ARRIVE COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
Arrive in Colombo, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
GALLE | HISTORIC FORT
Drive south today as you set out to explore the historic city of Galle. Perched on a promontory, the 16th-century Galle Fort — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — was constructed by the Portuguese, before being taken over and fortified by the Dutch. Stroll through the quaint and narrow alleyways, perhaps pausing to shop for gems or browse the many art galleries. See the ramparts, St. Mary’s Cathedral and cricket grounds. Then, visit a fascinating tea plantation, which produces virgin white tea — the only tea untouched by hand. Return to Colombo and spend the remainder of the evening at leisure.
CULTURAL TRIANGLE | ANCIENT CAPITAL
Travel overland to Thirappane in Sri Lanka’s monument-rich Cultural Triangle region. Discover the nearby 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. Hidden in dense jungle for many years, it’s now possible to explore the site’s palaces, monasteries and monuments firsthand. Its 400-foot Jetavanaramaya Dagoba stupa was once the world’s third tallest structure, until it was surpassed by the pyramids of Giza. Some intact and others restored, they stand as an amazing testament to the art of masonry prevalent at that time. See the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi Tree; grown from a cutting of the Bo tree in India, it has been continuously looked after for over 2,000 years. Settle into to your resort this evening. Once an ancestral estate of the local Anuradhapura nobility, it features a 150-year-old mansion at its center, offset by chalets on 58 acres of verdant land.
CULTURAL TRIANGLE | ROCK FORTRESS
This morning, discover Sigiriya Rock Fortress (“Lion’s Rock”), a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the fifth century AD. Rising over 600 feet from the scrub jungle, it was once the innermost stronghold of the fortified town. Standing tall over the surrounding plains, the rock is actually a solidified magma plug from a long-eroded, extinct volcano. On its summit are the remains of a palace. Hidden in caves around the citadel are some of the most magnificent ancient frescoes in South Asia. Return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure.
KANDY | SACRED TEMPLES
Depart overland for Kandy, stopping at the impressive Dambulla Cave Temples, some of the most stunning in all of Sri Lanka. Also, visit Matale Spice Garden en route to learn about the array of spices grown in Sri Lanka, seeing firsthand how they are processed. Check in to your hotel and spend the balance of the day at leisure.
KANDY | MAGNIFICENT FLORA
Explore Peradeniya’s Royal Botanical Gardens, where 300 varieties of orchids are cultivated. Founded in 1824, it contains some of the most valuable collections of plants and trees in the world. Continue to Kandy city for a drive around Kandy Lake. Visit the bazaar, gem museum and lapidary. In the evening, visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic during evening prayer services. It is here that — according to tradition — a sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is kept enshrined. As you explore, see how its two-story inner shrine is fronted by two large elephant tusks.
COLOMBO | EXPLORING ON FOOT
Return to Colombo today. In the afternoon, embark on a historic walking tour with a Colombo native. Experience Pettah Bazaar, and visit the Old Dutch Museum, former home to Count August Carl Van Ranzow.
Transfer to the airport and board your departure flight.
Enhance Your Journey
Elevate your experience with a host of options available for an additional cost.
Alternate hotels and room upgrades are available for this journey.
ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS
Join a local university botany professor for a private tour of the Royal Botanical Gardens just west of Kandy. Dating back to the 14th century, the meticulously manicured grounds transport you to a bygone era.
EXPLORE COLOMBO BY TUK-TUK
Tame Colombo’s bustling streets by tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw), taking in the spectacle of the vibrant city as scenes of daily life flit past.
Join a professional chef in her suburban Colombo home as you learn to prepare traditional rice, curry, sambal and salad dishes. Share recipes on your host’s terrace as your freshly prepared lunch is served.
Join a local farming family as they prepare vegetarian curries and steamed rice for a traditional almsgiving ceremony. Once the meals are prepared, they are offered up as alms to monks of the village temple. Share in a sermon and blessing before returning to the family home for lunch.