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Paradise Island – Packaged

duration
Holiday By Design
12 Nights
Holiday By Design
13 Days
day Location/Route duration Overnight
Day 01 Arrival Negombo
Day 02 En route the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Habarana
Day 03 Visit the Sigiriya Rock For & Minneriya National Park Habarana
Day 04 Dambulla Cave Temple & tour of Kandy City Kandy
Day 05 Village Walk & Cookery Demo Kandy
Day 06 Train to Ella Ella
Day 07 Sightseeing in Ella Ella
Day 08 Drive to Tissa Tissamaharama
Day 09 Yala National Park Safaris Tissamaharama
Day 10 Beach Stay Unawatuna
Day 11 Beach Stay Unawatuna
Day 12 Beach Stay Unawatuna
Day 13 Explore Galle Fort & Colombo. Departure
Galle Dutch Fort

Galle Dutch Fort is a proud structure that still stands tall and mighty in southern Sri Lanka. Built by the Portuguese over 400 years ago, the fort was fortified by the Dutch, upon their invasion of the island. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visited and admired by many, all through 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.

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

Day 01
ARRIVAL AND TRANSFER TO NEGOMBO | OVERNIGHT IN NEGOMBO
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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. 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 Colombo (1 Hour) Settle into your hotel rest and relax from your journey.
Day 02
TRANSFER TO HABARANA, VIA PINNAWALA | OVERNIGHT IN HABARANA
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, as well as 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 enormous quantities of milk from oversized baby bottles is one of the cutest sights you will ever see. Feeding times are 09:15 am, 13:15 pm and 17:15 pm.

Set out after a leisurely breakfast through rural Sri Lanka, heading to Habarana in the Cultural Triangle. En route you will visit the Pinnawala Elephant orphanage (Approx. 4.30 Hours’ drive).

Evening at leisure!

Day 03
SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS & MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK | OVERNIGHT IN SIGIRIYA
Sigiriya (UNESCO World Heritage site) x
Sigiriya (UNESCO World Heritage site), 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.
Minneriya National Park x
Minneriya National Park: Offers something of a change of scenery from anyone suffering from ruin fatigue. Set amidst a beautiful landscape of open country, the park is located ten minutes east of Habarana. Its central attraction is its ancient reservoir constructed by King Mahasena.

Rated, as the World’s 6th greatest wildlife spectacle by Lonely Planet, “The Gathering”, the largest meeting of Asian elephants anywhere in the world is the principle attraction at Minneriya, which forms part of the elephant corridor that joins up with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa National Parks.

During their migrations between the various parks when water levels dry up, as many as three hundred or more come to the tanks ever-receding shores to drink, bathe, socialize and feed on the fresh grass that grows up from the lake bed as the waters retreat. They are most numerous from July to October peaking in August and September.

This morning after breakfast, set out on 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.

Return to your hotel and take a rest before setting out on a safari to the scenic Minneriya National Park.

Day 04
VISIT DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE & TRANSFER TO KANDY | OVERNIGHT IN KANDY
Dambulla 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, Polonnaruwa 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.
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 recognize 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.
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. in the religion worldwide.

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 beautiful city.

This morning, head out to the central highlands, stopping on the way to explore the Dambulla Cave Temples (Approx. 4.5 hours’ drive)

Proceed to Kandy via Matale. If you love fresh spices, you may visit a spice garden en route. (Approx. 1.5 Hours’ drive)

Continue on to Kandy.

Day 05
VILLAGE WALK & COOKERY DEMO | OVERNIGHT IN KANDY
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This morning, your host at The Kandyan Manor will accompany you through the village to the local market to pick your choice of vegetables, while learning the names and the varieties of different types of vegetables that are locally grown for village folks. You could also witness the cutting and cleaning of fresh fish.

Back at the property, join the kitchen to help cook lunch. Learn to prepare a complete meal with a variety of curries on fire wood. From scraping the coconut, extracting the milk to the pounding of the sambol, using ancient tools and methods.

The rest of the evening is at your leisure to relax or enjoy a stroll to explore more of the village.
Day 06
TRANSFER TO ELLA | OVERNIGHT IN ELLA
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Continue your drive to a cooler climate further up in the hills to Ella (Approx. 4.5 Hours’ drive).

The drive will take you through the winding roads up into the hills through tea plantations and beautiful landscapes. Visit Nuwara Eliya on the way.

Evening at leisure!
Day 07
EXPLORE THE LOCALITY | OVERNIGHT IN ELLA
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Ella - If it’s sheer magnificent beauty that you seek, Ella has to be on your list. Famous for the stories that intertwine with the epic story – “Ramayana” from India said to have used by King Ravana to imprison Princess Sita from Lord Shiva, is a must visit destination on your visit to the tea country. Ella is also home to the life-giving “Ravana Falls”.

Due to its elevation, Ella enjoys a cooler climate that supports an amazing variety of lush flora and fauna. This same elevation allows Ella to provide clients with unique opportunities for Adventure. Ella is highly regarded as a destination for providing some of the most admired views. Take a stroll on the road less travelled. Experience kayaking at the Buduruwagala Reservoir, or a relaxing cycle tour absorbing the picturesque Ravana Falls, or enjoy bird watching at Ella jungle.

Take a train ride to absorb the scenic beauty of this area from the tracks, it is sure to leave you in awe. Don’t forget the nighttime either; if you are lucky on a clear night, you will be able to see the Galle City - Light House.

Spend the day at leisure to explore and admire the sceneries of the locality

A hike up Little Adams Peak would of interest or your Chauffeur Guide will be happy to accompany you on short walking trails.

Day 08
TRANSFER TO TISSAMAHARAMA | OVERNIGHT IN TISSAMAHARAMA
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After breakfast, you will proceed to Tissamaharama (Approx. 3 Hours’ drive), located a few Km away from Yala.

The drive will be through stunning terrains, passing waterfalls and rural villages.

You will witness small huts put up by village vendors to sell fruits, vegetables and buffalo curd. Request your Chauffeur for stops on the way should you wish to experience a stop by one of these huts.

Continue to Tissamaharama to spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 09
MORNING & AFTERNOON SAFARI AT YALA NATIONAL PARK | OVERNIGHT IN TISSAMAHARAMA
Yala National Park x
Yala National Park - With an area covering 1260 square kilometers, of which only one-fifth of the area is open to visitors, Yala not surprisingly, is still the most visited reserve located in the deep south. The rest of the Park is a strict natural reserve, and you are only allowed entry into the park in a vehicle.

Its charm lies in its unspoilt dry zone landscape, dotted by low scrub; rocky outcrops, lush green trees and its serene lakes are particularly magical. The views from Sithulpahuwa are special!

The main attraction and thrill in Yala is to spot leopard and perhaps the cubs too, the largest population of leopard in a natural environment – approximately 40 in Block 1. The park is home to 44 species of mammals including elephants and the sloth bear, and an incredible 215 bird species; Huddles of colorful painted storks among many a species of waders found feeding on the edge of the water holes, the sight of dozing crocodiles, elephants cooling off in the water or quenching their thirst, or a glimpse of the elusive sloth bear, leave an indelible mark on any nature lover.

An early start for a game drive into Yala, one of the most popular and scenic parks where chances of spotting leopard, elephant and the sloth bear among others rate high.
Venture into the National Park for a second Safari, before returning to the hotel to share the Photographic Moments of the day.

Day 10
DRIVE TO UNAWATUNA | OVERNIGHT IN UNAWATUNA
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This morning after breakfast we will head to Unawatuna (3.5 Hours’ drive). Spend the rest of the evening at leiure.
Day 11- 12
BEACH STAY | OVERNIGHT IN UNAWATUNA
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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.

Mirissa 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.

This morning after breakfast we will proceed to Mirissa (1 Hour)

Settle in rest and relax from the journey.

Day 13
TRANSFER TO COLOMBO VIA GALLE | DEPARTURE TRANSFER
Galle Fort (UNESCO World Heritage site) x
The Port city of Galle has grown from its ancient origins into Sri Lanka's 5th largest city, but it differs from the rest in terms of character & atmosphere. Its sea front gives it a languid air. At the heart of the city - but strangely detached from it - lies the Old Dutch Quarter known as the Fort. Dutch administrators and those in their service lived within the Fort protected by its city walls and the ramparts by the sea. Its entrance, a massive archway gives it a medieval air and appears magically time warped, with its red tiled Dutch period villas, their open verandahs facing the narrow streets, bearing names like Church Street, Leyban Street and such like.

A well-preserved townscape with a number of imposing churches, Dutch period storehouses, a courthouse and a lighthouse jutting out to sea, it has lasted through the centuries. A stroll on its lengthy ramparts overlooking a natural harbour at sunset is a must. Other places to visit include a marine museum, the St. Mary’s Church and thoughtfully restored Amangalle, a historic luxury hotel.

Life moves at an easy pace within the Fort. Visitors may relax at any of its several arty restaurants and watering holes. The Galle Literary Festival is a much sought after annual event that has secured its place on the cultural calendar." The Festival throws, people, cultures, hot ideas, hot food, laughter, poetry and arrack together in a beautiful country. Pointless to resist," Sebstian Faulks a participant had this to say of the event.

Outside the Fort, Galle has a cricket stadium and a string of resort hotels along its coast; a favourite for visitors, has been the beautiful stretch at Unawatuna beach.
Colombo x
Colombo - 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, which 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.

Not always the bustling metropolis today with its crowded bazars and tuk-tuks weaving among the kamikaze traffic of a vibrant city, Colombo developed from small beginnings as a garden city with its tranquil suburbs, when it took precedence over the ancient Kotte Kingdom. The Beira Lake in Colombo and a network of canals around the city extending to Negombo, is yet another unused Dutch legacy.

Continue on to the Southern capital of Sri Lanka, Galle (Approx. 3.5 Hours’ drive). On the way you will pass small rural and fishing villages. Look out for the famous stilt fisherman carefully balancing on their stilts.

You could also witness the fisherman auctioning their days catch by the road side or simply stop to quench your thirst with coconut water while gazing at the Indian Ocean.

Explore the historic Fort with its quaint narrow streets buzzing with activity. We will then proceed for a scenic drive to Colombo (Approx. 2.5 Hours’ drive). You will be taken on a panoramic tour around the city this afternoon.

Colombo is a great place to try street food, ideally at Galle face along the marine stretch. Later in the evening, transfer to the airport for the flight home. (Approx. 45 Mins drive)

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