Delhi to Colombo
Day 1: Delhi
Saturday. Upon arrival into Delhi, you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax or explore this bustling capital city. Overnight - Delhi
Day 2: Old Delhi
This morning, our Welcome Meeting takes place. We then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi, taking in the Red Fort, Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque and Raj Ghat - the site of Gandhi’s cremation in Old Delhi, and the Rajpath and India Gate in New Delhi. Tonight, we enjoy a group Namaste Dinner at a restaurant specialising in classic Indian cuisine. Overnight - Delhi (B, D)
Day 3: Taj Mahal
Delhi - Agra. Departing Delhi, we make our way to Agra, the erstwhile capital of the Mughal empire. Our first stop here is the impressive Agra Fort, which boasts some of India's finest Mughal buildings behind its fortified walls. Later we travel on to the legendary Taj Mahal. Built by the order of Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century in affectionate memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, the Taj Mahal is perhaps one of the most extravagant monuments to love ever built and has no peers. Overnight - Agra (B)
Day 4: Agra
Agra - Jaipur. En route to Jaipur we visit the ghostly former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, which has been deserted for over four centuries after it was allegedly abandoned due to a lack of water Thanks to the very durable red sandstone from which it was built, Fatehpur Sikri still remains well-preserved and is a fascinating place to explore. Later we drive to Jaipur, the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. The rest of the day is free for you to spend at your own leisure. Overnight - Jaipur (B, L)
Day 5: Jaipur
Very early this morning there is the opportunity to sail over the lofy hilltop forts and regal palaces of Jaipur in a hot air balloon, on our Balloon Over Jaipur Bolt-on. We then travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort where we enjoy a tour of the fort's well-preserved interior and grounds. Reaching the fort is an experience in itself, as we ride up the road in princely style aboard Indian elephants - subject to regulations and availability. Later we visit a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing before touring the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory. Overnight - Jaipur (B)
Day 6: Village life, rural India
Jaipur - Alsisar. Today we drive to the semi-desert Shekhawati region, which lies in a triangular area between Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner. The small towns in this region were once important trading posts, and today their legacy is carried on through the beautiful painted havelis that were constructed by wealthy merchants here in the 18th and 19th centuries. Later we enjoy a walk through a local village and time to relax. Overnight - Alsisar (B, D)
Day 7: Alsisar to Delhi
Alsisar - Delhi. This morning we make a quick visit to the children and teachers at a local school in Alsisar where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme, before returning to Delhi. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free for you to further explore the city. Opt for a meal in the heart of the city or simply relax and chat with group members at the hotel. Overnight - Delhi (B)
Day 8: Delhi to Colombo
Please note: The flight from Delhi - Colombo is not included in the cost of this tour. Sri Lankan Airlines and Jet Airways fly direct. If you provide us with your flight details, we will be there to meet you at Colombo airport and transfer you to our beachfront hotel in Wattala, a small town just north of Colombo. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight - Wattala (B)
Day 9: Dambulla & Polonnaruwa
Wattala - Polonnaruwa Today we head inland to Polonnaruwa. On the way we visit a local market before stopping by one of Sri Lanka’s most impressive cave temples, the Dambulla Rock Temple. This stunning complex of five caves contains over 150 images of Buddha including an impressive 14 metre statue carved out of the cave rock. After exploring this ancient site we continue on to Polonnaruwa. This fascinating 11th century city is home to many interesting ruins and famous monuments including the Royal Palace and the Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa was once the capital and is also the second most ancient city in Sri Lanka. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight - Giritale (B)
Day 10: Sigiriya & Spice Market
Polonnaruwa - Sigiriya – Kandy. Our first stop today is the impressive Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Located atop a rock plateau overlooking lush jungle foliage this granite rock fortress is accessed via a steep set of stairs up the side of the rock, and along the way there is an opportunity to see a fantastic collection of frescos known as the Heavenly Maidens of Sigiriya. Climb to the summit and enjoy spectacular views of the jungle below and mountains in the distance.
Once we’ve fully explored Sigiriya we continue on to a spice garden. Here we watch a cooking demonstration and learn about some of Sri Lanka’s famous spices, how they are grown and what they are used in. You’ll also have the opportunity to buy some. Later on we drive further south to Kandy for the evening. Overnight - Kandy (B)
Day 11: Kandy
Kandy - Pinnawala - Kandy. This morning we visit an elephant orphanage where we have the wonderful opportunity to meet some of the 89 abandoned elephants, many of which are babies. On the way back to Kandy we stop by the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, which is home to an amazing variety of plants, flowers and trees.
Once back in Kandy itself we embark on a city tour, drive around the lake and visit local bazaars and a gem museum. Later on this evening we visit the world famous Temple of the Tooth Relic, allegedly home to one of Buddha’s teeth before attending a traditional cultural evening complete with fire walkers! Overnight - Kandy (B)
Day 12: Nuwera Eliya & Tea Plantation
Kandy - Nuwera Eliya. After breakfast we visit a tea plantation to learn a little bit more about Sri Lanka's biggest export. Here we will hear about the manufacturing process and how they grade different teas before enjoying a delicious cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory.
Next we drive to Nuwara Eliya, the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country and home to the country’s highest mountain, Pidurutalagala. Later on we embark on a sightseeing tour of the area including a drive through ‘Little England’. Overnight - Nuwara Eliya (B)
Day 13: Udawalawe National Park
Nuwara Eliya - Embilipitiya. Today we head south to Embilipitiya, our base for exploring Udawalawe National Park. This national park is probably one of the best places to spot the famous Sri Lankan Elephant, the biggest of all the Asian Elephants. The park is also home to the elusive leopard, the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and different species of deer. We take an afternoon game drive here before returning to our hotel for the night. Overnight - Udawalawe N.P. and Embilipitiya (B)
Day 14: Colombo City Tour
Embilipitiya - Wattala. We begin our final journey back to Colombo this morning with a visit to the Gem Mine and Museum at Ratnapura. Sri Lanka is famous for its gem industry and is home to 40 out of the 85 types of gem in the world.
After we check in to the hotel we head into the bustling city of Colombo for a city tour. Our first stop will be the government buildings and interesting shops in the fort area in the north of the city, followed by a stroll along Galle Face Green where we may see the locals playing cricket and then on to the stunning Gangarama Temple. Overnight - Wattala (B)
Day 15: Colombo
Saturday. Our tour comes to an end today after breakfast and hotel check out. Included transfer to Colombo airport for your onward travel. (B)
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