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SAFARIS & SPICES OF SRI LANKA

  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

  • Colombo
  • Kandalama
  • Sigiriya
  • Polonnaruwa
  • Kandy
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Yala National Park
  • Galle
  • Colombo

14 Days Exploration
  • Departing:
  • 8 Mar 2025 New release

Sensory overload abounds on this unique journey. We encounter wildlife on safari and rattle through tea plantations by rail. At all times, we are granted rare perspectives of this island nation, courtesy of a range of diverse transportation. Naturally, our journey is also replete with the requisite culinary elements, while being reserved for just 23 guests.

Map

Check into your Heritage Sea View room at Colombo’s Galle Face Hotel. Admire the timeless grandeur of this Sri Lankan landmark on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

Basking in our exceptional location, the morning is ours to rest. Following lunch at the Gallery Café, embark on a guided walk of Sri Lanka’s capital with local expert Mark Forbes. Tonight, we dine at the culinary hotspot, the Ministry of Crab. Owned by former Sri Lankan cricketers, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, this restaurant celebrates the country’s prized crustaceans, the giant lagoon crabs.

Excitement builds this morning as we prepare ourselves to be whisked away, either by large helicopter or light aircraft, to Sigiriya Air Base. Once on the ground, we visit the World Heritage-listed Dambulla Cave Temple complex, which has drawn pilgrims and preachers for more than two centuries. 

This evening’s gourmet affair takes place adjacent to one of the region’s caves, beneath a distinctive rock formation, illuminated by the flickering of candles. As we dine, local musicians serenade us, further enhancing the atmosphere. Our home for the next three nights is the sublime Heritance Kandalama Resort. Vistas of lush forest, as well as Sigiriya itself, are to be enjoyed from our Luxury Rooms.

Rise early this morning for a unique opportunity. Our hotel overlooks what is often described as the eighth wonder of the world – the rock fortress of Sigiriya. Rise early and set out to climb this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage site, whose summit affords sweeping views of the verdant landscape below. As you approach the first flight of stairs, pause to admire the great lion paws on either side. Reaching this point is enough to satisfy many guests. You’re also free to explore Sigiriya from the ground, during a walk of its extensive base. You may also visit the site’s museum. 

Later, we travel to nearby Hiriwadunna Village. This remote region grants us further insight into day-to-day rural life in Sri Lanka. For lunch, we dine on nourishing and organic cuisine among lush surrounds at Cinnamon Lodge, where nearby, serpent eagles, kingfishers and monkeys make their home. We then return to our hotel, where we subsequently reconvene for a seven-course dinner. Savour an evening of fusion fare, served at the exact site where our hotel’s architect drew his plans.

This morning, we visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, formerly the capital of Sri Lanka. Explore the kingdom’s ruins, which comprise a vast collection of temples and monuments, as well as a royal palace. This afternoon is set aside for a spectacular Jeep safari with conservationist and photographer Chitral Jayatilleke. Watch as the elephants of Minneriya National Park graze upon the grassy plains, enjoy a bath in Minneriya’s reservoir and roam the vast expanse of the park.

In a spice garden in Matale, we learn to identify the flavours of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Crossing the hills into Kandy, we are then invited into the home of a batik artist. Walk through the production area to observe the many colourful patterns skilfully applied to pieces of cloth. Afterwards, we check into Jetwing Kandy Gallery, where we stay in Luxury Rooms. This evening, we are treated to a cultural show.

A choice of Your World experiences offers opportunities for further exploration: 

— Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Here, you will witness a Hindu pooja ceremony, which involves prayer offerings through song. 

— Look upon the royal regalia and Sinhalese artefacts on display within the Kandy Museum. Exhibits also show how the British came to occupy the Kandyan provinces.

Reconvene for lunch this afternoon at the Royal Bar & Hotel. Then head to Peradeniya Botanical Garden and join an enlightening walk with a professor of botany. Gaze skyward as you stroll along the grand Avenue of Royal Palms and absorb the myriad colours of some of the many thousands of plant species here.

Aboard the privately chartered Viceroy Special vintage train, we travel to the village of Nanu Oya in style. Roll along tracks cut through flourishing jungle, passing terraced tea plantations and skirting precipitous hillsides. From Nanu Oya, we make the short journey to Nuwara Eliya, in the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country. Our final destination today is the Heritance Tea Factory. Here, our Superior Rooms look out over the area’s lush mountains.

Begin the day with a tea tasting at our hotel. As you imbibe each flavoursome infusion, learn about the region’s topography and climatic conditions, as well as the all-important production processes of the tea factory. Afterwards, we enjoy a panoramic coach tour of Nuwara Eliya, including the Holy Trinity Church. At the conclusion of our tour, we head to the Grand Hotel for lunch. This Elizabethan-era manor house was once the home of former governor Sir Edward Barnes. We return to the Heritance Tea Factory this afternoon and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

We take to the skies on board a seaplane, or large helicopter this morning, bound for Yala National Park. At its boundary, we find the Wild Coast Tented Lodge. From within our Cocoon Suites, we feel the subtle breeze coming off the Indian Ocean, just metres away. An afternoon safari takes us into Yala’s vast woodland, where many species of reptile, bird, and other animals, roam. As the sun sets, enjoy a cocktail in the beach garden, anticipating tomorrow’s next safari adventure.

Finding ourselves on safari once more, deep in the open grasslands of Yala National Park, we aim to spot as many species of wildlife as possible – Yala is recognised as having one of the highest leopard densities in the world. 

This afternoon, choose to join one, or both, of the following experiences. Hone your cooking skills, Sri Lankan style, as you assist our chef in preparing tonight’s meal. Join a local ranger for further explorations of Yala National Park. This evening, we enjoy sunset drinks on the beach, followed by a barbecue dinner.

We make the journey by road to Galle, stopping for lunch by the pristine beaches of Weligama Bay. While here, we keep watch for the spectacle of stilt fishermen, perched high upon their wooden poles. On arrival in Galle, we check into the Jetwing Lighthouse hotel, perfectly positioned within a tranquil coastal setting. Our Luxury Rooms provide us with sweeping Indian Ocean views. 

Today, after breakfast, discover the world of cinnamon during a visit to one of the region’s estates. Learn how the spice is grown and harvested, and also transformed into cinnamon sticks. See how the raw material is peeled during a fascinating demonstration, then learn about the grading process and how the final product is prepared for market. Of course, you’re also free to relax and enjoy this part of the day on your own schedule.

The city of Galle and its fortifications have been designated as a World Heritage site. UNESCO names it as ‘the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia’. This afternoon, we explore the city with a local guide, who imparts their knowledge of the region’s history and realities of colonial life. We also delve into the mysteries of the Galle Fort, where we also dine this evening.

A short drive north sees us arriving in Bentota. We admire the Lunuganga Gardens, before taking the opportunity to meet a renowned former Sri Lankan cricketer at the Sinhalese Sports Club, while stopping for lunch. On our return to Colombo, we have arranged for the use of Superior Rooms at the Galle Face Hotel, where you may like to relax, making the most of the stunning coastal views. Enjoy a special Farewell Dinner at the 1864 Limited Edition restaurant, located within the Galle Face Hotel. After dinner, transfer to the airport, our magnificent journey at an end.

Brochure