With this conscious tourism itinerary, you will live the whole essence of Sri Lanka in just one trip. An ideal tour for those who haven’t much time and want to go for the first time in Sri Lanka. During this trip you’ll have the chance to live the main aspects of the country. You will visit the main cities such as Colombo, ex capital of Sri Lanka (succeeded by Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte as new capital), Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla and Kandy with their important tourist attractions. There will be also some stops in places which are less touristic but more authentic, such as Kurunegala and Heeloya, where you could live many experiences such as the visit of a fair-trade cooperative, which is partner of Altromercato, the biggest italian fair trade organization, and you will live an “Altromercato Experience”; the visit of the organic gardens and rice fields to discover local agriculture techniques.
The trip in Sri Lanka (ancient Ceylon) starts from the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo ( still the main airport of the country) and continues in the northern city of Kurunegala, with the visit of the fair trade project. Then you will visit one of the ancient capitals, Anuradhapura with her huge stone tanks that collect monsoon rainwater, the Ruwanweli’s stupa and other many attractions. you’ll go to Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya to watch all their important UNESCO heritage’s historical sites and the caves of Dambulla, where you’ll admire the wall paintings on the life of Buddha. The tour will continue to Kandy and to the buddhist temple that preserve the relic of the tooth of Buddha, then and with the visit at the Elephant Orphanage of Pinnawela and the Botanical Garden of Perdanya. Later we will visit the village of Pilimathalawa with its three temples, walking along rural paths we will have the opportunity to see a rural scenery made of rice fields and organic gardens. Your trip in Sri Lanka will end with the visit of Nuwara Eliya’s city, called Little England, because during British domination, the british generals took advantage of its altitude to escape the summer heat of the plain; here you could visit tea plantations and the processing method of one of the most popular teas in the world. The tour will end on the wonderful beach of Mirissa, where you can relax or participate in may activities such as whale watching (Mirissa is the best place for whale watching in Sri Lanka).
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.
1° DAY: COLOMBO – NEGOMBO
Early arrival in the morning. Meeting with one of our representatives. Transfer to Negombo. Free time for the rest of the day to relax.
Overnight in Negombo.
2° DAY: NEGOMBO – ANURADHAPURA
Early departure to Kurenagala (about 2 hours trip). You’ll spend the day with Selyn Fair Trade, an organization of artisans that takes part to the Altromercato Experience project. You will discover this authentic and interesting Fair-Trade reality; a weaving centre, where expert hands “create” wonderful toys, not only with hand looms. The first stop of the visit will be at the printing department, where the production process of textiles starts with the yarn dyeing. Lunch at the centre. Then you’ll move to watch women artisans managing the manual weaving on the loom and, if you would, you could try this beautiful art. Then you’ll visit also Selyn’s kindergarten and the factory where, thanks to the Fair Trade, products are sold. Lastly, you’ll visit Wanduragala’s shop, where you’ll find products and gifts to bring home. After the visit, transfer to Anuradhapura and check in to the hotel.
Overnight in Anuradhapura (B,L,D).
3° DAY: ANURADHAPURA – AKUNA – DAMBULLA
After breakfast, transfer to Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka from IV century b.c. till XI century a. c.. The beauty of the city will leave you breathless. You’ll see the Jayasri Maha Bodhi ( the sacred fig), the statue of Samadhi Buddha, the sculpture in stone in the Isurumuniya’s temple, Ruwanweli’s stupa and many others attractions of this great 2500 years old city. Very interesting are the huge stone tanks used to collect and carry the water of the monsoons. This magnificent and old irrigation system, with tanks and canals, is the main attraction of Anuradhapura. Departure for Aukana (45 minutes), ancient buddhist site, for the visit of stone sculptures. After the visit, return to Dambulla.
Overnight in Dambulla (B, D).
4° DAY: DAMBULLA – POLONNARUWA – DAMBULLA
After breakfast, departure to Polonnaruwa (1 hour and half); UNESCO heritage site, also famous for his similarity with Angkor Wat, with the royal palace and the public hearing room. You’ll have a special lunch in a farm near Pollonnaruwa. In the afternoon, trip to Sigiriya where we’ll take a 25 minutes visit of Sigiriya’s fortress, which dates back to the Mesolithic period and is more than 5000 years old. Enjoy the climbing to this ancient fortress, wanted by king Kashyapa. Known also as the Lion Rock, it has interesting frescoes and graffiti.
Overnight in Dambulla (B, D).
5° DAY: DAMBULLA – MATALE – KANDY
After breakfast visit the Dambulla cave complex, where there are 5 caves carved into a 150m high rock with wall paintings of the life of Buddha. Transfer to Kandy (about 2.5 hours), whose kingdom has been resisting for more than 300 years to the European occupation (from XVI century till 1815) after the surrender of the city along the coast. Along the way stop at the cocoa and spices cultivations in Matale, to discover the working process they undergo. Visit at the organic garden of a cocoa’s farmer to discover the cultivation techniques of this tree. Traditional lunch by the local community. After lunch transfer to Kandy, visit the temple of the sacred Tooth, very famous relic venerated by buddhists.
Overnight in Kandy (B, L, D).
6° DAY: KANDY – PINNAWALA – PILIMATHALAWA – KANDY
Early breakfast at 0730 hrs. Proceed to Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala It is an orphanage, established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife Department, near the Maha Oya River to offer assistance and protection to the numerous orphaned elephants found in the jungles of Sri Lanka aims to create a natural habitat for them. After the program in Pinnawala leave for Pilimathalawa (which is close to Kandy) to visit Ambakke Hindu temple, Lankathilaka Buddhist temple, and Gadaladeniya Buddhist temple. These three places are situated within walking distance. What’s most interesting is that you can glimpse the real village life in Sri Lanka as you have to walk through paddy fields and pathways through villages to get to these temples. Return to Kandy. Free walk in Kandy city or rest and relax in the evening.
Overnight in Kandy (B, D)
7° DAY: KANDY – NUWARA ELIYA (MT 1890) – KANDY
Breakfast. In the morning visit of Kandy and of its famous and wonderful botanical garden. Departure with car/bus; the road climbs up the hill which is rich of tea plantations that offers unforgettable images. After about two hours and half we will arrive in Nurawa Eliya; this place was also called “little England” because in the period of British domination, the british generals took advantage of its altitude to escape the summer heat of the plain. Visit at some tea production to discover some tea working process. In the afternoon, city tour of Nuwara Eliya followed by a walk in the market place included with a vast range of vendors in a small complex such as vegetable stalls, fish and dried fish stalls, butcher shops filled with dashing colors. Back to the hotel, for dinner and overnight stay.
Overnight in Nuawara Eliya (B, D).
8° DAY: TOY TRAIN FROM NUAWARA ELIYA TO ELLA
After breakfast leave for Ella by train. This is the most beautiful train journey in Sri Lanka, as it travels through numerous mountain tunnels, tea plantations, eucalyptus forests, valleys and the famous Nine Arch Bridge providing you amazing views. The chauffeur will pick you up at Ella Railway Station. Arrive in Ella and visit the famous waterfalls and see it cascading downhill peacefully. From the hills of Ella descend to the jungles of Tissamaharama and Yala National Park. After lunch proceed to the spiritual city of Kataragama. Once in Kataragama visit the Kataragama shrine, dedicated to God Skanda (Murugan) the God of Love and War. It is believed that this Devala was started in the 2nd Century B.C. by King Dutugemunu (167 –137 B.C.). Today Kataragama is a place of worship for Buddhists, Hindus and some Muslims. Later transfer to Tissamaharama eco-resort
Overnight in Tissamaharama (B, D).
9° DAY: SAFARI IN YALA NATIONAL PARK
Early morning you will visit one of the foremost places to visit in Sri Lanka, the Yala National Park is famous for the elusive leopard and has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world. The sloth bear and Asian elephant that are also part of Sri Lanka’s Big Five can be spotted. With some good luck you will witness all these creatures and more over an evening jeep safari accompanied by a naturalist guide. Later transfer to Mirissa (around 2,3 hours by car). Check in the hotel and rest by Mirissa beach.
Overnight in Mirissa (B, D).
10° DAY: WHALE WATCHING IN MIRISSA
After breakfast, go for an exciting whale and dolphin watching. Often spotted blue whales are the biggest animals in the world and Mirissa is the best place for whale and dolphin watching tours in Sri Lanka. Whale watching season in Mirissa is from November to April. Afternoon free to relax on the beach.
Overnight in Mirissa (B, D).
11° DAY: RELAX ON MIRISSA BEACH
Full day free to relax on the beach.
Overnight in Mirissa (B, D).
12° DAY: transfer to COLOMBO
After breakfast, transfer to Colombo for your 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 completely different culture and of the wonders of the nature.
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.
In Sri Lanka the climate is tropical, hot and humid all the year and it is marked by the monsoons that determine the trend of the rains. The best period for visit Sri Lanka is in the dry season from December to March for the western and southern coasts and from May to September for the eastern coast. Having said that the positive note is that there will always be a part of the country where the climate is perfect to organize a journey in Sri Lanka, and however being close to the equator, the temperatures are more or less constant all year long.