If you haven’t experienced sublime Sri Lanka - one of the world’s rapidly-emerging and most exotic destinations – or even if you have been fortunate enough to do so, our latest Traveller Tour is not to be missed.
This unique, not to be repeated tour, features a quartet of Sri Lanka experts, who have been carefully selected by the editors of Traveller.
They’ll each provide readers with insights into all facets of Sri Lanka beyond the usual sights (though, to be sure, we’ve included plenty of them, too, in our itinerary).
Your in-depth journey around the fascinating, so-called teardrop island with its extraordinarily diverse range of landscapes from its mountains to its seas, will be like no other.
No other tour of this kind offers such a range of expert guest speakers, each of whom are scheduled at key moments from the beginning of your itinerary to its conclusion.
Traveller has partnered with Collette, one of the world’s leading and most respected escorted journey operators, for this latest Traveller reader tour.
The tour represents an exciting opportunity to savour and to interpret Sri Lanka, from its many cultural and culinary wonders to its historical and physical marvels. We look forward to you joining us.
DAY 1 SEPTEMBER 9
AUSTRALIA TO COLOMBO, SRI LANKA
Your tour begins with a late evening flight arrival into Sri Lanka’s bustling capital of Colombo, a vibrant cosmopolitan city combining both colonial and modern influences. Hotel: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo.
DAY 2 SEPTEMBER 10
Today you will discover the treasures of Colombo, the commercial hub of the country and one of South Asia’s emerging capitals. Join a local guide who will lead you on a tour of this historical city that spans centuries and melds styles from the Portuguese, Dutch and British. See the central business district called the Fort, the colourful and lively Petta Bazaar, the sprawling Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, and Independence Square. This evening, join your exclusive Traveller Tours guest, former Fairfax Media South Asia correspondent Matt Wade, for a welcome dinner at Ministry of Crab, which was named one of Asia’s 50 best restaurants in 2017. Breakfast (B) and Dinner (D) included.
DAY 3 SEPTEMBER 11
Today visit the famed Colombo tea auction, the single largest tea auction in the world. Held twice a week, the auction moves more than 6.5 million kilograms of tea per week. Later you will take a tour of Negombo, a traditional fishing town, now a city, north of the capital. Here you will visit the fish market, and later, the 17th century Dutch Fort which is a remnant of Sri Lanka’s colonial days. End with a tour of St Mary’s Church, one of the town’s most important structures. B D included.
DAY 4 SEPTEMBER 12
COLOMBO TO PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE TO SIGIRIYA
IVisit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which has been rescuing elephants since 1975. Here abandoned and wounded elephants of all ages are cared for. Watch how the animals begin to thrive as they interact with each other and their handlers during feeding time. Continue to the lush forests of Sigiriya and find yourself surrounded by tranquility at your luxury hotel. This evening, ahead of your visit tomorrow to Minneriya National Park, join your exclusive Traveller Tours guest, Srilal Miththapala, a leading Colombo-based authority and consultant on elephant conservation and tourism, who will deliver a special talk on these fascinating animals of Sri Lanka and join guests for dinner. Hotel: Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, Sigiriya. B D included.
DAY 5 SEPTEMBER 13
SIGIRIYA TO ROCK FORTRESS TO MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK TO SIGIRIYA
This morning we walk to an impressive granite peak to explore the ruins of the ancient city of Sigiriya – "fortress in the sky’’. Treasured by the locals, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a sprawling former palace and fortress with extensive gardens considered to be the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, complete with fountains and lakes. Next, enjoy a picturesque lunch set among reed beds and paddy fields. This afternoon, in the company of Srilal, proceed to Minneriya National Park. Explore this wildlife sanctuary, established in 1938, and witness herds of elephants bathing and grazing in their natural habitat. Srilal will be on hand to answer your questions. B D included.
DAY 6 SEPTEMBER 14
SIGIRIYA - SPICE MARKET - KANDY
Leave Sigiriya behind as we head to Kandy. On the way we will stop at the famous Dambulla cave temples built atop a rock. These paintings and statues are related to Gautama Buddha and his life. Then it’s on to Matale. During a guided tour of a spice market, learn about the various spices and smell fragrant clove, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and many other spices that are regularly used in Sri Lankan cooking. Then we continue to the picturesque, lakefront city of Kandy. This evening, enjoy a cultural show with traditional Sri Lankan dancing, ceremonial drums and music in the company of Matt Wade, who rejoins the tour today. Tonight, Matt will deliver a talk on his time as a Fairfax correspondent in South Asia, including his first-hand reporting of the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Hotel: Mahaweli Reach Hotel, Kandy. B D included.
DAY 7 SEPTEMBER 15
KANDY - TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH RELIC - MAHAWELI RIVER CRUISE
In the company of Traveller Tours special guest Matt Wade, explore Kandy, set on a plateau surrounded by the mountains of central Sri Lanka. Visit the impressive gilded Temple of the Tooth Relic, revered by Buddhists from around the world for being the place that holds the actual tooth of Buddha. Next, take a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens, established in the 14th century as a garden for the Kings of Kandy. Today, the garden’s 150 acres are home to more than 5,000 species of trees and plants, including an orchid house. This evening, delight in a sunset river cruise on the tranquil Mahaweli River followed by dinner at a local restaurant with Matt. B D included.
DAY 8, SEPTEMBER 16
KANDY - NUWARA ELIYA
Travel along the scenic road that leads you to the lush green landscape near the town of Nuwara Eliya. Rolling hills and tea plantations surround this former colonial British retreat nicknamed “Little England”. Enjoy a short walk through the town to see some local sights or choose to relax at your hotel. Hotel: Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya. B D included.
DAY 9 SEPTEMBER 17
NUWARA ELIYA - TEA ESTATE
We begin at the Pedro Tea Estate outside Nuwara Eliya. Join an expert for a guided tour of the estate and factory where they still pack tea using 19th century methods. Here you can also savour a taste of their brew. This afternoon, visit the world famous Dilmah Estate, enjoy a welcome tea and meet your next exclusive Traveller Tours guest, Malik Fernando, Dilmah Tea director of operations, and a member of the family who founded the company. Malik will deliver a talk on the vital role tea has played throughout Sri Lanka’s history. A question and answer session will follow. The rest of your afternoon will be spent at leisure to enjoy your historic hotel. Perhaps you will stroll the lawns adorned with topiary and roses, play a game of billiards, or take advantage of the hotel’s amenities. B D included.
DAY 10 SEPTEMBER 18
NUWARA ELIYA - BENTOTA
Our journey today takes us to Bentota, a coastal paradise brimming with sunshine and beautiful beaches. Arrive early this afternoon and have the remainder of the day at leisure to relax and take in the luxurious ambiance at your beachfront resort. Hotel: Cinnamon Bay, Bentota. B D included.
DAY 11 SEPTEMBER 19
BENTOTA - GALLE - BENTOTA
Spend the day discovering the city of Galle, a fortified city settled by the Portuguese in the 16th century that flourished in the 18th century under Dutch rule. The city reveals an interesting blend of cultures and styles. Explore Galle’s Dutch Fort, the largest European fort in Asia. Then embark on a guided tour of the island’s prominent landmarks where you will see the scenic harbour, the National Maritime Museum, St Mary’s Cathedral and a Shiva temple. B D included.
DAY 12 SEPTEMBER 20
BENTOTA - AMBALANGODA - BENTOTA
Travel to Ambalangoda to learn about the art of Sri Lankan mask making and come to know the legends associated with them. Begin by spending time at a local museum and workshop to discover how these masks are created and how they are used in dramatic dance performances. Then, visit the Bandu Wijesooriya School of Dancing where an expert discusses the types of dances they perform and how the masks are used in performances. B D included.
DAY 13 SEPTEMBER 21
BENTOTA - COLOMBO
Drive north along the coast heading back to Colombo. Stop at the flagship Barefoot Textiles store, housed in a collection of buildings around a 1920s townhouse, and meet Barefoot Gallery director Dominic Sansoni and head artist/designer Marie Gnanaraj, who will share their knowledge of local art and textiles. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner at the Galle Face Hotel. Enjoy a fascinating private tour of the Galle Face, one of the oldest colonial-style hotels in all of Asia. Hotel: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo. B D included.
DAY 14 SEPTEMBER 22
COLOMBO TOUR ENDS
Day at leisure before an evening transfer to Colombo airport for your flight home, check in is approx. 10.30pm, your room is available for late check out. B D included.
DAY 15 SEPTEMBER 23
Your flight leaves late tonight, arriving in Australia late afternoon.
TOUR DETAILS AND INCLUSIONS
Departure date: September 9, 2018
Twin share price: From $7,820 per person
Single supplement: From $2,250 per person
Business class air upgrade: From $3,200 per person
- Economy class airfares with a Collette-preferred airline, from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Surcharge may apply for other capital cities. Fare is based on all travelling from Australia on the same day (Class upgrades possible based on availability)
- Collette chauffeur service in Australia (conditions apply)
- All luggage handling (one bag per guest)
- Services of a professional tour manager
- One group motor coach transfer upon arrival and departure (conditions apply)
- Transport via deluxe air-conditioned coach
- 24 meals (breakfasts and dinners)
- All taxes and service charges
Ph: 1300 792 195
Monday to Friday 9am-7pm, Saturday 9am-5pm