DAY 01 (Airport – Habarana )
Welcome to Sri Lanka! Upon the arrival at the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, you will be warmly received by our representative from Crystal Holidays. You will be given your4WD drive vehicle and Drive to Habarana
After dinner a 4WD Adventure trail in Habarana Jungle to see wild elephants. The trip will start about 9 pm and will ask for maximum 2 hrs, this is a good opportunity to see and study elephants behavior in the night also track you to see other nocturnal species such as slender loris
Overnight stay in Habarana
DAY 02 (Habarana – Minneriya – Habarana)
Climb the Rock Cliff by purpose built 4WD Jeep. This is a very adventurous and a scenic 4WD trail. You would be able to witness very picturesque places in Habarana and sometimes will encounter with Elephants in the Jungle. Also you will be taken to traditional rice fields of Habarana where you will gain experience how village farmers protect their crops from the wild. A traditional bullock cart ride through the Hiriwadunna village in to a typical rural dwelling of a local, to enjoy a cup of tea made the local way and served steaming hot
Afternoon we proceed to start the wild life safari by Jeepin the Minneriya National Park to experience the largest gathering of elephants in the world
Watch the Great Elephant Gathering at Minneriya National Park on this private jeep safari. Accompanied by an experience safari game driver, experience “The Gathering,” a name given to the elephants that assemble on the banks of the Minneriya Reservoir during the dry season. The Minneriya gathering is the world largest grouping of wild Asian elephants at any given time. View the famous elephants as they graze on the grasses growing on the tank bed. Perhaps you’ll spot any of the park’s diverse wildlife, including leopards, sloth bears, deer, wild buffalo, wild pigs, grey langers, purple-faced leaf monkeys, porcupines, and assorted birds the end of the safari, head back to Habarana
BBQ Dinner & Overnight stay in Habarana
Minneriya National Park – This National Park, 8,889 hectares in extent is famous for its large population of elephants in herds of 100 to 150 roaming in the jungle and seen in the catchment area of the Minneriya Lake. About 300 wild elephants, wild buffaloes, wild boar, spotted deer, sloth bear, sambar, leopards, crocodiles, jackals, 9 kinds of amphibians, 25 kinds of reptiles, 160 species of birds, 26 varieties of fish, 78 varieties of butterflies are recorded from the Minneriya National Park.
DAY 03 (Habarana – Anuradhapura – Mihintale – Aukana – Habarana)
After breakfast we set off to explore one of the oldest kingdoms in Sri Lanka and the world, Anuradhapura, which even out did Egypt in terms of time of reign.
Visit the ruins of the first capital of Sri Lanka founded in the 05th century BC. Here is found the largest number of ancient monuments of the great civilization of Sinhalese.
Thereafter visit Mihintale a place of much spiritual significance to Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Mihintale is the place from which Buddhism originated in the country. In 247 BC, King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura, while deer hunting in the vicinity around the hill at Mihintale, met Mahinda, son of the great Indian Buddhist Emperor Asoka, and was converted to Buddhism. This great event is celebrated each year as a festival at Mihintale on the Poson full moon night which is generally in the month of June.
The climb to Mihintale is not strenuous – it takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The best time to climb is in the early morning or the late afternoon. It is a fabulous place to see the sunset. Mihintale is not touristy at all. Archaeologists and historians say that the ruins of the great 40 foot stupa and the surrounding caves date back to the 1st century B.C.
Visit Aukana one of Sri Lanka’s most perfect and elegant statues. This Buddha statue was carved during the reign of king Datusena in the 5th century. Height of this Buddha statue is more than 40 feet (12 m) and resting on beautiful lotus stone pedestal. This amazing Buddha statue carved according to the asisa mudra and this statue has built in a mathematical way. That is, when rainy days you can see drops of water that falling from the point of nose straightly down to the center of between lord Buddha’s feet. It demonstrates erect of this statue. This statue carved out of the single rock.
Dinner &Overnight stay in Habarana
DAY 04 (Habarana – Sigiriya – Matale – Knuckles)
After breakfast climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress and thereafter leave for Knuckles
Falling within Kandy and Matale districts, the Knuckles Range covers an area of about 160 sq km. With its rugged mountains and spectacular sceneries, it is without a doubt one of the most scenic parts in the Sri Lankan Highlands and a real paradise for those who love hiking and mountain biking. The scenic trails will take you across the mountains, crystal clear rivers and dense forests to flowing waterfalls, lush tea plantations and traditional little villages, surrounded by colorful home gardens and terraced paddy fields, – a world away from the fast-paced city life. The Knuckles area represents also a great variety of different forest types and climate zones which makes it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts, botanists and researchers.
En-route visit the Spice Garden in Matale and take part in a conducted tour to get some knowledge about the growth and use of spices in the day to day life of Sri Lankans.
Dinner & Overnight stay in Knuckles Mountain Range
Sigiriya – Home to the 5th century ‘Fortress in the Sky’ built by King Kasyapa which is perhaps the most fantastic single wonder of the Island. It is also known as Lion Rock because of the huge lion that used to stand at the entrance to the fortress. Within its triple-moated defence, the huge rock rises to a sheer height of almost 500 feet. On its summit are the foundations of what was once a great and sumptuous palace and gardens complete with swimming pool. On one of the stairways, the only known ancient work of Sinhala secular painting survives in the form of frescoes of life-sized damsels in all the freshness and delicacy of their original colours.
DAY 05 (Knuckles)
After breakfast discover the beautiful Knuckles mountain range during this unique private Safari.
Knuckles mountain range, is a conservation area of great importance and forms the better part of the Knuckles National Heritage and Wilderness Area.
It acquired its name because its appearance resembles a mighty clenched fist that looms over the horizon. It is a popular destination for nature trails and walking safaris, due to its beautiful scenery and unique landscapes. The wildlife at Knuckles displays a high degree of endemic with many species being endemic not only to Sri Lanka but to this particular region itself. Thus it is a haven for botanists, researchers and nature enthusiasts.
Dinner & Overnight stay in Knuckles Mountain Range
DAY 06 (Knuckles – Kandy)
After breakfast we continue our journey of exploring the history, heritage and culture in Sri Lanka by drivingdown to the vibrant city of Kandy, the last Kingdom of Sri Lanka.
Evening visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic of Buddha – by far the most important place of worship for Buddhists world over and witness a Cultural Show by traditional Kandyan Dancers and Drummers including “Fire Walking”.
Dinner & Overnight stay in Kandy
Kandy – The hill capital; venue of the annual Esala Perahera (Local festival in Kandy); the last stronghold of the Sinhala kings, was finally ceded to the British in 1815. Surrounded by hills, the Mahaweli River and the virgin forest, it is the center of Buddhism, arts, crafts and culture in Sri Lanka. Kandy is an example of Buddhism’s influence in Sri Lanka today. Temples,shrines and monasteries keep Buddhist traditions alive. To Buddhists of Sri Lanka and the world, Kandy is one of the most sacred sites as it is the home of the ‘Dalada Maligawa’ – Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. One would always return a second time to this beautiful city.
Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) – According to legend, the tooth was taken from the Buddha as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was smuggled to Sri Lanka in 313 AD, hidden in the hair of Princess Hemamali who fled the Hindu armies besieging her father’s kingdom in India. The temple was originally built under Kandyan kings between 1687 and 1707, but later severely damaged during the 18th-century colonial wars against the Portugese and Dutch. After the wars, the original wooden structures were restored in stone
DAY 07 (Kandy – Nuwara Eliya)
After breakfast, visit Gadaladeniya temple & Embekke temple are important attractions in the city of Kandy. All these temples were originated during the Gampola period of ancient Sri Lanka. These temples suppose to demonstrate the highly developed construction abilities of Sri Lankan craftsman. The Paintings and wood carvings of these three temples considered being masterpieces of an ancient artisan of the island. Gadaladeniya templeis located on a small natural hill made of granite stones, the temple is surrounded by a small hamlet.
Thereafter leave for Nuwara Eliya is one of the most scenic city & Little England of Sri Lanka
En route visit a Tea Factory and a Plantation to witness the manufacturing process of the world famous “Ceylon Tea” and to taste a pure un-blended cup of factory fresh tea. Also pass by eye-catching views with waterfalls
Dinner & Overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya – The ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, is set against beautiful backdrops of mountains, valleys, waterfalls and tea plantations and is 6,200 feet above sea level. In 1826 some British Officers out on shooting, chanced on Nuwara Eliya plains, and Sir Edward Barnes investigated on it. In 1828 a road was constructed over the ridge at Ramboda Pass and a station for convalescent soldiers was established. It is supposed to be one of the coldest places on the Island, but is really just like an England spring day although the temperature does drop at night. The Victoria Park, in the middle of the town, is a lovely place for a stroll or a picnic.
Tea Plantations – Tea was first planted in Sri Lanka in 1824 at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, when a few plants were brought from China. More were introduced from Assam in 1839. In 1867, a Scottish planter named James Taylor planted tea seedlings in 8 hectares of forestland in the Loolkondura Estate. In 1873, the tea export industry of Sri Lanka began with a modest 23 lbs. being shipped to London.
DAY 08 (Nuwara Eliya – Udawalawe)
After breakfast transfer to Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants, as well as many other animals
Jeep safari at Udawalawe National park, this park is the third most visited park in all of Sri Lanka and presents visitors with a fusion of flora and fauna. Herds of elephants, buffalos, deer and leopards are what you are destined to see on your day tour of the Udawalawe Jeep Safari.
Dinner & Overnight stay in Udawalawe
Uda Walawe National Park– With an area of 30,821 hectares, this park covers the catchment area of Uda Walawe Reservoir with boundaries running into Ratnapura and Monaragala districts at the southeastern part of Sri Lanka. Haputale & Kaltota mountain ranges, seen from the park give a picturesque view. It provides a home for displaced animals from Walawe Development Project. Rich in elephant population, the park is having an estimated 500 or more elephants. They roam about in herds of 50-100 at times. The park is known to be a good breeding ground for baby elephants, guarded by their elders and seen round the year. To see elephants in their natural habitat, visitors are advised to travel in Jungle Green vehicles and similar coloured clothes since elephants quickly spot white and bright colours.
DAY 09 (Udawalawe – Rekawa)
After breakfast leave for Rekawa is a village in the south of Sri Lanka very close to the sea at Tangalle which is a famous turtle nesting region since it opens up to the Indian Ocean all the way south to the pole.
Admire beautiful sea turtles and take part in efforts to protect them at Turtle Conservation Project Turtle Watch. Join a group of around 20 people and watch as the turtles lay eggs on the beach. The organization protects the turtles and provides them with a safe place for hatching, far from natural predators, on a beach that’s cleaned daily in order to provide adequate nesting grounds. Tours take place at night; you’ll be asked not to take photos or disturb the turtles in any way.
Afternoon fishing boat ride in Rekawa
Dinner & Overnight stay in Rekawa
DAY 10 (Rekawa – Galle – Colombo)
Early morning leave for Whale watching with packed breakfast
Whale watching -Eastern coast season is May to Oct, Trincomalee, 257km East of Colombo has become one of the largest animal to inhabit earth. With resident and migratory colonies being spotted off the island’s south west coast, Sri Lanka is fast becoming a top spot to watch Blue Whales, Sperm Whales and Dolphins. The month of July has been extremely good for Blue Whale sightings. So, if you are heading towards the southern coast, jump on aboard a whale watching expedition for an exhilarating experience of a lifetime and don’t miss out on one of nature’s biggest wildlife spectacles in the Ocean.
Thereafter leave for Colombo, a port city, with a rich colonial heritage, on the Western coast is a potpourri of races, religions and cultures.
En-route Visit the Galle Fort which was built first by the Portuguese, then modified by the Dutch during the 17th century. Even today, after 400 years of existence, it looks new and polished with reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. Inside the Galle fort, in a Dutch Colonial building on Church Street, the Cultural Museum is located.
Dinner & Overnight stay in Colombo
DAY 11 (Colombo – Airport)
After breakfast drive to Bandaranaike International Airport for departure with a memorable vacation in the Refreshingly Sri Lanka.