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Sri Lanka ReQuest 2018

Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as one of the finest islands on earth and we are willing to agree! This tropical island is known for its diverse and stunning nature including green mountain slopes, lush tea plantations, pristine beaches and national parks showcasing a rich wildlife. The country also offers many interesting cultural and historical sites, whereof several have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Join PolarQuest on an adventure to this colourful country!

Accommodation: Hotel, lodge, tent and bungalow. Transport: Plane, minibus, jeep, train and boat. Participants: 10 - 14 participants. Languages: English & Swedish. Length: 13 days. Price: From USD 7 990. Departures: 11 November 2018, 25 November 2018

Itinerary

Day 1: London - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Depart from London in the evening and fly over night.

Day 2: Colombo - Negombo

We arrive in Colombo in the afternoon and transfer to the little coastal town of Negombo. After we have checked in at the charming hotel Pledge 3 we enjoy our first dinner together.

Day 3: Negombo - Wilpattu National Park

A four hour drive takes us to Sri Lanka’s largest national park, Wilpattu, and our home for the following two nights – the cosy Mahoora Camp. Here we stay in comfortable safari tents, only a few minutes’ drive from the park. After an outdoor lunch at the camp we set out on an exciting afternoon safari. Wilpattu is home to more than 30 mammals, including elephants, spotted deer and sloth bears, and if lucky we spot the rare leopard. Many different birds, such as kingfishers, bee-eaters and storks can also be found in the park. In the evening we have dinner next to a crackling campfire.

Day 4: Wilpattu

As soon as dawn breaks, our nature guides take us into the park. After a while we stop the jeeps for a breakfast picnic in the middle of the wilderness – a perfect start of the day! We spend the whole day exploring the park and search for interesting wildlife. After another delicious dinner and a day full of impressions, we welcome a good night’s sleep.

Day 5: Wilpattu - Sigiriya

After breakfast we leave for the historical town of Sigiriya, once the capital of northern Sri Lanka. A couple of hours later we arrive at Aliya Resort, where we have lunch and settle into our comfortable wooden bungalows. In the afternoon we visit Thal Kotay village, where we are invited to a small, traditional hut to learn more about the Sri Lankan culture. To get here we enjoy a short ride with a bullock cart and cross a small lake with a float. In the evening we are treated with an authentic Sri Lankan dinner.

Day 6: Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa

Today we spend the forenoon exploring the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, famously called the Lion Rock. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most outstanding of architectural wonders in Sri Lanka. It was built by King Kashyapa (477- 495 A.D) and is a citadel of unusual beauty rising almost 200 meters above the lush jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town and the base is ringed by a rampart and extensive gardens. After a typical farmers’ lunch we head towards another UNESCO World Heritage Site – Polonnaruwa, which served as the capital during the 10th – 12th century. We get a guided tour amongst ruins and temples including four massive Buddha statues, cut from a single slab of granite. A local primatologist takes us to the monkeys living at the site, where we have the chance to meet characters seen in Disney’s nature documentary Monkey Kingdom and other documentaries shown on the Discovery Channel.

Day 7: Sigiriya - Kandy - Hatton

We leave Sigirya and head south, towards the highlands of Sri Lanka. On the way we stop for lunch in the sacred city of Kandy, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We also visit the Royal Botanical Gardens, believed to be one of the most beautiful gardens in South Asia. It is renowned for its collection of orchids, but over 4 000 other plants can also be found here. After a couple of hours drive we reach the Governor’s Mansion, a fully restored English styled mansion, set around 1300 meters above sea level in the famous tea valley of Hatton-Dickoya. After checkin we enjoy the tranquillity that prevails here.

Day 8: Hatton

We are now in the magnificent highlands of Sri Lanka. Here, the climate is usually a bit cooler than the coastal area and the surrounding landscape is characterised by rolling hills covered by green tea plantations. In 1824 the first tea plant was brought here by the British from China to Ceylon, but it was not until 1867, when the Scotch James Taylor started a tea plantation, that the commercial production of tea took off. Today, Sri Lanka is one of the world’s leading exporters of this popular hot beverage. After a peaceful morning and breakfast, we visit a traditional tea factory to witness the procedure of making the world’s finest tea, and of course we will have the opportunity to taste some different varieties of tea!

Day 9: Hatton - Udawalawe National Park

A great way to experience Sri Lanka is to travel by train. After breakfast we catch the train to Ella. This is for sure one of the greatest rail journeys in the world. The dramatic landscape of the highlands stirs the senses – winding past lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls. From Ella we continue by bus to Kalu’s Hideaway in Udawalawe, where we spend the night. After a travel day filled with impressions it is great to relax and enjoy a delicious dinner.

Day 10: Udawalawe - Galle - Thalpe

Early in the morning we leave the hotel for an exciting safari and breakfast in the park. Udawalawe National Park is mostly known for its resident Sri Lankan elephant population, but the park also house many bird species. After lunch at Kalu’s Hideaway we continue our journey, now in direction towards the seaside city of Galle. Approximately three hours later we reach the city, founded in the 16th century. Galle is a fortified city, influenced by both European and Southeast Asian traditions, but it is mostly known for the 36-hectare Dutch fort, built in 1663 and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1988. We marvel at the churches, monuments and Dutch houses, standing surprisingly well-preserved. Very close to Galle we find Thalpe and our home for the following two nights – the modern exquisite hotel Owl and the Pussycat, perfectly situated next to the ocean.

Day 11: Thalpe & Mirissa

The south coast of Sri Lanka is one of the very best places in the world to see blue whales. During a private boat tour starting from Mirissa in the morning, we hope to encounter this impressive mammal. After the tour we return to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon. Later, we visit the stilt fishermen, perched in vertical poles called pettas, waiting for the fish to come their way.

Day 12: Thalpe - Colombo

After our last lunch together and a refreshing swim in the sea or the tempting swimming pool we head towards the capital of Sri Lanka – Colombo. Here we get a short tour by bus through this vibrant city, representing a mixture of the east and the west, the past and the presence. Late in the afternoon we leave for the airport, bid farewell to this friendly country and fly back home.


Day 13: London

We arrive in London in the forenoon, bringing with us fantastic memories, many photos and new friendships!

Please note: The itinerary above is subject to change, for instance due to weather. Flexibility is the key to a successful adventure!

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Accommodation

  • Mahoora Camp, Wilpattu
    Mahoora Camp
  • Governor's Mansion
    Adrian Nordenborg
  • Governor's Mansion
  • Owl and the Pussycat Hotel
    Owl and the Pussycat Hotel
  • Mahoora Camp, Wilpattu

Prices

Room category Price per person
Double room USD 7 990
Single room USD 10 380

Price includes: Return economy flight London - Colombo . All transportation . All accommodation . All meals . All activities described in the brochure . All entrance fees . Gratuities . A tour leader from PolarQuest . Experienced local guides . Comprehensive pre departure material and a post expedition log book

Not included: Travel and cancellation insurance . Alcoholic beverages . Visa costs

Departures & booking

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Departure Return
11 November 2018 23 November 2018
25 November 2018 7 December 2018