Day 1: Welcome to Sri Lanka - Negombo "Ayubovan - welcome from the heart"
Our driver welcomes you when you arrive at the international airport of Colombo and then drive you to the nearby Negombo. Arrived at the hotel you can recover well from the hardships of the journey. Negombo is a traditional fishing town in Sri Lanka and its economy is based on tourism and a centuries-old fishing industry. If you stroll along the Negombo coastal road, you will find a wealth of restaurants, including. Offer delicious and above all fresh seafood. The city has a Roman Catholic history and has been given the name "Little Rome", so you can find several buildings dating back to the Dutch and Portuguese colonial era, such as the Dutch Canal, the old administration buildings and many of the city's landmarks Churches The 100 km long canal that runs through the city offers the opportunity to discover Negombo from a different perspective.
Day 2: Kalpitiya - a very special lagoon
Kalpitiya is known for its pristine sandy beaches, kite-surfing spots and great scuba-diving grounds - most notably the 300-square-kilometer Bar Reef and Kalpitiya Ridge, as well as boat trips in the Wilpattu National Park and on the lagoon. In addition, Kalpitiya is Sri Lanka's best dolphin watching destination from November to April. While off the coast dolphins sometimes swim in groups of more than 100 specimens, the rare marmoset dolphins, with their distinctive pink color, can be seen above all in the lagoon. There, too, the primeval-looking Dugong romps.
Even in summer you can enjoy this area to the fullest. Due to the abundance of birds, you can take beautiful boat cruises through the lagoon.
Day 3: Anuradhapura - the cradle of local history
Today, after breakfast, Anuradhapura is explored. The sacred city of Anuradhapura, now in picturesque ruins, was once an important center of Sri Lankan civilization. The fascinating ancient ruins include huge bell-shaped stupas of small sun-dried bricks, temples, sculptures, palaces and ancient drinking water reservoirs. The holy city of Anuradhapura is rich in historical values. Here is the sacred tree Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya. It is worshiped because it is the southern branch of ancient Sri Maha Bodhiya in Bodhi Gaya, India, which provided a refuge for the Lord Buddha when he attained enlightenment. This much acclaimed Bo tree, which is over 2,200 years old, rises to its glorious height in the historic Maha Meghavana Royal Park and is considered to be the oldest tree with a recorded history. Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, one of the holiest relics for Buddhists in the world, was brought into the country by Sanghamitra Thera and planted by then ruling king Devanampiyatissa. The main attraction of Anuradhapura is the Dagobas, a brick-built hemispherical structure. The Jetawanarama Dagoba is the highest of all Dagobas and is about 110 m high.
Mihintale, the sacred mountain of Buddhists from all over the world and the cradle of Theravada Buddhism. The history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka has its origins here when monk Mahinda (envoy of King Ashoka of India) met king Devanampiyatissa on this hill and preached the teachings of Buddhism. It was a full moon day in June (Poson). Since then, the faithful have been making a pilgrimage to every Poson to the mountain of Mihintale. To reach the top of the hill, you have to take 1840 granite steps. The most famous Mihintale building is the Stupa / Dagoba of Kantaka Cetiya (1st century BC), a beautiful structure, and well preserved is a unique example of the ancient art of stone carving of those days. The white statue of a Buddha, located right next to the last plateau, is an incredible sight that can be enjoyed from the top of the mountain.
Day 5 + 6: Jaffna - the still very natural north of the island
Today, after breakfast, your journey begins to the north of Sri Lanka. You are on your way to Jaffna. It goes through the picturesque landscapes in a touristic completely untapped regions. With a little luck, you'll see free-range elephants grazing alongside the road as you head north. The view of the horizon getting freer and the roads less and less busy.
Upon arrival, mingle in the turmoil of the Tamil city. During your stay, visit the impressive Kandaswamy Temple, which is the religious center of the North. You can also visit the well-known library, the Jaffna Museum and the 17th-century Dutch Fort. Admire the contrast of the colonial past and today's spirit of optimism of the local people, which gives the city a very special flair.
The next day, after a very early breakfast, we head to the pier in Kurikadduwan in the western part of the peninsula. Small roads take you from the mainland to offshore islands, where you can watch fishermen sailing on catamarans and laying nets. Enjoy the boat ride on the way to Nainativu Island, where you can admire the famous Naagadeepa Temple. The associated Stupa Rajayathana is one of the holiest sites of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Then it's off to the remote island of Delft, where you can enjoy your picnic lunch. Around you, the Palmyra palm trees soar and with luck you can catch a glimpse of the herds of free-living ponies galloping across the island.
Afterwards you will take the boat back to the other side, from where you will head towards the north coast of Jaffna Peninsula. On the way through the deserted area you will pass ruined houses that are wildly overgrown with trees. They are the last silent witnesses of the expulsion of the local population during the almost 30 year war, which ended in 2009. Also around our destination, the Hindu temple in Keerimalai, there are traces of the civil war on closer inspection - whether bullet holes in the palms or a shipwreck that protrudes from the sea on the coast. Near the temple, you can take a bath in the sacred pool if you like, while the sound of the sea can be heard in the background. Then visit the temple in the small harbor town of Dambakolaputn before driving back to Jaffna.
Day 7 + 8: Trincomalee - the East Coast of Sri Lanka
During the next two days, you decide the daily program on your own. Relax, splash around in the water, etc. Explore at your own discretion the beach at the hotel or the beaches of the area. Take it easy. You will also find some attractions in the immediate area of Trincomalee. Definitely worth a visit is the visit to Fort Frederick with the well-known Wellington House - also called Wellesley Lodge. Swami Rock, popularly known as "Lover's Leap" or the Hindu temple Thiru Koneswaram Kovil are other destinations that you can discover on your own.
Day 9: Polonnaruwa - and his unique Buddha formation
Today is dedicated to the former royal city of Polonnaruwa. After breakfast drive to the royal city and visit the impressive archaeological site. The ancient holy city is the former capital of Sri Lanka in the 11th and 12th centuries. In its heyday, the city, surrounded by a 6 km long city wall, housed hundreds of people. You will visit the Gal Vihara stone sculptures and the three giant Buddha sculptures carved in granite by an unknown sculptor in the 12th century. This tour you can do by bike, making the visit much more enjoyable, as these ancient sites stretch for several kilometers. Please note that the driver will continue with his vehicle, waiting for you at each of the various spots to show you the sites and then drive ahead while you follow by bikes.
You can enjoy lunch in one of the many family restaurants in the area. The local food is rice & curry and it tastes best when cooked in a family restaurant in an open kitchen over an open fire and in clay pots.
The highlight of the day is the safari through the elephant park of Minneriya. Especially in the summer months there are large herds of elephants. In the period June - September the annual "elephant gatherings of Minneriya" are much talked about.
Day 10: Sigiriya - the Lion Rock and Pidurangala "the little sister"
In the morning we head to the rock of Sigiriya: a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A 370-meter high granite rock with a magnificent palace built by King Kashyapa around 475 AD, a true marvel of old building technology, art and culture. The palace complex at the foot of the rock still has remains of four indoor pools, where once bathed the 500 concubines of the king. The palace structure was built with a complex water pipe system in the walls, which provided natural air conditioning during the hot months. At the summit, reached by metal stairs and ladders, you can visit the remains of palace walls, gardens and ponds. The mirrored walls of the Sigiriya Rock still show the world-famous frescoes of the king's concubines from all parts of the world. Once you reach the plateau, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the area.
If you also want to be active in the afternoons, you can climb the Pidurangala Rock, a very natural rock that is also called the "little sister of the Lion Rock". If it is too active for you, take a tour of the village of Habarana.With the ox cart through the village and the outrigger boat on the lake, ideal for taking unique holiday photos.
Day 11: Colombo - The Capital
You will finish your journey in the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. Colombo is by far the largest and most developed city in the country. The natural harbor was once a magnet for successive merchants and conquerors - first the Arab merchants, then the Portuguese, Dutch and British imperialists.
It's easy to explore the city on your own, with a tuk-tuk, the most typical public transport in Sri Lanka. You stop a tuk-tuk by hand. It is absolutely important, on the one hand, that there is a taximeter and, on the other hand, that it is also switched on. Otherwise, you must always set the price before and that costs experience unnecessarily much time and patience. We also recommend downloading "Pick Me", our local "Uber" (which also works in Sri Lanka), because you can rent a tuk-tuk with this app.
Day 12: Time to say Goodbye
One last time you have breakfast in Sri Lanka, then you go to the airport. Depending on the departure time, the pick-up from the hotel varies. We hope that you have spent a great time in Sri Lanka and have taken the country and its people to heart. Come back soon! Until then a good trip home and a safe arrival.