Luxurious Sri Lanka
Trip code: BV15SLS
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With a focus on luxury, this 13-day Sri Lankan journey features the ultimate in Sri Lankan hospitality and accommodation, allowing plenty of time for relaxation while seeing the key sights.
Luxurious Sri Lanka is designed around some of the country’s finest hotels, with predominately 2 to 3 night stays at each location to create a more leisurely pace of travel and leaving plenty of time to experience these amazing properties while seeing key sights.
Travel to some of Sri Lanka’s renowned UNESCO World Heritage Sites, into the heart of the nation’s tea country and across to its most visited national park to look for leopards. We’ve included activities such as a train ride into the hills, a day trip to the city of Galle Fort and safaris from within the national park at Yala.
Along the way stay in properties most only dream of – enjoy bed tea and high tea at beautifully restored luxurious colonial-era tea planters’ bungalows, try to catch your breath from the poolside view at Cape Welligama and dine under the stars from within a national park.
Day 1 Colombo
You will be met on arrival at Colombo International Airport and transferred to your hotel, The Wallawwa, for an overnight stay.
Located just 15 minutes from the airport and approximately 45-60 minutes from the hustle and bustle of central Colombo, this easily accessible yet entirely secluded property is a luxury private hideaway. A beautifully restored old colonial manor house, it is set within two hectares of tropical landscaped gardens and comprises only 17 stylishly furnished bedrooms and suites. Depending on the time of your arrival, you may like to relax and unwind after a long flight with a rejuvenating treatment in the hotel’s Spa.
Day 2 Sigiriya
After breakfast depart for Sigiriya, famous for its soaring pillar of rock – an awesome sight.
Your accommodation for the next two nights, Jetwing Vil Uyana, is a luxury eco resort situated in the shadow of the historic rock fortress of Sigiriya. The vast and lush property is a private nature reserve consisting of a wetland system with lakes and reed beds; its rooms are placed within the paddy fields giving them an atmosphere of rural simplicity, although combined with lavish comforts.
Check in on arrival and the remainder of the day is at leisure. You may like to indulge in a rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatment at the resort’s spa, take a meditation or yoga class or simply relax by the pool.
Day 3 Sigiriya
After an early breakfast, visit one of Sri Lanka’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress (Lion Rock). Set in green scrub jungle, this massive rock was a retreat for Buddhist monks in ancient times. The well-planned monastic complex includes cave temples, frescoes, bathing pools, ponds and Asia’s oldest surviving landscaped gardens. Today Sigiriya is most famous for its beautiful frescos painted in the sheltered gallery of a rock face. Other highlights of this site include the “Lion Stairway”, the “Mirror Wall” and the “Water Gardens”.
The afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the facilities of Vil Uyana.
Day 4 Kandy
Depart Sigiriya this morning for Kandy. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Kandy was established in the 14th century and the Kingdom of Kandy became the country’s capital city in the 16th century. Under the patronage of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka indigenous culture flourished for more than 2,500 years until the occupation by the British in 1815. Steeped in political, cultural and religious history, Kandy also played a central role in the tea plantation industry once tea production began in Ceylon.
The afternoon is at leisure. You may like to explore the town centre; close to the lake it is a delightful jumble of old shops, antique and gemstones specialists, a bustling market and a good selection of restaurants.
Day 5 Hatton
Transfer to the railway station this morning to board a train to Hatton. You will be met on arrival and driven to your Tea Trails accommodation. Sri Lanka’s first Relais & Chateaux resort, Tea Trails comprises four luxurious colonial-era tea planters’ bungalows, connected by walking trails through beautiful tea gardens. Each bungalow has separate bedrooms and living rooms, verandas and private gardens, and comes with its own manager, chef, butler and houseboy.
Your ‘home’ for the next two nights, Norwood Bungalow, is situated at an altitude of 1,310 metres. It has wonderful views of the eastern end of the Bogawantalawa Valley and rests in the shelter of a fine bamboo stand. Built in 1890 – and rebuilt in 1950 – its large suites contain imposing colonial style furniture and elegant bathrooms. (Its rooms are evocatively named after past tea planter occupants – Trevaldwyn, Jeffery, Wyatt, etc). A spacious lounge and well-stocked library lead out to a croquet lawn, a large swimming pool and a sun deck. Here you can enjoy the pristine air and glorious outlook; Norwood has the best views of the four Tea Trails bungalows.
Day 6 Hatton
Today is free to enjoy Norwood Bungalow and its surrounds.
There are a number of relaxing activities on offer here. You may like to take a leisurely walk – a delightful way to experience the varied landscapes, exotic flora, abundant birdlife and the rhythm of life in a tea garden. If you’re feeling more energetic enjoy a game of tennis or croquet, perhaps followed by a swim or an indulgent spa treatment in the privacy of your room.
A most worthwhile activity here is ‘The Tea Experience’, a guided plantation tour that will teach you about the age-old tea making process. Follow the trail of the planters of old Ceylon, observe tea being plucked by hand, and visit the factory where the leaves are processed – a very artisanal process, unchanged for a century. The tour ends with a tasting of different grades of this tea.
Day 7 Hatton
After breakfast begin the walk to Tientsin Bungalow with a Tea Trails guide. The walk begins with a steady but gentle one-hour ascent along a well-made private country road with a high escarpment to your right and valley views to your left. It continues in an undulating manner through open tea country passing several historic planters’ bungalows and through the occasional copse of trees. The more varied vegetation provides plenty of good bird watching opportunities. (The walk can be varied to suit your level of fitness and interest, anywhere from 12 to 16 kilometres, approximately 3 to 5 hours walking). Enjoy a lovely picnic lunch by a small creek where you can plunge your feet into icy cold water – most invigorating.
Arrive at Tientsin by mid-afternoon. The high colonial Tientsin Bungalow was one of the first planter’s residences to be built (in 1888) in Ceylon. It has a small botanic garden, with a wide variety of local and exotic plants and trees. The varied vegetation of the garden has led to abundant bird life.
Day 8 Yala
Depart Hatton this morning for Yala – a beautiful scenic drive through tea plantations and past several waterfalls.
Your accommodation here is at Leopard Trails Bespoke Tented Safari. The camp is set up in the buffer zone of the Yala National Park giving you an opportunity to explore its spectacular array of wildlife. A stay here enables you to enjoy a truly authentic safari experience – in the words of your hosts – “ … only the canvas walls of your tent separating you from the wonders of our remarkable bio diversity”. Your tent is spacious and well furnished and has an en suite and alfresco shower.
Settle in on arrival and this evening enjoy drinks and appetizers around the campfire before having dinner under the stars.
Day 9 Yala
Today take early morning (with picnic breakfast packets) and late afternoon jeep safaris in to Yala National Park accompanied by knowledgeable Leopard Trails guides.
This is Sri Lanka’s most visited wildlife reserve. It is home to herds of elephants, wild boar, wild buffalo, crocodiles, sloth bears, monkeys and other animals. Its most famous residents, however, are its elusive leopards. There are also about 130 species of resident and migrant birds in the park including fantailed peacocks, painted storks, jackals, serpent eagles, sea eagles and pelicans.
Day 10 Weligama
Depart Yala this morning for the approximately 3.5-hour drive to Cape Weligama.
Located on the southern coast, Cape Weligama is a new luxury resort (opened in September 2014). Set within almost 5 hectares of landscaped gardens, atop a promontory rising 36 metres above the Indian Ocean, the complex comprises 40 suites and villas, restaurants, pools and bars. Designed by one of Asia’s most celebrated architects, Lek Bunnag, the residences are fashioned to replicate a traditional Sri Lankan village with terracotta-tiled roofs, whilst intimate wattas, or walled gardens, divide the property. Generously sized, light-filled, stylish and contemporary living quarters feature stunning ocean views and come with private butler services, individual gardens and dining and spa facilities. The crown jewel of the resort is the huge crescent shaped infinity pool perched above oceanfront cliffs.
Check in on arrival and the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 11 Weligama
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before taking a day excursion to Galle – a short (about 30 minutes) drive away.
One of the best-preserved colonial-era cities in Southeast Asia, Galle has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage City. A bustling, bohemian place enclosed by ramparts, its narrow, cobbled streets house laid-back cafes, boutique hotels, and artisan workshops.
Take a guided tour, including visits to the majestic Galle Fort, the centre of Dutch power in Sri Lanka in the 17th century. Also take in the Dutch Museum, Groote Kerk (Great Church) and the National Maritime Museum. Afterwards you may like to check out the delicate handmade lace and ebony carvings for which Galle is well known.
Take a sunset stroll along the fort’s ramparts overlooking the Indian Ocean before returning to Cape Weligama.
Day 12 Weligama
Cape Weligama offers a diverse range of activities and excursions.
A boat trip on Koggala Lake, its tranquil lagoon edged by fragrant cinnamon gardens and tropical wildlife, is a unique experience. You may like to visit some of the Buddhist temples in the area or take a whale and dolphin-watching excursion – this is a great opportunity to see these awesome creatures at close quarters.
If you’re feeling more energetic you can take an escorted rice paddy bicycle ride to explore the countryside, or go surfing, scuba diving, water skiing, jet skiing or big-game fishing. A lovely end to a day is a private sunset cruise.
Of course, all of these activities are optional – you may be more inclined to simply take a dip in the pool, enjoy a pampering spa treatment, or relax on your private terrace with a pot of freshly brewed Ceylon tea.
Day 13 Colombo
Transfer to the airport (about a 3-hour drive) via the scenic Southern Express Way for your flight out of Sri Lanka.
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