This exciting 12 – day Sri Lanka less visited itinerary heads north to the newer opened areas of
Trincomalee and Jaffna. Visit Kalpitiya, Wilpattu National Park, and Pigeon Island. Then drive towards the cultural triangle to visit Polonnaruwa, the 11th century capital, and Sigiriya, the ancient rock fortress. End the itinerary with a stay at Negombo.
Upon arrival, proceed to passport control for immigration followed by baggage collection and clearing customs formalities. At the arrival lounge, the guide will meet you and assist you. Transfer to Colombo to the hotel. The drive is about 40 minutes.
Colombo is the hub of commerce and administration of Sri Lanka located on the west coast. Being the largest city and the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern as well as colonial impressions. Colombo has an array of architecture that spans centuries and depicts various styles. The colonial buildings influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British exist alongside structures built in Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Indian and Contemporary architectural styles. This is strongly evident in the Fort area, which is in the heart of the city.
After breakfast, enjoy a guided city tour of Colombo including Independence Square, Gangarama Temple, Galle Face Green Urban Park, Colombo’s National Museum, and the former British Administrative Center.
After the sightseeing, transfer to Kalpitiya. This is about a 3 – hour drive.
On arrival, check into the hotel.
Despite its natural beauty, the western peninsular area of Kalpitiya in the Puttalam district of Sri Lanka is remarkably untouched by tourism. But for those lucky enough to visit, there’s a plethora of things to see and do. With the small close-knit fishing community dominating the lives of the local people, visitors can get a real insight into working life away from the city. After watching the night fishing boats return in the morning, a visit to one of the fish markets offers the opportunity to choose the evening meal direct from the fresh catch. The Dutch Fort and St Peter’s Kerk Church in the town are interesting examples of Sri Lanka’s rich history and colonial past.
After breakfast, take a boat ride in Kalpitiya Lagoon. Return to the hotel. Visit Kapitiya Fort.
Afterwards transfer to Wilpattu National Park for an afternoon safari at 3 pm. The drive is 1 hour to the national park.
The unique feature of this park is the existence of natural lakes, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. The park is located 30 km west Anuradhapura and located 50 km north of Puttalam, approximately 180 km from Colombo. The park is 131, 693 hectares and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu which is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is also among the top national park’s world renowned for its leopard population.
After breakfast, transfer to Jaffna. The drive is about 5 hours.
Jaffna is situated on the northern tip of Sri Lanka and has a predominantly Tamil population and considered the cultural capital of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The locals of Jaffna are indeed wonderful and friendly people and making a trip to this beautiful part of Sri Lanka should be a priority on anyone’s travel plans now that there is peace.
After breakfast, proceed on a day trip to Delft Island and Naga Deepa.
Delft Island was known by several names in the past. The Portuguese named this island ‘Illha das Vaka’ while the Dutch gave the island the name of ‘Delft’, after the charming little town located in Netherlands. The locals call this island ‘Pasuthivu’ and ‘Nedunthivu’ which roughly translates to ‘the island of the cows’. The incredible beauty of Delft Island will certainly take your very breath away. The simple charm of the village is truly quite remarkable. There are rows of neat houses with boundaries marked with coral stones or palmyra leaves. The majestic wild horses of Delft Island effortlessly steal the limelight. They are graceful and gallant as they roam free in the burning wilderness. Wild horses are believed to have been brought to the island by the Portuguese. To this day, the off spring of those very first horses thrive in the barren fields of Delft Island, enchanting all who visit.
Visit Naga Deepa, an ancient Buddhist temple, situated in the Jaffna district. It is among the country’s sixteen holiest Buddhist shrines.
Return to the hotel.
After breakfast, the day is at leisure or spend time exploring the city of Jaffna. The sites include the Jaffna Fort (built by the Dutch), European Churches, and Hindu Temples.
After breakfast, drive towards Trincomalee. The drive is four hours.
Trincomalee, one of the finest natural deep-water harbors in the world, is located 257 km north-east of Colombo, and is home to fine beaches of Nilaveli, Uppaveli and off-shore Pigeon Island. Recently the area has become popular as a whale watching destination. The dive centers at Nilaveli and Uppaveli help tourists enjoy their vacations for diving, snorkelling, and swimming.
Take a city tour. Sightseeing includes Fort Frederick, the War Cemetery, and the seven hot springs at Kanniyai located just 8km from Trincomalee.
After breakfast, explore Pigeon Island, one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in the Eastern Province. The island’s name derives from the rock pigeon which has colonized it. The national park contains some of the best coral reefs of Sri Lanka.
After breakfast, drive towards the cultural triangle. The drive is two hours.
Check into the hotel.
Visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa.
King Parakramabahu’s reign is considered as the golden age of Polonnaruwa, when trade and agriculture flourished under the patronage of the king. He was adamant that no drop of water falling from the heavens was to be wasted. These systems to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country.
After an early breakfast, climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
Sigiriya is home to the famous “Fortress in the sky”, known as a contender for the eighth wonder of the world, ages back to the 5th century. At its summit are the foundations of what was once a great and sumptuous palace including a garden complete with a swimming pool. On one of the stairways, the only known ancient artwork of Sinhala secular painting is preserved in the form of frescoes of life – sized damsels in all the delicacy of their original color.
Afterwards, visit the Aukana Buddha Statue. Aukana Buddha Statue, rises to a height off 11.36 meters and is known as the tallest ancient Buddha statue in Sri Lanka. Aukana Buddha Statue is sculpted in the posture of Asisa Mudra or the “posture of blessing” out of a rock boulder. The statue is carved around and connected to the back of the rock boulder. The delicate and skilful carving of Lord Buddha’s robe humanizes and chastely reveals the underlying form of his body, while the impassive facial expression projects an aura of spiritual supremacy.
After breakfast transfer to Negombo. The drive is about 4 hours.
En route visit Ritigala. Ritigala is home to 70 rock caves that were believed to have been inhabited since the first century BC. Mahavamsa, the great historical chronicle of Sri Lanka, narrates that Ritigala was known by the name of “arittha-pabbata” during the reign of King Pandukabhaya (377-307 BC), the third king of Sri Lanka. Since then Ritigala had been, at intervals, a sanctuary for the kings at war against the Dravidian invaders until the 7th century. From the early days of Buddhism, monks had been living in the natural caves or rock shelters.
Arrive Negombo and check into the hotel. Negombo is a major coastal city in Sri Lanka with a modest beach close to Bandaranaike International airport. Situated on the west coast of the island and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, Negombo is known for its massive age-old fishing industry with busy fish markets and sandy beaches. In addition to the beaches for which Negombo is known, the town itself presents a style influenced by its colonial past and the Catholic Church. Attractions include holdovers from the Dutch period, including the Dutch Canal and the Old Dutch fort gate. There’s a selection of centuries old churches, small fishing villages in the immediate area, and some interesting temples a bit further inland.
After breakfast, remain at the hotel until it is time to transfer to Colombo for the departure flight. The drive is four hours.