Landing in Colombo just after midnight, the timeless grandeur of the Galle Face Hotel is apparent even at this hour.
Basking in our exceptional location right on the shores of the Indian Ocean, the morning is ours to rest. Later after a tour of Sri Lanka’s capital, we dine at the culinary hotspot, the Ministry of Crab. Owned by former Sri Lankan cricketers, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, this restaurant celebrates the country’s prized crustaceans, the giant Lagoon Crabs.
Excitement builds this morning as we make our way to Colombo Air Force base, where a helicopter is waiting to whisk us away to Dambulla. Once on the ground, we visit the World Heritage-listed Dambulla Cave Temple complex, which has drawn pilgrims and preachers for more than two centuries.
Our home for the next three nights is the Heritance Kandalama Resort. Served inside one of the region’s famous caves, our gourmet discovery begins this evening as dinner is illuminated by woodwind music and flickering candles.
Our hotel overlooks what is often described as the eighth wonder of the world – the rock fortress of Sigiriya. After a morning tour we will enjoy lunch at Sigiriya Village Hotel.
You may then like to return to Heritance Kandamala Resort to relax or choose from a Your World activity.
A distinguished seven-course meal awaits this evening at the Royal Banquets.
This morning we visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa where a guide will show us how people lived and society functioned in this former kingdom.
This afternoon is set aside for a truly spectacular occurrence. On a Jeep safari with conservationist, Chitral Jayatilleke, see hundreds of elephants descend on Minneriya National Park in a wildlife spectacle known as The Gathering.
We visit a spice garden in Matale, where we’re taught to identify the flavours of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Crossing the hills to Kandy, we check into the tropical oasis, Earls Regency Hotel, for a two-night stay. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Temple of the Buddha’s Tooth and experience a Hindu puja ceremony where prayers are offered to a god or spirit through song.
Following breakfast, a tuk tuk takes us to the local markets where we are free to browse wares. Later, learn the refined art of cooking Sri Lankan cuisine at the Kendyan Manor as we prepare traditional curries over firewood, with age-old tools and methods. At Peradeniya Botanical Gardens this afternoon, a walk with a professor of botany awaits before dinner.
To the station! We travel in style on the Viceroy II, a private vintage carriage attached to the public train travelling to Nanu Oya, the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country, and enjoy lunch on board.
Upon arrival we head for the Heritance Tea Factory, located near the British colonial town of Nuwara Eliya, for a two-night stay. After unpacking and settling in, enjoy an evening of high tea at the renowned factory.
Often referred to as Sri Lanka’s Little England, Nuwara Eliya showcases architecture that spans the Georgian and Queen Anne eras. This evening, dine at the intimate and unique Carriage Restaurant, boasting fine regional ingredients in a truly remarkable setting.
This morning we travel to Cinnamon Wild, our resort bordering Yala National Park. Expect to be greeted by a conspiracy of grey lemurs. As night falls, the calls of park residents provide an exhilarating soundtrack to dinner.
Today we find ourselves on safari deep in the vast woodland and open grasslands of Yala National Park, which has the highest density of leopards in the world. To optimise our chances of spotting as many species of animals, birds and reptiles as possible, we have booked two special Jeep safaris. One sets off in the morning and the other this afternoon, with time to relax in between.
Fingers crossed there will be plenty of photos to compare at our barbecue dinner by the pool this evening.
Buckle up for another chopper ride today. Boarding our privately chartered aircraft at Yala Army Base, we fly over the jungle and coast to Koggala, near Galle. Of course, if you would prefer to remain planted on the ground, a road option is also available.
En route to The Fortress Resort & Spa, we stop to see the spectacle of stilt fishermen. After lunch, spend the afternoon on your own schedule.
Today, explore Galle through the art of prose with a local story teller. Painting tales of history and colonial life with a thought-provoking stroke, we will gain an expert insight into the custom.
Farewell Galle today and return to Colombo. Since we understand that you may like to spend some time freshening up and preparing for our journey home, we’ve arranged for you to have a private room at the Galle Face Hotel. Retire here before dinner, or choose to embark on a final Your World experience.
Before transferring to the airport for your flight home, enjoy a special Farewell Dinner at The 1864 Restaurant.
Relax on board your flight and contemplate the various places that we’ve encountered. While we may be back at home, the colours, culture and tastes of Sri Lanka will remain with us long after our return.
Sometimes travelling can be a chore, distracting you from the fascinating places you are in. That’s why everything mundane has been moved behind the scenes. You will never have to carry a map, luggage, small change for tips or bargain for a taxi fare.
There are no hidden costs. Everything is included – flights and other travel arrangements, luxurious accommodation, travel insurance, all dining and drinks, and even sightseeing trips - including those by helicopter or horseback. Even the Your World experiences within your itinerary and internet access when available.
Welcome to your homes away from home. Each one has a certain something that sets it apart from every other residence at its location. Whether for its history, cultural significance or natural setting, we’ve selected only the very best.
Commune with nature in this lush, hillside resort overlooking the rock fortress of Sigiriya. Ease into a peculiar world of indulgence where spa treatments are standard and monkeys guard the entrance to an illuminated cave – the perfect place for pre-dinner drinks.
You would expect the scent of tea to still hang heavy in the air of a hotel room that once served as the tea factory’s withering loft. Before conversion to stately accommodation, leaves were spread to dry in these well-lit and airy retreats.
Styled after the Dutch Fort, The Fortress Resort & Spa indulges in oceanic views and a curious combination of Portuguese and indigenous influences. Relax among the elegant furnishings, relishing in the final days of our journey.
Fares are per person twin share in Australian dollars and include Singapore Airlines flights from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Prices from other cities are available on request.
Land Only guests join on Day 2 and depart on Day 14, in Colombo.
Solo availability at the above price is limited.
Tour notes: This journey is reserved for a group of just 24 guests.