Sri Lanka Island Contrasts
Sri Lanka; land of spiced cinnamon, wild elephants and sacred figs. This rare and highly cultured journey will take you spiralling from North to South, through historical towns with harrowing histories to ancient forests where fables seem all too real. The island is a myriad of touch, taste and scent and you are invited to feast on the banquet of beauty that is Sri Lanka. Ancient aristocrats, temples and tuk-tuks and slips of sand caught between the jungle and the sea – this tour has a thousand stories to tell.
Historic Homes + Colonial Gardens
Fragrant flower garlands and cool drinks are waiting to welcome you as soon as you step foot off the plane in Sri Lanka. A country renowned for its warmth, the smiles of local’s seep right into your skin. Start your winding journey through these wild and complex lands close to the colonial garden roots city of Colombo.
Colonial living has never been classier than in the chic boutique home of Maniumpathy. Nestled in the cool neighborhood of Colombo, guests can glide through heritage rooms, kick back in a handpicked chesterfield, and plunge into freshwater pools. The pretty courtyard, four poster beds, and homecooked Jaffna fusion food serves low key luxury with a dollop of deep set history.
Cinnamon Riches + Creative Space
Cool Colombo, once upon a time the garden city of the east and now a sultry seaside city heavy on charm. There is a cosmopolitan air to the place that one can find scattered in the trendy cafes, creative restaurants, temples, tuk-tuks and galleries.
A Pinch of Spice in Jaffna
Utterly compelling and swathed in Hindu tradition, Jaffna is the journey north for those looking to immerse themselves in thronging markets, spicy sambols, culinary artistry and beautiful bungalows beside the sea. Jaffna has seen its raw side of history, but the thriving city hasn’t lost its spirit.
Spend a morning discovering the buzzing markets, where jeweled fruits sit aside pink crabs plucked straight from the ocean. After stocking up on sublimely fresh supplies its time for a cooking lesson with a local chef; the pinch of spice and swirl of color will have your senses tingling even before the first bite.
Rest easy at the Jetwing Jaffna, with its unrivaled location, contemporary cool and chic rooftop bar.
Aristocrats, History + Blessings
Pearls and lace and Gatsby style parties, while post-civil war Jaffna may seem humble, before the fall these lands were filled with aristocrats, powdered mansions, and the art of extravagance. Take a fascinating tea with one of the former bourgeoisie who will share stories of these lavish social days.
A whirlwind afternoon starts with a traditional Hindu blessing at the historic Nallur Kovil. Make a wish and smash a coconut on the rock to see if your dreams come true. Swing by the library, a place where the torn pages of books barely survived during the long reigning war. Visit the historic fort and get a truly intrinsic look into the complexities of this savaged and born-again city.
Wild Ponies + Clear Waters
A private charter will whisk you across the waters and to Delft Island where a pastor is waiting to show you why he made this remote far flung island home. Wild ponies frolic in the fields, ancient baobab trees stand as tall as giants – their branches grazing the blue sky, and the beaches here are barely touched boasting gin clear waters and not another soul in sight.
Take lunch with the pastor and his family and spend some time driving around the smudge of an island and plunging into iridescent waters.
Ancestral Estates + Supper Soirees
Today’s adventure takes you a little deeper into the north, where one of Sri Lanka’s most revered boutique hotels is ready to embrace you into their world. A once upon a time home to Anuradhapura nobility you are sure to be smitten by the Ulagalla Resort.
Exquisite sleeping quarters look onto manicured lawns, shimmering pools and jungle – where peacocks roam and elephants crash through the bush. Take a stroll around the undulating landscapes, kayak down clear jungle streams, and sip and swirl bountiful wines from the depths of the properties well stocked cellar.
When evening falls, head out on a guided tour of the city by night. Beneath the stars, the city of Anuradhapura sparkles – the home of thousands of monks, ancient dynasties and shimmering bathing pools.
Sacred Figs + Local Schools
Take a bicycle and explore the awe inspiring Abhayagiriya monastery. These enigmatic archeological sites are impressive to both the eye and the imagination. The twin pond and the moonstone are equally fascinating, but standing beneath the rising dusty red dome of the monastery will make you draw breath.
The three stupas point to Orion’s Belt just like the mystical pyramids of Giza. There certainly seems to be magic at play, especially when you realise that the Sri Maha Bodhi, also known as the sacred fig is said to the southern branch from the tree where Siddhartha sat to become enlightened.
Experience the heart of the cultural triangle with a visit to the Habarana area, and the chance to visit a local rural school. Laughing with the village children, sharing a few words of English, and learning about the local charity takes your experience in Sri Lanka a few feet deeper.
Buddhist Monks + Forest Fables
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.
Afterwards, explore the legend soaked forest where it is said that Hanuman leapt to tell Rama where Sita was being held in the captivating story of Diwali. Walking beneath the canopy of green you can almost taste the magic in the air. Ruins, caves, peaks and stone cut paths connecting ancient monastery platforms can all be explored, and chances are you will spot wild elephants using their trunks to pick their way through the trees.
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.
Treehouse Castles + Swathes of Sand
For your final few days in sweet Sri Lanka you are invited to kick back caught between the jungle and the playful surf. The beaches of the East Coast boast swathes of sand, untapped towns, and heady horizons that seem to strike a match to create bedazzling sunsets.
The Jungle Beach Resort is the perfect mise en scene with its warm teak walkways, castaway treehouse castle feel, and glasses of spiced arak to be sipped through cinnamon straws. Lotus ponds, floating platforms, candles flickering in the breeze – this all serves to make you feel as though you have been crowned king of this dreamy lagoon like spot.
From soaking in hot springs to visiting the Temple of a Thousand Pillars, watching whales and dolphins pass in pods out at sea, and braving Lover’s Leap – this is your time to shine in Trincomalee.
12 nights’ accommodation, meals as indicated by travel agent, transportation in air-conditioned car, Scheduled Air Force flight from Ratmalana to Palali domestic airport, Cinnamon Air Scheduled Flight from China Bay Airport to Bandaranayake Airport; Guided Visits: Jaffna City Tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Ritigala Archaeological Site, Anuradhapura Kingdom; Venture Emotions: visit to a local school, Alms giving to local monks in Ritigala, private tea with a Jaffna aristocrat, hands on cooking demonstration + lunch at Kattumaran Bungalow, Delft Island with a local pastor, Traditional Hindi blessing at Nallul Kovil + 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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