When it comes to popular destinations, Sri Lanka, and especially the East Coast, have been off the map far too long. This 10 days tour, that showcases the country’s wildlife, culture and beautiful beaches, should convince you. The itinerary will bring you from exploring ancient ruins and UNESCO sites to spices garden and organic plantations and even take a safari game to see majastic elephants and leopards, if you are lucky enough…, in Kumana National Park. It gives a great opportunity for you to experience the historical, cultural and natural values of Sri Lanka. An Italian speaking driver will pick you up at the Bandaranaike International airport, and start the journey that covers the most famous UNESCO heritage, starting from Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, to Sirgiriya rock fortess and to the Tooth temple in Kandy. Here you will also have a chance to interact with local farmers in Matale, while visiting a Cocoa and Spice factory to see how cocoa and other spices are processed, and in Heeloya Village, where you will discover farmers’ traditional agricultural practices. Next destination will be Mahiyangana and meet the Vedda (Vanniyaletto), the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. Arugam Bay welcomes you to a different Sri Lanka. It is located at the “end of the road” on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. If you’re after remote rural life with all the atmosphere of jungle and adventure this is the place for you. The bay is located 320 km due east of Colombo. “Ullai” as Arugam Bay is locally known is a popular surfing and tourist destination. Beyond surfing there are many things can be enjoyable, Lagoon tour, bird watching, elephant watching, Kumana National Park, Kudumbigala monarchy and many ancient ruins and archaeological sites. There are lot of tourist not only surfers, but many nature lovers visiting Arugam Bay. Here you can watch wildlife, you may drive in a jeep 10-15 km down South before sunrise or walk along the lagoon. Being an area with links back to ancient kingdoms there are many remnants in the jungle from old Buddhist culture. Just outside Pottuvil behind the dunes are excavations of a 2000 year old temple, Modu Maha Vihare. In Arugam Bay you will have a lunch in Panama prepared by local community and visit Kudimbigala temple. The last two stops of the itinerary on the way back Colombo will be Tangalle, where you can visit a Turtle conservation project, and the lovely Mirissa beach, idel location where to have some rest before you return back home.
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 – Sigiriya
Arrive at Colombo Airport. Travel through the countryside to Sigiriya in Dambulla, the central province of Sri Lanka.
Overnight in Sigiriya (B).
DAY 2: Sigirya – Anuradhapura-Sigirya
After breakfast visit Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka during 4th Century BC to 11th Century AD. Its unbeleivable beauty will take your breath away. You will see the sacred Jayasri Maha Bo Tree, infamous Samadhi Buddha satue, stone carvings at Isurumuniya temple, Ruwanweli Sthupa and many more attractions in this 2500 years old, yet vibrant living city. After lunch proceed to Sigiriya. On the way visit Aukana Buddha statue, a fascinating Buddha statue situated near Kalawewa (large reservoir) built by King Dathusena; Father of King Kashyapa who built Sigiriya Rock fortress. On the way back visit Dambulla Golden Rock Cave Temple.
Overnight in Sigiriya (B).
DAY 3: Sigirya – Kandy
After breakfast visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which dates back more than 5,000 years to Mesolitic period. Enjoy climbing of this 5th Century AD fortress made by King Kashyapa. Known by the name Lion Rock, it has very interesting frescos and graffiti. Then proceed to Kandy. On the way visit a Cocoa and Spice factory in Matale. Visit the factory and see how cocoa and other spices are processed. Thereafter visit one of the local organic cocoa farmers’ home gardens and experience how they grow cocoa. Enjoy a traditional lunch with the community. Arrive in Kandy and check in into the hotel.
Overnight in Kandy (B/L).
DAY 4: Kandy – Heeloya – Kandy
After breakfast proceed to Heeloya Village. Welcome by the village community. Enjoy the local refreshments and herbal tea. Trek in the village through organic village home gardens and paddy fields. Local community guide will show you many local spices, vegetables and fruits in the home gardens of the village farmers. The destination is the village water fall. Enjoy the views and the serenity of the waterfall. Trek down to a village farmer’s house to experience traditional rice & curry lunch prepared with organically grown vegetables. Proceed back to Kandy. Visit Kandy Temple of Tooth Relic and Cultural Dance performance in the evening.
Overnight in Kandy (B/L).
DAY 5: Kandy – Mahiyangana
After breakfast proceed to Mahiyangana and meet the Vedda (Vanniyaletto), the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. The term Vedda (or hunter) is a name given by Sinhala-speakers, while Veden is the term used in Tamil. The people refer to themselves as Vanniyaletto (forest dwellers). Visit the village and explore their life style and cultural practices. Continue to the much revered Mahiyangana Temple, a ste pilgrimage of Buddha’s first visit to the island, and among Sri Lanka’s most sacred places.
Overnight in Mahiyangana (B/L).
DAY 6: Mahiyangana – Arugam Bay
After breakfast proceed to Arugam Bay. Arugam Bay, a moon-shaped curl of soft sand, is home to a famed point break that many regard as the best surf spot in the country. You can experience surfing or if you’re not a surfer, you can relax, sunbath or walk on the beach.
Overnight in Arugam Bay (B).
DAY 7: Arugam Bay
Leave for Kumana (Yala East) National park Jeep Safari in early morning with packed breakfast. After the jeep safari, on the way to Panama village, visit Okanda Hindu Temple and Kudumbigala Buddhsit Monastry. Have lunch at a village home in Panama. Then proceed back to Arugam Bay. Evening at leisure.
Overnight in Arugam Bay (B/L).
DAY 8: Arugam Bay – Tangalle
Proceed to Pottuvil lagoon canoe trip early in the morning. Return back to the hotel for breakfast. Then proceed to Uraniya and Lahugala villages, where local farmers practice organic agriculture. Enjoy lunch with the local community in Uraniya thereafter visit Magul Maha Viharaya, an ancient temple in Lahugala. Then proceed to Tangalle. After dinner proceed to Turtle Conservation project. You may have the opportunity to witness something extremely rare, which is marine turtle’s coming to the shore to lay eggs. After the visit proceed back to hotel.
Overnight in Tangalle (B/L).
DAY 9: Tangalle – Mirissa
After breakfast proceed to Mirissa. Enjoy a day free to relax on the beach, crack open a coconut, slip into a hammock or rock gently in the breeze, allowing your remaining hours in Sri Lanka to slip calmly by.
Overnight in Mirissa (B).
DAY 10: Mirissa – Colombo airport
Proceed to Colombo Airport 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 tour you will have several opportunities to meet and interact with local communities as to get a real exposure to organic and agri-business initiatives. In Heeloya Village local community will welcome you showcasing their village, through organic homestead gardens and paddy fields. Local community guide will show you many local spices, vegetables and fruits as to explain the agricultural practices. In a village farmer’s house you will experience traditional rice & curry lunch prepared with organically grown vegetables. Also in the East Coast you will have other opportunities to discover local villages, where groups of women will host you for a traditional lunch village: in Panama, Uraniya and Lahugala villages, where local farmers practice organic agriculture, you will get a clear idea of lifestyle of traditional farmers. Finally during this tour you discover interesting initiatives promoting wildlife conservation: 1) Pottuvil lagoon in Arugam Bay and 2) the Turtle conservation project in Tangalle. The Pottuvil lagoon Eco-tour is a new initiative in management of mangroves ecosystem, which brings togheter local fishermen, government official and tourists. During the 2 hours canoe tour through Pottuvil lagoon you will experience the serenity and beauty of this special ecosystem. The Turtle conservation project in Rekawa provides protection for marine turtles. The project has developed a unique approach to turtle conservation, which provides in situ protection for nests, leaving the eggs where they are laid while “nest protectors” protect the entire beach from poaching and predators 24 hours a day.
Moreover, your contribution of 50 euros will support development projects in favour of one of the most marginalised tribal Communities of India. Tribal communities are still at the margin of Indian society and for this reason two are the main projects financed: 1) to conserve biological and cultural diversity 2) to promote the formal education of children belonging to Kattunaickan community of the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu.
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 South Asian cultural heritages, through the places and people you are going to meet; if you are ready to do this effort you will really enjoy the beauty of a completely different cultural tradition, the extraordinary of the nature, the solemnity of Dravidian and Buddhist temples, the holiness of the waters of countless rivers and oceans that flow through this magic land…
While travelling in Sri Lanka, despite being famous tourist destinations, it is advised that you following carefully a code conduct which respects local culture to avoid any hassles or unwanted troubles along your journey. In particular, avoid to show affection in public places, such as hugging, kissing etc., as this behaviour is not appreciated by local people.
You are advised to follow a certain dress code. There are basically two reasons why it is recommended to be careful about what clothes you wear while traveling to the area. The first reason is to prevent you from hurting the sentiments of the local people and second, to protect you from the varied weather conditions prevailing in seasons. One more thing to keep in mind is mosquitoes…it is advised to keep your arms and legs covered because it provides protection (however, don’t forget to bring with you mosquito nets and repellents, especially for backwaters cruises). Sri Lanka’s time zone is GMT/UTC +5.30, so chances of jet lag cannot be ignored. 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 Sri Lanka early in the day, try to stay awake – this will help the body’s internal clock to reset.
We selected beautiful and traditional heritages resorts with all the facilities throughout the tour. When possibile resorts have been selected carefully according to criteria of social and environmental impacts.
Private vehicles o mini-bus with AC according to the number of partecipants during all the itinerary.
The best time to partecipate in take part of this tour is anytime between May and October. CLimate is essentially tropical- hot during the day. Summer (April – June) temperatures can get as 43 – 44° C, while early mornigns and evenings are pleasant (18 – 24 °C). Night time winter temperatures vary between 02-20°C, whereas day are sunny and pleasant (October – March). Rainfall is heavy in the monsoon season (mid-June to September) and average rainfall is 1400mm.