Flavours of Sri Lanka
Mornings scented with cinnamon and salt water, and afternoons splashed in the amber grace of Ceylon tea. An adventure to Sri Lanka draws on all the senses, and exotic flavours can be found in every corner of the soft-spoken isle. This tantalising tour will take you from the ancient temples of the Cultural Triangle to the mist shrouded Kandy Mountains. From the bustle of the markets to boutique colonial mansions – fling yourself headfirst into the rare delights, fragrant wonders and Ayurveda bliss that makes Sri Lanka such a striking under the skin destination.
The Garden City of the East
Welcome to the Garden City of the East. As your first footstep falls on Sri Lankan soil you are sure to be swept away with the scent of wild flower garlands and warm smiles. The Silk Route Lounge is waiting to welcome you with snacks and drinks to refresh your senses before your journey to easy breezy Colombo. Check into the heritage home of Maniumpathy, home to five generations of the same family for over a century. With fine dining in the Grand Ebony Room, drinks beside the pool, and suites dressed to impress with four poster beds – you will shake off that flight in no time.
Cinnamon Gardens + Crab Claws
The sweet scent of the Cinnamon Gardens, the bright painted streets of Union Place, and the bustling harbour – Colombo breathes chaos and life making for a fascinating day of exploration. After a morning tour and luscious lunch, your resident host Mark Forbes is waiting to whisk you back in time as he leads you on a walk that covers everything from photography to history and tantalising tales of the spice trade route.
Succumb to the sensory power of spice as you wander the Pettah Markets, tasting tea and street food flavours as you go. Crack claws at the iconic Ministry of Crab Restaurant for dinner or choose to sup back at your hotel.
Coconut Estates + Lost Villages
The Cultural Triangle guides you slowly and serenely through some of Sri Lanka’s most majestic historical sights. Meander through scattered coconut estates and lost villages, stopping now and then to sample a cup of chai. Embrace sunset climbs of mythical rock fortresses, one foot in front of the other beneath a blooming sky of rose and gold. The Sigiriya Rock Fortress has been perched atop a boulder since the 5th century, creating speculations of hidden castles and cosmic mountains.
Sleep soundly in the soft Water Gardens, where flowing Zen like spaces blend with nature to create a harmonious hotel you will never want to leave.
Tooth Relics + Personal Encounters
Discover the Tooth Relic temples and tantalizing history of Polonnaruwa. Wander through the ruins of the dense walls of the Kings Palace, admire the intricate carved elephants in the audience hall, and let your imagination run riot as you gaze upon the emerald green waters in the baths.
Take lunch with the locals, in a simple home boasting rich panoramic views over the sprawling paddy fields. Spoon delicious homecooked food from earthen clay pots and relish the rarity of such a close personal encounter, before visiting a modern rice mill.
Finish the day with a journey back through the Minneriya National Park. Whizz around the verdant landscape in a 4X4 swerving out of the path of trundling elephants, watching for crocodiles wading in the shallows, and witnessing the deer and birds flock the land and air.
Divine Callings + Dambulla Cave
Tap into your spiritual side with a visit to the Rittigala Monastery. In a deep dark forest clinging to the mountainside, you will find the monks waiting to gift you a special blessing. Sit down, drink tea and find out all about their divine calling.
As the late afternoon sunlight slants across the countryside, you can climb the Dambulla Cave Temple. Five separate caves sit high on the road to Dambulla, inside each one you enter a spiritual plain adorned with over a hundred statues of the buddha, resting peacefully beneath intricate ceilings filled with frescoes.
This evening take a journey across the charming village of Kap-Ela where elephants wander in peaceful revelry along the Kandalama Tank. Elephant exploitation is a big problem across the world, but at Kap-Ela you get the rare chance to enjoy close encounters with elephants in a fully responsible manner. Using a coconut husk, you can give the tame community elephants a good scrub, connecting at once with these highly intelligent and emotional gentle giants. After their beloved bath, treat your newfound pampered friend with tropical fruit treats to cement your unique bond.
Kandy Kings + Tuk Tuk Drives
Along the road to regal Kandy, make a stop at Nalanda Gedige. The ancient stone site dates back to the 8th century and is said to be the first stone construction in Ceylon. As the lunchtime sun pours down on the countryside, take this opportunity to learn all about the history and importance of spice on Sri Lanka. From soft clove to playful lemongrass and the muddling of curry leaves and cinnamon – take a cooking class and lunch in a private spice garden and hear the tall tales of traders traveling from near and far to seek out these exotic spices.
This afternoon check into the serene ancestral Kandy House. The home of Sri Lankas last king puts on a regal spread with antique touches, traditional splashes of color, and jungle surroundings. Fresh flowers adorn every surface and rooms boast private verandahs and four poster beds for whimsical afternoons whiled away with tea and a good book.
A tuk tuk will arrive to take you to a hermit painters home. Rahju is a fascinating character and with dancing hands and a perfected art of conversation he will guide you through his studio, show you his music, and sit down to evening tea with you in the garden as the sun starts to dwindle.
Spiritual Sessions + Healing Rituals
Start the day with a deep breath and the rare chance to take a spiritual yoga session with a local master. The ancient practice of yoga brims with bountiful health benefits as you perfect your aasanaya and rebalance your mind and body. The UNESCO Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is waiting to bathe you in splendor with their daily fragrant water healing rituals. Take an in-depth tour through the temple, exploring the cloaked gardens, the priceless art, and the peaceful corridors. Witness the bowed heads of pilgrims praying to Lord Buddha and let the heady scent of incense soak you to the bone.
Afterwards take a guided walk to Kandy City, drinking in the colonial architecture, silk saris, and sweet breezes that roll down the jade green hills. A tuk tuk ride around the lake is a perfect way to end the afternoon as you listen to the myths and legends that keep this sacred space so alive.
High in the Heartlands of Tea Country
After breakfast drive through the winding roads of tea country as you journey towards the legacy of Taylors Hill. The colonial style country house sits high in the Kandy Mountains, providing a beautiful base for exploring the nearby sights and sounds. Morning mist, French romance, and soaking up the vibes of old world Ceylon marks this spot out as a magical place.
After a luscious lunch high in the heartlands of tea country, you can spend the day playing croquet on the well-manicured lawns, plunging into the cool arms of the infinity pool, and cycling through the tea trails where exotic trees bloom and feathered birds sing lullabies.
Loose Leaf Picking + Sunset Picnics
For a lingering taste of Sri Lanka, there is no better way to end your tour then with a day knee deep unraveling the secrets of the Ceylon Tea Story. The Loolecondera Tea Factory takes you through the art and evolution of tea making. Wander the estate and pluck your own leaves, learn all about James Taylor – the man who helped make the tea industry in Sri Lanka, and admire the relics of yesteryear.
After lunch you can take a trek to Taylors Seat, the spot where the man himself is said to have sat and pondered the future of this great nation and the humble leaf. As the final sparkle of sunlight starts to fade into soft gold, enjoy a high tea picnic on top of the hill – sipping elegant Ceylon tea and watching the hills change color.
A Lingering Taste
After breakfast your private chauffeur will be waiting to whisk you away to the airport for your next great adventure.
9 nights’ accommodation, meals as indicated by travel agent, transportation in air-conditioned car; Guided Visits: Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Polonnaruwa Archeological site, Madirigiriya Watadageya, Ritagala, Dambulla Rock Cave Temple, Minneriya National Park, Tea Factory, Lipton Seat Trek; Venture Emotions: Kep Ela Elephant Experience, Visit to a Private Spice Garden followed by a Cookery Demonstration, Evening Tea with Raju at his private Art Gallery, Walk with Mark Forbes, Yoga with Master Noel, Blessing from a Hindu Poosari, Lunch at Priyamali Gedara, Lunch at the Private Spice Garden, Evening Picnic at Taylors Hill + Government Tax.
Few islands in the world offer the diversity of Sri Lanka. From the vibrant + chaotic capital of Colombo, the central plains of the Cultural Triangle, tea plantations, exotic wildlife in national parks to coastlines of palm-fringed crescent shaped beaches.
On a different latitude but just as diverse and a little more cosmopolitan, Singapore has redefined itself as one of the great culinary cities of the world to be enjoyed over several days + not just a stopover.
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