Ceylan Adventure – Extended Tour

Sri Lanka offers a variety of mini climates, a wealth of fauna and flora, rugged terrain, high peaks, deep chasms, mountain gaps, high water falls and snaking rivers ideal for any eco, nature-adventure or trekking enthusiast. If its hiking/trekking you are interested in, Sri Lanka’s mist covered central mountains in Ella offers great opportunities. Trek through the nature of Horton Plains, characterized by forest patches, grasslands along with steep mountain passes, Trekking trails to Adams Peak ascent the holy mountain to witness the mystical shadow of the peak across the lowland plains, or if you are in Kandy the Knuckles Range wilderness area will take your breath away. If you prefer to bike it than walk, but aren’t keen to take on uphill climbs many low land trails are available which will take you through lush green paddy fields, rubber plantations and coconut groves. For those who seek more of a challenge, the hill country locations such as Knuckles Range offer steep trails ideal for the more experienced cyclist. A wealth of lagoons, rivers, swamps with interconnected canals offer the canoe/kayaking enthusiast endless opportunities to relax while enjoying nature, whilst for the more adventurous who find canoeing too tame for their taste, white water rafting in Kitulgala will suit you just fine. This part of the river is speckled with rapids from class 1 to 3.5 and will give everyone a ride of their life adorned with life jackets and safety gear.

PLEASE NOTE:
Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo Sri Lanka will undergo daily maintenance work between the hours of08:30 to 16:30 (8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.) from the 5th of January to the 5 th  of April 2017. All flights scheduled to arrive or depart during these times will be affected and will be subjected to a schedule change. Please consult your airline or travel agent with regards to the changes and advise Ceylan Vacations as soon as possible so that we can rebook arrival and/or departure transfers. Please note that during this time, your flight may change several times. So make sure to recheck your flight details several days prior to travel.







Highlights

  • Elephant Orphanage
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Hiriwaduna Village Trek
  • Elephant Ride
  • Hot Air balloon Ride (November to April).
  • 4x4 Jeep safari at Minneriya National Park
  • Technical visit to a Spice Garden and Batik Factory
  • Kobonilla- Deenston –Mini World’s End Trail
  • Kobonilla-Loolwatte-Corbett’s Gap Trail
  • Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Cultural Dance Show
  • Udawattakele sanctuary
  • Adams Peak (December to April)
  • Horton Palins & World’s End
  • Singharaja Rain forest (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Dolphin & Whale Watching (November to April).



Itinerary

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You will arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport and be met and warmly greeted by your chauffeur guide. Proceed to Negombo.Negombo is a characteristic fishing town north of Colombo and is a mere 6 km from the international airport. Set amidst lush groves of coconut palms, it breathes the spirit of the sea and is naturally a sea food paradise. Old - world fishing craft, like the outrigger canoe and the catamaran, bring seer, skipjack, herring, mullet, pomfret and amber jack, whilst lobster and prawn are caught in the lagoon. PM – If you’re not too tired, you could do some sightseeing.

After a hearty breakfast, you will leave for Habarana visiting the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage en-route. The Elephant Orphanage is the home for Elephants who have been displaced or lost from their natural habitat. This is the only such sanctuary in the world. You could watch the beasts gamboling in the water and the young ones being fed their quota of milk from handheld bottles. Continues to Habarana In the evening you will climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site) which is known as the 8th wonder of the world. This rock fortress was built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century A.D. and was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. In a sheltered a pocket, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes. The summit of the rock, with an area of nearly one hectare was the site of the palace and the outer wall was built on the very brink of the precipice. The UNESCO sponsored Central Cultural Fund has restored Sigiriya 5th century water gardens to their former glory.

After breakfast you will be given the chance to do an Elephant Ride on the back of a majestic elephant. You will ride through the jungle and also cross a river on an Elephant's back. This is truly an experience of a lifetime!! There after proceed on Hiriwaduna Village Trek Just a 10 minute drive away from Habarana lies the scenic village of Hiriwadunna with its unpaved gravel paths and humble village folk. Shaded on either side by dry zone shrub forest, the dusty gravel path and subsequently t he red soil of the tank bund will lead the visitors to an indigo reservoir which sets a stunning contrast of colours. A line of cormorants flying in formation will eventually stop to rest on a cormorant tree and the butterflies and dragonflies found at the edge of the shrubs create a kaleidoscope of colour that rivals the equally vibrant wild flowers. As you walk further the sight of Sigiriya rock fortress appears in the vicinity against the silent and still waters of the reservoir which is rippled only by a lone fisherman mounted on his catamaran. Soon it’s already time to take a catamaran ride! Across the reservoir awaits a chena farmer’s modest home; a setting that takes you back a few decades to enjoy a black Ceylonese tea brewed by the farmer’s wife. Experience the simple pleasures of village-life as you walk across the chena cultivations and through the nearby woods, to board a bullock cart – yet another ancient mode of the humble villagers’ transportation. Return to hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure

At 0530 hrs proceed to the ballooning site and at 0600 hrs weather permitting take a ride on a 01 hour hot air balloon flying high over the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.. Be one with nature, as you soar in the air in a hot air balloon, drifting over temples and the unspoilt wilderness that is characteristic of the Cultural Triangle which is no doubt an experience of a lifetime. (Season for hot air ballooning in Sri Lanka is only from November to April yearly.) Afternoon visit the Minneriya National Park and proceed on a safari. Minneriya National Park consists of 8890 hectares and consists of mixed evergreen forest, scrub areas and is home to Sri Lanka's favorites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants. The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena) and a significant feature is the “Elephant Gathering” which happens between July & August when the tanks and other water sources around the area dry out. When this happens the elephants living in the surrounding areas gather at the Minneriya Tank that never runs dry. During this period you could witness around 300 wild elephants at a glance which is a truly amazing sight.

After breakfast proceed to Nuwara Eliya visiting the famous waterfall known as 'Ramboda Falls' and a Tea Factory and Plantation. Ramboda Falls (109m and is the 11th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka) assures serenity and peace just by looking at it. Soak in the flora and fauna the Ramboda falls have to offer, which includes butterflies, wild boar, hare, deer, mouse deer and monkeys. If the weather is right, you could have a dip in the cool fresh waters which is a beautiful experience. Also you would visit a Tea Factory and Plantation where you would be educated on the production process of the world’s famous “Ceylon Tea” and also taste a factory fresh cuppa! Nuwara Eliya is set in the heart of The Tea Country and is a beautiful little town where the British succeeded in creating a replica of the English countryside with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne. Well-kept lawns with hedges, an Anglican church, a famous golf course and beautiful parks give the place an air of nostalgia. Situated 6,200 feet above sea level, the air is cool and fresh. This is surely a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city life. PM – Drive around the town and also visit Lake Gregory. It was built by the Governor William Gregory during 1872 – 1877 periods by utilizing water from the Nanu-Oya which runs across the town. It is about 91.2 hectares in extent. It was said to be used for water sports and for re-recreational activities during the British rule.

After breakfast proceed to Dambulla and visit Dambulla Cave Temple. Dambulla Cave Temple is a vast isolated rock mass and it was here that king Valagambahu took refuge in the 01st century B.C. He later turned the caves into a rock temple. Dambulla is a world heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and ceiling found here are over 2000 years old and is the largest area of painting found in the world. The caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock and spanning 14 meters. Continue to Knuckles Mountain Range visiting a Spice Garden and Batik Factory. Thereafter proceed to Knuckles Mountain Range. Originally, the villagers called this region the 'Dumbara Kanduvetiya' meaning 'misty mountains' . The area was then named as ‘Knuckles ‘ by British Surveyors, due to a prominent landscape feature – a group of five peaks extending from the west to the southeast of the country resembling the knuckles of a clenched fist. The Knuckles Mountain Range is a major ecotourism venue of Sri Lanka and has been declared a conservation area, now known as the KNUCKLES NATIONAL HERITAGE AND WILDERNESS AREA. Late afternoon do the KOBONILLA-DEENSTON-MINI WORLD’S END TRAIL A 20km trail. Enjoy the panoramic view from Mini World’s end (400m msl) located opposite the Deenston forest office. This area is within the Knuckles Conservation Forest.

After breakfast visit Udawatta Kele. Udawatta Kele Sanctuary or the Royal Forest Park of Kandy is situated on the hillside behind the Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth Relic. This forest extents about 257 acres and is considered to be a vital Bio reserve for the much populated Kandy City. Centuries back, area surrounding Kandy had been a Rain Forest and the human settlements took place during the era of King Panditha Parakramabahu (1302-1326 AD) and in 1371 AD, King Wickramabahu made Kandy his Kingdom. During this era Kandy was called as "Senkadagala". This name came into being due to a Brahmin named Senkanda, who lived in a cave at Udawattakele during that era. During the Kandyan Kingdom, this forest area behind the palace was called " Uda wasala watta" or the 'Upper Palace Garden' frequented by the royalty and was out of bound to the people. Afternoon leave for Nallathanni. Late night (approx 02.00 am) commence trek to Adam’s Peak (Allow approx 4 hrs to climb to the peak). All four major religions claim Adam's Peak as a holy mountain. Buddhists call the mountain Sri Pada (the sacred footprint), or Samanalakande (Butterfly Mountain) and believe the Lord Buddha has visited the mountain and set his sacred footprint. Hindu's say it's Lord Shiva's and Muslims believe that it is the place where Adam first set foot on earth, after being cast out of heaven. Catholics say it is of St. Thomas' the Christian Apostle who preached in South India. (The season to climb Adam’s Peak is between December and April)

Return to the hotel for breakfast & relax at the hotel until afternoon. Leave for Nuwara Eliya and relax.

Wake up early morning and proceed to Horton Plains National Park with packed breakfast. Lying 6500ft above sea level, this is the highest and most isolated plateau consisting of wide patna-grass covered plains which is the haunt of many wild, yet harmless animals and the home to many species of birds. Bridle paths will take you to the precipice known as World’s End – a sheer drop of 1,050 meters. Waterfalls are seen and heard everywhere. The 4 ½ km trek to World’s End takes from 40 minutes to 1½ hours depending on how many times you stop to admire the view. You cross a small streams with lots of croaking frogs before passing across the grassland and then descending a few hundred metres through the forest. Then you return to the main path and a track drops down to a valley along which a 2km walk leads to a small forested escarpment. A climb and then a scrambling descent (very slippery for the last few metres so take care) take you to the picturesque waterfall named Baker’s Falls. After this 11 km trek you would return to the hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing at the hotel.

After breakfast, proceed to Ratnapura the “City of Gems”[Travelling time by car –4 hours] OPTIONAL – sightseeing tour of the city In this well known city you can visit a gem mine to see the traditional mining techniques as fortune seeking miners clad in their loincloth excavate the earth searching for `Illama’ – the gem bearing gravel,

After early breakfast trek through the Sinharaja rain forest [Travelling time by car – approx 1 hour] With packet breakfast leave the hotel early to visit the Sinharaja Rain Forest with local guide. (Allow approx 3-4 hrs). In 1989 UNESCO recognized Sinharaja Forest as an international biosphere reserve and became a World Heritage Site. Sinharaja, the last significant stretch of rainforest on the island to be left largely undisturbed, maintains enormous national importance. It is home to a remarkable array of endemic species. For example, 95% of the endemic birds of Sri Lanka and more than half of its mammals and butterflies have been recorded here. Thereafter proceed to Mirissa

Early morning proceed on a Whale & Dolphin Watching Expedition at 0600 hrs. Sri Lanka is hot spot for Whale and Dolphin enthusiasts and is situated within the international whaling commissions protected zone in the Indian Ocean. Mirissa is in the hot zone in the south coast of Sri Lanka. Due to the calm seas, between November and April there is an outstanding window of opportunity for observing Blue and Sperm whales close to shore.

After breakfast Spend the day at leisure. Overnight stay at Mirissa

After breakfast proceed to the airport OR drop at your selected beach resort for extended stay.

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