UK to Colombo
After taking Saga’s included UK door-to-door travel service to the airport, depart in the evening for your overnight flight to Colombo.
Arrive in the morning for an overnight stay at The Gateway Hotel (4Q). D
Colombo to Habarana
Tour Colombo, then travel to Habarana. Stay two nights at the Cinnamon Lodge (4Q+). Visit the hotel's organic farm and enjoy a cookery demonstration of traditional dishes.B, D
At leisure. Optional excursions to Sigirya Rock Fortress and Polonnaruwa in the afternoon. B, L, D
This excursion takes you to Sigiriya’s famous ‘Lion Rock’ which was the brief capital of King Kassapa I some 1,500 years ago. Two colossal paws still stand either side of ancient limestone steps, a reminder of the lion figure that once guarded the entrance to the lofty palace gardens on the summit of this 370-metre-high granite rock. Cuts and grooves carved out of the rock face will give you an idea of the size and shape of the original lion structure. Sigiriya is also well known for the Maidens of the Clouds, paintings of 21 beautiful women found on a sheltered ledge.
You will find the ruins of the ancient Sinhala civilisation at Polonnaruwa, which became Sri Lanka’s capital between the 11th and 12th centuries. Highlights include the ruins of the king’s council chamber, the Royal Citadel and the Vatadage Relic House. Another will undoubtedly be the Gal Vihare where unknown artists carved four separate images out of a granite cliff face: the great reclining image of the Buddha entering nirvana is 14-metres long and is generally held to be the most impressive of the sculptures. Also of interest are the reservoirs – they are so large that one, the Parakrama Samudra, is bigger than Colombo Harbour!
Travel to Kandy, visiting the Dambulla Cave Temple and Matale spice garden en route. Continue to the Cinnamon Citadel Hotel (4Q) for a two-night stay. Evening cultural dance performance. B, L, D
Visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, lunch will be served in the restaurant overlooking the river so that you watch the elephants bathing. Return to Kandy for a tour of this historic city's famous sights. B, L, D
Visit a botanical garden and a Nuwara Eliya tea estate. Stay overnight at the Grand Hotel (3Q). B, D
Nuwara Eliya District
Stay three nights at Cinnamon Wild Yala (3Q). B, D
Game drive in Yala National Park. Travel to Kataragama to visit the Shrine of Lord Skanda and the Buddhist Temple of Kiri Vehera. Lunch at the hotel. B, L, D
Yala National Park
Champagne breakfast at the hotel, and, if your visit is in term time, visit a local school supported by the Saga Charitable Trust, the rest of the day is at leisure, you might like to watch the wildlife from the hotel observation decks. B, D
Travel to Bundala Bird Sanctuary to see aquatic birdlife. Next, tour the ancient city of Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to the Cinnamon Bey (4Q+) for a three-night all-inclusive stay. The hotel is set on Sri Lanka's west coast, famous for its golden sands. B, D
At leisure, perhaps join an optional river safari. B, L, D
This river safari takes you past six islands, and includes a visit to a cinnamon plantation. Cinnamon, a small evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka, has been cultivated since antiquity for the spice obtained from its bark.
Day at leisure, you might want to spend it on the wonderful beach. B, L, D
Beruwala to UK
Travel to Colombo Airport for your return flight, arriving for your included UK door-to-door travel service home. B