Tropical Island Wanderer Family Holiday
|Resort:||Tropical Island Wanderer Family Holiday|
|Destination:||Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka|
Two weeks exploring the best that Sri Lanka has to offer, the perfect family destination
Sri Lanka has an amazing array of mesmerising sites to visit. From the ancient cave temples of Dambulla to the world famous Temple of the Tooth, there is something to fascinate everyone. We climb to the top of the Lions Rock Fortress in Sigiriya, take a game drive to see elephants in their natural habitat and visit Kandy which is the cultural hub of Sri Lanka. After exploring the tea plantations in the cool highlands we travel to Yala National Park where we take a game drive in search of leopard! Finally we head to the idyllic palm-fringed beaches of the south coast, the perfect end to a varied and fun holiday.
* Explore the lost city fortress of Sigiriya * Relax on palm-fringed tropical beaches * The ancient cave temple of Dambulla * A game drive in Yala National Park * Cycling through lush green rice paddy field * Game drive in Minneriya National Park to see elephants in their natural habitat
Day 1 Depart London.
Flights usually depart London in the evening. **
Day 2 Arrive Colombo; transfer to beach hotel at Chilaw.
We arrive in the afternoon at Colombo’s Bandaranike Airport and transfer to our hotel at Chilaw on the coast, approximately an hour and a half north of the airport. Those not flying with the group will join us at the hotel in time for the welcome briefing. *Carolina Beach Hotel or similar*
Day 3 Drive via Kurungala to Sigiriya; relax by the pool.
Today we drive out to Sigiriya. This can take approximately 3 hours but there will be two stops, including a rest by the lake in the historic city of Kurunegala. The town is famous for its impressive 5th century rock fortress, which rises 600 feet from the plains and overlooks the surrounding countryside, giving far reaching, magnificent views. The afternoon is free to enjoy the town, relax at the hotel and jump in the pool! *Sigiriya Village Hotel or similar*
Day 4 Explore ancient Polonnaruwa; game drive at Minneriya National Park to see elephants in their natural habitat.
After breakfast we take a short drive to the 10th century capital of Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa. Here there are many Buddhist relics and ruins dating from a thousand years ago when Sinhalese culture reached its zenith. In the afternoon we will go on a safari at Minneriya National Park where we should see elephants in their natural habitat. *Sigiriya Village Hotel or similar*
Day 5 Climb to the top of Lion Rock and cycle through local villages.
Sigiriya is our base for the next two days. We will climb Lion Rock in the morning whilst its cooler (the return trip usually takes around three hours). Once used as a safe haven from invaders, the route to the top is up a series of steep steps and gangways. Crowning the flat summit of the rock are extensive remains of the Kings Summer Palace from where there are breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside. The descent is much easier and will take a lot less time. Please make sure that your children are accompanied at all times as there are some steep drops on this climb. It is of course optional and you may not wish to climb to the top of the fortress itself. In the afternoon we include the opportunity to cycle slowly through local villages and soak up the atmosphere, which is usually a great experience for everyone(if youdo not wish to participate you can hire a tuk tuk locally for approximately £10 per tuk tuk and follow the group but not cycle). *Sigiriya Village Hotel or similar*
Day 6 Cave temples at Dambulla; visit a spice garden; drive to Kandy visiting a traditional rope factory (usingcoconut husk) en route.
Today we visit the magnificent Cave Temple at Dambulla, for some, the most impressive sight in Sri Lanka. There are colourful, and very well preserved, paintings and statues of the Buddha inside the caves, which date back to the 1st century BC. After lunch we stop at a spice garden near Matale where we can smell the various spices and herbs growing and the resident expert explains their uses. There’s a chance to stock up on massage oils, spices and Ayurvedic medicines. Before we drive to Kandy we stop by a rope making factory which is a local house in the Matale area. The group will be able to visit the facility on the way to Kandy and witness the traditional process of rope making. Children will also be able to witness and even experience how interesting masterpieces are carved out a busy machine that strings out ropes of all colors and sizes. The activity lasts for approx. 30 minutes and the process could be a rewarding sight for both children and adults. We then drive to Kandy. *Royal Kandyan Hotel or similar*
Day 7 Visit the Temple of the Tooth.
Kandy is a picturesque hill town situated on a lake and home to Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lankas most important Buddhist relic. We begin with a visit to the temple during the ceremony. The Tooth of Buddha was taken from the funeral pyre in 543 BC and only found its way to Sri Lanka in the 4th century AD. There are normally hundreds of worshippers who visit the temple each day and it is open to the public. We then visit a sari factory, where we learn about these traditional garments that have been worn in Sri Lanka for thousands of years. We will watch how the silk is weaved into rolls of beautiful coloured fabric and there’s even time for some dressing up! The rest of the day is free to wander round Kandy, by the lake or take a taxi up to the surrounding hills for wonderful views over the town. *Royal Kandyan Hotel or similar*
Day 8 Visit a tea plantation in Nurawa Eliya and have a go at tea-picking; stay in the beautiful highlands.
Today we make the spectacular drive through the tea plantation district to Nuwara Eliya. This was the favourite hill station for the British during the colonial era, situated in the cool highland air at 1890m, it has a very British feel to it. Known locally as ‘Little England’ it is dotted with British style houses, hotels and even a racecourse. The area is famous for its high quality tea and we visit a working plantation later in the day. This will also include a short tea picking session in a working tea plantation, depending on the weather condition. We stay in the hill country overnight at Bandarawela. *Bandarawela Hotel or similar*
Day 9 Drive to Yala National Park via Ella gap; afternoon game drive.
This morning we continue on to the Ella Gap where we have spectacular views of the coastal plain nearly 1,000m below. Almost the entire southern part of the island should be in view and on a particularly clear day the shimmering silver of the ocean is visible. We then head south out of the hills to Kataragama down on the plains, which is our base for visiting Yala National Park. After lunch we will have a game drive; the park is best known for its elephants but we may also see deer, monkeys, buffalo and a wide range of bird life. If you are lucky you may also see a leopard as Yala has one of the highest concentrations of these beautiful animals in the world (Please note that the sanctuary is closed for 4-6 weeks from September to October allowing the park authorities to check the animals. We therefore go to an alternative area close by, usually the Udawalawe National Park). *Mandara Rosen or similar*
Day 10-12 Transfer to our beach hotel via Tangalle; 3 nights by beach to relax or explore the area.
Today we leave for the coast and its beautiful palm fringed bays. On the way we stop at Tangalle and walk through a rice field to a village where you can try some unusual local delicacies such as boiled manioc served with coconut and a spicy mixture of chillies, onions, peppers and lemon. You will see daily life and may even take part in some traditional Sri Lankan games. We then head back to our bus in little tractors used by the farmers. For lunch we stop at a house built by Exodus for Tsunami victims; this may well be one of the best curries of your trip! We will arrive at Ahangama in the afternoon and the rest of your time here is free with a chance to swim, relax on the beach or by the pool or do any one of numerous optional activities that your leader can organise for you. *Insight Resort or similar*
Day 13 To Colombo via the old Dutch Fort at Galle.
We set off today and drive along the coastal road to the historic port of Galle, which dates back to the 17th century, and now a UNESCO world heritage site. On thewaywe stop at a small folk museum inspired by the local writer Martin Wickramasinghe. The museum is a typical house from the Koggala region and is set amongst beautiful gardens. We continue along the expressway to Colombo reaching our hotel in the late afternoon. *Hotel Mirage or similar*
Day 14 Fly to London.
We have a relaxed breakfast before those flying on the group flight transfer to the airport for an early afternoon flight. Arrangements for those not flying with the group will end after check out. **