Next small group departs: 11 March 2018.
This fabulous itinerary created for you showcases the ‘Cultural Triangle’ and gives you the opportunity to end your holiday with rest and relaxations sprinkled with the opportunity to give back if you so desire.
Your itinerary has been co-created with The Foundation of Goodness (FoG), a not for profit NGO set up by local Sri Lankan, Kushil Gunasekera to showcase the “Cultural Triangle” sprinkled with some rest and relaxation to finish.
The Foundation has a holistic approach to bridging the gap between the urban and rural sector in Sri Lanka, empowering over 35,000 lives in 200+ villages via 30 sectors in action, annually, free of cost.
The collaboration includes some of the most beautiful must-see areas of Sri Lanka and also gives you the opportunity to further support the FoG by simply indulging in a massage, local tour or a cooking class.
The Foundation of Goodness directly benefits from your travel and you are supporting a real local, grassroots Foundation where the tourist dollar stays in the community – and we call that sustainable tourism at its best!
On arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport you will be welcomed at the arrivals gate by your guide before your transfer to Negombo. Check-in and a freshen up before an exciting evening tour of the city.
Negombo is a major city on the west coast and is well known for its fishing industry and huge fish market. Your local guide will be your new bestie and give you the lowdown on all the areas you visit including heritage churches, the Dutch Fort Gate, Dutch Canal.
Speak up if there’s somewhere you want to stop and look around. Finish the evening with a delicious Sri Lankan meal.
Overnight at Tranquil Hotel. Dinner.
Leave Negombo after breakfast and enjoy the four hour drive through the stunning scenery, from the beach area of Negombo you will make your way through lush tropical forests.
Spend the afternoon at either Minneriya National Park or Kaudulla National Park on a jeep safari where you will be searching for wild Asian elephants. Many travel guides rate the Minneriya wildlife phenomenon “The Gathering” among the world’s top wildlife spectaculars.
“The Gathering” is the name given to the elephants that assemble on the banks of the Minneriya Reservoir during the dry season. Every evening, between 150 and 200 elephants arrive at the reservoir, mainly to graze the grasses growing on the tank bed. According to wildlife authorities, the Minneriya gathering is the largest grouping of wild Asian elephants at any given time.
Keep an eye out for wild buffalo, elide boar, deer, sloth bears, leopards, crocodiles and jackals among others. The Park also boasts a huge variety of birds and butterflies.
Overnight at Hotel Kassapa Lion’s Rock. Breakfast, Dinner.
Today is all about crumbling temples and rock fortresses in the UNESCO World Heritage hub!
For more than 100 years archaeologists have been carefully stripping away the layers of history of this overgrown landscape. Before the kingdoms of the ancient Sinhalese were reclaimed by the vibrant forest and jungle, the central plains area was a place of artistic and architectural landscapes.
You will visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites – Sigiriya, also known as ‘Lion Rock’ is a fortress like no other. A rock rising 500ft with what was once a great palace on its summit. Let your mind wander and imagine a time when the palace was in its prime with stunning gardens and swimming pool.
Polonnaruwa is up next. Around the 11th century, this place was a medieval capital and rules by one of Ceylon’s famous ancient kings Parakramabahu I. In its prime, the city was fortified with three concentric walls and beautified with gardens and shrines, creating a sacred place. Absolute bliss for budding archaeologists and historians.
NB: Entrance fees to various sites are not included. See small print tab for more.
Overnight at Hotel Kassapa Lion’s Rock. Breakfast, Dinner.
A three hour drive to Kandy is broken up with a visit to the Golden Rock Temple of Dambulla. Explore the magnificently carved UNESCO World Heritage listed rock cave temples having over 21,000 sq ft of paintings and more than 100 statues of Buddha, Gods and Kings.
Drop off the luggage at your accommodation in Kandy before spending the afternoon with your guide sightseeing.
Kandy is an old hill capital and was the last stronghold of the Sinhala Kings before the island was given up to the power of the British in 1815.
Visit the stunning Royal Botanical Gardens Peradeniya. With over 2 million visitors a year, it is renowned for its collection of orchids and includes more than 4000 species of plants, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees.
I know you’re wondering….what is the Temple of the Tooth Relic?? Let me help you out… The temple houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. Although you don’t actually get to see the tooth (it’s kept in a gold casket) the room is open to devotees and travelers. Free audio guides are available at the information desk or you can pick up a guide. Wear clothes that cover your legs and your shoulders, and remove your shoes.
NB: Entrance fees to various sites are not included. See small print for more details.
Overnight at Kandy by Yatra. Breakfast, Dinner.
After breakfast, begin the 4 ½ hour scenic journey to Seenigama. On arrival, you’ll be taken to your accommodation at Lahiru Villa.
The local guest house receives rave reviews and comes highly recommended. The villa is in a quiet area, approx. 2 km away from the city and is a wonderful family run business where you are made to feel so very welcome.
The food has been a highlight for many visitors saying it’s the best they’ve had in Sri Lanka. The most heartwarming and authentic experience is the people. Lahiru’s family is very hospitable, open to chat, willing to share, eager to help. This is where you experience the real Sri Lanka, the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and really get to know the locals.
Overnight Lahiru Villa. Breakfast.
Escaping the frenetic and sticky capital for the road south is a giant sigh of relief. Out go the congested streets and clouds of exhaust fumes and welcome the sultry beaches of the Sri Lankan dream and the following days are yours to fill as you wish.
You are now back on the west coast which gives you time to chill at the beach, explore the region independently (there’s a bus stop 200 metres from the villa or tuk-tuks drivers to hire).
It is also a unique opportunity to help the Foundation of Goodness (FoG, the not for profit we collaborated with to create this unique holiday) by either jumping in with some ‘hands on’ volunteering or you can support the foundation by participating in different activities they provide. See day 7 for more about FoG.
You may be quite content to spend some quality time with a novel on the gorgeous beaches of Seenigama and surrounds or if you’d prefer something a little more energetic, check out some options below offered by our tour partners.
The Foundation of Goodness is a not for profit NGO set up by Kushil Gunasekera. The Foundation has a holistic approach to bridging the gap between the urban and rural sector in Sri Lanka, empowering over 35,000 lives in 200+ villages via 30 sectors in action, annually, free of cost.
Other activities include a village bike ride (a great way to see authentic Sri Lanka and meet the locals), glass bottom boat rides (seasonal), riverboat safari or a cultural dance performance (minimum numbers required). These activities are charged out at very reasonable pricing and your patronage is very much appreciated.
If you’re more into a hands-on approach, you may choose to visit a home for the elderly or spend some time in the children’s home. A transport fee of USD$5 is charged to get you to the homes. Your hosts at Lahiru will be happy to advise you further regarding any activities supporting the FoG.
Overnight Lahiru Villa. Breakfast.
It’s time to say goodbye. No doubt this will be one of the most memorable experiences you’ll be sad to leave.
You will be transferred back to the Bandaranaike International Airport in preparation for your departure. Please confirm departure time with your guide via your hosts at Lahiru Villa leaving ample time for the 2 ½ hour drive and check-in procedures.
Depending on departure time, arrival back in Australia could be +1 day.
Prices may vary based on currency exchange rates.
Tour Package Price Does Not Include:
Polonnaruwa sights USD 25
Sigiriya Rock Fortress USD 30
Golden Rock Temple Dambulla USD 10
Royal Botanical Garden Peradeniya USD 10
Cultural Dance Show Kandy USD 6
Temple of Tooth Relic Kandy USD 10
* Please Note: A comprehensive travel Insurance policy must be organised BEFORE all details can be finalised with Trailblazers Travel.
Please check visa requirements. Tourists to Sri Lanka should apply and obtain an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) on-line prior to arrival. For details, visa fees and procedure please log onto www.eta.gov.lk
Travel times mentioned in the itinerary are approximate and may take more/less time due to road traffic, weather conditions etc.
Peak period supplement – Per room
From 01st to 10th Dec 2017 USD $80
From 11th Dec 2017 to 23rd Apr 2018 USD $120
From 24th to 30th April 2018 USD $55
* Exact pricing is subject to change and determined on the day of deposit based on currency conversion rates.