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Sigiriya or Habarana 3 nights
Kandy 2 nights
Nuwara Eliya 1 night
Colombo 1 night
Day 1: Fly to Colombo.
Day 2 Colombo/Sigiriya or Habarana: On arrival in Colombo you will be met and driven to Sigiriya or Habarana. Rest of the day at leisure (approx 110 miles/4 hours drive)
Day 3 Sigiriya or Habarana,/Polonnaruwa: Visit the imposing rock fortress of Sigiriya developed by King Kasyappa in the 5th century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For the fit, take a 600 feet climb to the top. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the fortified town with a moat, rampart, and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens that ring the base of the rock. You will also see the world-renowned frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya, which are painted in earth pigments on plaster and are approached by a spiral stairway. After lunch drive to Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (approx 1½ hours), the second capital city of Sri Lanka built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD. Visit the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya - four colossal statues carved from granite, the Lotus Bath, the moonstones and Tivanka Image House with its Buddhist frescoes. Return to Sigiriya or Habarana.
Day 4 Sigiriya or Habarana: Day at leisure or a chance to take optional excursions to the Minneriya National Park by jeep or visit the ancient city of Anuradhapura (additional cost).
Day 5 Sigiriya to Habarana/Kandy: Drive to the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple, dating from the 1st century and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This impressive temple is a complex of five caves with the largest area of paintings found in the world and a colossal figure of Buddha carved out of rock. Visit a spice garden at Matale to see how they are grown and processed before continuing to Kandy (approx 2 hours), the last capital of the Kings and another of the seven UNESCO sites found in Sri Lanka. Enjoy a city tour and drive around Kandy Lake, the town bazaar, the arts and craft centre and a gem museum. This evening enjoy a pooja at the Temple of the Tooth relic and a cultural show.
Optional beach extension to the East coast before going to Kandy.
Day 6 Kandy: Morning visit to the renowned Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a conservation and educational centre which was established in 1975 and is one of the few places in the world where elephants have been successfully bred in captivity. This afternoon visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, which was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and then expanded by the British, and is home to an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers.
Day 7 Kandy/Nuwara Eliya: Proceed to the cooler climes of tea country to visit a working tea plantation and factory to observe the manufacturing and grading process of tea, before enjoying a cup of pure Ceylon tea. Proceed some 6,000 feet above sea level to the former colonial hill station of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka's most popular hill resort and heart of the tea country. The rest of the day is at leisure to fully appreciate colonial splendour in all its glory (approx 60 miles/3½ hours).
Day 8 Nuwara Eliya/Colombo: Travel to Colombo via Kitulgala (approx 130 miles/5 hours drive), where the Kelani River was the main location for the filming of the Oscar winning "Bridge on the River Kwai" film. Pass by St Clair and Devin waterfalls before arrival in Colombo and then proceed past a century old clock tower, numerous colonial buildings built by the British and also visit the Pettah Bazaar where you can shop for a bargain. Continue past Hindu and Buddhist temples and wealthy residential areas before arriving at your hotel.
Optional extension to the Ceylon Tea Trails. Should you wish to see more wildlife before travelling to Colombo, why not add a stay at Yala Safari, Uda Walawe, Gal Oya or Sinharaja Rainforest.
Day 9 Colombo: Time at leisure before your tour concludes with a transfer to the airport for your onward journey. Alternatively extend your stay at a Sri Lankan beach resort, fly to the nearby Maldives, or stop in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
For a more unique experience Glimpses of Ceylon can also be enjoyed using "boutique" hotels such as The Wallawwa, Ulagalla, Jetwing Vil Uyana, Kandy House, Ceylon Tea Trails, Aditya and Cape Weligama. These small and more personalised properties capture the essence of barefoot luxury and attention to detail.
7 nights privately escorted tour by air-conditioned car from £1499pp
08444 937 531