13 nights/14 daysExplore the magic of Tea Country, camp in luxury under the stars, swim in your private plunge pool and stroll along Indian Ocean beaches. This luxurious tour is perfect for a honeymoon or pure indulgence and a superb way of spending ample time getting to know the southern part of the country with its varied landscape and wildlife. Day 1 Arrive ColomboOn arrival in Colombo, you will be met by your English-speaking chauffeur guide who will accompany you throughout your tour of Sri Lanka in an air-conditioned vehicle. You will be transferred to your hotel (approximately 1 hour) and spend the rest of the day exploring the island’s commercial capital. Colombo is the mecca for smart shopping malls and Sri Lankan designer shops, and Sri Lanka’s thriving garment industry means you can find international designs at cheap prices!Day 2 Colombo to Tea CountryHead east from Colombo into the cooler mountains to the heart of Tea Country (approximately 5 hours drive). This area is wonderfully scenic with stunning mountain and valley vistas at every turn, carpeted with emerald green tea bushes. See the curious ‘Little England’ hill station of Nuwara Eliya, with its racecourse, golf course, lake and British colonial buildings. Continue on to stay for three nights in one or more of the beautifully furnished, colonial-era Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows. Dinner and drinks are included during your stay here.Days 3 and 4 Tea CountryFollow the trails of the planters of old Ceylon and watch the tea pluckers. The staff at Ceylon Tea Trails will recommend circular routes from 2kms upwards or you can follow a trail one way and arrange to be transported back. For a few days of pleasant hill walking, follow the Tea Trail from one bungalow to the next, staying a night or two at each place. A visit to a tea factory reveals how the leaves are dried and processed. Tea Trails’ resident Tea Planter will show you first hand the tea-making process, ending with a tasting of different grades of the great brew. Day 5 Tea Country to Yala National Park Today you will depart for Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most visited national park. Enjoy the mountain scenery on your journey and witness these mountains dramatically drop down to the plains of the south, continuing to the south east coast. En route you can visit Uda Walawe National Park (approximately 4 to 5 hours drive). Uda Walawe is best known for its elephants and you are virtually guaranteed to see elephants in the wild with a population of around 400. This is mostly hot, dry terrain where the watering holes are a magnet for wildlife. There is an Elephant Transit Home near the entrance to the national park (separate fee), where you can see young elephants roaming free in a large field, and flocking into the feeding enclosure for meal times. Day 6 Yala National Park National ParkBegin early this morning for a wildlife safari by jeep. A variety of wild animals are seen in the grounds, such as monkeys, wild boar and the occasional elephant. Yala is most famous for its leopards and has one of the highest densities of leopards in the world, offering the best chance to see them in the wild. This is a very dry terrain with little shade, bordered by a beautiful coastline and interspersed with watering holes. Daytime temperatures reach around 30c, so it is a dry heat with little rainfall. You will see that Sri Lanka is blessed to have the opportunity to showcase a huge amount of fascinating wildlife, all of which you will experience during your safaris. Because of the high density of leopards in Yala, the lack of other carnivores means that the leopard is the top predator, so adults and cubs can be remarkably relaxed during the day. Young males in particular seem to have no fear of the jeep which can lead to some excellent photographic opportunities. On an afternoon safari, watch out for crocodiles basking in the evening sun.Day 7 Yala to TangalleIn the morning, depart for Tangalle (approximately 2 hours drive). The coastline here is made up of long stretches of sand and hidden coves, bordering dense coconut plantations and tropical forest. Southern Sri Lanka uncovers a world of historic Dutch forts, magnificent beaches and sleep villages, hidden away in the palms behind the wide sandy bays and sheltered coves. Days 8 and 9 TangalleThe coastline around Tangalle is one of long stretches of sand and hidden coves, bordering dense coconut plantations and tropical forest. Tanaglle is a quaint little town, with lovely views out over the coast. Here spend lazy days in the pool or spa or stroll along the beach and sample delicious cuisine. Sri Lankan’s prepare innumerable curries, delicately flavoured with spices such as saffron, chillies and the indigenous cinnamon and cloves. While you are on the coast, make sure you try some of Sri Lanka’s famous fish dishes, with multi cultural influences bringing an array of mouth watering dishes.Day 10 Tangalle to GalleToday you will head along the coast to historic Galle, approximately 2 hours drive. Galle, on the south-west corner of the island, is a reminder of the Dutch presence on Sri Lanka. The new town may have the usual urban bustle, but the Dutch Fort, built in 1663, retains a timeless air. The Galle Fort is a UNESCO world heritage site; sections of the wall offer the best free view of the delightful cricket ground (where Sri Lanka rarely lose) during Test Matches. You can walk along part of the ramparts with views out to sea and restoration work is underway to make the underground tunnels open to visitors. Check-in to the beautiful, colonial Amangalla for two nights. This hotel offers an oasis of calm and offers a lovely spa, the perfect place to unwind. Day 11 GalleToday you will have time at your leisure to explore Galle. A must is the fascinating Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle also has a cultural museum in a Dutch colonial warehouse and a newly-opened Maritime Museum. The small streets within the Fort are fascinating for the architecture and there are now some stylish small boutiques; the restaurants at Amangalla (previously the colonial New Oriental hotel), Galle Fort Hotel and The Fort Printers offer lovely settings in which to enjoy mouthwatering international and Sri Lankan dishes. The National Crafts Council handicrafts centre and an intriguing row of brightly painted fishing boats and market sellers lie between the old entrance to the Fort and the sea. In the newer town outside the ramparts, there is a lively market area with a whole pavilion dedicated to fish. It is also worth venturing inland from Galle, maybe encountering water monitors on a boat trip along a river or on Koggala lake, or driving through lush tropical scenery to one of the nature reserves, such as Hiyare or Kottawe. The villages around Galle are full of artisans – lace makers, jewellers, woodcarvers, painters and people making things out of coir, rush and reed. Those interested in organic farming will find a visit to Samakanda fascinating, set up and run by British journalist and environmentalist Rory Spowers. You can go for walks around the valley and learn about organic farming practices. They also serve delicious, organic, Sri Lankan lunches, cooked on a traditional stove. Days 12 to 14 Galle to BentotaDepart Galle and head north along the coast to Bentota (approximately 1 hour’s drive) and check-in to the elegant Saman Villas for three nights. Whilst here you may wish to take optional trips to Bentota for water sports or visiting the Brief Garden.Day 15 Departure from ColomboTransfer to the airport (approximately 1.5 hours drive) for your departure.PRICE INFORMATIONPrices from £4,990 per personIncluded in this tour: • Return scheduled flights with British Airways or Sri Lankan Airlines to Colombo in economy class• Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room• All meals and drinks at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows• All meals and drinks at Leopard Trails• Private English-speaking chauffeur-guide in an air-conditioned Japanese car throughout the itinerary• Scheduled return flights from London Heathrow to Colombo with Sri Lankan Airways.Not included: • Visas (A visa is a requirement for entry to Sri Lanka and can be obtained on line from www.eta.gov.lk)• Meals, except as specified above • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses• Camera fees where applicable• Personal travel insurance (this is essential)Click on the 'Hotel Information' tab above to find out about the hotels featured in this itinerary.
Below is some information about the hotels featured in this touring holiday itinerary.Colombo: Park Street, a luxury boutique hotel on a leafy street in the heart of the city. The 12 rooms are airy and spacious and the restaurant is popular with Colombo residents for al fresco dining (Deluxe room on bed and breakfast).Tea Country: Ceylon Tea Trails Bungalows, a collection of four luxury boutique colonial bungalows built for British tea estate managers. Each is elegantly furnished and gives the feeling of staying in a private house. All meals and drinks are included (Luxury room on fully-inclusive).Yala: Leopard Trails. This is a luxury mobile tented camp where you enjoy the adventure of a bygone era with comfort and fresh, regional cuisine prepared for a foreign palate (Tent on all-inclusive).Tangalle: Amanwella, a luxury all-suite hotel on a golden beach lined with coconut trees. Each suite has its own private pool and terrace. There is a choice of restaurants and magnificent infinity swimming pool (Pool suite on bed and breakfast).Galle:Amangalla, a gracious colonial hotel sitting within the walls of Galle Fort offering fine dining, luxurious bedrooms, lovely gardens and the fabulous Baths Spa (Bedroom on bed and breakfast).Bentota:Saman Villas, a luxurious and intimate resort with excellent standards of comfort and cuisine, overlooking a magnificent stretch of beach near Bentota (Superior suite on bed and breakfast).Prices from £4,990 per personIncluded in this tour: • Return scheduled flights with British Airways or Sri Lankan Airlines to Colombo in economy class• Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room• All meals and drinks at Ceylon Tea Trails bungalows• All meals and drinks at Leopard Trails• Private English-speaking chauffeur-guide in an air-conditioned Japanese car throughout the itinerary• Scheduled return flights from London Heathrow to Colombo with Sri Lankan Airways.Not included: • Visas (A visa is a requirement for entry to Sri Lanka and can be obtained on line from www.eta.gov.lk)• Meals, except as specified above • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses• Camera fees where applicable• Personal travel insurance (this is essential)
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