The South and the Wild

General information

DurationDestinationDeparture
8 days and 7 nights
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka (Colombo)

Description

Day      Location           Hotel                            Suite/Room                  Basis

Day 1    Arrival               Flight Details

Day 1    Galle                Amangalla                     Chamber                       BB

Day 2    Galle                 Amangalla                     Chamber                       BB

Day 3    Yala                  Leopard Safaris             Tent                              FB

Day 4    Yala                  Leopard Safaris             Tent                              FB

Day 5    Tangalle            Amanwella                    Ocean Suite                  BB

Day 6    Tangalle            Amanwella                    Ocean Suite                  BB

Day 7    Colombo           Titagel                          Executive Suite             BB

Day 8    Departure          Flight Details

Program

Day 1
Arrive in Sri Lanka
(Welcome Dinner)

Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport you will be met and assisted by our Airport Representative who will hold a board with your name as you exit the aircraft. We will then accompany you through passport control, customs, baggage collection and money changers, all the way to the arrival lounge where we will meet you, address any last-minute questions you have about the itinerary and introduce you to your chauffer guide or guide who will be your travel companion and explorer around Sri Lanka.
The drive to Galle takes approximately 3 hours on the new highway. Enjoy a scenic drive and your first experience of the simultaneously hectic and laid-back island atmosphere.

We arrive around midday. Check in at Amangalla, unpack and relax. There is a great spa for those interested in relieving the tensions of the flight. We recommend lunch at Amangalla.

EXCLUSIVE: PM: Visit Galle Fort with a resident.
This morning we will take a guided tour around with Local Resident.

The best time to explore Galle Fort in the afternoon. The 16th century Galle Fort is a world heritage site. Spanning over 90 acres, it is Asia’s best preserved and largest surviving fort built by European occupiers. It was originally built by the Portuguese in 1588 and extended to its present glory by the Dutch in 1663. The best way to soak up the charm of the Old City and to get our bearings is by taking a stroll around the thick granite walls of the fort. This one hour circuit is most enjoyable at sunrise and sunset as the air is cool and the light is long and low. The real allure is found in simply wandering through its warren of narrow alleys and side streets, replete with colonial homes with original archways and verandas, 18th century churches, mosques, museums and impressive art galleries and clothing boutiques.

Welcome dinner at Amangalla.

Overnight: Amangalla

ACCOMMODATION
Amangalla

Day 2
Treasures of Galle
(Breakfast and Lunch included)

Recommended Start Time: 8 AM

Today we explore the surroundings of Galle. Driving inland from Galle is a refreshing contrast of lush jungle interior, seemingly untouched by tourism.

EXCLUSIVE: Canoeing on the Ginganga river with resident host Jeff :
This excursion takes place at break of day. A great way to spend a morning when you are in the Galle area is to enjoy a canoeing adventure on the Ginganga River. You will start from the banks of the sweeping gardens of a beautiful colonial hotel, and travel up-stream passing villages, gnarled mangroves and coconut groves. You will see a wealth of bird and animal life including monitor lizards and possibly even a python. Paddle along at your ease and enjoy the water nature trail and its own brand of Sri Lankan wildlife. Your host for the experience is colorful wildlife buff and Galle resident Jeff of Idle Boats.

GUIDED VISIT + LUNCH: A tea and cinnamon plantation.
A resident tea planter will meet you and take you around the private paradise of a working tea plantation. The plantation, which lies at sea-level is the famed Titigalla Tea Factory founded by Herman Gunaratne. Herman will take you on a private tour of his Virgin White Tea Estate plantations, where you will learn how the famous white tea, one of the most expensive in the world, favored by the Chinese Emperors and traditionally cut by virgins with gold scissors is grown and produced. The tour ends with a tasting session of some of the finest high and low grown teas from around the island.

Herman Guneratne, owner of the Tea Plantation was born in the Southern Province and is a planter by profession. He has had a fascinating career - working for British sterling companies for 35 years and then managing 100,000 acres of Sri Lanka's best tea lands for the Sri Lankan Government. When he's not playing golf in Nuwara Eliya, he can usually be found at Handunugoda, his beautiful 200 acre tea plantation in Ahangama, close to Galle where he produces some of the best white tea in the world. He is also the author of four books: The Plantation Raj, For a Sovereign State, The Tortured Island and The Suicide Club.

From here, we take a tuk tuk ride through winding paths to a breezy hilltop which overlooks pristine Ahangama coastline. A local cinnamon planter will greet you at the border of a vast cinnamon plantation, interspersed with landscaped tropical gardens and take you on yet another walking tour through a working cinnamon plantation where you will learn how Sri Lanka’s Southern Province produces the best cinnamon in the world. You have the option of a nearby factory visit to experience the processing and packaging methods of the spice or heading straight to a cinnamon inspired four course lunch at the luxurious Villa Mayurana, located in the center of the cinnamon gardens.

The gentle coastal hills of southern Sri Lankan are especially suited to the growth of cinnamon. A variety of laurel, Cinnamonum Zeylanicum, “true cinnamon” is more or less exclusively native to Sri Lanka. It is not to be confused with the cheaper and inferior “cassia” which is sometimes sold as cinnamon in North America. Cinnamon was valued as a spice in classical times; and, later on, achieved a reputation for rarity and expense. Eulogized in poetry from the Song of Solomon to Michael Ondaatje, more than any spice it has become subject of romance. Even now the aroma of cinnamon being peeled to create the "quills" induces a feeling of well-being tinged with sensuality.

Afternoon at leisure.
Here are some optional activities:

- Visit the Buddhist temple of Yatagala or the Rumassala peace pagoda.
- Half a day cycling in the rice fields inland from Galle.
- Head for the beach!

Overnight: Amangalla

Day 3
Into the wild
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included)

Recommended Start Time: 9 AM

After breakfast, we travel further south to Yala National Park, one of the island's most popular wildlife sanctuaries.

Travel Time: Approx. 3 hours

Partly in the arid zone, this 500 square miles of National Park is dramatically different from lush jungles and paddy fields that cover much of the island. Composed of dry thorny scrub and dusty glades, it is so easy to imagine you are in an African bushfeldt, right down to the long-thorn bushes.

Sri Lanka is known for the highest leopard density in the world and Yala, the most eco-friendly, attracts more tourists than any other park for this reason. Once you catch sight of a male leopard crossing the road at dusk to stalk a Sambur deer, phantom-like behind a bush you know this is real. The bird population is profuse, stunning and in November-January, the fantail peacocks everywhere is unforgettable. Settle in for lunch at the camp.

PM: Game drive

Dinner and Overnight: Leopard Safaris, on the borders of Yala National Park.

ACCOMMODATION
Leopard Safaris

Day 4
Spotting the Elusive Leopard
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included)

Recommended Start Time: 6 AM

AM: Today you have access to a specially adapted 4WD vehicle for unlimited game drives, experienced hands-on trackers and naturalists. Photograph leopard, wild bears, elephants and an abundance of wildlife. Head back to the camp for lunch. PM: Game drive.

Dinner and Overnight: Leopard Safaris.

Day 5
The Serendip Riviera
(Breakfast included)

Recommended Start Time: 10AM

SCENIC DRIVE: The drive from Yala to Tangalle is a beautiful one and takes approximately 2 hours. We arrive at the spectacular seaside villa, Amanwella, (in time for lunch) where we will spend the next two nights relaxing and soaking up the sun.

An early morning or evening stroll along the village paths that wind through the jungle provides an interesting insight into daily village life. Chances abound to view the diverse wildlife in the area, which includes monkeys, birds, mouse deer, monitor lizards, hares and mongooses.

We recommend dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Amanwella









ACCOMMODATION
Amanwella

Day 6
Tangalle
(Breakfast included)

Day at leisure in Tangalle. Here are a few of the things we would recommend one can do while staying in Tangalle:

• An early morning or evening stroll along the village paths that wind through the jungle provide an interesting insight into daily village life. Chances abound to also view the diverse wildlife in the area including monkeys, birds, mouse deer, monitor lizards, hares and mongooses.

• Guests with a passion for cooking can now spend an afternoon with Chefs to learn to prepare an authentic Sri Lankan meal. Early morning Sunday fish port and market visits may also be arranged. Dry herbs and spices that are difficult to find may be neatly packed for guests’ trips home.

• Bundala Bird Sanctuary (also elephants/crocodile/monkeys) is 75 minutes east of Tangalle but as you approach Hambantota in a white fog of un-mechanized salt pans there is much birdlife; finally holy Kataragama, a pilgrim destination where Muslims, Hindu, Buddhist gather in July after walking the length of the island from Jaffna to venerate Lord Skanda by boldly strolling on burning coals.

• At Dondra Head, the southernmost tip of the island an octagonal lighthouse brings home that there is nothing between you and Antarctica! The indigo sea is a swirl of coral, rock and foam. At Maha Vishnu devale - a 7th century shrine once pillaged by the Portuguese of its gilded Copper roof, a week-long Dondra Festival and a full scale Pera Hera venerates God Vishnu with fire-walking and devil-dancing at midnight.

• After Dickwella where brackish lagoons yield harvests of delicious prawns, the beaches don’t even have names but picking-your-own here means having a whole piece of heaven to yourself! Nilwala Cove this side of Tangalle is enchanting with a reef which provides surf further out and safe swimming within.

• At Kudawilla, the ferociously noisy Hoom-mane Blowhole spurts a spectacular 60 foot high fountain of water for its Cabaret in June. Villages say when the sea is rough it reaches a height of “three coconut trees”.

• North of Tangalle is Mulkirigala, a black rock temple thrusting 300 feet into the sky with beautifully preserved murals. In 1826, erstwhile government Agent of Ratnapura, George Turnour discovered ola leaf scripts which unlocked 23 centuries of Lanka’s missing history. On your way back try to visit a citronella distillery.

• The beach at Rekawa is very well known as one of the best Turtle Hatchery sites in Sri Lanka. From Amanwella the distance to Rekawa is about 45 minutes. We recommend combining the visit with dinner at Buckingham Place, a small hotel and restaurant near the site.

We recommend dinner at one of the other hotels we mention here. If you are staying at Maya you might enjoy dinner at the Aman or at Coco Tangalle, and vice versa.

Overnight: Amanwella


Day 7
Lunuganga,

Recommended Start Time: 9 AM

(Breakfast included)

GUIDED VISIT: Guided visit to Lunuganga
After a lazy breakfast we travel north towards Colombo. The trip takes approximately 3.5 hours. On route we visit Lunuganga situated approximately 2.5 hours from Galle, in the area of Bentota.

Created over several decades by the ‘father of Asian architecture’, the late Geoffrey Bawa, this beautiful 15 acre estate of Lunuganga, a few kilometers inland from Bentota, was fashioned by Bawa into a place of extraordinary beauty as his tropical vision of an Italian Renaissance garden bordered on two sides by the Deduwa Lake. Featuring rolling lawns, terraces and pavilions set out like a series of spacious outdoor rooms, whose position has been carefully chosen to exploit the fabulous vistas over the lake, tropical jungle and paddy fields. Statues, pavilions, courtyards and lily ponds provide much interest as they flank secret pathways that link gardens characterized by majestic banyans, silvery rubber trees and ageing frangipani.

Lunch: On your own.
Lunch is on your own in Bentota or Colombo.

EXCLUSIVE: PM: City Walk with resident Mark Forbes.
Mark takes you right into the birthplace of what is modern day Colombo, and its pulse that is throbbing.

Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo. Colombo is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins and a population of 647,100.

Due to its large harbour and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. It was made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation became independent in 1948.


Overnight at the Galle Face Hotel

ACCOMMODATION
Tintagel


Day 8
Departure

At a pre-arranged time your chauffer guide will take you to the airport for your departure.

Price includes

 Accommodation at hotels as specified
 Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner starting from Day 01 and ending with breakfast on Day 08
 Transportation in an AC luxury vehicle throughout the tour.
 Service of a Best English-speaking chauffeur guide.
 Cost of prevailing Government taxes.

Price does not include

 Visa fee
 Camera & Video permits
 Highway tolls
 Tips & porterages
 Cost of personal nature such as Laundry, Telephone, Mini Bar, etc.
 Any other services not mention under the “Package includes”