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Tea & Culture

duration
Holiday By Design
07 Nights
Holiday By Design
08 Days
day Location/Route duration Overnight
01 Arrival and Transfer to Negombo (40 minutes) Negombo
02 An early start to Sigiriya (3.5 hours) visiting the Dambulla Cave Temple en route. Sigiriya
03 Morning: Climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Afternoon (option): relax with an Ayurveda massage Sigiriya
04 Morning: continue on to Kandy (3.5 hours) visiting the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage en route. Evening: attend a cultural dance performance and/or visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Kandy
05 Morning drive to Nuwara Eliya (3.5 hours). Evening: at leisure Nuwara Eliya
06 Morning: visit a tea plantation and tea factory. Evening: at leisure Nuwara Eliya
07 Morning: drive down to Colombo (5 hours). Evening: tour of the city’s highlights. Nuwara Eliya
08 Departure
Elephant Orphanage

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. Established in 1975, with the noble intention of providing care for orphaned elephants, today it serves as a nursery and a captive breeding ground for Asian elephants. Countless visitors from all over the island and the world visit this charming attraction throughout the year.

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.

Dambulla Cave Temple

The Dambulla Cave Temple is known to be the best-preserved and largest cave temple complex that is found in Sri Lanka. With over 80 documented caves spread across the vicinity, the Dambulla Cave Temple has rightfully earned its name as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 153 statues of Lord Buddha can be found in this temple which is also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla.

Kandy Four Temple Loop Tour

Spend half a day exploring four of Kandy’s famed medieval temples. Join your personal archaeologist on an informative, 3.5 hour coach tour of the Degaldoruwa, Embekka, Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya Buddhist temples. Feast your eyes on the magnificent Kandyan murals on the ceiling of Degaldoruwa Temple. Witness the wonderful fusion of Buddhist and Hindu culture at Gadaladeniya Temple.

Take in the exquisite craftsmanship of the woodwork at Embekka Temple. Observe the traditional Sinhalese design of the Lankatilaka Temple, and discover the inscriptions carved into the rocks. Setting off in the morning is ideal, as the tour involves approximately 1.5 hours of travel to / from your hotel.

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

01
ARRIVAL AND TRANSFER TO NEGOMBO | OVERNIGHT IN NEGOMBO

Ayubowan!!!
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.
For convenience sake you may want to change your currency before departing the airport. Banks are open 24/7
A short drive from the airport will take you to Negombo (30 minutes)
Settle in, rest and relax from your journey.

02
VISIT THE DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE & SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS| OVERNIGHT IN SIGIRIYA
Dambulla – The Golden Temple (UNESCO World Heritage site) x
At the heart of the cultural triangle, so called because it encloses some of the most ancient of historical sites and cities - chiefly Anuradhapura, Polannaruwa and Sigiriya, lies Dambulla known for its famous Golden Rock Temple, a most impressive cave monastery and one of the largest in South Asia. Of the 157 Buddha statues found in the five dimly lit grottos, 73 were gold plated at the behest of King Nissanka Malla, the 12-century monarch. Its walls decorated with some of the finest murals in the country are a showcase of sacred Buddhist art at its finest. A sacred pilgrimage site for nearly 22 centuries, it has been declared a world heritage site. Its spectacular setting on a massive rock overlooking the plains of Kurunegala, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the Ritigala mountain range, is truly awe-inspiring.

This Morning you will proceed to Sigiriya (3.5 hours). En route you will visit the Dambulla Cave Temple.

Settle in rest an relax upon arrival.

03
CLIMB THE SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS| OVERNIGHT IN SIGIRIYA
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.

An early start with an exhilarating climb up Sigiriya - an ancient palace fortress, which sits atop a granite outcrop. It is arguably the most extraordinary of all Sri Lanka’s medieval Capitals dating back to the 5th Century.

Spend the afternoon at leisure and indulge in a rejuvenating spa experience at the hotel.

04
VISIT THE ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE AND MATALE SPICE GARDENS EN ROUTE TO KANDY | OVERNIGHT IN KANDY
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage x
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is home to the world’s largest troupe of captive pachyderms. The animals here range from newborns to elderly matriarchs and include abandoned elephants and those injured in the wild. Twice daily, the elephants are driven to the Ma Oya river for a leisurely bath but its best to coincide your visit with feeding time – watching the orphaned youngsters guzzle copious quantities of milk from oversized baby bottles – an amazing experience. Feeding times are 09:15 am, 13:15 pm and 17:15 pm.
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 interspersed with dozens of spice plantations. Cinnamon, pepper, vanilla, cinchona, cocoa and cardamom are found growing in profusion in the area. It is easy to recognize the sturdy jackfruit tree, a staple in the cuisine of country folk with its large fruit hanging off the branches of these trees.
Kandy (UNESCO World Heritage site) x
Kandy (UNESCO World Heritage site), the Hill Capital of Sri Lanka, locally referred to as “Nuwara” meaning The Great City, is 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 only in Sri Lanka but the world over This 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. Nestled in the highlands, not only does its rich historical significance make “Nuwara” a popular tourist destination, but also the many shops displaying precious and semi-precious stones, skillfully crafted jewelry, handicrafts, colorful batiks and silks, and local food add unforgettable flavor to this crowded but beautiful city.

Ideally an early start no later than 07:00 is recommended so you may arrive at the Elephant Orphanage in time for the elephant feeding. The approximate travel time to the orphanage is around 2.5 hours.
The entire experience including the herds amble down to the river for their daily bath will take around 2 – 2.5 hours.
You will then proceed to the Matale Spice Gardens (2.5 hours). Speak to your guide for recommendations for lunch en route.
Proceed to Kandy, rest and relax from your journey.
Late afternoon stroll through the busy market and end your evening with a visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic followed by a colorful cultural performance.

05
DRIVE TO NUWARA ELIYA | OVERNIGHT IN NUWARA ELIYA
Nuwara Eliya x
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 drive away. A replica of English country towns with their lush greenery and profusion of gorgeous flora, Nuwara Eliya is touted as "Little England". Its Victorian houses, colourful park, golf course, Lake Gregory, a racecourse, Hakkgala Gardens and a number of hotels including colonial structures like the Hill Club and the Grand Hotel which lives up to its name to this day should be included in your ‘to do’ list. A uniquely converted tea factory hotel, with amazing attention to detail built among tea gardens is well worth a visit. 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 Nuwara 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. However, it grew to be Sri Lanka's foremost holiday resort with the town coming alive in April. A weeklong calendar of events, including horse and motor races, are its biggest attraction. Holidaymakers in droves converge on Nuwara Eliya during the season. Hindu pilgrims from around the world visit the Hanuman and Seetha Amman Temples based on the Ramayana epic of Rama & Seetha.

This morning you will drive through a scenic landscape of tea plantations to Nuwara Eliya, visiting the Seetha Amman Temple & Seetha Eliya (3.5 hours).

06
VISIT A TEA FACTORY | OVERNIGHT IN NUWARA ELIYA

Spend the morning at leisure
This evening you will visit a tea estate and factory with your chauffeur guide, for an understanding of the process that goes into producing that cup of ‘Pure Ceylon Tea’. Your experience will include an introduction of tea to Sri Lanka and its journey since.

07
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 with a heady mixture of Asian anarchy, colonial charm and modern progress which 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, are all elegant architectural landmarks, that the city can justly be proud of.

This morning after breakfast you will head to Colombo (5.5 hours)
Spend the afternoon at leisure!
This evening explore the busy streets of Colombo with your chauffeur.

08
DEPARTURE

You will leave for the airport in time for your departure flight.

Add on

A list of a few activities you may want to add on to your experience…

  • In and around Negombo & Colombo – visit the Fish Market or the Lellama - where the fishing boats come ashore for the auction / Lagoon Fishing / Tea Tasting in Colombo / Night cycling tour of the city / Dinner at the Ministry of Crab in Colombo / Water Sports activities at Bolgoda Lake / Shopping for Linen clothing
  • In and around Kandy – Experience the Temple loop / Garrison cemetery / Cookery Lesson

Location Accommodation Meal Plan
Negombo Jetwing Beach Bed & Breakfast Basis
Sigiriya Heritance Kandalama
Kandy Kings Pavilion
Nuwara Eliya Heritance Tea Factory
Colombo Galle Face Hotel

What to Pack!

  • Socks – as footwear have to be removed when visiting places of worship. You could be walking on heated paving, gravel or cement. Also shoulders and knees should be covered
  • Footwear – choose comfy shoes - sneakers, sandals or similar
  • Shawl – to cover your shoulders or dress up!
  • A sweater or light jacket if you plan to visit the Hill Country
  • Sunscreen, Sun hat, Sunglasses, Travel Umbrella or lightweight raincoat

Notes:

  • Train tickets strictly subjected to availability
  • All drive times are approximate and subject to road conditions
  • Alcohol is not served on “POYA DAYS” (FULL MOON) and other days prohibited by the Government
  • The standard check in time is 14:00 at Hotels
  • The standard check out time is 11:00 from Hotels
  • Gratuity: tour guides & drivers are tipped at the end of the tour
  • Online visa application link: http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/
  • Purposeful Tourism: Your support: www.hbdasia.com USD 1 from every booking supports a cause
  • Holidays by Design terms and conditions (www.hbdasia.com/terms.html)
  • Connect with us via FB: www.facebook.com/hbdasia or Twitter on https://twitter.com/hbd_asia

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