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Encounter Sri Lanka

Solo Travellers 45 Years & Over
Saturday 13 - Friday 26 January 2018 ex Colombo

Itinerary

SIGHTSEEING HIGHLIGHTS

  • The highlight visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress
  • A local village visit by jeep with lunch, Dambulla
  • Dambulla Rock Cave Temple
  • A tea factory visit & tea tasting, Madulkelle
  • A nature trail walk in Madulkelle
  • The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kandy
  • The Temple of the Tooth, Kandy
  • An evening Kandyan Dance Performance
  • A train journey from Kandy to Nanu Oya
  • English High Tea in Nuwara Eliya
  • Udawalawe National Park entrance and jeep safari
  • A Madu River boat ride
  • A Turtle hatchery visit
  • The Gangarama Temple, Colombo

 

 

DAY 1 -  SATURDAY 13 JANUARY 2018
Arrive To Colombo Sri Lanka

If you are arriving on the group flight from Australia you land late in the evening to Colombo. You will be met on arrival at Colombo International Airport by a tour representative and transferred to our group hotel in Negombo, not far from the airport.*

Meals: n/a

* if you are not arriving on the group flight, booked with us as part of your package, an airport transfer service fee applies.

DAY 02 - SUNDAY 14 JANUARY 2018
Negombo

The morning is at your leisure, including breakfast at your beach side hotel.

After lunch, there is a welcome drink and briefing by your guide at the hotel. We then carry on with a sightseeing tour of Negombo, visiting the fishing village and the local market.  We return to the hotel to refresh and then come together to enjoy a welcome group dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Welcome Dinner

DAY 03 - MONDAY 15 JANUARY 2018
Negombo / Pinnawala / Dambulla 

It’s an earlier start today to ensure we have the time to enjoy our first stop at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, before travelling onto Dambulla, the cultural centre of Sri Lanka.

There is breakfast at the hotel and then make our way to the Elephant Orphanage. This orphanage is the home for about 89 elephants, of which some are baby elephants found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. They are being cared, fed and trained by the wildlife authorities. The best time to visit is during the feeding times, when we will have the opportunity of seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed.  There may also be the chance to accompany the elephants to a river close-by and see them having their daily bath.

After our wonderful elephant encounter, we drive to Dambulla and check in to our hotel. Dinner is at the hotel this evening.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 04 - TUESDAY 16 JANUARY 2018
Dambulla / Sigiriya / Village Visit

Today is a full day and we have an early departure to make our way to Sigiriya, a 5th century rock fortress.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress is a world heritage site, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). The ‘Lion Rock’ is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart, and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock.  Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway.  These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster. There’s time at the rock to make the climb to the top and enjoy the bountiful views in all directions.

Afterwards, we take a jeep ride though the village paths up to the lake, then cross the lake by canoe. We take part in a cooking demonstration by the local women of the village and enjoy a locally prepared lunch. After lunch, the jeep brings us back to our van and we make our way back to our hotel.

Tonight, there’s a group dinner at our hotel restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

OPTIONAL: An afternoon visit Mineriya National Park by safari jeeps to witness Wild Elephants This park consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to Sri Lanka’s favourites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants. However the central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank built in the 3rd century AD by King Mahasena. This tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few) that come to fish in the shallow waters. (Jeep Hire and Entrance to be paid directly @ USD 45 Per Person)

DAY 05 - WEDNESDAY 17 JANUARY 2018
Sigiriya / Dambulla / Matale / Madulkelle

Today we travel to the stunning highland regions of the tea plantations.

We have breakfast at our hotel. Our first stop is a visit to the Dambulla Rock Temple. We climb up to the temple, which was donated by king Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks. Dambulla is a World Heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 square metres of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world. These caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock spanning 14 metres.

From Dambulla we drive to a spice garden in Matale, to see the different spices, for which Sri Lanka is famous. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed and take lunch at the Spice Garden.

After our Spice Garden visit we head high up in the mountains to a very special tea and eco lodge, situated in a tea plantation.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 06 – THURSDAY 18 JANUARY 2018
Madulkelle

Relax and enjoy morning breakfast service at our tea and eco lodge. 

This morning we take in a tea tour. From our lodge, we are picked up by tuk tuk and taken to the tea factory, to learn and experience the harvest, production and brewing of a fine cup of Ceylon tea. The experience begins at the hotel’s tea estate where you will learn the art of picking tea then visit a working tea factory to see withering and packaging processes (orthodox process) and finally, a tea tasting session either at the factory or back at the hotel.

Lunch is in the beautiful setting of our lodge today. There is some time to relax after lunch and then we get ready to set off for some light trekking with a bird watching experience. You will appreciate the local hill country life, enjoy the emerald landscapes and trek through old Ceylon’s ancient tea valleys.  You should expect to see some of the endemic  birds like Ceylon Hanging Parrot, Sri Lankan Grackle and Yellow Fronted Barbet. Also, other birds like the Black Eagle, Brahmin Kite, Black Hooded Oriole and Wood Peckers.

This evening, dinner awaits in the lodge’s boutique dining room.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 07 – FRIDAY 19 JANUARY 2018
Madulkelle / Kandy 

Breakfast is at our eco lodge and we then leave for Kandy. On arrival to Kandy there’s a walking orientation tour of Kandy, including a visit to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. This botanical garden was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British.  It is 147 acres and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers.

After our orientation tour, we check into our Kandy hotel for our overnight stay. Kandy is a great town to explore at leisure and you have the rest of the afternoon to make your own discoveries.

This evening we visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and afterwards, witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.  We then return to our hotel for a group dinner

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 08 - SATURDAY 20 JANUARY 2018
Kandy / Nuwara Eliya

Breakfast is at our hotel and then we travel to Kandy Railway Station to board a train for a scenic journey through tea plantations and waterfalls up to Nanu Oya. On arrival into Nanu Oya railway station, we will be transferred to Nuwara Eliya. We check into our colonial style hotel and later in the afternoon experience a traditional English high tea.

Meal: Breakfast, High Tea

DAY 09 - SUNDAY 21 JANUARY 2018
Nuwara Eliya / Udawalawe

After breakfast, we travel to Udawalawe via Elle and Wellawaya.  You can relax at our hotel or take the optional tour.

OPTIONAL TOUR
In the afternoon there’s the option to visit to an Elephant Transit Home (entrance fees USD20)

Dinner this evening is at our hotel.

Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10 – MONDAY 22 JANUARY 2018
Udawalawe

We have breakfast at our hotel before we take a Jeep Safari to visit the Udawalawe National Park.

Udawalawe National Park was established in 1972 to protect the catchment area of the Walawe reservoir, crucial to the livelihoods of the farmers in the south east dry zone. With the land only recently reverting back from cultivation, the park has some fascinating characteristics that make it well worth a visit. Not least of these is the large elephant population.

Udawalawe is the most reliable place to see elephants in their wild habitat year round. Some 400-500 elephants live in the park and herds of up to 50 are commonly seen. The open plains are covered in thick manna grass up to the borders of the large reservoir in the centre and the Walawe River. The park is also covered by some abandoned teak plantation and dense scrub jungle. This variety in habitat makes for a rich variety of wildlife and game. As well as elephants, leopards live in the park (though you will be very lucky to spot one), toque monkeys, grey langur, spotted deer, wild pig and sambar. There are numerous bird species of course and Udawalawe is particularly rich in raptor species, among them the white bellied sea eagle and the crested serpent eagle.

OPTIONAL TOUR
Afternoon optional visit to return to Udawalawe National Park
(Entrance Fees USD 45 to be paid directly)

Dinner this evening is at our hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner  

DAY 11 - TUESDAY 23 JANUARY 2018
Udawalawe / Weligama / Galle

Breakfast is at our hotel and then we leave for Galle, on the south coast. En route we visit the Stilt Fishing at Weligama. 

On arrival to Galle we check into our hotel and the rest of your day is at your leisure. You may like to take a dip in one of the hotel pools.

Tonight, take the option to dine within the walls of the old fort city, or otherwise relax with dining in house at our group hotel.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 12 - WEDNESDAY 24 JANUARY 2018
Galle 

We have breakfast at our Galle hotel.

This morning we take a sightseeing tour of the Galle Dutch fortress. 

There will be time at leisure to explore the old fort city plus time for some shopping. At the end of the afternoon there’s the option to make your own way back to the hotel by tuk tuk or meet the group transfer. You may like to enjoy dinner within the walls of the old fort city.

Shopping Tip: for gifts or personal shopping you may like to visit:  Barefoot. Look out for the Spa Ceylon range of personal care items including body lotions, perfumes and bathroom items.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 13 - THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2018
Galle - Balapitiya  - Colombo

We have breakfast at our Galle hotel before leaving for Colombo.

En route, we stop to enjoy a scenic cruise along the Madhu River, a relaxing trip with plenty of interesting stops.

We cruise in a canopied, outboard motor powered boat; pausing to view a 200-year-old temple & to watch the locals cultivating cinnamon. All while passing dozens of islets forested with mangroves, appreciating the timeless natural rhythms of rural life.

You may also see traditional fishing techniques in action & can view demonstrations of coir manufacture and rope making.

Today, we also visit a Turtle Hatchery at Kosgoda.  At the end of the day we check in to our hotel in Colombo. Tonight, come together for a highlight dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Farewell Dinner

DAY 14 - FRIDAY 26 JANUARY 2018
Departure Transfer

Breakfast is at our hotel.

This morning we take a sightseeing tour of Colombo city. We drive through the Commercial area of the “Fort” so named, because both the Portuguese and Dutch had a Fort at this point. We drive past “Pettah”; a noisy Oriental bazaar with a hotchpotch of ancient vehicles, bargains, mosques & temples.  We continue the tour through the Wolvendaal Dutch Church, Hultsdorf Law courts, to the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens and on to the Independence Square and Bandaranayke Memorial International Conference Hall. We also visit Gangaramaya Temple.

After our sightseeing tour we return to the hotel, and dinner will be at the hotel. Then we transfer in the evening to the international airport, to meet the homeward bound group flight.

Meal: Breakfast, Dinner

Note: It is one group transfer to the airport, scheduled to suit the nominated group flight with Singapore Airlines returning to Australia. If you are not on this flight you have the option to take the transfer if the timing suits your flight itinerary (no additional service fee applies). Otherwise, an alternative transfer can be requested (to be booked in advance at time of finalising your trip details and a service fee applies)


Itineraries are subject to change, due to circumstances outside of our control. If there is any itinerary change prior to departure of significance we aim to inform you prior to travel.  Itinerary changes while on tour will be informed by your tour leader/guide while on tour.

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Encounter Travel
ATAS Accreditation No: A10439

Encounter Travel provides holidays for solo travellers. Since 2006 we've been creating tour, cruise and resort packages for solo travellers that like to share their travel experiences. Visiting destinations across Australia and around the globe our holidays include short tropical escapes, leisurely touring, cruises and active walking trips.   


ABN: 23 119 642 992