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The Hill Country activities

$30 Tours & Sightseeing

Full-Day Kandy Highlights Tour

After pickup at 8am see the spice garden followed by Kandy Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya. It is started in 1374 as a garden of the kings of Kandy, 147 acres in extent with more than 4,000 species of rare and endemic trees and plants as well as flora from the tropical world. You do not want to miss the Orchid House that has more than 300 varieties of exquisite orchid from the rare indigenous Foxtail and Vesak orchids. You can also see great lawn, spice garden, double coconut palms, cacti, bamboo and more. In the afternoon, visit to the Temple of Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa). The Temple of Tooth Relic is the World Heritage Site that houses the sacred Tooth relic of Buddha. The golden roofed temple is visited by both locals and tourists bearing flowers and incense daily throughout the day and night. It is a genuine place of worship. The original dated from the 16th Century, though most of present buildings and Patthiripuwa (Octagon) were built in the early 19th century. You could see Kandyan Moonstone, Makara Thorana, Udamale, Sanctuary, Audience Hall, Sri Dalada Maligawa Museum and International Buddhist Museum. You can also observe Poojas (offerings) the ancient traditions of drumming and sacred chanting in honor of the Tooth Relic performed several times every day. The most colorful Asela Perhara is held in July and August every year. The last stop is Gem Museum, wood crafting and Kandyan cultural show. After the tour is concluded, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Kandy.

$48 Cultural & Theme Tours

Full-Day Private Sigiriya and Dambulla from Kandy

Your adventure begins with the convenience of pickup service from your local hotel, 30 to 60 minutes prior to the departure time. At 8am, travel in comfort to Sigiriya in an air-conditioned, luxury vehicle. Learn how this ancient rock fortress was built by King Kasyapa to be the capital and house the royal palace from your English-speaking driver/guide. Hear how it was transformed into a Buddhist monastery in the 14th century. Then, go to the Royal Gardens with its beautiful landscaping and water features. Climb up to see the famed Mirror Wall and the 6th century rock art. Journey to the Boulder Gardens and Terraced Gardens. See the exquisite frescoes that are approximately 1600 years old. Admire the Sigiriya Frescoes that depict the king's harem on the face of the rocks. Then, it is time to go to the summit of the fortress at Sky Palace. Enjoy an hour of free time. We offer rice & curry for lunch at a family run local restaurant. Following the break, meet your guide to go to the Dambulla Cave Temples. Upon arriving at the Dambulla Cave Temple Complex, you will go directly to the Cave of the Divine King Devaraja Lena. View the 46ft. (14m) statue of Buddha made out of rock. Read the first century inscription at the entry of the cave telling of its origins. Continue over to the Cave of the Great Kings, the largest of the five caves. There, you will see 40-seated statues of Buddha, cave paintings on the ceiling, and more. The ceiling and wall paintings found in the Great New Monastery date back to the 1700s and provide you with a unique insight into the Buddhist Revivalist period. See a statue of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha and 50 statues of Buddha. Return to your hotel provided at the end of the tour, at approximately 5pm.

$64 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Day Trip: Nuwara Eliya from Kandy by Train

Start your tour at 7:30am from your hotel in Kandy, where you will be picked up by your chauffeur. Ensure that you bring a packed breakfast with you if you are unable to have your meal at the hotel.  Your chauffeur will transport you nearby to the Kandy or Peradeniya railway station at approximately 8am (station chosen is subject to ticket availability). Your train will leave between 8:30am-8:45am. Your guide will assist you to get onto the train for your train journey. Your train journey takes you on a scenic ride through some of the most beautiful highland countryside areas in Sri Lanka. Watch the brilliant greens carpets of the tea plantations. See the picturesque villages with misty mountain backdrops pass by. Peer through drizzle and mist to look at the magical landscapes of Hill Country. Enjoy the amazing sights of intimidating mountains, deep and dark woodlands, and magnificent waterfalls as they go by your windows. Total travel time on the train is expected to be between 3-3.5 hours. You will reach Nanu Oya at 12:15pm. Your guide will meet you at the Nanu Oya station, which has been serving Nuwara Eliya for over a century. After you stretch your legs a little, your guide will transfer you to Nuwara Eliya. Enjoy the thrilling half hour drive up the winding road. Enjoy walking through the streets with their pretty little cottages, quaint villas and beautiful mansions. Thereafter at approximately 1:30pm, you will be having lunch at a place of your choice. Afterwards, your guide will show you the most important sights, dependent on the time constraints. You will get to see Lake Gregory. You will also be going to the timeless old post office and can send a beautiful postcard home if you like, or even buy a few as souvenirs. Thereafter proceed back to Kandy by approximately 3pm. En-route visit the Ramboda Falls and Blue Field Tea Factory where you would see how the world’s famous “Ceylon Tea” is manufactured. Expected travel time is 1-1.5 hours. In 1824 a tea plant was brought to Ceylon by the British from China and was planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya for non-commercial purposes. James Taylor was a British citizen who introduced commercial tea plantation in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). He arrived to Sri Lanka in 1852 and settled down in Loolecondera estate in Kandy. Today even people who have never heard of Sri Lanka are familiar with Ceylon tea, which is known for its quality. Later that evening leave from the tea factory by approximately 5pm and return back to the hotel completing your excursion by 7:30pm

$42 Day Trips & Excursions

Private Day-Tour: Highland Highlights from Kandy

Depart from Kandy at 7am for your 12-hour highlands tour. Drive towards Nuwara Eliya in a private vehicle. After two hours, reach Ramboda Falls and admire the gushing rapids surrounded by lush greenery. Continue on 20 minutes to Mackwoods Tea Estate Labookellie, a center of Sri Lanka’s tea industry. Soak in the views of rolling tea plantations on the drive through the countryside. The tea factories are open to visitors and sell fresh tea and leaves at outlet prices. Take an hour-long break for lunch (not included in the tour price). Drive to Hakgala Botanical Gardens and spend two leisurely hours exploring the blooming flora, including orchids and roses. Proceed to Nuwara Eliya’s Lake Gregory. Enjoy a long relaxing walk or lounging lakeside near the cool waters. At 6:30pm, depart for Kandy.

$49 Outdoor Activities

Minneriya National Park: Elephant Gathering Private Safari

Meet your driver/guide at your Polonnaruwa or Habarana hotel at 5:30am or 2:00pm for your 3-hour jeep safari tour of Minneriya National Park. Experience “The Gathering,” a name given to the elephants that assemble on the banks of the Minneriya Reservoir during the dry season. According to wildlife authorities, the Minneriya gathering is the largest grouping of wild Asian elephants at any given time. View the famous elephants as they graze on the grasses growing on the tank bed. Perhaps you’ll spot any of the park’s diverse wildlife, including leopards, sloth bears, deer, wild buffalo, wild pigs, grey langers, purple-faced leaf monkeys, porcupines, and assorted birds. At the end of the safari, head back to Polonnaruwa or Habarana. Depending on the location of your hotel, choose to visit photo stop at sunset of the Minneriya Tank and the standing big Buddha at Giritale.  When your tour is complete, your vehicle will return you to your hotel.

$138 Cultural & Theme Tours

Viewing of Kandy Esala Perahara

The Esala Perahera in Kandy is celebrated to honour the Sacred Tooth Relic and the four ‘guardian’ Gods Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini. The Kandy Maligawa Perahera is followed in order by those of the Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini ‘Devales’ (Temples dedicated to these Gods) which are situated in the vicinity of the Kandy Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth). After the Kandyan Kingdom fell to the British in 1815, the custody of the Tooth Relic was handed over to the Buddhist Clergy. In the absence of the King, a lay custodian called the Diyawadana Nilame was appointed to handle routine administrative matters. The purpose of the Kandy Esala Perahera Procession is to beseech blessings of the gods to obtain rain for the cultivation of crops and to enrich the lands of the kingdom. This ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the streets of the Kandy city which is done with exceptional panache. This is considered as one of the most beautiful festivals in Asia. The parade is split in 2. The Kumbal Perahera and the Randoli Perahera. The Kumbal Perahera takes place during the first 5 days of the festival. This gorgeous parade starts here exactly at the auspisious time set for that day. Legend has it that the first Kumbal Perahera is shown to infants to drive away any evil spells or spirits. In tradition the Kumbal Perahera does not expect a presence of the Nilame and the Tooth Relic (custodian of the Sacred tooth Relic), however the drummers and tuskers take part without any ceremonial costumes. The Randoli Perahera takes place during the last 5 days of the event. The Sacred Tooth Relic can be seen kept on an elephant back protected by the custodian during all 5 days of the parade. There are 4 main events dedicated to 4 hindu gods that takes part in the parade. This cannot be seen during the Kumbal Perahera. All the elephants are colorfully dressed and all the events take place through the night on the designated route around the Kandy City.