Royal Cities Tour  No. 300 C

Day 1 Colombo

Check-in at the Hotel Grand Oriental or  Best Western Alyon, Colombo. Afternoon city tour. Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka with a population of 1,1 million. The Fort, in the very centre of the city, is where most of the colonial remnants mainly from the British era are to be found. Nearby Pettah is Colombo's busiest and most traditional bazaar, a mosaic of human activities and architectural memories. Cinnamon Gardens is the most prestigious residential area. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 2 Colombo – Kandy

After breakfast you leave Colombo and the coast and drive along a busy highway into the interior of the island, past paddy fields, palm groves and coconut plantations. In Pinnewela you visit the elephant orphanage, where about seventy elephants are well looked after, mostly young animals that have been found throughout the country sick and abandoned by their herd and brought to Pinnewela. If you are lucky, you can watch the feeding or the daily bath in the river of the jumbos.

After this visit the road begins to ascend gradually. You stop for a short visit of a tea factory where you will learn in details, how the green tea leaves are treated to become high quality Ceylon Tea. After this stop you will enjoys a beautiful panoramic view of the central highland with its hills and mountains. At noon you reach, the old royal city of Kandy, situated at 500 m, beautifully nestled between green hills. At its very centre lies a small artificial lake and the palace of the last Singhalese king which has become a temple and the holiest shrine in Sri Lanka, where the tooth relic of Lord Buddha is highly venerated. Check-in at the Hotel Suisse or Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy.

In the late afternoon short city tour of Kandy with visit to a lapidary. In the evening you'll pay a visit to the temple of the holy tooth. After the temple visit you have the opportunity to attend a dance performance, where you will see the famous Kandyan dances, as well as up-country and devil dances. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel Suisse or
Cinnamon Citadel.

Day 3 Kandy - Sigiriya

In the morning after breakfast visit of the world famous Botanical Garden Peradeniya. The park dates back to 1371 under the reign of king Vikrama Bahu III when he held court here. The English put the cornerstone of the present garden in 1821. During the Second World War the garden served as headquarters of Earl Mountbatten, the supreme commander of the allied forces in Southeast Asia who became later the last Viceroy of India. You will find in the garden a very large variety of orchids, spice trees, palms, bushes, as well as tropical plants and flowers of all type.

You will leave now the central hill county, proceeding north. Along the road you will see paddy fields, coconut groves, rubber and spice gardens and plantations. You will stop at one of the spice gardens there you can see a lot of trees, bushes and plants cropping spices. Later in Dambulla you will ascend for a visit of the most impressive of all the many cave temples in Sri Lanka. The Raj Maha Vihara temple complex consists of five separate caverns with numerous statues of the Buddha and Hindu deities. The ceilings of the caves are fully illustrated with paintings mostly from the many lives of the Buddha. The history of  the caves dates back to the 1st Century BC when this place served as refuge to the king Valagam Bahu being driven out of Anuradhapura by invading armies from South India. After the king returned to his capital, the caves became a Buddhist sanctuary.

After this visit the driver takes you to the  Hotel Sigiriya Village,  where you will arrive in the evening. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Sigiriya.

Day 4 Sigiriya  -  Sigiriya Rock - Polonnaruwa – Sigiriya

After  breakfast the first visit will be to the Sigiriya rock. This impressive monolith which rises 200 m out of the jungle has been transformed in the 5th Century by king Kassapa into a fortress and became his capital as he feared for his life. On top of the rock was the kings palace "The Heaven- Castle", what remains today are only foundation walls of this once magnificent building and the many fortifications. What remains to be seen and is worth the difficult climb are the phenomenal frescoes of the Sigiriya Maidens. No one knows whom the seductive beauties, painted in brilliant colours on the rock walls, represent. One can think of them as heaven dwelling nymphs from a realm of radiant light. - After this visit, the driver will take you back to your hotel. 

In the afternoon you drive to Polonnaruwa for the visit of the well preserved remains of the city which has been the capital of the Singhalese kings from the 11th to the 13th Century. You see the excavations: Temples, dagobas, the royal palace, the royal library. The most famous Singhalese king Parakrama Bahu the Great (1153-1186) has built in the environs of Polonnaruwa an impressive irrigation system with many artificial tanks interconnected with irrigation channels. The reservoir near Polonnaruwa has been until recently, when the large dams were built  in the mountains, the largest and most beautiful artificial lake. After the visit you return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 5 Sigiriya - Anuradhapura - Hendala (Colombo)

After breakfast you leave to Anuradhapura in order to visit a selection of the most remarkable sights. As per written records Anuradhapura has been made royal capital by the king Panduk Anhaya in 380 BC. It remained residence and royal capital for 119 successive Singhalese kings till the year 1000 AC when it was abandoned and the capital moved to Polonnaruwa. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagoba of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha found enlightenment.

After the visit of Anuradhapura you leave for Colombo, on the way you pass paddy fields, coconut plantations and huge areas with rubber trees and plantations. You will reach Colombo in the evening. Check-in, and overnight at  the Pegasus Reef Hotel just north of  Colombo.

Day 6 Hendala (Colombo)

Breakfast at your hotel and end of tour.

The prices you receive on request an  include bed and breakfast in Colombo / Hendala  and half board (Breakfast & dinner) on the tour, transport in air-conditioned car with experienced English speaking driver/guide from Colombo and back to Hendala, The entrance fees to the sites mentioned are not included. As the operators pay the same prices as the guests, it makes sense that the guests pay these fees direct on the spot. The entrance fees amount to about USD 140.00 per person, children up to 12 years pay half. 140 

On the 24th December and 31st December inclusive of gala dinner. 
 During the Kandy Perahera 

Once we know the hotel in Kandy you are staying, we can tell you the the exact supplement.