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Sri Lankan Discovery Kandy Festival

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Flights Included Fully Guided Small Group Coach Festivals & Events Scenic / Sightseeing
Our Price From 6,369 Per Person
Exclusive Savings 126 Per Person
 Trip Length
17 Days
 Trip Starts
Negombo
 Trip Finishes
Colombo
17 Day Sri Lankan Discovery Kandy Festival Itinerary (Bunnik)
Countries Explored: Sri Lanka
Trip Operator:
Accommodation
3.5 - 4 Star
Max. Group Size
20
Trip Code
BUN397

Overview

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Bunnik's 17 Day Sri Lankan Discovery Kandy Festival. The tropical island nation of Sri Lanka is befitting of its title ‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. Be amazed at what the country has to offer from thrilling jeep rides, lush jungles, ancient temples, and tropical beaches to a vibrant culture that prides itself on a tradition of warm hospitality. Return international flights are included between Australia and the start & end point of your trip. Surcharges may apply.

Itinerary

Welcome to Sri Lanka, where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes, and nature's beauty remains relatively unspoiled. Stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and wildlife experiences await!

The coastal town of Negombo is set alongside a picturesque lagoon and home to an impressive network of canals built in Dutch colonial times. Negombo was an important strategic outpost for the trade of cinnamon in colonial times and has been ruled at varying times by the Dutch, Portuguese and British empires. We'll enjoy the day at leisure today to rest up and refresh from yesterday's late night flight before our sightseeing commences in the early evening.

Special Experience: Cruise along the calm waters of the jungle-fringed Negombo Lagoon at sunset before enjoying a delicious BBQ dinner. Keep an eye out for various colourful birds and water monitors as our boat navigates the mangrove islands as the sun begins to set. In a fitting welcome to our time in Sri Lanka, we'll then be treated to a delicious traditional meal while getting to know our fellow travelling companions further over dinner. (B/D)

Sri Lanka is home to no less than 8 UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites. Five of these ancient sites are situated in what is known as the cultural triangle, in the centre of the island. Neighbouring some of Sri Lanka's most important sites and landmarks, Habarana is the gateway to Sri Lanka's cultural triangle and national parks. Negombo's fish markets are full of life and colour each morning when the fresh catch is brought in and vendors voice their prices at the top of their lungs. Buyers bargain for the best deals in what is a daily practice for the locals of this coastal town. We'll visit the fish markets during a morning tour of Negombo; don't wear your best shoes and have a handkerchief on hand just in case (it tends to smell rather fishy)!

We'll begin making our way to Habarana stopping en-route in Dambulla, home to the best-preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka; a key site of the country's cultural triangle. The cave temples were built in the 1st century and the gigantic granite outcrop towers more than 160 metres above its surrounds. We explore the caves covered by ancient frescoes and their interior where hundreds of statues of Buddha (157 in fact) are housed, some carved from the rock itself. We continue to Habarana and enjoy the remainder of our afternoon at leisure. Our hotel features a large outdoor pool, ideal for relaxing after a day of sightseeing. (B/D)

Anuradhapura, one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka and the capital of the North Province, is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed city known for its many ruins of temples, ancient pools and dagobas. We'll spend the morning exploring Sri Lanka's largest and oldest ancient city, seeing its famous white dagobas – large bell-like structures that reach some 60 metres in height which house Buddhist relics.

We'll travel back to Habarana via the Ritigala Medicinal Forest. Set deep in the jungle around a large hill formed by huge sculptural granite monoliths, lies the ancient and now abandoned hermitage of Ritigala. Today the visible remains are those of a Buddhist monastic congregation that used to practice meditation in total austerity. Rarely visited by tourists, this mystical place is incredibly beautiful and unspoilt with shady forests filled with streams, pools and granite boulders leading to ruins with various meditation platforms. (B/D)

Polonnaruwa lies at the cultural triangle's easternmost point and became Sri Lanka's second capital in the 11th century. We'll spend our morning in the ancient city that was built alongside a large artificial lake and is home to well-preserved ruins of palaces, bathing pools, stupas and exquisite rock sculptures of Buddha at the Gal Vihara. Home to evergreen forest and scrub areas that elephants and sambar deer roam free through, Minneriya National Park is our destination this afternoon.

The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in the 3rd century by King Mahasena). During the dry season (June to September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze, as well as the huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks, to name a few) that come to fish in the shallow waters. (B/D)

Regarded as one of Sri Lanka's most impressive sites a visit to the famous rock fortress of Sigiriya is a must. The remains of a fifth-century fortress lie perched high atop a rock plateau with views upon a vast plain and dense jungles. Built by King Kasyapa, an impressive 5-acre fort sat astride the rock and a city nestled at its base, but now the city is gone and the fortress is in ruins. We depart our hotel early this morning to visit Sigiriya. We brave the spiral staircase to see the 21 frescoes of female nature spirits (Apsaras) painted beneath an overhang about 90 meters up the rock. The frescoes are beautiful – their colours still vibrant after 1,500 years. A wall covered with 1,000-year-old graffiti and poetry (left by visitors who recorded their impressions of the painted women) lies just above the frescoes.

We're met at the top of our 1,200 stair climb with incredible views over the Sri Lankan jungle the lies below and some fascinating ruins of a kingdom that once flourished. Special Experience: Visit a local village near Sigiriya and be welcomed into a local home for a traditional lunch. We get acquainted with the traditions of the local family as we watch how they prepare their meals, learn some traditional cooking techniques and enjoy a delicious meal together. After lunch, we'll enjoy the remainder of our afternoon at leisure. (B/L/D)

Kandy is a truly charming town, set around an artificial lake and amidst rolling hills covered by forests and tea plantations. Known for housing the most important Buddhist temple in the country, the former capital of Ceylon and the last seat of the Sinhalese Kingdom is Sri Lanka's cultural capital. The city has a distinctive style due to the impressive colonial architecture that still survives today. En-route to Kandy, we'll stop at Matale and visit some of the best spice plantations on the island. A large variety of spices such as cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and precious cardamom (a relative of ginger) are grown here. We'll be shown how some of these spices are grown and processed and will be able to purchase favourites to take home.

We will also visit the Coconut House, which is a wonderful opportunity to see how a local family utilises every element of a coconut tree. As we continue to Kandy, we'll stop at a batik factory and watch as this artistic fabric is produced. This evening, we will attend the Kandy Festival. Watch in awe as thousands of dancers, drummers, torchbearers and whip-crackers in traditional costumes weave their way through the crowds. This is Sri Lanka's biggest and most spectacular festival. We have seats within a special viewing gallery to watch the pageant and enjoy the festivities. (B/D)

Our day begins with a visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Ever since it was founded in the 16th century, it has housed one of the most sacred relics of Buddhism—a tooth of Buddha collected from his funeral pyre, which is now protected within the gold-roofed Temple of the Tooth. We'll then discover the city of Kandy on a guided tour, before being treated to a cultural show and traditional dance performance.

The stunning Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya is our destination this afternoon. Initially a Royal Park, in 1821 under British rule it became a Botanical Garden. Here exotic crops such as coffee, tea, nutmeg, rubber and cinchona (quinine), all of which are important to the country's economy, were first tested. The Botanical Gardens include a beautiful orchid house and a wide variety of plant species from all over the world. (B/D)

The main hill resort of Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya is the heart of Sri Lanka's lush-tea growing region. Founded by the British explorer Samuel Baker in 1846, Nuwara Eliya was a sanctuary to the colonialists keen to escape the humidity and heat of Sri Lanka. The town was originally built with mock-Tudor houses featuring inglenook fireplaces and billiard tables, a golf course, racetrack, gentlemen's clubs and botanical gardens.

Now a bustling town and the vegetable garden of Sri Lanka, it still provides a glimpse of life during the colonial heyday. The region's temperate climate makes this the coolest area in the country. We board the local train this morning for a scenic ride en-route to Nuwara Eliya. We'll visit a tea plantation and factory where we discover how Sri Lankan tea is produced, from the picking of the leaves to the selling of the tea, before enjoying a few samples. (B/D)

Colonial past and current-day Sri Lanka fuse in Nuwara Eliya to create one of Sri Lanka's most unique destinations. We discover the town during a guided tour this morning before venturing out of town to see the spectacular St. Clair and Devon Falls that cascade down the lush green mountains of the region. Known as Little Niagara of Sri Lanka, St. Clair Falls is one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka. Nearby Devon Falls was named after an English coffee planter by the name of Devon, whose plantation is situated nearby. We'll enjoy a lovely high tea at the Grand Hotel before enjoying the afternoon at leisure.

Optional Excursion: Departing before sunrise you make your way to Horton Plains, home to many endemic loris and purple monkeys. Your trek will have you visiting the breathtaking Baker's Fall and the magnificent ‘World's End' which offers one of the best panoramic views in Sri Lanka. 3 hrs/9km – from US $50pp (B)

Home to one of Sri Lanka's most premier eco-tourism destinations, Yala National Park, Yala is the gateway to some of Sri Lanka's incredible wildlife. Established in 1938, Yala National Park has a diverse range of habitats, including scrub jungle, brackish lagoons, lakes and rivers, that leopards, elephants, wild buffalo and more call home. We make our way to Yala this morning, en-route stopping to witness the gushing water of the incredible waterfalls at Ella before continuing on to Udawalawe. Special Experience: Spend time at the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe and learn about its rehabilitation program. Established in 1995, the Elephant Transit Home rehabilitates orphaned elephant calves for release back into the wild. (B/D)

We'll enjoy the morning at leisure to relax before heading out on a safari through Yala National Park. Among the oldest and best known of Sri Lanka's national parks, our safari will take us through the park's stunning scenery and past a number of important cultural ruins. Keep your eyes peeled and cameras at the ready for the number of different species that call Yala National Park home. Optional Excursion: Cycle along the gravel road of the Yala National Park buffer zone (Elephant Fence), where you might be able to spot deer, monkey, wild buffalo, wild boar and many bird species. The tour also includes a visit to the Situlpahuwa Temple. 4 hours/30km – from US $95pp (B/D)

Situated on the south coast of Sri Lanka facing out to the Indian Ocean is the fishing and beach resort town of Weligama. Surfers flock to Weligama to surf the waves of the Indian Ocean, while travellers relax by the pool of one of the many resorts and local stilt fishermen spend their time trying to get the best catch of the day. We travel south to Weligama today en-route stopping at the coastal walled city of Galle, capital of the South Province, for a guided walking tour.

Galle is best known for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Galle Fort, a fantastically preserved colonial sea fortress. Built by the Portuguese in the late 16th century, the old trading port was further fortified by the Dutch and British colonialists. The narrow streets of shuttered mansions and churches are protected by the stone walls, bastions and ramparts, and are a delight to stroll through. Next, we'll visit a turtle hatchery on the beach in Habaraduwa, set up to conserve the turtle population, before witnessing the unique stilt fishermen of Weligama go about their trade. (B/D)

Winding its way through islets forested with mangroves, we enjoy a scenic cruise along the Madu River this morning. Look out for the 46 different species of birds that reside in the area, including 14 aquatic varieties, as well as huge water lilies and colourful butterflies. We'll then visit the Moonstone Mine in Meetiyagoda. This mine is one of the few places where the semi-precious stone is found in high concentrations, hence the villagers believe this area is blessed by the moon. At Meetiyagoda you can see, or even go down into, the deep, narrow shafts where the stones are mined. The remainder of our afternoon is ours to enjoy at leisure, soaking up the sun, sea and sand before dinner. (B/D)

Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, the ‘Garden City of the East', faces the Indian Ocean and stretches along more than 14 kilometres of the island's western shores. A bustling city crowded with buses and minivans has overtaken the once quiet roads laden with bullock carts. Tree-lined boulevards, colonial buildings, open air markets, temples, lakes and churches add great character to this city. Special Experience: Visit Gradely Cinnamon Estate for a tour of the property and a delicious cinnamon-infused lunch. Upon arriving in Colombo, we enjoy a guided city tour visiting the Gangarama Temple. This evening, we'll enjoy a farewell dinner at the Veranda Restaurant located within the Galle Face Hotel. (B/L/D)

Today marks the completion of our adventure across amazing Sri Lanka. We'll enjoy the day at leisure to explore Colombo further or simply relax and enjoy our hotel amenities before our evening flight. Perhaps you might like to pay a visit to the famous Cricket Club Café, owned by two Australians. We hope you leave Sri Lanka with fantastic memories! (B)

Trip Inclusions

  • Cruise the beautiful Negombo Lagoon at sunset, surrounded by lush vegetation, while listening to the amazing bird sounds as the evening breaks
  • Enjoy a delicious BBQ Welcome Dinner
  • Observe Negombo's everyday life at the local fish markets
  • Tour the serene cave temples of Dambulla, filled with hundreds of hand-carved statues and hand-painted frescoes
  • Take a fascinating journey through one of the oldest and largest of Sri Lanka’s ancient cities, Anuradhapura
  • Tour the secluded monastic ruins of Ritigala, located in a lush forest rarely visited by tourists
  • Visit the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, the island's capital between the 11th and 13th century
  • Enjoy an afternoon jeep safari in Minneriya National Park searching for Sri Lankan wildlife including sambar deer, leopards and elephants
  • Tour the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya
  • Visit a typical home in a Sri Lankan village for lunch
  • Visit the Coconut House and see how a local family utilises every element of a coconut tree
  • Visit the Matale Spice Plantations, growing a variety of spices such as cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg
  • Tour the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy
  • Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya
  • Enjoy a cultural show and local traditional Kandyan dance performance including the cobra dance and mask dance
  • Join the locals and marvel at the stunning highland scenery for a short journey by train before continuing by road to the colonial city of Nuwara Eliya, winding through lush countryside and tea plantations
  • Learn about the tea-making process and sample some high-grade Ceylon tea at a plantation
  • Visit the St. Clair and Devon Falls, just outside Nuwara Eliya
  • Enjoy High Tea at the Grand Hotel
  • Visit the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe
  • Enjoy a jeep safari in Yala National Park, with one of the highest density leopard populations in the world
  • Drive along the stunning south coast to the great walled city of Galle and see the World Heritage-listed Dutch Fort. Enjoy a walking tour of Galle
  • Learn about the endangered leatherhead and loggerhead turtles at a local hatchery
  • Spend 2 nights relaxing on the coast in Weligama and see the famous Stilt Fisherman
  • Cruise the Madu River and visit the Moonstone Mine
  • Enjoy lunch and a tour of Gradely Cinnamon Estate
  • Tour Sri Lanka's bustling capital of Colombo and stay in the historic Galle Face Hotel

  • Return economy-class flights from Australia to Sri Lanka. Taxes included
  • Airport transfers on the first and last day of tour
  • All touring in air-conditioned vehicles (excluding jeep-safari vehicle)
  • Train from Kandy to Gampola
  • Tipping Made Easy, $200pp pre-paid

  • 15 nights in 3-5 star hotels
  • Jetwing Lagoon, Negombo
  • Habarana Village, Habarana
  • Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy
  • Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya
  • Cinnamon Wild, Yala
  • Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa, Weligama
  • Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

  • 15 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 13 dinners, including group welcome and farewell dinners

  • English-speaking national guide throughout (based on a min. of 7 passengers)
  • English-speaking locally based guides

  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Disruptions to itinerary may occur.
  • All optional tours are based on a minimum of 2 participants (unless otherwise stated) and are subject to availability. The length of tours advised is an approximate only. Tours can be booked on tour directly with your Tour Director or guide. We recommend arranging the booking at the beginning of the tour to avoid disappointment. Please note some optional tours may also be available on multiple or alternate days. Prices are a guide only and are subject to change without prior notice. Payment by cash is preferred as there are no guarantees that credit card facilities will be available. Please check with your Tour Director or guide locally for information relating to this. Credit card fees and exchange rates are at the discretion of your bank.
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Flights Included
Tuesday 18 Jul 2023
Thursday 03 Aug 2023
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Prices include air taxes and fuel surcharges, this amount is correct at time of brochure release and subject to change. Note air supplement may apply depending on airline availability and departure city. The majority of departures above will proceed or are guaranteed to depart (based on a minimum of 2 passengers). We will outline the status of your departure date in your quote along with all applicable discounts and specials.
Note
Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Bunnik.

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