nights relaxing on the coast in Galle.
  • Learn about the endangered leatherhead and loggerhead turtles at a local hatchery.

Cosmopolitan Colombo

  • Tour Sri Lanka's bustling capital of Colombo and stay in the historic Galle Face Hotel.
Tour Provider Bunnik Tours
Number of Days
17
Price From
AUD $5,695
Start Location
Sri Lanka
End Location
Sri Lanka
Age Range
Min :14
Group Size
4 to 20
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Festival, Relaxing
Physical Rating
Moderate
Incudes Flights
Yes
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
21 Apr 201807 May 2018Fully BookedAUD $5,350 
05 May 201821 May 2018Fully BookedAUD $4,950 
16 Jun 201802 Jul 2018Fully BookedAUD $4,950 
07 Jul 201823 Jul 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $5,250
21 Jul 201806 Aug 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $5,250
11 Aug 201827 Aug 2018Limited SeatsAUD $5,550
16 Aug 201801 Sep 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $5,550
28 Aug 201813 Sep 2018Fully BookedAUD $5,050 
15 Sep 201801 Oct 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $5,050
06 Oct 201822 Oct 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $5,050
20 Oct 201805 Nov 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $5,050
10 Nov 201826 Nov 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $5,450
24 Nov 201810 Dec 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $5,850
01 Dec 201817 Dec 2018Guaranteed DepartureAUD $5,850
05 Jan 201921 Jan 2019AvailableAUD $5,850
19 Jan 201904 Feb 2019AvailableAUD $5,750
02 Feb 201918 Feb 2019AvailableAUD $5,750
16 Feb 201904 Mar 2019AvailableAUD $5,750
02 Mar 201918 Mar 2019AvailableAUD $5,750
16 Mar 201901 Apr 2019AvailableAUD $5,750
Itinerary
Sri Lankan Discovery
Day 1. Depart Australia - Arrive Negombo

Welcome to sunny Sri Lanka, the teardropshaped island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2. Negombo

We begin our sightseeing tour at the famous Negombo Fish Markets, a traditional patchwork of fish drying on hessian sacks. [B,D]

Special Experience: Cruise along the calm waters of the jungle-fringed Gin Oya River, listening to the tranquil sounds of the abundant birdlife. We'll watch the sunset before joining a local family for a hosted dinner on the banks of the river.

Day 3. Negombo - Sigiriya

This morning we depart Negombo and travel north into the Sri Lankan highlands. [B,D]

Special Experience: On the way to Sigiriya we'll stop to watch the beautiful elephants from the Pinnawala Orphanage going about their daily life - feeding, playing and bathing in the local river.

Day 4. Anuradhapura & Ritigala Excursion

We visit the impressive ruins of Anuradhapura, the largest and oldest of Sri Lanka's ancient cities, dating back to the 6th century. We'll explore the gleaming white dagobas and Sri Maha Bodhi, before travelling to the Ritigala Medicinal Forest to discover the ruins of an ancient hermitage, set deep in the jungle. [B,D]

Day 5. Polonnaruwa & Minneriya National Park Excursion

Our day begins with a visit to the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa. Brimming with archaeological treasures, we'll discover the well-preserved ruins of palaces, stupas, bathing pools and exquisite rock sculptures of Buddha. This afternoon we tour Minneriya National Park by jeep, where we'll hopefully spot sambar deer and elephants. [B,D]

Day 6. Sigiriya

Today we explore the famous rock fortress of Sigiriya - 'Lion Rock'. Built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century, this impressive site is located on top of a vast 200-metre-high granite rock, some 750 steps up! [B,L,D]

Special Experience: Visit a traditional Sri Lankan village and be welcomed into a local home. Learn about daily life and traditional farming, and then feast on local delicacies!

Day 7. Sigiriya - Kandy

After breakfast we begin our journey to Kandy, stopping at the stunning Cave Temples of Dambulla. Housing hundreds of statues of Buddha, they are also completely covered in ancient frescs. We also stop at a spice plantation in Matale. When we arrive in Kandy later this afternoon we'll visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. [B,D]

Day 8. Kandy

The former capital of Ceylon and the last seat of the Sinhalese kingdom, Kandy is known as Sri Lanka's cultural heart. This morning we visit the Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya, with its beautiful orchid house, before touring the city. Later we'll be treated to a local dance performance. [B]

Day 9. Kandy - Nuwara Eliya

Special Experience: We travel to the lush tea-growing region of Nuwara Eliya by train and road, visiting a tea plantation to learn about Sri Lanka's most famous export. Of course, we'll enjoy a cup while we're there. [B,D]

Day 10. Nuwara Eliya

We tour the picturesque colonial town of Nuwara Eliya. Built by the British in the 19th century to escape the sweltering heat of the lowlands, this town still retains the charm of bygone days. We'll also visit beautiful St Clair and Devon Falls. [B]

Day 11. Nuwara Eliya - Tissamaharama

Travelling south towards the coast, we visit the spectacular waterfalls at Ella. This afternoon we arrive in Tissamaharama (or Tissa). Set amongst rice paddies and ruins, it is also the gateway to Yala National Park. [B,D]

Day 12. Yala National Park

This afternoon we embark on a safari in Yala National Park - the oldest and best-known of Sri Lanka's national parks. Created in 1938, the diverse range of habitats, including scrub jungle, brackish lagoons, lakes and rivers are home to leopards, elephants, wild buffalo, deer, black bears, macaques, jackals and a variety of birds. It's believed to have one of the highest-density leopard populations in the world. The national park also boasts a large number of important cultural ruins indicating previous civilisations. [B,D]

Day 13. Tissamaharama - Galle

Driving along Sri Lanka's beautiful south coast, we make our way to the Dutch colonial town of Galle. Here we'll take a city tour and visit its UNESCO World Heritage-listed sea fortress. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. [B,D]

Day 14. Galle

We enjoy a scenic cruise along the Madu River, watching locals go about their daily lives. We'll stop to visit a hatchery that was set up to conserve the turtle population, then visit a moonstone mine at Meetiyagoda. [B,D]

Day 15. Galle - Colombo

We make our way to the island nation's capital, Colombo. We'll take a guided tour of the city, including a stop at the famous Cricket Club Caf . Tonight we enjoy a group farewell dinner. [B,D]

Day 16. Depart Colombo

Today is at leisure before we bid farewell to Sri Lanka this evening and begin our journey home. [B]

Day 17. Arrive Australia

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