One of Vogue's TOP TEN Destinations for 2017!
Day 1 – Arrive Sri Lanka -- airport transfer to Negombo hotel: Goldi Sands
2 – Negombo > Bentota hotel: Club Villas
3 – Bentota > Galle > Weligama hotel: Taprobane
4 – Weligama > Koggla > Unuwatuna hotel: Taprobane
5 – Weligama > Mt. Lavinia hotel: Mt. Lavinia
6 – Mt. Lavinia > Pinnewela > Kandy hotel: Grand Kandyan
7 – Kandy > Matale > Dambulla hotel: Kandalama
8 – Dambulla > Dambulla Caves > Polonnaruwa hotel: Kandalama
9—Dambulla > Colombo hotel: Galle Face
10-- airport transfer -- Depart Sri Lanka
Day 1: Arrival In Sri Lanka
Morning arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). You will be met by your tour guide Skiz Fernando, and in 20 minutes be on the beach at the luxurious Goldi Sands Hotel in Negombo. The rest of the day is yours to unwind after the long flight, take a short stroll into town and explore, or just idle on the beach.
Day 2: Negombo > Bentota
Following a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we board our air-conditioned bus for a ride to the resort town of Bentota (approx. 2 hours), known for its immense stretch of untouched beach. We check in at Club Villas, Sri Lanka’s first boutique hotel, acquired in 1975 by world-renowned Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa, an Asian modernist with an ethos in sustainable and green architecture. You are free to enjoy the ocean; take a guided boat ride on the nearby lagoon, thriving with all kinds of wildlife; pamper yourself at the hotel’s Ayurvedic spa; or try out water sports like windsurfing or waterskiing.
Day 3: Bentota > Galle > Weligama
After breakfast, we set out down the coast for the historic city of Galle (approx. 1 hour), known in antiquity for its busy port and the 17th-century fort built by the Portuguese and Dutch to protect it--currently a UNESCO World Heritage site. We embark on a walking tour of the fort, and meet some of the local artists who have made a home here. Then feel free to explore at your leisure and enjoy lunch in one of the many restaurants or boutique hotels in the fort. After lunch, we drive a little further down the coast to Weligama (about 30 minutes), where our lodging for the next two nights, Taprobane, sits on its own island offshore. Originally owned by French Count de Maunay-Talvande, who erected the mansion there in the 1920’s, the place served as author Paul Bowles artists’ retreat, where he wrote the novel The Spider’s House (1955). That evening Chef Skiz flexes his chops in the kitchen, preparing a typical rice & curry meal for dinner, and you are more than welcome to watch.
Day 4: Weligama > Koggala > Unawatuna
After breakfast at the hotel, we embark on a day trip, first to the Handunugoda Tea Estate, a small yet exquisite tea plantation specializing in white tea that overlooks the town of Koggala (30 minutes). We tour the factory to see how tea is picked and processed, and meet owner Herman Gunaratne, whose thoroughly entertaining autobiography, The Suicide Club: A Virgin Tea Planter’s Journey, documents the tea trade from the days of the British Raj to the present. We also tour a nearby cinnamon factory. In the afternoon, feel free to visit the nearby beach of Unawatuna for a swim or a stroll on the sand.
Day 5: Weligama > Mt. Lavinia
Following breakfast, we leave for Mt. Lavinia (approx. 2 hrs.), located just outside Colombo, checking in at the spectacular Mount Lavinia Hotel. Originally built in 1806 as the residence of the British Governor, the place exudes an old colonial charm that transports you back to a bygone era as well as having an amazing view of the Indian Ocean.
Then join us on a shopping/sightseeing excursion stopping at such places as Paradise Road, the place for unique, locally crafted housewares; Odells, Colombo’s version of Macy’s; and the Dutch Burgher Union where we treat you to the special dish Lampreis, for lunch. Also that night for dinner, we meet local celebrity Chef Darshan Munidasa, and enjoy a specially catered meal at his celebrated, Ministry of Crab, rated one of the 50 best restaurants in Asia.
Day 6: Mt. Lavinia > Pinnewala > Kandy
Following an early breakfast at the hotel, we embark on the trip Kandy (approx. 3 hours), located in the island’s central highlands. Along the way, we stop at the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, founded in 1975. This reserve currently houses more than 65 elephants, who have become accustomed to humans, allowing you to get close enough to feed them. Elephant rides are also possible.
From Pinnewala, we proceed to the five-star Grand Kandyan hotel in Kandy to unwind after the journey. In the evening we rendezvous at the Kandy Lake Club to attend a riveting performance of Kandyan Dancing, famed for its grace, acrobatics, and colorful costumes, as well as an exhibition of firewalking.
Day 7: Kandy > Matale > Dambulla
As the seat of the last kings of Sri Lanka, Kandy occupies a special place in the island’s history. For Buddhists, the Dalada Maligawa Temple, overlooking Kandy Lake, is a holy site said to house a sacred tooth relic of The Buddha. After breakfast, we tour this spectacular site as well as the Ceylon Tea Museum, located in nearby Hantane.
After lunch, we set out for Dambulla (approx. 2 hours), stopping en route at a spice garden near Matale where you can see cinnamon, cardamom, and pepper plants growing in nature, and learn how they are processed and used in cooking. We check in at the fabulous Heritance Kandalama Hotel, another amazing property designed by Geoffrey Bawa that blends in with the surrounding jungle and rock. You are welcome to take a dip in the horizon pool or just soak up the peaceful, natural setting.
Day 8: Dambulla Caves > Polonnaruwa
After breakfast, we make a trip to the nearby Dambulla Caves, rock temples dating back to the First Century B.C. that include more than 150 statues of the Buddha in various postures as well as a ceiling covered in colorful frescoes. After breaking for lunch on the road, we head to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa (approx. 45 minutes), another UNESCO World Heritage site known for its advanced engineering and irrigation systems, massive stupas, and an immense reclining Buddha statue. Afterwards, we drive back to Dambulla to enjoy another luxurious night at the Kandalama.
Day 9: Dambulla > Colombo
Following breakfast, we board the bus back to Colombo (4 hours). Though this is our longest ride of the tour, it cuts through the heartland of Sri Lanka giving you a taste of the small towns and magnificent nature that make up this country. Our final destination is the majestic Galle Face Hotel, Colombo’s oldest, built in 1860. While on extended stay here, Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey as commemorated by a bust of the writer in the lobby. The afternoon is yours to relax or take a dip in the pool. In the evening dine in or at any of the numerous restaurants nearby, or enjoy a stroll along the Galle Face Green where street food stalls abound.
Day 10: Colombo (departure)
After breakfast, we transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
Please note that this tour has been carefully designed with a crucial balance between activities and down time in mind. All ages are welcome!
2017 Tour Dates:
July 20th – 29th
Leave U.S 7/18 (Tues night) -- Arrive Sri Lanka 7/20 (Thurs. morn)
Depart Sri Lanka 7/29 (Sat.) -- Arrive U.S. 7/30 (Sun.)
Aug. 3rd – 12th
Leave U.S. 8/1 (Tues. night) -- Arrive Sri Lanka 8/3 (Thurs. morn)
Depart Sri Lanka 8/12 (Sat.) -- Arrive U.S. 8/13 (Sun.)
US $2,500/per person (double occupancy) -- contact us for single supplement
All tours are:
· 10 person max
· Ground travel in air-conditioned bus
· Stays in premium boutique hotels
· Includes airport transfers, ground travel, hotels, entrance fees, breakfast & meals where noted.
· Not included: airfare, visas, liquor, other meals, supplementary activities
Note: We can arrange your flight as well for a nominal fee of $25