This is the itinerary for those looking for an exotic break with endless views of the ocean. Sri Lanka and Maldives are an intoxicating pair of destinations that offer cultural discoveries, tranquility and ultimate luxury.
From Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle and across the glistening blue waters of Maldives, this journey will make your heart skip a beat.
Explore the ancient 5th century Rock Fortress at Sigiriya, The Unesco World Heritage Site Sacred City Anuradhapura , modest beach town of Negombo, abundant wildlife at various Minneriya National Park, get lost in the ruins of the vintage city of Polonnaruwa, Architecture and History of Colombo or enjoy some sumptuous curries to savour the unique cuisine. Sri Lanka will dazzle you!
The showstopper will be the azure landscape of Maldives. Spend your days walking on sugary white beaches, sip a cocktail as you watch the sunset taking over the horizon, relax with a book on your private deck, practice yoga in the cool ocean breeze, pamper yourself at a spa, meet thousands of vivid reefs or relish some world-class cuisine, Maldives is a destination too good to be true. The island has mastered the art of perfect hospitality with immaculate sophistication.
With luxury hotels, gracious hospitality and delightful cuisine the moments spent discovering Sri Lanka and Maldives will be the ones etched in your memory forever.
Ayubowan (may you have long life). This is the greeting you will hear from our airport representative when exiting your aircraft. You will then be escorted through immigration and shown to the Silk Route Arrival Lounge of the Airport. Here you will be met by your Tour Manager.
You will then drive to Negombo and check into your hotel.
Today after an early-ish breakfast, you will check out of your hotel and drive to Habarana.
Later this afternoon, you will climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock, built on top of a huge boulder in the 5th century. A palace. A rock fortress. The hidden castle of King Kasyapa. A Buddhist monastery from the 14th century. Similar to the cosmic mountain of Meru? The eighth wonder of the world? No place in Sri Lanka has generated as many theories and legends as the 180m monolith, set amidst stunning scenery. During the climb, you can talk to your guide about these many theories and decipher between myth and fact. Sigiriya consists of 1200 steps. The first part of the visit is a leisurely walk through the pleasure gardens. When one starts to climb. There are two areas where one can take a break on the way up. First near the rocky cave areas during the pre-climb and secondly at the halfway point of the climb, at the Lions Paw area. Along the way there are several highlights that you will encounter. These include the cave shelters, the mirror wall, the fresco cave and the royal palace ruin at the summit of the rock. The entire duration of the experience takes approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on the speed at which you want to climb. Water is provided.
Return to the hotel for the evening.
Today after an early-ish breakfast, you will visit the second historic capital of Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa (1.5 hour drive).
Polonnaruwa - a UNESCO World Heritage site that is the second great capital city of Sri Lanka, built during the 11th and 12th centuries. Here, one can still view the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, King Parakramabahu's statue and the Parakrama Samudraya lake. There are also several sites devoted to worship including the Shiva Temple, Lankathilake, Watadage, Galpotha, and Kiri Vehera as well as the ruins of the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Bicycles are available should you wish to cycle through the archaeological sites.
After the visit, enjoy a traditional home cooked Sri Lankan meal at a rural café by the rice fields, prepared using wood fire & clay pots.
Later this afternoon, you will take a 45 minute drive to visit the Minneriya National Park.
The Minneriya National Park covers 8,890 hectares and consists of a mixed forest of evergreen shrubs, a favourite habitat for animals, which include deer, crocodiles and wild elephants. The park’s main feature is the former reservoir or tank built by King Mahasen in the third century AD. During the dry season from June to September, this tank attracts herds of elephants to graze and bathe. In more recent times it been discovered that the park witnesses the largest elephant gathering in the world during these months. You can also see huge flocks of birds, including cormorants and painted storks that come to fish in the shallow waters.
In a 4x4 jeep you will explore the park with a skilled park guide or naturalist who will point out wildlife to you and help you get the most of the experience.
Today morning we visit Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism.
Later after the visit, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the area.
Afterwards visit Anuradhapura the ancient capital of Sri Lanka and undoubtedly the grandest city of the ancient Ceylon. The sacred city of Anuradhapura is now a UNESCO World Heritage sites.
As daylight fades, visit the Ruwanweliseya Stupa & Sri Maha Bodhiya (sacred tree) at sunset to mingle with devotees and catch the evening ceremonies & rituals. The temple is built around the oldest documented tree dating over 2000 years, significant and revered as the sacred Bodhi Tree or Sri Maha Bodhi under which Buddha attained enlightenment. Abandoned after an invasion in 993 AD, this major pilgrimage place has some of the tallest dagobas, remains of palaces, monasteries and temples.
Return to the hotel.
This morning, you will check out and proceed to climb the Dambulla Cave Temple. (20 minute’ drive)
The Dambulla Cave Temple is the largest and best-preserved rock cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, towering 160 m over the surrounding plains with more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. The site is of particular interest for anyone that loves historic art, as five of the caves contain ancient statues and paintings related to and depicting Lord Buddha and his life. Legend has it that the sacred water pot inside the temple never runs dry nor overflows even though it is consistently refilled by a small natural spring on the rock itself.
The climb from the base is not strenuous – and can be done at a leisurely pace. It takes approximately 30 minutes. Your guide will buy your entrance fee and climb with you. There are approximately 200 steps. The best time to climb is in the early morning or the late afternoon to avoid the heat. You will need to cover your knees and shoulders – and access the inner chambers barefoot or with socks. You will find socks in the basket inside the vehicle and a sarong in case you need one. The entire visit takes approximately 1.5 hours.
Afterwards continue your drive towards Colombo.
On arrival in Colombo, check in at your hotel for some downtime.
Spend the afternoon with resident host Mark Forbes as he takes you through the glory days of the Colombo Fort, on a journey back in time where we learn about the days of colonization of Ceylon and the spice route trade network. The walk begins at the Dutch Hospital in central Colombo and places focus on photography, architecture and history in two stages; stage one covers the Fort while stage two covers the Pettah markets. The walk ends at the Old Dutch Hospital.
Tonight, enjoy dinner at the city’s iconic Gallery Café, which was once the office of celebrated architect, Geoffrey Bawa. The open air cafe overlooking a pebbled courtyard has inspiring Sri Lankan and European cuisine.
This morning you will check out after breakfast and proceed to the Colombo International Airport arrival and connect with your flight to Maldives .
Arrive at Male airport. Our local representative will be waiting at the airport to welcome you and take you to the resort by speed boat. Rest of the day is free for you to relax or explore your picturesque surroundings. Overnight at the resort.
Day at leisure.
Relax and unwind on the secluded beach of the resort – perfect coral beaches, lush tropical vegetation, warm shallow waters, the turquoise sea with powder white sand. Spend quality time together.
Day at leisure.
The warm seas of Maldives have the best coral reefs in the world. Enjoy a variety of water sports activities like snorkelling and scuba diving. Or take a boat ride to the nearby main island of Male and explore the markets with souvenir shops.
Sail out to the turquoise sea on a Maldivian dhoni and combine your love for fishing with a stunning sunset or a sunrise.
As the sky takes on enchanting shades of red, wait for the catch of the day around the reef where you are likely to hook in a jackfish, red and white snapper or job fish. Listen to the mighty waves of the ocean and unwind on the pristine island of Maldives as you test your fishing skills.
This evening enjoy a candlelight dinner under the stars...the perfect moment.
Today, you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure flight. ( room available till 12 noon)