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A Tropical Experience

duration
Holiday By Design
12 Nights
Holiday By Design
13 Days
day Location/Route duration Overnight
Day 01 Arrival and transfer to Negombo. Spend the evening at leisure. Negombo
Day 02 Morning: Birding at the Muthurajawela Lagoon. Afternoon: Drive to Wilpattu Wilpattu
Day 03 Morning: Safari at the Wilpattu National Park. Afternoon: Drive to Sigiriya Sigiriya
Day 04 Morning: Visit the Hiriwaduna Village. Afternoon: Visit the UNESCO sites Sigiriya
Day 05 Morning: Visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Afternoon: Drive to Kandy en route visiting Matale famous for its spices & the Dambulla Rock Temple. Kandy
Day 06 Morning: White Water Rafting in Kitulgala. Evening: Sightseeing in Kandy Kandy
Day 07 Morning: Board the train to Nuwara Eliya. Evening: At leisure Nuwara Eliya
Day 08 Sightseeing in Nuwara Eliya Nuwara Eliya
Day 09 Morning: Drive to Tangalle. Spend the evening at leisure Tangalle
Day 10 Beach Stay Tangalle
Day 11 Beach Stay Tangalle
Day 12 Morning: Drive to Colombo. Afternoon: Sightseeing in Colombo Colombo
Day 13 Departure Transfer
Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Built by King Kasyapa (477 to 495 CE), the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress stands as a testament to the grandeur of Sri Lanka’s glorious past. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it features stunning boulder and water gardens and world-famous frescoes. At the summit, you’ll find the ruins of the king’s palace and a breath-taking view of the surroundings.

Architectural Tour of Kandy

Discover the rich architectural heritage of Kandy, the last Sri Lankan Kingdom to fall to the invading British. Today, it is one of the island’s major cities and home to an array of renowned attractions such as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Royal Palace and National Museum.

Begin your tour at the lively town centre, and observe the diverse mix of neo-colonial and colonial-style buildings. Enjoy quality time with celebrated architect Ruchira Wickremasinghe, a recipient of the Geoffrey Bawa Travel Award, as she walks you through the intricacies of Kandy’s architectural landscape. The 2.5 hour tour can begin at any time; however, the late hours of the afternoon are ideal.

Hot Air Ballooning around Sigiriya

Create lasting memories with a truly magical hot-air ballooning experience. Set off into the skies in the cool of the day and enjoy an exhilarating hour in the air. Take in famed sights such as the iconic Sigiriya Rock and enjoy the beauty of the verdant landscapes that blanket Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle.

Your flight starts bright and early at 06:00am, after a briefing on safety regulations. Upon landing, a range of mouth-watering refreshments awaits you. You will then head back to the launch site. The entire activity takes three hours and you will receive a certificate of completion. This experience is available from locations such as Sigiriya, Dambulla and Kandalama.

Colombo City Walk

Colombo's amazing Fort district still has the energy like in the late nineteenth century when the streets were teeming with ox carts and alive with the sounds and whiffs of the sea, as rubber, tea, cinnamon, kittul treacle, rope and peacocks were loaded aboard ships.

  • Take a walking tour of the Colombo's historic Fort district
  • Learn about the city's colonial past and pick up some photography tips
  • Sample some fiery street food!
  • Recap your walk over iced cold beers at the Dutch Hospital Complex

Taking a walking tour is one of the best things to do in Colombo city and Mark and his colleagues, natives from Colombo, have hosted walks in Colombo for several years under the Colombo City Walks banner.Starting at the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex in Fort and walk along the old colonial streets, away from your usual tourist spots, and seek out the colonial Dutch mansions and be a part of the history that is now commercial hub of Colombo. Explore the old Cargills building, visit the New Chinese shop, snap a picture outside the Pagoda Tea Rooms where Duran Duran filmed their iconic music video, Hungry Like The Wolf, and enjoy a cup of Ceylon Tea on the balcony of the Grand Oriental Hotel while taking in the sunset views of the Colombo Harbour.End your walk back at the Dutch Hospital, formerly a hospital during the 17th century, the complex is now host to high-end restaurants, bars and shops.  Relax, take a breather, admire the architecture, and have a drink… or two.

Location : Colombo.
Duration : 2 Hrs.
Best time to visit  : Morning or Evening

White water Rafting – Kitulgala

Conquer the cascading rapids in Kitulgala, Sri Lanka’s premier white-water rafting destination. Located in the island’s wet zone, the town lies on the scenic banks of the Kelani River. Navigate your way along a 6.5 km stretch, past the river’s seven, grade two and three rapids. Catch your breath, with a leisurely swim in the slow-flowing waters between the falls.

White-water rafting can be enjoyed throughout the year, but the months from May to December are ideal. Seasoned rafters may prefer the monsoon season when the waters swell significantly. Sessions last two hours and take place in the morning and afternoons.

Day 01
ARRIVAL AND TRANSFER TO NEGOMBO | OVERNIGHT IN NEGOMBO
Ayubowan!!! x
A warm welcome to Sri Lanka! Your guide from Holidays by Design will be present at the arrivals hall to greet you and assist you to your vehicle.
You could change your currency before departing the airport as this may come handy during your holiday. Banks are open 24/7
A short drive from the airport will take you to your hotel in Negombo (30mins)
Settle into your hotel, rest and relax from your journey.

Overnight accommodation in Negombo.

Day 02
BIRDING AT MUTHURAJAWELA & DRIVE TO WILPATTU | OVERNIGHT IN WILPATTU
Muthurajawela x
Muthurajawela Marsh evocatively translates as ‘Swamp of Royal Treasure’, a little-known gem of a wetland at the southern end of Negombo’s lagoon. The area was a rich rice-growing basin before the canal that was built, ruined the fields with seawater.
Over the centuries, Mother Nature turned Muthurajawela into Sri Lanka’s biggest saline wetland (the island’s largest peat bog), home to purple herons, cormorants and kingfishers. The wetlands provide a home to some 192 distinct species of flora and 209 species of fauna including the slender Loris and 102 species of birds as well as crocodiles, monkeys and even some rarely seen otters.
Wilpattu National Park x
Wilpattu National Park (Land of Lakes), occupying a large swathe of land stretching all the way up to the border of the Northern Province, the Wilpattu National Park is the largest in Sri Lanka., and was formerly the most popular until the onset of the civil war. The park reopened in 2009. The effects of long term poaching have reduced the overall density of wildlife. However the chances of spotting leopard and sloth bear are significant for which the park was once famous, not to mention elephants, deer and many types of bird. Equally the lack of visitors and the size of the area means that its also supremely peaceful compared to many of the other parks.An unusual feature of the Wilpattu topography is its numerous ‘villus’. These look like lakes though they are actually just depressions filled with rainwater, which expand and contract with the seasons, attracting a range of water birds and wildlife.

Optional: With an early start head to the Muthurajawela Lagoon in time for the boat ride (30mins). The experience will commence no later than 07.00 AM and would last for 2.5 hours, a packed breakfast will be arranged by the hotel this morning. You may bring along a Hat, Sun glasses, Sun cream & your Camera to make the most of your experience.

Over the centuries, Mother Nature turned Muthurajawela into Sri Lanka’s biggest saline wetland (the island’s largest peat bog), home to purple herons, cormorants and kingfishers. The wetlands provide a home to some 192 distinct species of flora and 209 species of fauna including the slender Loris and 102 species of birds as well as crocodiles, monkeys and even some rarely seen otters.

Proceeding the experience will head to the hotel. We will then head to Wilpattu (3.5 hours). Pit stops will be made en route to ensure a smooth journey.

This afternoon we will head to the Wilpattu National Park for a special safari experience for kids. During your game drive, the kids will be taught on bird watching techniques and spotting of local animal tracks. The experience will also end with a learning experience on how to spot burrows, identifying edible plants and basic navigation using the sun and moon.

This evening dinner will be arranged at the campsite. Kids will be quizzed and awarded to recognize their new-found knowledge based on their safari experience.
Overnight accommodation in Wilpattu

Day 03
HIRIWADUNA TREK & DRIVE TO SIGIRIYA | OVERNIGHT IN SIGIRIYA
Hiriwaduna Village x
Trek through a Sri Lankan Typical village. Teaming with birdlife, butterflies and possible sightings of crocodile only add to the charm of seeing the villagers as they go about their daily life. Take a moment to dive in further with a Bullock cart ride and join in the locals to pluck the daily catch, assist the locals with your culinary skills and sit down for a meal among them.
Sigiriya (UNESCO World Heritage site) x
The shortest lived but the most extraordinary of all Sri Lanka’s medieval capitals, declared a world heritage site, this ancient ruin was once the Capital of Kind Kasapa1. A lover of beauty, he ruled Sigiriya for 18 years, transforming the surroundings of his historical palace into a thing of beauty. Only 19 of the original 500 immortal frescoes, representing celestial maidens remain today. Its extensive network of beautifully laid out gardens; reservoirs and other structures including its unique plumbing system stand witness to the grandeur of its architecture, during its day.
It can be a hard 200m climb to the top, but once there, the view is magnificent.

Based on your sighting last evening you could plan your day. For wildlife enthusiasts another game drive would also be an option for this morning.

Proceeding breakfast, we will head to the Hiriwaduna Village to experience the local lifestyle (2.5 hours). A home cooked lunch will be arranged by the locals at the end of the day

We will then proceed to Sigiriya (30mins) Spend the afternoon at leisure. This evening we will visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

Dinner will be arranged at the hotel this evening. This evening a special movie screening of Disney’s Monkey Kingdom will be arranged for the kids. Eulogized by the movie, the visit to the lost city of Polonnaruwa on the following day will impress the kids.

Overnight accommodation in Sigiriya

Day 04
VISIT TO POLONNARUWA | OVERNIGHT IN SIGIRIYA
Polonnaruwa x
Polonnaruwa was once the ruling city of the country during the 8th century and the complex houses hundreds of archaeological structures that are best viewed in the soft sunlight and moderate temperatures of the early morning. Walking around the site, you’ll be surprised at how many monkeys have made their homes within the ruins.
Your host will guide you around a small area of the complex, where you will be able to stand just meters away from large groups of toque macaques and grey langurs (the purple-faced leaf eaters are visible but stay high up in the trees and so are more difficult to observe at close length). The monkeys’ unerring resemblance to humans, their social behavior patterns and their obvious intelligence makes them fascinating to observe. Your host will take you on a walk to follow the monkeys on foot and learn about monkey behaviors and the various challenges of monkey conservation.
Polonnaruwa (UNESCO World Heritage site) x
Polonnaruwa (UNESCO World Heritage site), one of the island’s two great ruined cities (the other being Anuradhapura) and a UNESCO World Heritage site blending both culture and religion is the 2nd recorded ancient kingdom that many visitors find the time or the archeological enthusiasm to visit. But as the two are significantly different it is difficult to call decisively in favour of either. The ruins at Polonnaruwa cover a smaller area, are better preserved and offer a more digestible and satisfied bite of ancient Sinhalese culture and there is nowhere at Anuradhapura to match the artistry of the Quadrangle and Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa rose to prominence between the 11th and 13th Centuries AD and peaked during the reign of its famous monarch, King Parakramabahu the Great. One of the best planned archaeological relic sites, it is famous for its reservoir the Parakrama Samudra (Sea of Parakrama) the best example of the advanced irrigation engineering and construction prevalent during ancient times that has stood the test of time and remains operational even today.

This morning with an early start we will head to Polonnaruwa (30mins). Packed breakfast will be arranged by the hotel. Our first stop will be at the Primate Center

Your experience will then extend into the UNESCO sites of Polonnaruwa.

We recommend having lunch at the Lake House this afternoon before heading back to the hotel. Spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
Dinner will be arranged at the hotel this evening.
Overnight accommodation in Sigiriya

Day 05
HOT AIR BALLOONING & DRIVE TO KANDY | OVERNIGHT IN KANDY
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This morning with an early start we will head for the most awaited Hot Air Ballooning Experience. Your experience commences no later than 06 AM and would last for about 02hours. Drinking water and fruit juice will be provided at the end of the experience.
Breakfast will be arranged at the hotel upon arrival. Rest and relax the afternoon.
We will head to Kandy (3 hours) en route a visit to the Dambulla Cave Temple could be made if preferred
Our stop for lunch will be at the Matale Spice Gardens alongside a education demonstration of different types of Spices and home remedies.
Matale x
Matale is a major town in a region famous for its spices. Spices pervade the air of this broad fertile valley at an elevation of 300 m.
Tea and rubber plantations of the mid and low grown variety, thrive here and interspersed are dozens of spice plantations. Cinnamon, pepper, vanilla, cinchona, cocoa and cardamom are found growing in profusion in the area. It is easy to recognise the sturdy jackfruit tree, a staple in the cuisine of country folk with its large fruit hanging among the large leaves and branches of these trees.

Upon arrival, Rest and unwind. Late evening, we will witness the cultural dance performance put together by the locals. You will find plenty of dining options this evening.

Overnight accommodation in Kandy

Day 06
WHITE WATER RAFTING | OVERNIGHT IN KANDY
Kitulagala x
This activity is for anyone above the age of 10 years with safety gear, modern rafts, and a comprehensive safety briefing will be given by our white-water rafting instructors beforehand. The distance covered is around 5 KMs. The river and its surrounding will make you feel enchanted, with a memorable Experience during your White-Water Rafting Tour in Kitulagala
Kandy (UNESCO World Heritage site) x
Kandy (UNESCO World Heritage site), is the Hill Capital of Sri Lanka, locally referred to as “Nuwara” meaning The Great City, the most scenic ancient city in the country and the only city that borders a natural reserve – the Udawatte Kele famous for its avifauna.
Sri Dalada Maligawa as its known locally or The Temple of the Tooth is one of the most sacred & famous Buddhist sites, not just in Sri Lanka but also in the religion worldwide.
The spectacular 17th century temple took nearly a hundred years to construct from 1687 to 1782 and houses the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Rituals are performed daily at 04:30, 10:30 and 6:30 p.m. The sacred square and old city centre within the temple complex contain the four shrines of the Gods Vishnu, Natha, Kataragama and the Goddess Pattini and many historical buildings and museums.The temple is host to one of Asia’s most celebrated festivals, The "Esala" procession, held during the month of July/August around the Full Moon. The casket of the tooth relic is paraded through the streets on the back of a tusked elephant in a grand procession followed by several traditional dancers, drummers and torch bearers accompanied by over a hundred beautifully costumed elephants.

An early start is recommended for this day in order to drive to Kitulgala (1.5 hours). Experience a White-Water Rafting in the picturesque Kelani River, covering 5 major rapids and 4 minor rapids.

Lunch will be arranged at the end of the experience. We will then head back to the hotel.

Spend the afternoon at leisure. This evening visit the highlights of the Kandy city.

Overnight accommodation in Kandy

Day 07
BOARD THE TRAIN TO NUWARA ELIYA | OVERNIGHT IN NUWARA ELIYA
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This morning after breakfast we will take a scenic train ride running through the tea plantations to Nuwara Eliya (4 hours). Please note that the trains in Sri Lanka are old and quaint and do not have restaurants or the best of restrooms.
Your guide will meet you at the railway station in Nanu Oya and you will proceed to the hotel. Settle in, rest and unwind from your journey.
This evening visit a tea estate and factory with your chauffeur guide for understanding of the process that goes into producing that cup of ‘Pure Ceylon Tea’. You might see the tea pickers at work or weighing their day’s haul at one of the many roadside weigh-stations. Dinner will be arranged at the hotel this evening.

Overnight accommodation in Nuwara Eliya

Day 08
SIGHTSEEING IN NUWARA ELIYA | OVERNIGHT IN NUWARA ELIYA
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Perched high up in the hills, nearly a mile above sea level, Nuwara Eliya at 1869 meters, sits like a sentinel overlooking tea country on all sides. Piduruthalagala, Sri Lanka's tallest peak is only a short way away.
A replica of English country towns with their lush greenery and profusion of gorgeous flora, Nuwara Eliya is touted as "Little England" with its Victorian houses, a colourful park, Lake Gregory, a racecourse and Hakkgala Gardens.
The climate is cool throughout the year with an annual average temperature of a chilly 15.9C and nearly 2,000 mm of rain, alternated by days of bright sunshine. The British established Nuwra Eliya in the 19th Century, to cater to the Europeans settled in Sri Lanka, to whom it came to be home away from home if only for short spells. Hindu pilgrims from around the world visit the Hanuman and Seetha Amman Temples based on the Ramayana epic of Rama & Seetha.

This morning after breakfast spend the morning at leisure.

Early afternoon we will visit the highlights of the city. The experience would include a visit to the Ambewela Farms, the strawberry factory, a picnic at the Hakkgala Gardens and the boat Ride at the Gregory Lake. The experience will end with a horse riding experience

A game of golf can be arranged for golf lovers at the Victoria Golf Resort. You will find plenty of dinning options this evening, please speak to the chauffeur for recommendations.

Overnight accommodation in Nuwara Eliya

Day 09
DRIVE TO MIRISSA | OVERNIGHT IN MIRISSA
Mirissa x
This morning after breakfast spend the morning at leisure.
Early afternoon we will drive to Mirissa (6 hours). Pit stops will be made en route to ensure a smooth journey.
Upon arrival, rest and relax.
Dinner will be arranged at the hotel this evening.

Overnight accommodation in Mirissa

Day 10/11
BEACH STAY | OVERNIGHT IN MIRISSA
Mirissa x
Mirissa, a couple of kilometers beyond Weligama are one of the most appealing places to spend a few days next to the sea in Southern Sri Lanka. With one of the nicest beaches along this stretch of coast and a fine swathe of sand tucked away into a pretty little bay, backed by a dense thicket of coconut palms – particularly lovely at night when the lights go on and the sands transform into a magical tangle of fairy lights.
Its not exactly unspoilt but development remains refreshingly low-key for the moment, confined to a string of fairly rustic little restaurants & guesthouses. Miriisa has developed into Sri Lanka’s leading whale-watching center with excellent chances of seeing blue and sperm whales close to shore. There is reasonable swimming though conditions vary considerably along different parts of the beach. Though you wont see much other than pretty little fish you can snorkel here. Snorkeling safaris and various other water sports activities including sport fishing, sea kayaking and cruises around the bay and beyond can be arranged.

Spend the day at leisure by the beach, another option would be to head for a whale watching experience.

Overnight accommodation in Mirissa

Day 12
DRIVE TO COLOMBO | OVERNIGHT IN COLOMBO
Colombo x
A dynamic capital that can vie with many a city around the world, it has evolved to be the commercial hub of the island connecting with several towns linked by a fine system of roads and railways connecting both the North, the South, the East and the hill country. A new expressway, one of many coming up, connects the international airport at Katunayake, with the capital - a 20 minute drive avoiding the busy sprawling towns on the old route. Crowded streets and peak hour traffic are the results of a long and formless urban straggle overflowing from Colombo.
Nevertheless, the city’s impressive commercial and cultural life grows apace and a heady mixture of Asian anarchy, colonial charm and modern progress defines its character. Showily opulent and shiny office blocks rub shoulders with tumbledown local cafes and shops while serene Buddhist shrines and colonial churches stand cheek-by--jowl with ornate, colourful Hindu temples - all evidence of a rich mix of races and religions, that has blossomed into this cosmopolitan city.
A rebuilt and revitalized Pettah, the more colonial styled Fort area, the renovated Dutch Hospital, the Independence Square, the Nelum Pokuna theatre hall, the Victoria Park, now ablaze with lights are all elegant architectural landmarks, that the city can justly be proud of.

This morning after breakfast we will take the southern expressway to head back to the city (3 hours). Please speak to the chauffeur If you prefer to make a pit stop at the service area

Packed breakfast could be arranged if required on this day. Pit stops will be made en route unorder to have a smooth journey.

Upon arrival, rest and relax the day.

Late this evening we will head to the Colombo city to visit the highlights. You will be navigating the city in a Tuk Tuk, another way to experience the local lifestyle and beat the traffic.

Your evening will end with a mouthwatering range of street food at the Galle Face Green. It’s also a great place to watch the locals and the art of kite flying.

Overnight accommodation in Colombo

Day 13
DEPARTURE TRANSFER

Depart in time for your flight back home.

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