Sri Lanka trip – 12 days
With this experiential tourism itinerary, you can experience the best of Sri Lanka, enclosed in a single trip during our summer (June to September). An ideal tour for those traveling for the first time in Sri Lanka and want to enjoy four days of relax on the wonderful Nilaveli beach. During this tour you will have the opportunity to discover the essence of this country. There will be visits to the most important cities such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla and Kandy with their famous tourist attractions, but there will also be included intermediate stops in less touristy places, and probably more authentic: for example Kurunegala where you can visit the fair trade cooperative partner of Altromercato, and discover the rural community with organic gardens, rice fields and learn about many traditional agricultural techniques.
The trip to Sri Lanka (ancient Ceylon) starts from the former capital Sri Lanka, Colombo (the country’s main airport) to continue to Kandy. You will visit theBuddhist “templeof the tooth”, where the relic relic of the tooth of Buddha is kept, the Pinnawela elephant orphanage and the Perdanya Botanical Garden. Later we will visit the village of Pilimathalawa with its three temples, walking along rural paths we can observe a rural scenery made of rice fields and organic gardens. The tour will continue towards with the visit of the city of Nuwara Eliya, also know as Little England because during the British domination the English generals took advantage of its altitude to escape the summer heat of the plain. Here you can visit the cultivation of tea, and the method of processing one of the most popular teas in the world. We will continue to Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya with their important UNESCO heritage sites and Dambulla Caves, where you can admire wall paintings on the life of Buddha. The next destination will be Nilaveli Beach, composed of fine, powdery white coral sand. Here you can see the huge variety of wildlife, snorkel, see corals and relax on the beach. Then, we will discover the ancient ruins and temples of the capital Anurrdhapura with its breathtaking beauty and its impressive stone pools that collect the rainwater of the monsoons, the Ruwanweli stupa, and other interesting attractions. On the way back, in Kurenegala we will visit the fair-trade cooperative project partner of Altromercato, and then we will leave for Negombo, where we will spend the last night before departure.
Registration can be requested for group travel or for self-travel. For group travel, registration is not binding. Upon reaching the minimum number of members necessary for the formation of the group, usually 4 or 6 people, you will be asked for confirmation of booking and payment of a deposit.
DAY 1: COLOMBO – NEGOMBO
Arrival at Colombo airport and meeting with our operators. Transfer to Negombo, where it will be possible to rest after the journey and relax on the beach.
Overnight in Negombo (D)
DAY 2: KANDY
After breakfast (about 7.30), transfer by car to Kandy (about 2 hours and 30) whose kingdom resisted European occupation for over 300 years (from the 16th century until 1985). Kandy is located on a plateau, surrounded by mountains, tea plantations and rainforests rich in biodiversity. The heart of the city is the scenic Kandy Lake, or Bogambara Lake, an ideal place for strolling and relaxation. Along the way, stop at the cocoa and spice crops of Matale, to find out what kind of processing they undergo. Visit to the organic garden of a cocoa farmer to discover the cultivation techniques of this plant. Traditional lunch at the community. After lunch, visit the Buddha Tooth Temple, a very famous relic revered by Buddhists.
Overnight in Kandy (B, L, D)
DAY 3: KANDY (PINNAWALA)
After breakfast (around 7.30am), transfer to the Pinnawala elephant orphanage. This center, established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife, near the Maha Oya River, was created to offer assistance and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungles of Sri Lanka, it aims to create a natural habitat for elephants. Afterwards departure to the town of Pilimathalawa to visit three important temples in the area: the Hindu temple of Ambakke, the Buddhist temple of Lankathilaka and that of Gadaladeniya. All three temples are very close to each other and you can visit them all on foot, so you will have the opportunity to discover a glimpse of rural life in Sri Lanka, crossing the rice fields that surround the villages.
Overnight in Kandy. (B, D)
DAY 4: KANDY (NUWARA ELYA)
Breakfast. Morning visit of Kandy including the famous and beautiful Botanical Garden. Departure by car/minibus; The road climbs the hills covered with tea plantations giving unforgettable images. You reach Nuwara Eliya after 2 and a half hours; this place was also called “little England”, since British officials stayed here to escape the summer heat of the plain. Visit some tea productions and the various manufacturing processes. In the afternoon, return to Kandy.
Overnight in Kandy. (B, D)
DAY 5: KANDY – MATALE – DAMBULLA
After breakfast, departure to Dambulla (about 2 hours). Along the way stop at the cocoa and spice crops of Matale, to find out what kind of processing they undergo. Visit to the organic garden of a cocoa farmer to discover the cultivation techniques of this plant. Traditional lunch with the community. After lunch, visit the Dambulla cave complex, where there are 5 caves carved into a 150-meter-high rock with wall paintings on the life of Buddha. Chek in at the hotel and possibility to relax in the pool or spa.
Overnight in Dambulla (B, L, D).
DAY 6: DAMBULLA – POLOLARUWA – DAMBULLA
After breakfast, morning departure to Polonnaruwa (1 hour and a half); an UNESCO World Heritage site, also famous for its resemblance to Angkor Wat, with the royal palace and the public audience hall. Near Pollonnaruwa you will enjoy a special lunch in a local farm. In the afternoon, excursion to Sigiriya (25 minutes) to visit the fortress of Sigiriya, which dates back to the Mesolithic period and is more than 5000 years old. Enjoy the climb to this ancient fortress, commissioned by King Kashyapa. Also known as Lion Rock, it has interesting frescoes and graffiti.
Overnight in Dambulla (B, D)
DAY 7: DAMBULLA – (HABARANA) – AKUANA – NILAVELI
After breakfast, visit Aukana (about 45 minutes by car) ancient Buddhist site, to visit stone carvings. After the visit, continue to Nilaveli (about 3 hours by car). Nilaveli Beach is made of fine, white coral sand. The long stretch of beach starts from the hamlet of Uppuveli, north of Trincomalee and continues through Nilaveli to Kuchchaveli, until you reach the jungles of the north of the island. Overlooking the calm waters of the Indian Ocean, Nilaveli is a coastal resort town located about 20 km northwest of Trincomalee. Nilaveli offers its tourists palm trees swaying on the golden sand, and has been considered one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka: you can spend your days basking in the sun, snorkeling, diving, fishing and relaxing. Check in at the hotel and relax on the beach.
Overnight in Nilaveli (B, D).
DAY 8 – 9 – 10: NILAVELI
These days will be dedicated to relax and snorkeling. Visit to the beautiful Pigeon Island. Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks in Sri Lanka. The national park is located 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli and the name of the island comes from the rock pigeon that colonized it. The National Park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs in Sri Lanka. Pigeon Island was classified as a nature reserve in 1963 and became National Park in 2003. This park is the seventeenth in Sri Lanka. The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial period. Pigeon Island is one of several protected areas affected by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004.
Overnight in Nilaveli (B, D).
DAY 11: NILAVELI – ANURADHAPURA
After breakfast, transfer by car to Anuradhapura (about 2 hours and 20 minutes).Visit to the amazing city Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka from IV B.C. to ‘eleventh century A.D. You will see the Jayasri Maha Bodhi (sacred fig tree), the statue of Samadhi Buddha, the stone carvings in Isurumuniya temple, Ruwanweli stupa and many other attractions in this vibrant 2500-year-old city. You will see the impressive stone tanks, used to convey and collect the water of the monsoon. This superb and ancient irrigation system, with tanks and canals, is the main attraction of Anuradhapura. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Overnight in Anuradhapura (B, D)
DAY 12: ANURADHAPURA – KURUNEGALA – NEGOMBO
Early in the morning departure for Kurenagala, about 2 hours. We will spend a day with Selyn Fair Trade, an organization of artisans partner of Altromercato Experience project. You will be introduced to this interesting reality of Fair Trade; A weaving center, where expert hands “create” magnificent toys (and not only) on handlooms. The first stop of the visit will be at the dyeing department, where the production process of fabrics with yarn dyeing starts. Lunch at the center.. Finally, we will also visit the Wanduragala store, where we will find many products and gifts to take home. After the visit transfer to Colombo airport and departure with international flight
All the itinerary has been designed in order to promote direct or indirect benefits for local communities, environment and cultural heritages. When possible, we have selected traditional accommodations sensible to social and environmental issues, following general principles and practices of responsible tourism. During the journey we’ll stop in Kurunegala, you’ll have the chance to discover an artisans cooperative, the Selyn Fair Trade one, partner of the fair trade consortium of Altromercato for an Altromercato Experience. You’ll be introduced in this true and interesting reality of fair trade by visiting the cooperative during their work hours. During your journey, you will also have the opportunity to meet the local communities and to discover their initiatives of biological agriculture. The best way to get in touch with the local communities is to spend a day with them to better understand their lifestyle.
During the journey it is advised to follow a conduct which respects local culture to avoid any hassles or unwanted troubles along your journey. In particular, avoid displays of affection in public places, such as hugging, kissing etc., as this behaviour is not appreciated by local people. It is also important to follow a certain dress code. There are basically two reasons why it is recommended to be careful about what clothes you wear here. The first reason is to avoid hurting local people’s feelings and second is to protect yourself from the unstable weather conditions. Besides, mosquitoes are a huge issue and it is advised to keep your arms and legs covered (don’t forget to bring mosquito nets and repellents, especially for backwaters cruises). Sri Lanka’s time zone is +4:30 hours, 3:30 hours with daylight savings time, so you could have some problems with the jet lag. It is advised that you get onto this time zone as soon as you leave home and try to eat and sleep according local time. Also, if you reach India early in the day, try to stay awake – this will help the body’s internal clock to reset. A conscious approach to travel requires a considerable capacity and willingness to adapt and adjust to the local environment and culture. If you wish to travel with us we request you to be open enough to experience local culture, religious and traditions without bias and pre-conceived ideas you might have before the departure and which belong to our Western cultural way of thinking. Exploring with fresh eyes, with patience and openness, you will be able to access the real essence of Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage through the places and people you meet. With this little effort, you will truly enjoy the beauty of a totally different culture and the wonder of nature. Once you make this little effort, you’ll be truly able to enjoy of the beauty of a completly different culture and of the wonders of the nature.
HOTEL CATEGORIES: 3 STAR SUPERIOR, HERITAGE AND GUEST HOUSE
We selected beautiful and traditional heritages resorts with all the facilities throughout the tour. When possible resorts have been selected carefully according to criteria of social and environmental impacts.
Private vehicles o mini-buses with conditioned air according to the number of participants for all the itinerary in Sri Lanka.
The best time to participate in this tour is between June and September. The climate is tropical, hot during the day. In summer (April-June) the temperatures can reach 43°-44° C, while in the early morning and in the evening reach 18°-24° C. The winter night temperatures vary between 2°-20° C, while the days are sunny and pleasant (October- March). The rains persist in the monsoon season (from mid-June to September) and the average rainfall is 1400 m.
Best of Sri Lanka – Summer Special Edition