Old Colonial Forts, Wildlife and Golden Beaches

11 Nights & 12 Days

A holiday designed to experience the best of Sri Lanka’s south coast, famed for its national parks teaming with wildlife, vast expanses of golden beaches and hidden coves, off the beaten track archaeological sites and historic colonial sites including the Dutch built forts in Galle and Matara. Market visits with culinary classes on local cuisine, tuk tuk rides, a tea factory tour, visits to renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa’s Lunu Ganga Estate and his brother Bevis’s residence, the Brief Garden along with a guided walking tour of the capital exploring the last remaining colonial heritage building within Colombo and its street markets are some of the other interesting experiences including within this itinerary.

Day 01

Galle Face Hotel, Colombo
Landmark Room – B&B

Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your chauffeur guide and travel to Colombo and check-in at the iconic Galle Face Hotel, which opened in 1869 and is one of the island’s most sort after hotels to stay in. Remainder of the day at leisure to relax and unwind after your flight. 

Galle Face Hotel, Colombo
Landmark Room – B&B

Morning, go on a guided tour of Colombo, which is an open and attractive city with a fascinating mix of 19th and 20th century colonial buildings, and more recent modern architecture. Some of the main sites covered during your guided city tour of the capital includes the Galle Face Green, Old Parliament, Gangaraamaya Temple, Beira Lake, Viharamahadevi Park and Independence Square.
In the afternoon, go on the Colombo City Walk, which takes you to the heart of the city and is an area lined with old colonial buildings from the periods of Dutch and British rule.
In the evening, head to the Ministry of Crab Restaurant for dinner, which is one of Colombo’s most popular restaurants with signature dishes such as Chilli Crab, Pepper Crab and Baked Crab on the menu along with the amazing King Prawns from the rivers of Sri Lanka.

Day 02

Day 03

Cinnamon Wild, Yala
Jungle Chalet – H/B

Morning, travel to Cinnamon Wild in the outskirts of Yala National Park Afternoon, go on a guided safari to Yala National Park, where you can encounter a variety of wildlife including Leopard, Sloth Bear, Asian Elephant, Mugger Crocodile, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Jackal and over 300 species of birds. 

Day 04

Cinnamon Wild, Yala
Jungle Chalet – H/B

Early morning and afternoon safaris to Yala National Park. You also have the option to do guided bush walks, bird watching tours or an excursion to the Sithulpahuwa temple, from where you can get panoramic views of Yala and its jungle surroundings.

Day 05

Anantara Peace Heaven Tangalle Resort, Tangalle
Premier Ocean View Room – H/B

MorninMorning, explore the sacred town of Kataragama, which is a pilgrim town sacred to Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim as well as the indigenous Veddha people of Sri Lanka. The ul-Khizr mosque has the tomb where a Muslim saint is buried , while the  Hindu Kovil adjacent to the mosque pays tribute to the Hindu God Shiva. The main shrine at the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya (Temple) is dedicated to Skanda-Murugan also known as the Kataragama deity while there are other shrines dedicated to the Buddha and Ghanesh.  The Kiri Vihara Dagoba which was built in the 1st century BC is believed to be one of the sites visited by the Buddha during his third visit to the island.
Afterwards, leave for Tangalle on the south coast and check-in at the Anantara Peace Heaven Tangalle Resort and spend the remainder of the day at leisure by the beach. 
After dark, you have the option of visiting nearby Rekawa Beach where you may see nesting sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Green Turtles and Olive Ridleys are the most encountered species while the Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Leatherback may also be seen sporadically.   

Day 06

Anantara Peace Heaven Tangalle Resort, Tangalle
Premier Ocean View Room – H/B

After breakfast, visit the Mulkirigala Rock Temple, which is a collection of ancient cave temples on the summit of a 200 metre high rocky outcrop. Going back to the 2nd century AD, this is a monastic site where the temples are carved out of a huge rock outcrop reminiscent to Sigiriya form the exterior. From the summit, which is 200 metres above sea level, there are panoramic views of the surrounding jungles and countryside. 
Afternoon, indulge in an Ayurvedic massage and experience wellness traditions that have been practiced for thousands of years in Sri Lanka. Discover how the 5,000 year old science of Ayurvedic healing offers powerful remedies to address the stresses and strains of modern life.

Day 07

The Galle Fort Hotel, Galle
Garden Room – B&B

Morning, leave for Matara, where you can break for lunch and visit the Star Fort and the Dutch Fort. 
Afterwards, proceed to the The Galle Fort Hotel, located within the heart of the 17th century Dutch built Fort. En-route, stop over in Ahangama to see Sri Lanka’s iconic stilt fishermen, which are found only in this region. Remainder of the day at leisure. 

Day 08

The Galle Fort Hotel, Galle
Garden Room – B&B

This morning, meet the resident chef and head to the Galle market where you can pick up fresh seafood, vegetables, herbs and other juicy ingredients for your lunch. Afterwards, participate in a culinary master class with the chef and learn how to cook a traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry seafood lunch, which you can enjoy afterwards.
In the afternoon, go on a guided tour of the Galle Fort. The Main Gate built by the British in the 19th century and the old gate which is inscribed with the Dutch East India Company’s coat of arms, the18th century built Clock Tower, Meeran Jumma Mosque and the nearby Lighthouse, the Anglican All Saints Church and the Dutch-reformed Church are well worth a visit. For those who have more time to explore the region, then a visit to the National Maritime Architecture Museum which was formerly a Dutch warehouse where ship’s provisions and valuable cargo were stored. The Galle National Museum which displays a collection of archaeological artefacts recovered from the south of the island is also worth a visit.  

Day 09

The Calamansi Cove, Balapitiya
Residence – H/B

Morning, visit the Handungoda Tea Estate and Museum, which is a working tea and tubber plantation which is a short drive heading inland from Galle.  Also referred to as the Virgin White Tea Factory, the white tea produced here contains anti-oxidants and is regarded as one of the most expensive teas in the world. The Estate spans 200 acres and comprises of Tea, Rubber, Cinnamon, Pepper and Coconut plantations. With machinery around 150 years old, the Estate has a Rubber and Tea Factory and a working museum. Visitors are provided with a guided tour of the property by a resident tea planter and treated to a complimentary cup of tea and cakes at the plantation bungalow.  You will also get a chance to taste the many blends of tea produced and perhaps pick up a pack of tea for later enjoyment.  
Afterwards, proceed to The Calamansi Cove in Balapitiya, a boutique hotel located in an islolated beach cove with golden beaches and swaying palm trees. Remainder of the day at leisure

Day 10

The Calamansi Cove, Balapitiya
Residence – H/B

Morning, visit the Brief Garden, the former estate of the late Bevis Bawa, who was an artist, sculptor and a writer and the older brother of the famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. The property which sprawls across two acres was initially a rubber plantation, which was gradually transformed to a landscaped garden with stone steps and shady paths. Visit the hilltop lookout, where there is a cement moonstone and the Japanese Garden. The highlight however is a visit to the bungalow itself, which is the is the centerpiece of the garden and displays a collection of artwork from homoerotic sculptures to a mural of Sri Lankan life.
Afterwards, proceed to the Lunuganga Estate, the country retreat of Geoffrey Bawa, which was initially no more than a neglected rubber estate that was transformed over 50 years  into what he called a ‘civilized wildernesses’. There is a stunning view of the gardens over Cinnamon Hill from where you can see the dagoba of the Katakuliya temple. The numerous buildings within the estate such as the Hen House and Cinnamon Hill House are classic examples of Bawa’s renown style of architecture which maximizes the use of natural light and ventilation. Lunch will be included as a part of the experience.
Afterwards, return to Calamansi Cove and spend the remainder of the day at leisure. 
En-route back to the hotel, you can briefly stopover at the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery, which collects sea turtle eggs that are safeguarded from poaching and natural predation. Once the eggs hatch, the baby turtles are kept for a day or two in a tank prior to being released back into the ocean.

Day 11

The Calamansi Cove, Balapitiya
Residence – H/B

After breakfast, go on a scenic boat ride on the Madu Ganga, which takes you through the estuary of the river which comprises of dense mangrove forests and 64 islands. A variety of birdlife can be seen along with troops of Toque Macaques and  Bengal Water Monitors where fully grown specimens can get to over 6 feet in length. One of the islands has a Buddhist monastery which is decorated with some sculptures and art work, the highlight being a 150 year old book made of palm leaves. You can see the local villagers extract cinnamon oil from the trees.
Afterwards, visit the Ambalangoda Mask Museum, which is famous for the production of traditional Sri Lankan masks which are hand-carved and hand-painted, which are worn by performers in southern forms of dance such as Kolam (masked dance-drama), Kandyan and Sabaragamu dances.
Remainder of the day at leisure. 

Day 12

BIA, Katunayeke

Today, leave for the Bandaranaike International Airport, to catch your flight back home or to the next onward destination. Time permitting, you may like to stopover for a meal or to do some shopping in Colombo. 

Colombo 00300, Sri lanka.

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