Sri Lanka – Wilderness Journey

10 Days FROM US$950 per person

ITINERARY

TOUR OVERVIEW
Called ‘Ratnadeepa’ Isle of Gems by ancient seafarers, travellers, adventurers, and traders Sri Lanka’s many attractions rival her sparkling, precious gems! You will encounter them on this journey. A living religion for over 2500 years, Buddhism, in all its sanctity as witnessed in picturesque Kandy, foaming, turbulent river sites inviting white water rafting, mist clad knuckles mountain range mesmerizing visitors to trek in the peak wilderness. It’s hill country’s last great wilderness – UNESCO has designated it a Nature Heritage Site. Apart from the occasional village, the Knuckles is an untouched tangle of trees – this is the only place in Sri Lanka where you can see every different type of forest, from the dry zone slopes through montane areas to the waterfalls and lush dripping foliage of cloud forest. An interesting journey to a Veddah Village, believed to be Sri Lanka’s indigenous people, for a quiet contemplation of life, at a slow pace and relaxing amidst tea gardens, in ‘Little England’ Nuwara Eliya, sipping a cup of fragrant Ceylon Tea!
Day 1 -  COLOMBO
Ayubowan – may you be blessed with long life! With this beautiful traditional greeting we are welcomed to the jewel like island of Sri Lanka by TLJ chauffeur guide.
Transfer to Colombo Hotel.
Stay : Mirage hotel or similar
Day 2 - COLOMBO | RATNAPURA | KITULGALA
Morning we leave for Kithulgala via Ratnapura-the gem country. We pass through serene green countryside, with vast areas of rubber plantations, brooding and wet. On the way we stop by to watch the process of gem mining, how the workers toil in the slush and mud to bring out the rough stones, later transformed as precious blue sapphires, emeralds, amethysts, aquamarines, garnets, topaz and also semi precious stones. Throughout history, Sri Lanka has been known as the Isle of Gems-‘Ratnadeepa’. Excitement grips us as we proceed to Kitulgala, our centre for white water rafting.
Stay : Rafters retreat nature resort or similar
Day 3 - KITULGALA
Morning we leave for our adventure on the Kelani River, one of the main rivers of Sri Lanka, flowing through wild tropical jungles and falling on to Kitulgala’s rock strewn sections, the rapids providing ample scope for white water rafting. The picturesque Kelani River covers 5 major rapids and 4 minor rapids at this spot. We feel the adrenaline rush as we take the rapids on turbulent waters… great fun. The rapids bear enticing names such as, Butter Crunch, Killer Falls, Head Chopper and Virgin’s Breast! The actual run takes 1 ½ to 3 hours depending on our desire to spend time in the water. The scenery is spectacular, forest covered hills and deep gorges plunging down to the river.

Tropical Srilankan Lunch at Resort.

After lunch, at our leisure with the option of visiting Beli Lena Cave in the evening. Belilena is a famous large cave in Sri Lanka. It is located 8 km from the town of Kitulgala. It holds evidence of a lost generation of Sri Lankans some 12,000 years old; at this time the cave was occupied by Balangoda Man, described as Homo sapiens balangodensis by Paul E. P. Deraniyagala, who found ten skeletons of these people. They lived 2,000 feet above sea level. It is believed they lived more than 32,000 years ago.
Stay : Rafters retreat nature resort or similar
Day 4 - KANDY
After early breakfast we leave for Kandy, Sri Lanka’s most beautiful and most visited historic, cultural city. The last Royal Kingdom, ceded to the British in 1815. Set like a gem, amidst verdant hills, a meandering river Mahaweli and a lake as the centrepiece, Kandy is the repository of Sri Lanka’s traditional arts and crafts.

Check into hotel. Evening we visit to the Dalada Maligawa (temple of the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha), we observe the traditional Kandyan art and architecture of the building and witness the evening ‘Pooja’ (offering) accompanied by Kandyan drumming. The sanctity enfolds us…After a short tour of beautiful Kandy we are ready to enjoy a cultural show featuring Kandyan dancing and drumming.
Stay : Citadel Kandy or similar
Day 5 - KANDY | KNUCKLES
Morning we leave to explore the Knuckles Range of mountains in the central highlands of the conservation forest area, declared a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Check into hotel.

We start our trek. ‘Knuckles’ so aptly named as the landscape feature five mountains, resembling a clenched fist, is an important bio-diversity area where you will find the changing vegetation from upper montane forests to wet patana grasslands to lower montane forests, passing several streams with gushing cool waters. The air is heavy with the heady scent of cardamom plantations and citronella lined trekking path. The mist cloaked purple mountains beckons us across clear rivers, through dense forests, past flowing waterfalls and lush tea plantations, terraced paddy fields and colourful home gardens. There is no better location than Corbet’s Gap to catch the panoramic view of the ruggedly stunning mountain range and the entire area. At 1,500 to 5,500 feet, you encounter an extraordinary range of fauna and flora and the shy mountain birds catch our attention. Evening return to hotel
Stay : Knuckles Windy Bungalow or similar
Day 6 - MAHIYANGANA
Early morning we leave for Mahiyangana, to visit a Veddah village. Veddah people are generally believed to be descendents from the aboriginal population of the island, who have maintained until recent times a distinctive way of life based on hunting and gathering. They live in a syncretism of heritage beliefs and ways of doing things stemming from local origins that weave together a contemporary society. We notice, modern Veddah culture is strongly marked by prolonged interaction with the neighbouring villages, and visits of outsiders to observe their way of life. However, the simple life style of these people is like a healing balm, to us who lead hectic lives. A typical welcome is planned for us with their distinctive singing, chanting and dancing styles merged together – an awesome experience. Check in at Hotel
Stay : Mapakada Village
Day 7 - NUWARA ELIYA
Morning we leave for the Tea Country, an interesting drive passing the Victoria Dam and typical village scenery ascending to the cooler climes and a landscape of emerald green tea gardens. Check in at hotel.

We take a short sightseeing tour. The nostalgia of the British empire builders is reflected in Nuwara Eliya – buildings, gardens, landscaping, names etc., First introduced by them, terraced Tea gardens with mist hovering above and colorfully clad tea pluckers on the slopes, plucking two leaves and a bud is a delightful sight. We explore Nuwara Eliya, the lake, the 18-hole over 100 years old Golf Course, purchase the world famous Ceylon Tea and excited to visit Horton Plains National Park next morning.
Stay : Heaven Seven or similar hotel
Day 8 - NUWARA ELIYA | HORTON PLAINS | COLOMBO
Morning we leave for Horton Plains National Park. Clad in mist, located on a high windswept saddle Horton Plains is an expanse of misty grasslands, rare and beautiful plants and ice cold streams. The trek is exhilarating passing Baker’s Falls and ‘Chimmni Pool’ to ‘World’s End’ – a sheer drop of 3700ft offering a fabulous view of the tea plantations and all the way up to the southern coastline. The mist descends on us suddenly making the visit more magical. The scenic beauty and atmosphere is incredible.

We proceed back to Colombo carrying a load of memories on our unforgettable tour.
Stay : Mirage hotel or similar
Day 9 - COLOMBO
Morning we are on a tour of the commercial capital Colombo, very cosmopolitan as its stamped with Dutch and British influence and was one of the busy trading ports in Asia. A mile long promenade, the Galle Face Green facing the sea borders the Fort area from the south giving a very welcoming ambience.

Many shopping complexes, souvenir shops, jewellery stores, mostly high-end, handicraft galleries and handloom emporiums with fashionable clothes and linen. Speciality restaurants abound in Colombo and its environs. The bazaar-like Pettah area still looks old fashioned and deals in herbal medicines, spices, gold jewelley, textiles and sarees.

A relaxed evening.
Stay : Mirage hotel or similar