Itinerary 1: North, Highlands and Coast

Highlights​

  • Game drive in Wilpattu and Minneriya National Parks to see leopards, elephants and sloths

  • Boat to historical Delft Island with its pristine beaches

  • Bike ride to buy produce from a market for a Sri Lankan cookery lesson 

  • Visit Buddhist temples at Nagadeepa, Hindu temples at Trincomalee and Sigiryia rock fortress

  • Trek Ritigala

Itinerary 1 - North, Highlands & Coast

Day 1: Thursday 27 September. Depart from UK.


21.30 Depart London Heathrow Terminal 3 on Sri Lankan Airlines Flight UL504.




Day 2. Arrive Colombo and drive to Wilpattu


On arrival at Bandaranayake International Airport, you will get your first taste of warm Sri Lankan hospitality. A representative from NKAR Travels and Tours will welcome you at the airport and transfer you to the Wilpattu campsite. Wilpattu National Park is a northern dry zone National Park with a unique feature of natural lakes inside the park unlike its neighbours Kaudulla and Minneriya which are byproducts of major irrigation projects. Claiming 131 hectares as parkland Wilpattu has the 2nd highest density of leopards on the island. The park is also home to elephants and sloth bears amongst top attractions and a wide variety of wetland birds such as whistling teal, pintails, ibis and many more.




Day 3. Drive from Wilpattu to Jaffna


After breakfast enjoy a morning game drive at Wilpattu National Park and then set off to Jaffna. En route enjoy a picnic lunch at Kalu Diya pokuna. After lunch, continue your journey to Jaffna. It is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. With a population of 88,138, this is Sri Lanka's 12th largest city. Jaffna is approximately six miles (9.7 kilometres) from Kandarodai which served as an emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Its suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna kingdom. Prior to the Sri Lankan civil war, it was Sri Lanka's second most populated city after the commercial capital Colombo. The 1980s insurgent uprising led to extensive damage, expulsion of part of the population, and military occupation. Since the end of the civil war in 2009, refugees and internally displaced people have started to return to their homes and government and private sector reconstruction has begun.
On arrival visit a few hotels for inspection. Evening return to hotel and relax.




Day 4. Visit Delft Island


After breakfast set off to Kurikattuwan Jetty to catch a boat ride to Delft.
Delft, also known as Neduntheevu, is an island located on the Palk Strait with an area of 50 square kilometres. The island has had a rich historical interest since colonial days. Delft Island is the only place in Sri Lanka where wild ponies are found. The ruins of 1000-year-old temple bearing Chola Dynasty architecture suggests that the island was a transit point for Indian sailors and invaders. During your tour in Delft you will be able to taste local toddy. On completion of the jeep ride visit a village house for lunch. Then proceed to Nagadeepa. Nagadeepa Purana Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in the Jaffna district of the Northern province of Sri Lanka. According to contemporary history, the Gautama Buddha visited the site after five years of attaining enlightenment to settle the dispute between two warring Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara.
On completion return to hotel and relax.




Day 5. Trincomalee


After breakfast proceed to Trincomalee.
On arrival enjoy a tour of the city of Trincomalee. Trincomalee, located on the north eastern border of Sri Lanka, is a natural harbour with its pristine beaches and is the administrative capital for its district. Having a large population of Tamils amongst other ethnicities, Trincomalee engulfs few Hindu Temples for it devotees.
Return to hotel and relax.




Day 6. Visit Pigeon Island NP, Habarana & Sigiriya


Morning: visit Pigeon Island.
Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka, and one of the 17 total national parks in the country. The island's name derives from the rock pigeons which colonised it. The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka. The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era.
On completion proceed to Habarana. En route buy some fresh vegetables from local vegetable sellers. From Polonnaruwa to Giritale you can enjoy a gentle cycle ride. During this cycle trip we will stop at a small tea shop. After having a cup of tea, you will proceed to a nearby village house and engage in an interactive cooking experience.
After lunch, visit Sigiriya to climb the world famous Sigiriya rock fortress.The 5th century rock citadel of King Kashyapa and World Heritage Site Sigiriya not only boasts ancient Sri Lankan engineering and urban planning supremacy but also acclaims to be one of the
finest monuments of art and culture. Step through the gigantic ‘Lion Paws’ overlooking the
symmetrical royal gardens below to comprehend the absolute splendour that once dominated this rock fortress. Surrounded by ramparts and moats, the Lion Rock resembling the mythological ‘City of Gods’ is coated by frescoes that relate to Gupta style paintings found in Ajanta caves of India.




Day 7. Visit Ritigala and Minneriya NP


After breakfast proceed to Ritigala.
A mountain range in the dry zone hosts a Buddhist Monastery with an ancient history dating back to 1st century BC. As per legend Ritigala is supposedly a chunk of mountain from the Himalayas that was dropped accidently by Lord Hanuman in his ventures to Sri Lanka to lay siege to King Ravana who was holding princess Sita hostage. The legend holds its ground as Ritigala soil composition is like no other in the island, expanding its bio diversity to flora that is not found anywhere else in the island. Some of the plants are said to carry cures to death and prolonging life. Ritigala is also a protected sanctuary harbouring various migratory birds and animals. On completion proceed to Minneriya. We will stop at the Minneriya river bank to have lunch. Today you can enjoy lunch served in a banana leaf. After lunch, set off on a game drive in Minneriya National Park.
This park is the key habitat for the local elephant herds and migrating herds from Matale,
Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee. This is due to the lush vegetation groomed by Minneriya tank. Minneriya National Park is also one of the 70 key places for bird watching, as it is renowned for hosting and nurturing migratory and endemic species.




Day 8. Sigiriya to Negombo via Matale


After an early breakfast proceed to Pitawala pathana via Moragahakanda Dam. The Moragahakanda Dam lays head to the Kulasinghe Reservoir. It is a large gravity dam, and the main component of the larger and more complex Moragahakanda Kalu Ganga Project, in the Matale District of Sri Lanka. This dam is built for irrigation and power generation purposes. Today you will be able to have your lunch at a village boutique. After lunch, we will start a soft trek from Rattota which will takes approximately 2 – 3 hrs to finish. This is a trek that features a number of peaks in the region as well as paddy fields and village houses on the way. On completion proceed to Negombo for the final night of your tour. This is a long journey and it will take approximately 6 hrs but it will help you further next day departure flight as Negombo is close by to the Airport.




Day 9. Fri 5 October. Transfer to Airport. Fly to London Heathrow


This morning you will have a breakfast meeting where you will be presented with unforgettable memories of your island visit. NKAR representatives will join to discuss your FAM Trip and aspects to look forward to. In the afternoon, proceed to the airport for the departure flight. 13.05 Fly to London Heathrow on Sri Lankan Airlines Flight UL503. 20.00 Arrive LHR T3





The intended itinerary, shown below, may be subject to change according to local conditions and availability. 

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