Arrival in Sri Lanka, Your Jonathan representative will meet you at the airport and drive you to Habarana in the North Central plains of Sri Lanka, paying a visit enroute the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage which provides a caring home for abandoned and wounded Elephants. It is a much loved destination for tourists and locals alike. Here, adults and baby elephants from around Sri Lanka thrive, and a captive breeding program is also proving to be highly successful. The feeding and bathing times are generally the ideal times to visit when you can observe these gentle giants at their best.
Lunch at a Local restaurant
Enjoy an exciting safari at Minneriya National Park where you can watch elephants in their rightful home – in the wilds. One of the most spectacular wildlife events in Sri Lanka is ‘The Gathering’, where hundreds of elephants arrive by the herds from the surrounding areas to the Minneriya reservoir. As the water level recedes at the height of the dry season, they gather to feast on the lush grass, and quench their thirst for water that’s left over.
Overnight Stay at Habarana/Dambulla
After breakfast, set off to discover the 8th wonder of the world
The Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Dating back to the 5th Century A.D, this astounding ‘city’ on the summit of a high outcrop was the royal citadel of King Kassapa for over 18 years. A miraculous feat of artistry and engineering, its unique features and exquisite frescoes continue to amaze all who visit it, even today. Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist sanga . The garden and place was built by king Kasyapa between 477-495 AD following King Kasyapa’s death it was again a monastery complex upto the 14th century after which it was abandoned. The ruins were discovered in 1907 by British Explorer John Still.
Today Sigiriya is famous for its Mirror wall which consists of poems and paragraphs carved by visitors on the rock many years ago and for its magnificent frescoes of Shapely bejeweled maidens. Vibrant colours and the water garden similar to the Ajantha frescoes in India. Sigiriya is in fact the best preserved city center in Asia from the first millennium and has been named as an UNESCO word heritage site and 8th wonder of the world.
Thereafter drive to Hiriwaduna
This is a typical countryside experience to the rural village of Hiriwadunna The trek begins with a beautiful walk along to a man-made reservoir. You will also experience a boat rides, bullock cart rides, rural vegetable cultivation, paddy fields and enjoy an authentic Sri Lankan rotti (a traditional food ) at a Village house.
Overnight Stay in Sigiriya
After breakfast proceed to Kandy visiting Dambulla cave temple
Dambulla is a world heritage site in Sri Lanka located north of Kandy in Matale district. The town of Dambulla is built around a large granite outcrop concealing an impressive Buddhist cave temple complex Raja Maha Vihara dating from the 1st century BC. It is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka.
The murals covering an area of 2,100 sq. ft. including depictions of Lord Buddha’s temptation by Mara and Buddha’s first sermon. Dambulla Cave Temple is the best preserved cave temple complex in the country with beautiful statues and paintings.
On the way back, visit a spice garden at Matale en route. Our spices have been sought after for centuries, and continue to be celebrated export items, even to this day.
Lunch at a Local restaurant
Arriving in Kandy, the last kingdom of the Sinhalese kings and taking in the site of the Upper Lake Drive and the Market Square on the way to pay homage, to one of the most sacred religious sites in Sri Lanka. The Temple of the Tooth ( Dalada Maligawa) is where the ‘Tooth Relic’ of the Lord Buddha is preserved for posterity. A walk around the town will let you indulge in some souvenir hunting for intricate treasures in wood, copper, silver, brass, ebony, bronze, ceramics, lacquer work, handlooms, batiks, jewelry and reed-ware to choose from.
Round off your day with a cultural show, where the vibrant costumes and pulsating rhythms of traditional dance forms of centuries old rituals will enthrall you
Overnight Stay at Kandy
After breakfast proceed to Nuwara Eliya while visting Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens en route. 147 acres of lushness with over 5000 species of trees and plants many of which are rare or endemic; a spice garden and an Orchid house are yours to explore.
Lunch at a local restaurant Visiting the Ramboda waterfalls and a tea factory Tea plantation where the best tea in the world is produced. Here you could observe all about the process of manufacturing tea. You can also see how tea is graded. Taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory.
The old colonial outpost still referred to as ‘Little England’ Nuwara Eliya certainly lives up to its name. Perched 6200 feet above sea level, the climate too, adds to the illusion of one stepping into an old English town, where neat hedges, quaint cottages and beautiful old buildings stand as serene as they did well over a century ago – the magnificent Grand Hotel presides over them all. There is, of course, an old golf course as well as horse racing events thrown in to complete the picture.
Overnight Stay at Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast proceed to Ella
Ella is blessed with some of the most beautiful views, you could find in Sri Lanka.
Only 8 km from Bandarawela, this small town is used as a base for plenty of trekking expeditions to the surrounding countryside. A taste of the breathtaking scenery of Ella could be had, if you just walk into the Garden of the Grand Ella Motel (Formerly Ella Rest House), where you feel as if, standing at the edge of the world. Everything around you would simply seem to disappear around your feet.
Another fine view is from the Ambiente Hotel, where the wide doorway, opens out to the mountains, creating a dramatic cinematic like experience, on entry. Some of the places you could see in Ella are the Ella Gap, Ravana Ella Falls, Little Adam’s Peak and Bambaragala Peak. A pleasant walk with stunning scenery. All this binds with the Rama Seetha and Hanuma story
Lunch at a Local restaurant
Over night stay in Ella
After breakfast proceed to Hikkaduwa/Unawatuna
Continue the journey along the coast to Matara / Galle, taking in the unique sight of Stilt Fishing along the shores of Mirrissa. An iconic image of Sri Lanka, Stilt Fishing is a skill handed down from one generation to the next: an ancient tradition that is sadly on the decline. Further along the coast, you will visit the Turtle Hatchery at Kosgoda – a successful conservation effort established to protect Sri Lanka’s turtles from extinction. (Optional: glass bottom boat ride and a visit to a mask factory.)
Lunch at a Local restaurant
Leisure on the Beach
Overnight Stay in Hikkaduwa/Unawatuna
Whale and dolphin watching in Mirissa is one of the most exciting water activities that entices you to spend your holiday in Sri Lanka.
MIrissa is a warm town bordering the Indian Ocean where you can see Blue whales, Bryde´s whales, Sperm whales, Fin whales, sometimes Killer whales, and Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Striped dolphins. There are times when you can see turtles and various fish species, for example Bluefin, tuna and flying fish.
Lunch at a local restaurant
Leave for an excursion to the Heritage city of Galle. For centuries Galle has stood strong against invasions – from colonial powers and nature’s volatile outbursts. The famous Dutch Fort was first built by the Portuguese, fortified by the Dutch and preserved by the British. Battered daily for over 400 years by the ocean it even survived the onslaught of a tsunami and is enjoyed today by residents and visitors alike. The colonial architecture of the walled city too has resisted the advance of modernity and holds tightly to its past glory.
Overnight stay in Galle
After lunch drive to Airport for departure preceded by a tour of the city of Colombo