Trip reference number: 134044
This luxury Sri Lanka holiday will let you admire its incredible wildlife, fascinating history, and beautiful whales and dolphins. Start your trip in the capital Colombo, which was originally a small seaport town and is now a fascinating and busy city with a rich history and culture.
You'll then travel into the Sinharaja Rain Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the last remnant of Sri Lanka's tropical lowland rainforest. Next up is a visit to Yala National Park, the second largest national park in Sri Lanka where you'll get the opportunity to see incredible elephants, leopards, aquatic birds and wild animals. Finally, finish your trip with a visit to Galle, where you will be able to enjoy some incredible whale and dolphin watching.
Day 1: Depart UK
Board your overnight flight from London to Colombo.
Day 2: Colombo
In the morning, you’ll arrive in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. The city is only a small seaport, which came into prominence in the 16th century with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505, and the development of it as a major harbour during the British rule, and became capital in 1815 after the British won Kandy. The remains of the buildings from the different occupations are found in every area of the city.
In the afternoon you'll enjoy a city visit of Colombo, during which you will see some fantastic sites. Some of the interesting places you'll visit are Fort, the former British administrative centre and military garrison; the Goldsmiths's quarters in the heart of Pettah called Sea Street; the Bazaar area; the Kaymans Gate; the Dutch Church of Woldenhaal that dates back to 1749; Kelaniya Buddhist Temple; Davatagaha Mosque; Colombo Museum; and the Natural History Museum. Also make sure to visit the BMICH (Bandarankaike Memorial International Conference Hall), where you will see the replica of Ayujana Buddha and the Independence Square.
Day 3: Colombo – Sinharaja
After breakfast at your hotel, drive to Sinharaja Rain Forest, the last viable remnant of Sri Lanka’s tropical lowland rainforest spanning an area of 18,900 acres, and located in the south-west lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka. Sinharaja is bounded by rivers on all three sides.
Today, you will visit the rainforest. On the north, it's bounded by the Napola Dola and Kokulana Ganga, on the south and south west are the rivers Maha Dola and Gin Ganga, and on the west is the river Kalukandawa Ela and river Kudawa Ganga. To the east of Sinharaja is an ancient footbath near Beverly Tea Estate, and by the Denuwa Kanda.
Stay: The Rainforest Eco Lodge
Day 4: Sinharaja
Today, you will spend the day visiting Sinharaja Rain Forest. The rainforest was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989, and the only way to explore it is by foot. Enjoy observing a profusion of flora and fauna in the nature reserve, with highlights including the leopard, 45 species of reptile, and a wealth of birdlife.
You will stay at the Rainforest Eco Lodge, an eco-friendly hotel consisting of sixteen recycled shipping container chalets that's dedicated to sustainable development.
Stay: The Rainforest Eco Lodge
Day 5: Sinharaja – Yala
After breakfast, leave for Yala National Park, the most popular, and most visited national park in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, lying between the Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 km sq, and is located about 300 km from Colombo. It was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and is one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938.
The park is best known for its variety of wild animals, and is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. It also has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. Your stay will be in a Jungle Lodge at Cinnamon Wild Yala.
Day 6: Yala
Today, you will enjoy a morning and evening safari in Yala National Park. The park is home to the highest density of leopard in Asia, and also harbours elephant, deer and a wide-range of birdlife. You will stay at the Cinnamon Wild Yala lodge, an eco-friendly resort for wildlife enthusiasts.
Day 7: Yala – Galle
In the early morning, do a jeep safari in Yala National Park. After breakfast, embark on a trip to Galle, in the southwest of Sri Lanka. Visit Galle Fort in the Bay of Galle. It was built in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which still retains its polished appearance due to extensive reconstruction work. The Sri Lankan government, and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort want it to be made a wonder of the world. The site has already been inscribed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Luckily it withstood the boxing day tsunami which damaged part of the coastal area Galle town.
Stay: Fort Bazaar (Superior)
Day 8: Whale Watching / Galle
In the early morning, you will enjoy a magical whale watching session, before a packed breakfast. Sri Lanka is becoming a major spot for watching whales and dolphins, with Dondra Point of southern Sri Lanka becoming the most popular whale watching spot, especially during December to April. During these months, you will have a 95 per cent chance of spotting sperm whales and great chances of spotting blue whales as their migration path is just off Dondra Point. Your whale watching tour will last for 3 hours on an insured trawler boat, during which you will also have excellent chances of spotting spinner dolphins. Afterwards, drive back to Galle for your final night in Sri Lanka.
Stay: Fort Bazaar (Superior)
Day 9: ...
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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