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Sri Lanka Safari Holidays Leopards Yala Park

Buddhist Sites + Pasikudah Beach


LPI12C
12 NIGHTS
FROM £1,595
International flights quoted separately
This holiday focuses on the cultural treasures of Sri Lanka - including the sacred Bo Tree in Anuradhapura, the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Dambulla Cave Temple, the Aukana Buddah, Sigiriya Rock and the ruins at Polonnaruwa. Complete your holiday relaxing on the warm beaches of Pasikuda. Best from April to September. English speaking guide, all transfers & excursions included.
Anaradhapura Polonnaruwa Sigirya Dambulla Temple Tooth Kandy
• 
Colombo
• 
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
• 
Kandy
• 
Temple of the Tooth
• 
Dambulla Temple
• 
Anuradhapura
• 
Sacred Bo Tree
• 
Sigiriya Rock
• 
Polonnaruwa
• 
Trincomalee Beaches
• 
Colombo
• 
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
• 
Kandy
• 
Temple of the Tooth
• 
Dambulla Temple
• 
Anuradhapura
• 
Sacred Bo Tree
• 
Sigiriya Rock
• 
Polonnaruwa
• 
Trincomalee Beaches
Day 1
You will be met at Colombo Airport and transferred to your hotel in the commercial, industrial and cultural centre of Sri Lanka.
 
Check in and relax in this harbour city, situated on an ancient trading sea route.
Day 2
This morning your driver/guide will collect you from your Colombo hotel and introduce you to the beauty of Sri Lanka as we travel 3-hours to the bustling hill capital of Kandy.
 
Along the way we stop at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage that cares for baby elephants lost or abandoned in the wild. Here you can see the orphans being bottle fed with milk before they continue to the river to bathe, giving you the opportunity of close-up photographs (daily feeding times: 09.15, 13.15 and 17.00), but please be aware that for safety reasons the elephants are chained at certain times.
 
Check into your hotel in this religious and ancient capital of kings and in the evening enjoy a cultural show, with dancing and fire walking.
Day 3
Today we visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth, that houses a tooth relic of the Buddha. Religious pooja ceremonies, when the golden casket containing the tooth is revealed, are held daily at 05.00, 09.30 and 18.30 - so this is the best time to visit.
 
Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage site partly due to this temple. Its principal Buddhist complexes have considerable importance – the high priests of the two best known, Malwatte and Asgiriya, are the most important in Sri Lanka and the Asgiriya Maha Vihara has a large reclining Buddha image.
 
Afterwards we visit the beautiful Peradeniya Botanical Gardens with its rare collection of indigenous tropical flora, including its famous Orchid House. We suggest you ask your hotel to pack a picnic today, so that you can enjoy it in the botanical gardens.  
 
Please dress appropriately when visiting the temple, with shoulders and knees covered.
Day 4
This morning we travel 3.5-hours from Kandy to the ancient and sacred city of Anuradhapura - founded in the 4th century BC and now a World Heritage site.
 
Along the way we stop at Dambulla to explore its famous Golden Rock Cave Temple, a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site for 22 centuries. This vast isolated rock mass with five caverns filled with statues is the largest and best preserved cave monastery in Sri Lanka and is a World Heritage site.
 
We continue to Anuradhapura and the ancient remains on the mountain peak of Mihintale. This is a pilgrimage site regarded as the cradle of Buddism in Sri Lanka, as it was here that the monk Mahinda met King Devanampiyatissa and introduced him to Buddhism. Check into your hotel in this capital of the north, surrounded by monastries and the well-preserved ruins of the great Sinhala civilisation.
 
Please dress appropriately when visiting Dambulla temple, with shoulders and knees covered. There is a steep uphill walk to the temple, so this excursion is not suitable for people with mobility issues.
Day 5
This morning we explore the ruins and temples of ancient Anuradhapura, starting with a visit to the "Sri Maha Bodhi" (sacred Bo tree) which is over 2,200 years old and was grown from a branch of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment – the oldest historically documented tree in the world.
 
This city has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization. Here you will see some of the tallest "stupas" in Sri Lanka (Buddhist commemorative monuments consists of a circular base supporting a massive dome) as well as the ruins of ancient royal palaces.
 
In the afternoon enjoy a jeep safari into Wilpattu National Park renowned for its leopards, although sightings of these magnificent creatures are difficult due to the dense vegetation. Wilpattu is home to 30 other species including water buffalo, elephant, sambhur, spotted deer and mongoose. Sloth bears are also present but are rarely seen. A unique feature of this national park is its nearly 60 natural lakes, which results in abundant birdlife including water birds and raptors.
Day 6
We leave Anuradhapura this morning and travel 2-hours to Habarana.
 
If you wish, you can ask your driver to detour to visit the statue of the Aukana Buddha, the tallest and most magnificent undamaged ancient image in Sri Lanka, before checking into your hotel in the small village of Habarana.
Day 7
This morning we travel 30-minutes to Sigiriya - also known as Lion's Rock -  a massive 5th century fortress and palace ruins surrounded by extensive gardens and reservoirs. Here you can climb 1,200 steps to the top of this amazing fortress in the sky that is now a World Heritage site, with the reward of incredible views. Ancient rock paintings are also on display. And don’t overlook the small museum near the entrance.
 
Return to your hotel for lunch, before enjoying an afternoon jeep safari in Minneriya National Park where you can hope to see wild Asian elephants. They are particularly numerous in August and September when they migrate along a corridor from neighbouring parks to feed on the fresh grass on the lake bed - an annual event known as "The Gathering".
Day 8
This morning we drive 1-hour to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa - the capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th centuries following the fall of Anuradhapura and today a World Heritage site.
 
Here you can explore these magnificent ruins, which contains some fine examples of Buddah statues and marvel at this ancient civilisation.
 
We then continue 2-hours to the seaside town of Pasikudah on the warm east coast, with its magnificent Indian Ocean beaches. Check in and relax on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
 
Please dress appropriately when visiting sacred sites, with shoulders and knees covered.
Days 9 To 11
At leisure to relax and enjoy the white sandy beaches of Pasikudah.
 
With one of the longest stretches of shallow coastline in the world, you can walk miles and miles in these crystal clear sea waters. There are also watersports available, including wakeboarding.
 
The best scuba diving in Sri Lanka can also be found here, at nearby Pigeon Island and Nilaweli Beach.
Day 12
Transfer to Baticola for your flight to Nayakakanda airport, north of Colombo.
 
Here you will be met and transferred to your hotel situated near Colombo International Airport.
Day 13
Transfer to Colombo Airport for your flight home.
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