Sri Lanka - Tea, the Wild & the Coast

For the life less ordinary, this is an adventure to uncover the land of Ceylon tea, tracking Sri Lanka's "Big 5" - elephant, leopard, bear, crocodile and wild boar and enjoy the splendors of the magnificent Indian Ocean, indulging in relaxation and gastronomic pursuits. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Stay in luxurious and boutique hotels

Discover the heritage, wildlife and coastal fervor of Sri Lanka

Enjoy insiders' perspectives from our your local expert guide

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE  COLOMBO / CEYLON TEA TRAILS

Arrive into Colombo Bandaranaike Intl Airport where you will be met and greeted by an airport representative who will assist you through immigration clearance, baggage collection. customs and bring you to the Silk Route lounge where you will be served light refreshments. Thereafter, embark on a private helicopter transfer to arrive at the gorgeous environments of Ceylon Tea Trails, the world’s first Tea Bungalow resort. The English love for the sweet rhythm of life in a tea garden left its stamp on these charming colonial planters bungalows, a little distance from each other, separated by hillside lakes and valleys, with sweeping lawns and swimming pools and gardens of roses, agapanthus and spring crocus. We check in at Tea Trails in time for lunch and spend the rest of the day at leisure

NOTES:

Depending on time of arrival, lunch may be served at Ceylon Tea Trails

Overnight: Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: CEYLON TEA TRAILS

After breakfast, we embark on the essential tea experience. The Resident Tea Planter at Tea Trails will demonstrate the age-old tea making process. First, follow the trail of the planters of old Ceylon, as they trekked through the dense jungle looking for the best slopes on which to plant tea. Then on to watch the tea pluckers pick two leaves and a bud with deft hands. Then to the factory where the all-important conversion to “made” black tea happens. The machinery used is of very traditional British design, some as old as 100 years. The tour ends with a tasting of different grades of this great brew. Together with the tea-infused cuisine, tea based spa treatments and trekking trails that traverse tea-blanketed hills, you can literally lose yourself in tea with with a newly found appreciation of this wonder herb “Camellia Sinensis” & the terroir of Ceylon Tea. 

Later in the day, you have time to enjoy at leisure a slew of activities:

Rafting, scenic walks and hikes, mountain biking etc...

NOTES:

Please note that plucking of Tea leaves is not done on public holidays & Sundays. As such the Tea production process does not take place, however a tour of the factory will be arranged where the process is explained.

Overnight: Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 3: CEYLON TEA TRAILS / NANU OYA / ELLA / YALA NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast, we leave Ceylon Tea Trails for a pleasant drive to Nanu Oya train station to embark on Sri Lanka's most scenic train journey to Ella passing through tea plantations, rice fields and rustic towns (2.5hrs train journey). Arriving at Ella, you will be warmly-greeted and transfer to the Wild Coast Tented Lodge

adjacent to the world famous Yala National Park, renowned for its dense leopard population. This spectacular luxury tented camp is situated in a stunning location where the jungle meets a pristine beach, overlooking the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. 

Overnight: Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala National Park

Meals: Breakfast, Packed Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4: YALA NATIONAL PARK

Coffee in bed early this morning at 0530hrs and thereafter, embark on an inspirational morning game drive to Yala National ParkSri Lanka’s most renowned known national park popular for its high density population of elephants, leopards, bears, crocodiles and wild boars. 97,800 hectares in extent, this is the second largest of Sri Lanka’s National Parks. Its open undulating terrain made it famous for elephants for many years, but recently the park has also received much fame through publicity by National Geographic and the Discovery TV channels, which focused on a leopard research/conservation and identification project. Claims have subsequently been made that Yala National Park has the world’s highest concentration of leopard per square kilometre. Vegetation is primarily grassland and shrub jungle with patches of dense growth while several salts and freshwater lagoons are a haven for a large variety of resident and migrant birds. Areas popular with leopard are rock strewn hillocks with a dense shrub in which the animals hide. After the morning game drive, we return to Wild Coast Tented Lodge for lunch and siesta. 

Later in the afternoon after snacks, you have the option to return for a late afternoon to evening game drive for another chance to spot the incredible wildlife. 

Overnight: Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala National Park

Meals: Bush Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5: YALA NATIONAL PARK

Spend another day of game drives in the morning and late afternoon for more opportunities to spot the incredible wildlife in Yala National Park

Overnight: Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala National Park

Meals: Bush Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6: YALA NATIONAL PARK / CAPE WELIGAMA

After breakfast, we check-out from Wild Coast Tented Lodge full of memories of the wild as we embark on a transfer to Cape Weligama. In the late afternoon, we drive about 30 minutes to the city of Galle, an 

ancient trading post said to be the famous Tarshish of the Bible. Historically, this award winning World Heritage fortified township was an essential port of call for Chinese, Persian, Arab and Indian traders. Javanese and Sumatrans came later followed by Marco Polo in 1299 AD. The Portuguese arrived in the 1500’s and built a settlement with a fort of palm trees and mud. This was captured by the Dutch (and finally the British) who built the 400 year old fort with great ramparts and bastions to protect their presence. Narrow streets are lined with old houses displaying Dutch heritage, with their pillared verandahs. Government offices remain in use and the community within the fort is a bustle with daily life – a living-breathing town, hidden within fortified walls of this ancient, maritime citadel. Laughter, chatter, gossip and smiles abound within the rampart walls. We explore the fort, overflowing with landmarks, strolling past the Dutch church, the governor’s house, the spice warehouses, court square, the Kacheri or Town Hall, the lighthouse and ramparts. Near the old Arab mosque are streets leading to cricket fields and the district Judge’s house, surrounded by ancient frangipani trees. Thereafter, return to Cape Weligama. 

Overnight: Cape Weligama

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 7: CAPE WELIGAMA

After breakfast, we embark on a private boat for a memorable experience to witness whales and dolphins where from November to end of March, is the season where the majestic mammals are spotted. Later in the afternoon, enjoy a tuk tuk tour along Sri Lanka’s countryside roads, passing paddy fields and settlements that offer a glimpse into rural lifestyles. Our ride ends at Kahanda Kanda, a tropical paradise built as a private villa, where we have a traditional ‘Southern’ lunch. In the afternoon, we have the opportunity to visit the Handunugoda Estate - An estate growing spices and producing the award-winning and globally acclaimed Virgin White tea, untouched by hand and deemed the purest of all. The 140 year old eco-friendly estate is rich in flora and fauna. Birds and wildlife, myriad colored reservoirs and fish ponds give it a special atmosphere. Meet with experts here, who takes you around these organic plantations of Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves, Turmeric, Vanilla, Rubber, Coconut and other Spices. Alternatively, spend a relaxing day luxuriating in the magnificent Cape Weligama where you may consider a spa experience or chill out. 

Overnight: Cape Weligama

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 8: CAPE WELIGAMA / BENTOTA / COLOMBO

We leave Cape Weligama today and then proceed on a pleasant drive to Bentota visiting the Lunuganga Estate - the country home of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Started in 1947, the garden led Bawa, a lawyer called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1940, to decide to become an architect. As he went on to become Sri Lanka's and one of Asia's most prolific and influential architects, the garden at the Lunuganga estate remained his first muse and experimental laboratory for new ideas. He continued to change and experiment with its spaces and structures throughout his life until his final illness in 1998. Next, we travel on to Colombo - capital of Sri Lanka where on arrival, we drive around the capital and its impressive Parliament House, designed by celebrated architect Geoffrey Bawa. Colombo is fascinating, with a cosy mixture of past and present and is the commercial centre of the country. The original trading settlers - the Portuguese, Dutch and British have all left in their wake churches and monuments, names and religions, costumes and food and smatterings of their languages, which have been absorbed into the speech of Sri Lankans. Finally, we arrive at the Galle Face Hotel for check in.

Overnight: Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 9: DEPART COLOMBO

Our journey comes to an end today with a transfer to Colombo Bandaranaike Intl Airport for your onward journey home. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

The world’s first tea bungalow resort, Ceylon Tea Trails is an icon for small luxury resorts. Comprising of five restored colonial era tea planter residences, the period furnishings, gracious butler service and gourmet cuisine create an ambience that has made Tea Trails the gold standard for luxury bungalows in Sri Lanka. 

Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Yala National Park

 Wild Coast Tented Lodge, adjacent to the world famous Yala National Park, is renowned for its dense leopard population. This spectacular luxury tented camp is situated in a stunning location where the jungle meets a pristine beach, overlooking the Indian Ocean. Each of the 28 tents offers state-of-the art amenities including air-conditioning. 

Cape Weligama

Thirty minutes east of Galle, Cape Weligama inhabits 12 manicured acres atop a singular promontory rising 40m above the Indian Ocean with 39 private retreats featuring an array of dining venues capturing Weligama's iconic sunsets, 

Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

Sri Lanka’s iconic landmark, The Galle Face Hotel, is situated in the heart of Colombo, along the seafront and facing the famous Galle Face Green.One of the oldest hotels east of the Suez, The Galle Face Hotel embraces its rich history and legendary traditions, utilizing them to create engaging, immersive experiences that resonate with old and new generations of travelers alike. No visit to Sri Lanka is complete without staying at this majestic hotel, built in 1864 and recently restored back to its former glory.

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