07:00 AM Breakfast at the hotel.
08:00 AM Proceed for the Galle Excursion
08:30 AM Arrive at the Turtle hatchery in Koggala
08:30 AM Arrive at the Turtle hatchery in Koggala
Fishermen who gather eggs along the sandy shore at night are paid by the hatchery. Visitors can view enormous glass aquariums filled with newly hatched turtles. At the age of 2-4 days, the young turtles are taken to the water after being fed. Although the peak egg-laying season is from October to April, eggs are available all year long.
09:15 AM Leave from Turtle Hatchery
10:00 AM Arrive to Galle town,
Visit a nearby fruit and seafood market and go shopping.
On the southwest coast of Sri Lanka is a significant city called Galle.
The population of the fort is multi-ethnic and multi-religious today, and it has a fascinating past. The Sri Lankan government is considering declaring this one of the modern wonders of the world, together with several Dutch people who still own part of the properties inside the fort.
The fort has been designated as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv because of its exceptional display of “an urban ensemble that illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries.”
Many stores offer a variety of goods, including masks, stones, jewelry, batik, and antiques.
12:00 NOON Proceed to Hikkaduwa for lunch.
Hikkaduwa Beach is regarded as Sri Lanka’s second-best surfing location.
Due to its stunning location and the natural features that tourists love the most, such as pristine beaches, corals, clear waters, and sun, Hikkaduwa, which was previously solely known as a fishing hamlet, has now emerged as a significant tourist destination.
Anyone, regardless of diving ability, can view the undersea environment thanks to Hikkaduwa’s Coral Sanctuary.
01:00 PM Lunch is served at Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon.
02:00 PM You can stroll through the streets of Hikkaduwa after lunch.
02:30 PM Proceed to Balapitiya for the Boat Safari.
03:15 PM commence the fascinating Boat safari at Madu River
Any reputable Sri Lankan tourist must include the Madu River Safari on their “to-do” list. An unforgettable opportunity to explore the secluded lanes through the mangrove trees and observe the environment is presented here. In total, Madu Ganga has 64 islands.
It is recommended that you bring drinking water, sunglasses, and hats. Some boats have roof covers that can be adjusted.
During your boat excursion, you will be able to witness vast mangrove forests along the river’s banks. Boats will pass through a short tunnel built of mangroves. Many birds and animals can be seen in this aquatic area.
The locals’ major source of income is fishing. Some of them work in traditional sectors like cinnamon processing.
05:00 PM Departure to Hotel
Travel to Kandy early in the morning, stopping along way at the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala.
This was founded in 1975 with seven orphans. Today, some of these orphans have the good fortune to have their grandchildren born in the same place. The orphanage’s initial goal was to promote tourism, but it quickly evolved into a conservation and educational facility. Pinnawela began a scientific captive-breeding program for elephants with the assistance of local and foreign elephant specialists. The herd’s freedom of mobility increased the opportunities for individuals of both sexes to meet and mate. The neighboring river had a significant role in this respect, and the first infant of Pinnawela was born in 1984. Scientists from all over the world have been persuaded to Pinnawela’s success story. A large number of books and research articles on Pinnawela have been written in a wide range of languages. Professionals have recorded, videotaped, and photographed individuals of the Pinnawela herd thousands of times.
After finishing, travel to Giragama Tea Factory.
Sri Lanka is one of the world’s top tea exporters, therefore when exploring the island’s pleasant temperatures, one will be surrounded by acres of tea. Sri Lankan tea has become well-known as the world-renowned brew known as “Ceylon Tea.” A visit to the tea factory and farms includes a crash lesson in tea plucking as well as a tour of the facility to see how tea is processed. . The two leaves and a bud that are plucked by ladies wearing sarees and carrying baskets on their backs go through a long procedure before they are ready to serve. After the leaves are plucked, they go through a withering process in which the moisture content of the leaves is decreased to the point that they may be rolled without breaking up into particles.
The leaves are subsequently rolled using a rolling machine, which activates the enzymes in the leaves that give Tea its characteristic flavor. Following that, the rolled-out tea goes through the fermentation process, in which the leaves are set out and allowed to react with oxygen, resulting in black tea. The fermentation process is halted by drying the tea leaves.
Continue on to Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and a Kandy City Tour.
Kandy was the final capital of the Sri Lankan monarchs and is a World Heritage Site. The term “Kandy” brings us images of majesty and splendor. Many of the narratives, customs, and folklore have been painstakingly preserved. Drive around Kandy Lake, which was established in 1798 by Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, the last Sinhala ruler. Visit Kandy town and market, the arts and crafts center, a gem museum, and a lapidary. Visit Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth Relic as well.
>>> EXPLORE COLOMBO
Drive through the commercial districts of the “Fort,” which served as a fort during both the Portuguese and Dutch time periods, as you depart Colombo’s harbor. Drive through “Pettah,” a lively market that dates back more than 75 years and has its origins there. Drive across the Hultsdorf Law Courts, which date back to the Dutch era, and visit the Wolvendhal Dutch Church.
After that, head to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the nation’s capital, passing by the majestic Parliamentary complex built by renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. Drive past the Independence Square built to commemorate Sri Lanka’s independence from the British in 1948 and the Bandaranaike International Convention Centre (BMICH), which was presented by the Chinese government to Sri Lanka during the presidency of Hon. Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the world’s first woman Prime Minister. Visit the National Museum. Visit the Handy Craft Shop and Gem Lapidary. The oldest colonial hotel in Sri Lanka, the Galle Face Hotel, will serve a buffet lunch.
Visit the Hindu Temple and Gangarama Temple following lunch. Visit the top lifestyle store “ODEL” & gift shop in Colombo. Depart from this point back to the port.
09.00 – Depart from Colombo Port / Drive through the Fort & Pettah, to Wolvendhal Dutch church
09.15 – Arrive at Wolvendhal Dutch church
09.30 – Depart Wolvendhal Dutch church
10.00 – Arrive Kotte and drive past the Parliament
10.30 – Arrive at Colombo Museum
11.15 – Depart Colombo museum / Drive past the, Independence Square and the BMICH and through Cinnamon gardens
11.40 – Arrive at Gem Lapidary & Handicraft shop
12.40 – Depart Gem Lapidary & Handicraft shop
12.55 – Arrive at the Restaurant for Lunch (Lunch at Kinjou or Xilaton Chinese restaurant)
14.30 – Continue the excursion
14.35 – Arrive at Gangarama Buddhist Temple
14.55 – Depart Gangarama Buddhist Temple
15.05 – Arrive at Hindu Temple
15.20 – Depart Hindu Temple / Drive past the Town Hall & Davatagaha Mosque
15.30 – Arrive at ODEL Lifestyle store
16.15 – Depart from ODEL Lifestyle store
16.20 – Arrive at the souvenir shop
17.00 – Depart the souvenir shop
17.30 – Arrive Colombo Port
All timings will varied due to road & traffic conditions
>>>EXPLORE MADU RIVER
The Madu River, located approximately 80 kilometres south of Colombo, in Balapitiya, is a hidden gem that remains relatively untouched, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts in Sri Lanka. This enchanting river meanders through the area, boasting a collection of 64 small islands along its course, with the majority of them being uninhabited and covered in lush mangroves.
Among the river’s highlights, “Koth Doowa” or Pinnacle Islet stands out as a serene sanctuary, housing a tranquil Buddhist temple graced by a sizable Lord Buddha statue and an ancient, venerated Bo (pipal) tree. The Madu River and its surrounding islands are also home to a rich variety of wildlife and plant life. However, it’s important to note that while it may be a paradise for nature enthusiasts, the Madu River also serves as a habitat for crocodiles, so caution is advised for overly eager adventurers.
The Kothduwa Rajamaha Viharaya on Madu Ganga is often regarded as a serene river, possibly because of its shallow waters. However, what many may not realize is that it ranks as the second-largest wetland in Sri Lanka.
Thirty minutes later, we reached a bridge that serves as a route for buses traveling between Balapitiya and Wathugedara.
Our initial stop was at Cinnamon Island, covering an area of four acres. The welcoming family residing on the island provided us with a demonstration of the cinnamon production process, including how cinnamon sticks are prepared, rolled, and dried on the rooftop. This visit offers a valuable educational experience, particularly for school children, to gain insights into the way of life of the island’s inhabitants.
Madu Ganga holds tremendous ecological, biological, and aesthetic importance, as it is a habitat for 303 plant species from 95 different families and houses 248 vertebrate animal species. This unique ecosystem may represent one of the few remaining areas of untouched mangrove forests in Sri Lanka.
In 2003, the Wetland was designated as a World Heritage Site under the Ramsar Convention. Our boatman, Nalinda Kusum Rajasinghe, informed us that Nai Duwa stands as the tallest island in the Madu Ganga. Interestingly, the villagers use this island as a sanctuary for captured snakes, releasing them here.
Another small islet known as Satha Pahe Dupatha boasts an ancient Dewalaya that dates back nearly 800 years, although it no longer houses a deity statue. The largest island within the Madu Ganga is Maduwa, stretching approximately 562 meters in length. Maduwa is home to nearly 380 families and features two temples, a hospital, a school, and even a post office to serve the community.
Koth Duwa is graced by the presence of Kothduwa Raja Maha Viharaya, a temple with a Buddha statue that could possibly be the tallest on the island. This temple is home to five resident monks, and its sacred bodhi tree is believed to be approximately 800 years old.
The primary treasure of Madu Ganga lies in its mangroves, serving as a natural barrier that safeguards the region and nurtures a diverse range of aquatic flora and fauna. These mangroves offer sanctuary to various aquatic plants, crabs, shrimps, fish, a multitude of invertebrates, and other forms of wildlife, including crocodiles.
The main enchantment of Madu Ganga is attributed to its tides. During low tide on any given day, seawater flows inland and blends with the freshwater in the evening, and conversely, during high tide, it showcases the captivating interplay of nature.
In previous years, Madu Ganga and its surrounding islets were celebrated for their thriving mangroves, but unfortunately, these precious ecosystems are now facing growing threats.
The mangrove habitats in the area are also home to Kirala trees, which bear juicy fruits that can be consumed raw or transformed into a delightful and nutritious beverage. Additionally, the thriving mangrove species known as Karan Koku can be prepared as a curry or incorporated into a mallun dish.
Diga-duwa, also known as Long Island, offers the opportunity to discover various herbal plants. Among them, the valuable Kothala Hibatu stands out; its roots are used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide range of ailments. Along the banks of Madu Ganga and its surrounding islets, you’ll also find the common Wal Beli plant. Additionally, we were introduced to a rare tree called Rath Milla during our exploration.
Along the shores of Madu Ganga and its islets, you’ll come across several groves of Gin Pol, a type of mangrove species. This distinctive plant has leaves that resemble those of the coconut palm and is valued for its fronds, which are utilized in thatching roofs.
In addition to the mangroves
The Madu Ganga river journey treated us to the captivating beauty of aquatic plants, especially the exquisite manel and olu, which displayed a stunning array of colors. The vibrant blooms of rathu manel, nil manel, and sudu olu covered the surroundings like vibrant carpets, making this experience my personal favourite on Madu Ganga.
>>>EXPLORE WHITE WATER RAFTING
Kitulgala, a small town located in the western region of Sri Lanka, boasts the Kelani River, the widest river in the country, which served as the primary filming location for the Oscar-winning movie ‘The Bridge over the River Kwai.’ Recently, a prehistoric cave with skeletal remains from an unidentified ancient civilization was unearthed on the hill overlooking this town. Additionally, Kitulgala serves as a base for white-water rafting adventures, commencing a few kilometers upstream.
This exciting journey along the white water sections of the Kelani River welcomes paddlers of all skill levels. As you embark on this adventure, often described as character-building, you’ll encounter the exhilaration of navigating rapids and the joy of overcoming the relentless challenges of the river. Rafting through the Kelani River’s white water sections, navigating around boulders and rocks, presents Grade 3-4 rapids, offering both excitement and picturesque scenery. On occasion, you might even encounter and swiftly pass through Grade 5 rapids.
Once any of the groups successfully complete all three activities, we will treat them to lunch at the Plantation hotel. Additionally, we will have small vehicles on standby to provide transportation between the activity locations.
Lucie Padin www.jerrycan-voyages.ch