Piyal’s Sri Lanka Tours

LINK FROM SRI LANKA  RETREAT PAGE

Sri Lanka is a stunningly beautiful country and, if you are able, I strongly recommend at least one extra trip. Rather like my home in Portugal, there is a huge variation of scenery and culture over a relatively small area. The island’s history dates back thousands of years, the culture rich, vibrant and colourful. with traditions still very much alive and festivals celebrated with pomp and gusto.

The interior highlands of Sri Lanka are stunningly beautiful, and the air cooler and very refreshing
  • Please note again that these tours are extremely flexible and adaptable to your interests and the time available. They may be taken before or after the retreat at Bougainvilla Hotel, depending on the dates of other retreats, when Piyal will need to be there.
  • You can split these retreats in any way, reducing the number of nights, or join trips together in any variation!
  • Piyal will be happy to give you a quotation for other trips you might like to undertake, just contact him through me, or chat with him on arrival.
  • Being usually a single traveller, I also face increased hotel and travel prices. This is prevalent in Sri Lanka, too, and, although irksome, I just find that I have to accept this situation or miss out!

Below you can find details of three main tours. The cost of each tour can be found below the tour description………

  1. Nuwara Eliya and Ella (5 days, four nights)
  2. Whale watching at Mirissa and safari at Yala National Park (3 days, two nights)
  3. Sigiriya and Kandy (5 days, four nights)

TOUR ONE   THE TEA PLANTATIONS OF NUWARA ELIYA AND ELLA

Day 01 Pick up in Aluthgama and transfer to Nuwara Eliya (05½ hour drive)

Pick up in Aluthgama at around 08:00 am. Enjoy spectacular views of endless lush tea fields as we drive this morning to Nuwara Eliya, the cool hill country resort located at 1800m above sea level. 

 

En route visit a tea factory in Ramboda (Factory fresh tea can be purchased at the factory outlet) and view the stunning Ramboda Falls

Accommodation – Mirage Kings Cottage in Nuwara Eliya / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast

Day 02 Visit the Hakgala Botanical Gardens (10 mins drive)

The second largest Botanical garden on the island. The history of the present day garden dates back to 1884 when it was transformed into a garden from an experimental cinchona cultivation. Hakgala Gardens is famous for a number or orchids and roses that are grown here.

Set out on a city tour of Nuwara Eliya, explore the market place, the Golf course which is known to be one of the best 18-hole courses in the South Asia and drive around man-made Gregory Lake.

 

Spend the rest of the day at leisure

Accommodation – Mirage Kings Cottage in Nuwara Eliya / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast

 

 

Day 03 A scenic train ride from Nanu Oya to Ella (04 hour ride)

After breakfast check out of the hotel. Transfer to the railway station at Nanu Oya, which is the closest station to Nuwara Eliya. At 09:30 hop aboard a train bound for Ella. Enjoy the spectacular views of endless lush tea fields, mountains, waterfalls, reservoirs and a number of tunnels. Train reaches Ella at 13:24.

From this gorgeous hotel there is a fantastic view over the Ella Gap, which moves some people to tears!

Check in to the hotel in Ella

In the afternoon visit the famous Demodara nine-arch bridge (20 mins drive)

Accommodation – 98 Acres Resort in Ella / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast 

 

 

 

 

Day 04 Morning hike to Little Adam’s Peak (02 hour hike)

After an early breakfast take a delightful hike to the near-by Little Adam’s Peak. At the top, enjoy the breathtaking views of heavenly greeny mountains around. Return to the hotel for a mid day break. 

And visit the beautiful Rawana Falls

Spend the afternoon at leisure relaxing by the pool or exploring the area on your own. Free mountain bikes are available at the resort.

Accommodation – 98 Acres Resort in Ella / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast

 

Day 05 Transfer back to the hotel in Aluthgama (05½ hour drive)

*****

Cost of the Tour

Location Hotel Rooms Meals Nights
Nuwara Eliya Mirage Kings Cottage Deluxe HB 02
Ella 98 Acres Resort Standard HB 02
  • For a solo traveler………………………………$1100   (or other currency equivalent)
  • Per person sharing a twin room…………..$675      (or other currency equivalent)

Above prices include:

  • Accommodation in single/ double rooms at mentioned hotels or similar
  • Meals – dinner & breakfast
  • Transportation in an A/C car
  • Service of the chauffeur-guide, Piyal de Silva
  • Entrance tickets to all mentioned sites
  • Train tickets
  • All taxes

Not included:

  • Airport pick-ups or drop-offs (pick-ups and drop-offs to and from Aluthgama are included in the retreat price, you may wish to make other arrangements with Piyal, depending on other retreat programmes and his availability)
  • Lunch
  • Mini-bars in hotel rooms
  • Camera/video fees at sites
  • Personal expenses: laundry, tipping & gratuities etc

 

TOUR TWO – WHALE WATCHING AND A SAFARI IN YALA NATIONAL PARK

Day 01 Pick up in Aluthgama

Early morning whale watching in Mirissa (01½ hour drive)

Rise up early and leave Aluthgama by about 04:00 am to reach the fishing harbour in Mirissa by 06:00 am. Boarding starts at 06:15 am and the boat leaves by 06:30 am. A light breakfast is served on board.

Between November–April there are 95% of chances of spotting Sperm Whales and great chances of spotting Blue Whales as their migration path is just off Dondra Point in Sri Lanka. There are good chances of spotting Spinner Dolphins too. Trip route lies via Dondra Head, Mahaweli point, Hikkaduwa and back to Mirissa Harbor and lasts about 03-4 hours. I was lucky to see both a number of blue whales, dolphins and a tiger shark!

Transfer to the hotel in Yala (03 hour drive)

One of the blue whales I spotted

Spend the afternoon at leisure.  

 

 

Accommodation – Kithala Resort in Yala / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast

 

 

 

Day 02 Morning jeep safari in the Yala National Park

My leopard!

Rise up early this morning for a thrilling jeep safari in the Yala National Park. The highest leopard density in the world is recorded in Yala, though seeing one is sheer luck. Sloth bear sightings are rare too. Only 02 of the 05 blocks are opened for visitors. Spotted deer, wild boar, wild buffalo, mugger crocodiles, macaques and elephants are commonly seen here.

(There are no guarantees to being able to spot leopard or bears, but there are wonderful sighings of elephants, monkeys, buffalo, deer, boar etc and many birds always. On my last trip, in the last half hour, we finally got to see a leopard dozing on a rock, and a sloth bear strolling along the track. This is an exhilarating trip, whatever you spot! Take your camera!)

Sloth bear

At midmorning return to the hotel for a delicious breakfast.

Midmorning break at the hotel

 

 

Afternoon second safari at the Yala National Park (optional, extra payment will be needed for jeep hire and park entrance fee)

Accommodation – Kithala Resort in Yala / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast

 

Day 03 Climb the Rock Monastery of Mulgirigala (02½ hour drive) (optional) then drive back to Aluthgama (02½ hour drive)

After breakfast check out of the hotel. This morning visit the rock monastery of Mulgirigala. There are a number of fascinating caves at different heights on this 210 m high boulder, containing vividly colorful murals that depict the previous births of the Lord Buddha. It would be as well interesting for the visitor to peep into the den at one such level where a cobra had inhabited once without causing harm to pilgrims. 

However Mulgirigala is largely renowned for a more unique discovery. In 1826 an English colonial administrator by the name of George Turner, who had taken lessons on the dead language ‘Pali’ from a monk, came across a few old palm-leaf manuscripts here at the temple which he took to translating. This translation later turned out to be the key to translating ‘Mahawamsa’, one of the three ancient local Chronicles that recorded the eventful history of the island from 543 BC. The book shelf that contained the palm-leaves still can be seen at the rock monastery in Mulgirigala.

Cost of the Tour

Location Hotel Rooms Meals Nights
Yala Kithala Resort Deluxe HB 02

Cost of the tour (convertible to your preferred currency):

  • For a solo traveler………………………………………….$640
  • Per person sharing a twin room………………………$410

Above prices include:

  • Accommodation in single/ double rooms at mentioned hotels or similar
  • Meals – dinner & breakfast
  • Transportation by an A/C car
  • Service of our chauffeur-guide, Piyal de Silva
  • Entrance tickets to all mentioned sites
  • Whale watching
  • 01 jeep safari
  • All taxes

 

TOUR THREE………….SIGIRIYA and KANDY

Day 01 Pick up in Aluthgama

Visit the Golden Cave Temple of Dambulla – UNESCO World Heritage Site (04½ hour drive)

Climbing up the steps toward the top of the Rock, you will see the 2000 year old cave temple carved in the enormous isolated rock mass.  Visiting inside the caves you will be amazed as there isn’t a single empty space on the rock wall or the ceiling which is not picturesquely covered by amazing mural painting, with each of them narrating a story. Inside these dimly lit caves you will feel a charm and a serenity not found in a temple anywhere else.

Another mystery here is the bowl collecting water droplets dripping from the roof of the cave, which never gets dried up even in a severe drought and is said to have been there for the past 2000 years.

Transfer to the hotel in Dambulla

Spend the afternoon at leisure

Accommodation – Paradise Resort Dambulla / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast

Day 02 Climb the Sigiriya Rock – UNESCO World Heritage Site (20 mins drive)

There is no better way to start a beautiful day than climbing the Sigiriya Rock (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the most visited tourist destination in Sri Lanka.

The entrance to the rock fortress is gate-guarded by giant lion’s paws,  claws as tall as a man. The Lion stair case takes you towards the interior of the rock palace. Halfway up the rock, find the awe-inspiring sight of the famous frescoes of the Sigiriya damsels, known to rank among the world’s oldest paintings. The mirror wall displays the world’s earliest known graffiti.  Once at the summit, you get a dramatic 360° vista of the surrounding countryside.

Sightseeing in Polonnaruwa – UNESCO World Heritage Site (01 hr drive)

Later on we will head towards another UNESCO World Heritage Site – Polonnaruwa, the capital of medieval Sri Lanka between 11th & 14th centuries AD. During its short, yet glorious existence, it saw a number of great monarchs who left behind legacies that can be marvelled at even today. Visit Gal Vihara – the 4 mesmerizing colossal statues hewn out of a rock and the Moonstone – the elaborately carved paved stone, the majestic Lankathilaka image house, the statue believed to be of King Parakramabahu and much more.

Return to the hotel in Dambulla.

 

Accommodation – Paradise Resort Dambulla / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast

Day 03 Transfer to Kandy – UNESCO World Heritage Site (02½ hour drive)

On the way, take a short excursion to a spice-garden in Matale – for an informative brief guided-walk in a the garden to gain an insight into how spices that you have used to flavor you food at home, and many other tropical herbs, are grown. Then on to Kandy, the island’s second largest city and the last stronghold of the Sri Lankan monarchs before it fell to the British in 1815

Afternoon city tour of Kandy & cultural show.…….we will visit the famous vista point up at the upper-lake drive from where you will catch a beautiful panoramic view of the city below and  drive around the man-made Kandy Lake.

We will eave some time to browse through fabulous gift stores and to visit a gem museum, before we proceed to the cultural show, which begins at 17:00h.

Accommodation – Hotel Thilanka in Kandy / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast

 

 

Day 04 Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya (20 mins drive) – a relaxed walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, located on the banks of Mahaweli River just a few miles from Kandy. A number of dignitaries including the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and Queen Elizabeth II have planted trees to mark their visits here. One of the key highlights of the gardens is the orchid collection.

Then, we will visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic – the golden-roofed Temple houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a sacred tooth of the Lord Buddha.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure

Accommodation – Hotel Thilanka in Kandy / Meals – Dinner & Breakfast

 

Day 05          After breakfast check out of the hotel

Transfer back to Aluthgama (04 hour drive)

Cost of the Tour

Location Hotel Rooms Meals Nights
Dambulla Paradise Resort & Spa Deluxe HB 02
Kandy Hotel Thilanka Deluxe HB 02

Cost of the tour:

  • For a solo traveler……………………………..$910
  • Per person sharing a twin room………….$575

Above prices include:

  • Accommodation in single/ double rooms at mentioned hotels or similar
  • Meals – dinner & breakfast
  • Transportation by an A/C car
  • Service of our chauffeur-guide, Piyal de Silva
  • Entrance tickets to all mentioned sites
  • All taxes

Not included:

  • Airport pick-ups or drop-offs (unless by prior arrangement)
  • Lunch
  • Mini-bars in hotel rooms
  • Camera/video fees at sites
  • Personal expenses: laundry, tipping & gratuities etc