crystalh@sltnet.lk

Unknown North of Sri Lanka (12 Nights / 13 Days)

DAY 01 (Airport –Negombo)

Arrival at the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka, the tropical paradise, will be met and assisted by representative of Crystal Holidays and transfer to hotel in Negombo

Rest of the day at leisure at the hotel

Overnight Stay in Negombo

Negombo – A famous fishing village north of Colombo with a Dutch-built canal. The canal itself is a hive of activity with fishermen traveling up and down in their gaily-painted boats. On the shores of the canal you will find many homes and many species of birds including spectacular kingfishers. Catamaran trips in the sea and boat trips in the canal can be organized. From November to April, diving facilities are available in this quaint village. The streets on either side of the many hotels are dotted with souvenir shops, restaurants etc.

DAY 02 (Negombo – Anuradhapura)

After breakfast, leave for Anuradhapura, The greatest city in Sri Lankan history, packed with monuments from over a thousand years of the island’s past.
Go for the jeep safari at Wilpattu National Park is among the oldest and most important of protected areas in Sri Lanka. It also contains a number of important cultural sites.

Overnight Stay in Anuradhapura

Wilpattu National Park – The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes) – natural sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka, this park is located 30 km west of Anuradhapura. The park is 131,693 hectares and ranges from 0 to 152 metres above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (willus) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks in the world renowned for its leopard population.

DAY 03 (Anuradhapura – Mihintale – Anuradhapura)

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.

Afternoon visit Mihintale, where Buddhism was officially introduced to a king of the 3rd century B.C. and today it is very popular with Buddhist pilgrims and tourist the complex consists of rocks caves ponds and stupas, First monastery of Sri Lanka and the world’s first declared sanctuary

Overnight Stay in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura – A ‘World Heritage Site’, Anuradhapura was the capital of Sri Lanka from the 05th century BC to the end of the 10th century AD. It was the most celebrated of Sri Lanka’s ancient ruined cities. The City’s greatest treasures are its dagobas constructed of bricks and hemispherical in shape. The most notable of these dagobas are the Ruwanveliseya which dates back to the 2nd century BC and is 300 feet in diametre, the Jetawanarama which is 370 feet and the Thuparama Dagoba which enshrines the collarbone of the Buddha.

DAY 04 (Anuradhapura – Mannar)

After breakfast leave for Mannar is Sri Lanka’s largest, covering 130 sq kms and has one of the oldest ports in the country.
Visit the Tantirimale monastery is a vast panoramic site having sprawling extensive boulders spreading over 250 acres in the midst of thick forest covers.

Overnight Stay in Mannar

Tantirimale monastery can be reached by Anuradhapura-Mahavillachchiya road: 27 km along road is Sri Wimalagnana road to the right. Tantirimale is located another 18km onwards the turn. The motorable road fromAnuradhapura has made Tantirimale a popular place of pilgrimage among the Sinhalese Buddhists of Sri Lanka. The climb and the walk around the caves and restored ruins is a pleasant experience. Walking to the right and reaching the top of the rock, we reach the Bodhi tree, one of the first eight offshoots of the original Bo-sapling brought to Sri Lanka during the time of King Devanampiyatissa in the third Century BC.

DAY 05 (Anuradhapura – Mannar)

After breakfast, commence full day city tour of Mannar including the Doric Bungalow (Arippu Fort / Alli Rani Fort), Mannar Fort & Church, Talaimannar Light house and visit the naturalists the baobab trees, introduced from Africa centuries ago by Arab traders are especially impressive

Overnight Stay in Mannar

Mannar Island is a beautiful, eerily dry near-peninsula with lots of white sand and palm trees, gulls and terns, wild donkeys, and little lanes and fishing boats. Jutting out into the Palk Strait, the island is only about 30km from India. Because of its location, Mannar Island was hard hit by the war: it was a major exit and entry point to and from India, and became a key host of refugees.

DAY 06 (Mannar – Jaffna)

After breakfast, leave for Jaffna, the northernmost region of the Island of Sri Lanka, is one of the oldest habitation sites in Lower South Asia
En-route visit Thiruketheeswaram Kovil
Rest of the day at leisure

Overnight Stay in Jaffna

Jaffna – A bastion of Hindu tradition, art and creative culture, Jaffna welcomes visitors warmly. It’s intriguing, unimposing, slightly off the beaten path and a thoroughly rewarding place to discover Sri Lankan Tamil culture. Inescapably, decades of war, emigration, embargoes and loss of life and property deeply affected this historic town, but the city is surprisingly green and leafy, with attractive palm-shaded colonial-era suburbs and beautiful temples and churches.

DAY 07 (Jaffna)

After breakfast commence full day city tour of Jaffna, including Nallur Kovil is one of the most significant Hindu temples in the Jaffna District of Northern Province, Sri Lanka.
The Naga PooshaniAmbalKovil, MurukkandyPillayar Shrine, and the Jaffna Fort etc..,

Overnight Stay in Jaffna

DAY 08 (Jaffna)

After breakfast leave for Nainativu and Neduntivu (Delft)

The trip to these two remote islands passes through some beautiful sights. A long, delightful causeway links Velanai to the island of Punkudutivu. Notice the lagoon fishermen who use wade-out traps and sail little wind-powered canoes. Punkudutivu village, the scene of minor riots in December 2005, has one of Jaffna’s most screechingly colourful Hindu temples, while many old houses lie in various stages of decay. Smaller causeways link Punkudutivu to the ferry port at Kurikadduwan (KKD) for boats to Neduntivu and Nainativu. Jaffna–KKD minibuses and buses start early and run until the last ferry has returned to KKD.

Overnight Stay in Jaffna

DAY 09 (Jaffna)

After breakfast, leave for Trincomalee
Visit Rangiri Ulpotha Rajamaha Viharaya is in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Gomarankadawala of the Trincomalee District.
Thereafter visit Tiriyai

Overnight Stay in Trincomalee

Rangiri Ulpotha Rajamaha Viharaya – To reach this site one has to turn off at Pankulam Junction on Anuradhapura – Trincomalee Road and turn to the right passing Gomarankadawala. Ruins of a dagoba and other buildings of this ecclesiastical building complex are spread throughout the site. Ancient stone foot prints, guard stones, flower alters are strewn about in the site. In the vicinity two hot water wellsare found.

DAY 10 (Trincomalee)

After breakfast, leisure at the hotel

Optional: Boat cruise to Pigeon Island or Whale Watching

Overnight Stay in Trincomalee

Trincomalee – A port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. The city is built on a peninsula, which divides the inner and outer harbours. It is one of the main centres of Tamil speaking culture on the island. It has been a sea port that has played a major role in maritime and international trading history of Sri Lanka. The bay of Trincomalee’s harbour is renowned for its large size and security; unlike any other in the Indian Sea, it is accessible to all types of craft in all weathers. The beaches towards the north up to Nilaveli are used for surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching. The city also has the largest Dutch Fort in Sri Lanka.

DAY 11 (Trincomalee – Polonnaruwa – Minneriya or Hurulu Eco Park – Sigiriya)

After breakfast at the hotel we set off to explore the second kingdom of Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa.
Then do a sightseeing tour in ancient city of Polonnaruwa (11th Century AD), visit the many sites of archaeological and historical interest in the Sacred City including the Grate Statue, Quadrangle, Royal Palace,Gal Viharaya, Kumara and Lotus Ponds, Thiwanka Image House and many more, and see one of the country’s biggest water reservoirs the ParakramaSamudraya.
Afternoon we proceed to start the wild life safari in the Minneriya National Park or Hurulu Eco Park to experience the largest gathering of elephants in the world
Overnight Stay in Sigiriya

Polonnaruwa – A ‘World Heritage Site’, Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to the 13th century AD. Great revival was achieved in the country, politically, economically and socially during the periods of kings Vijayabahu 1, Parakramabahu 1 and Nissankamalla. The monuments here are better preserved than at Anuradhapura – the previous capital. Parakrama statue, royal palaces, audience halls, Vata-da-ge, Thuparama, RankothVehera, Kiri Vehera, Gal Vihara, Lankathilaka&Thivanka Image House are some of the interesting monuments here.

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 12 (Sigiriya – Hiriwadunna – Sigiriya)

After breakfast village Walk at Hiriwadunna, The Hiriwadunna village in Habarana offers a unique village safari for tourists. Any traveler wanting to gain an insight in to the daily lives of the locals in this village can participate

Evening climb the magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The world Heritage Site and see the famous decorated its sides with colorful frescoes.
Overnight Stay in Sigiriya

Hiriwadunna with its unpaved gravel paths and humble village folk, shaded on either side by dry zone shrub forest, the dusty gravel path and subsequently the red soil of the tank bund will lead the visitors to an indigo reservoir which sets a stunning contrast of colours. A line of cormorants flying in formation will eventually stop to rest on a cormorant tree and the butterflies and dragonflies found at the edge of the shrubs create a kaleidoscope of colour that rivals the equally vibrant wild flowers.

Bullock Cart Rides is one thing that a visitor to Sri Lanka must not miss out on as it provides an exhilarating experience to both young and old alike. The bullock cart, which at one time was the main mode of transportation for the rich in Sri Lanka, although the ride covers only a short distance in the surrounding areas, it nevertheless is an experience not to be missed by all.

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 defense, 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 13 (Sigiriya – Dambulla – Airport)

After breakfast visit the magical Dambulla Golden Temple, which is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka

There after proceed to Colombo Airportin time to check in for your departure flight