This 11 – day itinerary immerses the traveler not only into the unique indigenous sports of Sri Lanka but also into the natural beauty, culture, and sites of Sri Lanka.
Arrive at Colombo International Airport.
You will be met and escorted through immigration (express check out) by VIP Silk Route service and a porter will collect your bags while you are seated in the comfortable VIP lounge. You will then be handed over to the local representative and driven to Colombo (approx. 1 hour). Colombo is the largest city and commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Located on the west coast, it is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern and colonial impressions.
Colombo has a wildly varying architecture that spans centuries and depicts various styles. Many colonial buildings influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British exist alongside structures built in Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Indian and Contemporary architectural styles. In no other place is this more evident than in the heart of the city at the Fort.
After breakfast, proceed to Sigiriya. The drive is about 4 hours. The 5th century rock citadel of King Kasyapa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sigiriya boasts ancient Sri Lankan engineering and urban planning but also acclaims to be one of the finest monuments of art and culture. Step through the gigantic ‘Lion Paws’ overlooking the symmetrical royal gardens below to comprehend the absolute splendor that once dominated this rock fortress. Surrounded by ramparts and moats, the Lion Rock resembling the mythological ‘City of Gods’ is coated by frescoes that relate to Gupta style paintings found in the Ajanta caves of India.
Wander into the museum downstairs for an epic journey of yesteryears to realize how the citadel floated above citizens with the castle, ponds, and irrigation systems that pumped water right onto its summit with an ingenious hydraulic system.
After breakfast, visit a remote hidden village in Habarana for a private demonstration of Sri Lanka’s indigenous form of martial arts called Angampora. This is approximately a 1 ½ hour drive.
Angampora is the ancient martial art of Sri Lanka, which is a combination of self-defense techniques, combat, and sacred rituals. The art of Angampora is still one of the best kept secrets in south Asia. Travel in a safari jeep (the road is not suitable for cars) to the hidden village where you will meet a team of the traditional warriors. The warriors will perform their ‘War Dance’, the same believed to be taught from generation to generation followed by lunch.
After breakfast, drive to the Royal City of Kandy (approx. 3 hours).
Last ruled by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe before it was brought under the British rule in 1815, Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings, crafts an array of culture, history, and heritage in the minds of visitors across the globe. Experience an ancient Kandyan legacy engraved around its crown jewel, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.
Enjoy the beat of traditional music and drumming amplified by a cultural show.
Visit a morning market and learn about authentic Kandyan cooking with Suzy.
Take a ride to the “Menikkumbura” market in a tuk-tuk, and see the variety of seasonal vegetables. Learn the Sinhala names and the different types of vegetables that are locally grown for village people. Walk around, speak with the vendors, and try out the different types of tropical seasonal fruit like, soursop, ambarella, nelli, passion fruit, ripe jack, and a variety of bananas grown in Sri Lanka.
Join Suzy and her team in her traditional kitchen built by her husband’s great grandfather, and assist in the preparation of lunch. Learn to prepare a complete meal using ancient tools such as the coconut scraper, the traditional mortar and pestle, the grinding stone, and seasoned clay pots. Suzy or her colleague will demonstrate and explain in detail from scraping the coconut, extracting the milk, to pounding sambal, to cooking with firewood in a typical local way.
Witness the starting of the firewood and controlling of the temperature while the curries are cooking. Your lunch will be served on a heated banana leaf accompanied with papadam and home prepared chutneys. Explore the intricacies of Sri Lankan cuisine and treasure the memories of the unforgettable experience with Suzy.
After breakfast, drive to Gal Oya (approx. 3 ½ hours), to the eastern side of Sri Lanka. It is a scenic drive.
After lunch, take a 4-hour jungle drive into the Nilgala section of the park. Gal Oya National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s undiscovered natural treasures. Its diverse terrain of jungle forest and lakes are home to Asian elephants, water buffalos, leopards, sloth bears, and different species of birds.
After breakfast, visit the Indigenous people of Sri Lanka, the “Veddas” and learn their way of life and their indigenous sports.
Gal Oya Lodge neighbors one of the last remaining communities of the Vedda, the forest-dwelling, indigenous people of Sri Lanka. Walk with the village chief through the jungles of his ancestors. Discover and learn about local nature as he brings the forest alive, explaining his tribe’s use of medicinal plants, ancient hunting grounds, indigenous sports, and cave dwellings. It’s a fascinating insight into how the hunter-gatherers lived in the jungles of Gal Oya.
After breakfast, proceed to the hill country of Ella. The drive is about 3 hours.
Ella is known as everyone’s favorite hill country village. A taste of the breathtaking scenery of Ella could be had if you just walk into the garden of the Grand Ella Motel (formerly Ella Rest House), where you seem to be standing at the edge of the world, and everything around you seems to disappear at your feet. Some of the places you could see in Ella are the Ella Gap, Ravana Ella Falls, Little Adam’s Peak and Bambaragala Peak among the other many varied pleasant walks with stunning scenery.
After breakfast, drive to Galle (approx. 5 ½ hours), to the southern tip of Sri Lanka. Galle, the southern capital, is where classic Dutch architecture meets a tropical setting creating a vivid atmosphere in beauty. Walk the Dutch-haunted streets listening to the creaks of wooden saloon doors and observe how European architecture mingles with south Asian traditions today flooding cultural enthusiasts on a global scale. Its original ramparts and bastions preserved up to date showcase evidences of a heritage preserved for more than 3 1/2 centuries. Walk clockwise within the fort to observe the ‘old gate’ carrying the British coat of arms. Flanking the old gate is the Zwart bastion the oldest of all and the lighthouse standing 18 feet in its glory next to the Point Utrecht Bastion. However, its hallmark stands where the Dutch fort remains a working community with its usual buzz of administrative offices, court complex, commercial buildings, churches, and people frequenting its streets.
In the morning, enjoy a guided walk in the timeless Galle Fort. Afterwards head to a village in the outskirts of Galle to learn about the indigenous sport of “Kotta Pora” or pillow fighting.
Picture a conventional pillow fight. Now throw in a stout horizontal pole, a bound arm, a crowd of cheering onlookers and the risk of falling on your head on the hard ground. This describes kotta pora. In kotta pora, the two players have to balance themselves on a horizontal bar suspended above the ground with one hand tied behind their backs. The other hand is used to hold the pillow (or a bag stuffed with some soft material) with which each player attempts to knock his opponent off his perch. In some versions of this game, the pole is suspended above a pool or a pond, with the vanquished participant generally ending up pitching unceremoniously into the water.
Day is at leisure until it is time to transfer to the international airport for your flight home. The drive is about 1 ½ hours.