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Sri Lanka: the Complete Island (2016)

Marco Polo Journeys: Exclusive trips, accompanied by A&K's most accomplished guides

Limited to 18 guests
Days: 15  |  From: $8,395


Sri Lanka: the Complete Island

Day 1: Arrive Colombo, Sri Lanka

Arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport. After clearing customs and immigration, meet your A&K representative and transfer to your hotel in nearby Negombo. This evening, gather with fellow A&K guests for cocktails and a welcome dinner.

Suriya Resort   |   Meals: D

Day 2: Thirappane | Cave-Temple Complex

Drive to Thirappane, situated in Sri Lanka’s monument-rich Cultural Triangle region. Enjoy lunch upon arrival at your luxury boutique hotel. Proceed to Dambulla, where you explore the Dambulla Temple (Golden Temple), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover its Buddhist mural paintings and more than 150 Buddha statues. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this continuously operated cave monastery — which features five sanctuaries — is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. Return to your resort, where you enjoy dinner this evening.

Ulagalla Resort   |   Meals: B L D

Day 3: Anuradhapura | Sacred City

After breakfast, drive to the sacred city of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient city is believed to have been established by a cutting from the “tree of enlightenment,” the Buddha’s fig tree, brought there in the third century BC by Sanghamitta, founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after it was invaded in 993. Hidden in dense jungle for many years, it’s now possible to explore the site’s palaces, monasteries and monuments firsthand. After a traditional vegetarian lunch, continue to Mihintale, a mountainous peak where Buddhism was introduced. Return to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Ulagalla Resort   |   Meals: B L D

Day 4: Sigiriya | “Lion’s Rock”

Enjoy your morning at leisure exploring the resort’s organic garden, cycling around the property or partaking in a relaxing spa treatment. After lunch, explore the ancient galleries and staircases at Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its ruins are offset by a commanding granite boulder, “Lion’s Rock,” built by King Kassyapa I in the fifth century. Return to your hotel for dinner.

Ulagalla Resort   |   Meals: B L D

Day 5: Trincomalee | Coastal Beauty

After breakfast, bid farewell to your hotel and transfer to Trincomalee, the site of your luxurious coastal resort. Experience the Tamil culture of Trincomalee, visited by Marco Polo himself. See its postcard-worthy natural harbors, Nilaveli Beach and Kinniya Hot Springs. Then, discover Trinco town’s harbor and fort, and visit Koneswaram Temple, a classical-medieval Hindu temple complex. Return to your hotel and enjoy dinner on a private beach, which is fringed by dense jungle foliage.

Jungle Beach Resort   |   Meals: B L D

Day 6: Kandy | Heady Spices

Transfer to Habarana, where you stop for lunch and enjoy an optional Ayurvedic spa treatment. This afternoon, visit Matale and a local spice garden to learn how aromatic cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and pepper lured ancient traders to the island. Continue on to your hotel in Kandy.

Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy   |   Meals: B L D

Day 7: Kandy | Temple of the Tooth

Begin the day at the Royal Botanical Gardens, seeing its impressive orchid collection accompanied by the famous Sri Lankan botanist, Bandara Palipana. Return to your hotel for lunch before heading to Ratwatte Walawwa, an elegant manor house built in 1804 by the Chief Minister of the Kandyan Kingdom. Partake in high tea with a prominent Kandyan family. At dusk, visit the revered Sacred Temple of the Tooth; built during the 17th century, the UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooks picturesque Kandy Lake. See how its two-story inner shrine is fronted by two large elephant tusks, and watch the sunset over its golden roof. You may also have an opportunity to see the thevava (offering), when flowers, sweet meats and curries are bestowed in honor of the Tooth Relic.

Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy   |   Meals: B L D

Day 8: Ella | Landscape by Train

Spend the morning at leisure, perhaps shopping for Sri Lankan sapphires near your hotel. Transfer to the Peradeniya station and take a scenic train ride through the highlands to Ella, passing lush green tea plantations, mist-covered mountains and waterfalls. Check in to your luxurious boutique hotel, tucked into hill country on a tea estate. Spend the remainder of the day relaxing. Join fellow guests for dinner this evening.

98 Acres Resort & Spa   |   Meals: B L D

Days 9-10: Yala National Park | Thrilling Game Drives

Take time to explore your resort’s grounds and surrounding tea plantations. Then, transfer to your rustic lodge bordering Yala National Park. The next morning, take a game drive in the park, which boasts the most prolific leopard population in Asia, along with sloth bears and 215 species of birds. Return to your eco-friendly accommodations for a Champagne brunch. Later, set out on an afternoon safari, followed by dinner.

Cinnamon Wild Yala   |   Meals: B L D (Day 9); B D (Day 10)

Day 11: Galle | Historic Fort

Drive to Galle, pausing for lunch en route. Stop to see the famous Stilt Fishermen, who still use an age-old fishing method to bring in their daily catch. Set out on an evening walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Galle, visiting its Dutch fortress. Then, toast your travels over a Scenic Sundowner at your hotel.

Amangalla   |   Meals: B L D

Day 12: Galle | Tea Experience

Visit a tea factory and plantation, where you learn about Virgin White Tea, the only tea untouched by hand. Continue to lunch and a cinnamon experience on a lush spice plantation. Return to your hotel in Galle. After taking time to unwind, attend a private educational talk on Marco Polo, followed by dinner.

Amangalla   |   Meals: B L D

Day 13: Colombo | Discovering Colombo

After a morning at leisure, drive to the capital city of Colombo, and take a walking tour with a Colombo native. Experience Pettah Bazaar, and visit the Old Dutch Museum, former home to Count August Carl Van Ranzow. Tonight, attend a Chef’s Table experience at the Ministry of Crab.

Taj Samudra, Colombo   |   Meals: B D

Day 14: Colombo | Island Architecture

Set out to explore the capital city of Colombo, visiting the Colombo Museum and Gangaramaya Temple. Pause for a late lunch at the galleries of artist, writer and designer Barbara Sansoni. Tour the garden estate of the late Geoffrey Bawa, with special insider access. Gather this evening with fellow A&K guests for cocktails and a farewell dinner.

Taj Samudra, Colombo   |   Meals: B L D

Day 15: Depart Colombo

Transfer to the airport and board your homebound flight.

Meals: B

Related Brochures

Marco Polo Journeys 2016 Brochure

Marco Polo Journeys 2016

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