Sri Lanka inspirations
Colonial Gems of Colombo
Spend an afternoon on a guided tour exploring the capital city searching out historic colonial gems, such as the 17th century Dutch Museum, originally the residence of a Dutch Govenor, it is very easy to imagine him sitting upon the veranda looking down to the port below whilst having a cup of tea or gin and tonic. Continue along the country’s largest wholesale bazaar which transports you to St. Peters Church, an Anglican church established in 1821. After a short break for iced lemonade in a local cafe, head up to York Street from the Grand Oriental Hotel, an institution that in its heyday would rival the Ritz. Onwards comes the preeminent colonial emporium, Cargills. As you wind your way through the streets you will eventually come to the lighthouse, designed by the same man as Big Ben, and the Galle Face Green, which on a weekend is bustling and heaving with local people enjoying the seaside and street food served here. It is great to end with a sundowner at the Galle Face Hotel, the perfect place to sit back, relax and reminisce on your experience.
The Festival of the Year
Time your Sri Lanka trip to coincide with any of the country's festivals - there are plenty to choose from and the event will likely be a highlight of your visit. The holy city of Kandy’s Esala Perahera, however, is that little bit extra-special. The focus of this Buddhist festival, occurring in July or August, is very much on elaborately decorated elephants. Also expect dancing of all sorts, plus unique cuisine & delicacies. The festival concludes with 'diya-kepeema', a traditional water cutting ceremony on the Mahaweli riverbank.
Experience Sri Lanka on a journey that will delight your senses, enrich your knowledge and leave you with an appreciation of Sri Lanka’s rich culture and culinary traditions. Some of Sri Lanka’s best Chefs will mentor you in the preparation of exotic meals and share their knowledge of the culture and traditions that influence Sri Lankan food. Your mentors will also lead you on expeditions to local markets to pick the finest fresh fruit, vegetables and produce specific to that region. After your master class you have time at each destination to explore the heritage, beauty and culture that Sri Lanka has to offer all with your own driver and car. At the end of the day relax in your 5 star accommodation... each venue will take you on a memorable experience that you can only dream of. Join us on a once in a lifetime experience that will tantalize your taste buds, mind and heart.
Cycling Through Sri Lanka
Cycling in Sri Lanka is an excellent way to enjoy the lovely scenery. The network of main roads and innumerable country roads, gravel paths, foot paths, cart tracks, dirt tracks and estate tracks make all corners of the small island accessible to the cycling enthusiasts. Sri Lanka's varied landscapes also bring about the perceptions on cultural heritage and experiences in rural village life. Cycling through rice fields and rural villages; through tea covered hill country, taking the coastal roads of the south western and southern coastal belt, riding over the cultural triangle studded with ancient ruins and monuments will reward the cyclist in invaluable scale and scope.
The Art of Meditation
Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the third century B.C and became an integral part of the country’s culture with a majority of Sri Lankans following the Buddha’s teachings. Meditation is an integral part of Buddhism, practiced to achieve a balance of mind which helps alleviate the stresses of modern life. Meditation sessions can be arranged at most Temples and Buddhist centres across the country while some of the Ayurveda and Yoga retreats conduct guided meditation sessions as an integral part of their holistic wellbeing programmes.We have put together several journeys that will give you a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heritage, which includes ancient ruins dating back to the 3rd century B.C. as well as Buddhist temples and shrines that are very much a vibrant part of today’s life.
Train Travel Through The Clouds
Sri Lankas iconic rail network dates back to the period of British colonial rule. A charming, antiquated system much the same today as it was then. Winding its way majestically through some of the islands least hospitable mountain paths, there is arguably no better or more relaxing way to experience this incredible part of the country. Passing densely covered tea plantations, remote villages and spectacular waterfalls, the train journey from Kandy up into the highest corners of the hills often stands out as one of Sri Lankas most unforgettable journeys.
A trip on the train can be incorporated into your itinerary at many points throughout the mountains. We would recommend a ride in the Expo or Observation Cabin. Securing the limited number of tickets available remains a fine and unpredictable art (British ticketing culture perhaps?) but we shall endeavour to get those tickets before others. A trip in the 2nd or 3rd class is also worth recommending from a human perspective. Sharing the carriage with musicians, food vendors and kids hanging out of the doors, this is the kind of train experience no longer available in most parts of the world.
Camping With The Veddha’s
Sri Lanka’s dwindling Vedda population are directly descended from the Neolithic humans who arrived in the area as early as 18,000 BC - in other words, about as indigenous as it gets. Spend a fascinating few hours with them, making bows, harvesting wild honey, and witnessing genuinely ancient hunter-gatherer rituals.
Most remaining Vedda live in Maduru Oya National Park, and you can visit them on your journey between Sri Lanka’s east coast and Kandy or Tea Country. For a more immersive (and arguably more exciting!) stopover, camp overnight in a luxurious safari tent, surrounded by Maduru Oya’s wildlife and only minutes from the nearby Vedda village.
Fish For Your Dinner
With its extensive coast-line and numerous reservoirs and lakes, Sri Lanka is an excellent place to cast your line and participate in the exciting sport of inland and deep sea fishing. Inland fishing can be arranged at any time of year due to the constant smoothness of the water on inland waterways and reservoirs located around Sri Lanka.
However, as with all sea-based activities, Sri Lanka’s deep sea fishing is dependent on the season, with western and southern coasts accessible from November to April and the east coast being more suitable from May to September.
You can choose to fish from the beach itself or go further out to sea in an in-built or out-board fibre-glass motor boat and try troll fishing. All safety jackets, rods and bait, and other equipment will be supplied. Fishing tours can be arranged on a day basis or as part of a longer itinerary.
Pluck Your Own Tea
For the ultimate holiday souvenir, how about taking home a packet of tea that you picked yourself? Dress in local attire – saree for the ladies, sarong for the gentlemen – and with basket in hand visit one of the organic tea fields where you will be shown which leaves to pluck. It takes a bit of practice to make sure the leaves end up in your basket rather than on the floor! Then return to the Tea Factory, where the chief tea taster, will inspect your efforts. He will reject any leaves that are unsuitable. Take a tour of the Tea Factory and understand the whole process, from the initial drying (withering) of the leaves, through rolling, fermenting and sifting, to produce the different types of tea. Finally, you can taste the different teas, from flowery pekoe to green tea and teabag dust, to appreciate for yourself the differences in colour, flavour and strength. The next day, a packet of your very own tea will be ready for you to take home. So every time you have a cuppa you will be reminded of your wonderful visit to Sri Lanka.
Village & Lake Adventure
A walk by an ancient reservoir, birds and lily trotters rivalled by a myriad of butterflies, A Chena cultivation and way of life that is almost extinct. A gentle bullock cart ride through the forest, lets you indulge in nature like never before. The backdrop is green, lush rice fields spread to infinity while the silent waters of the reservoir is rippled only by a lone fishermen mounted on his catamaran. As you walk further, the sight of the Sigiriya rock fortress can be awe inspiring and its already time to take a catamaran ride!. Arrive at a chena farmer’s humble home, a setting that takes you back a few decades to enjoy a black tea brewed by the farmer’s wife. Experience the pleasures of village-life as you walk through the woods and mount yet another ancient mode of the humble man’s transportation – bullock carts. The Hiriwadunna nature trek is a true village experience that winds back time and let you experience this island in a different era. Unspoilt, innocent and refreshing.
What our clients say
John Ashworth - Kashmir Holiday
Just setting back after another splendid Indus trip. Many thanks for your help with this and also to Yasin for his guidance and input. Tell him the Trout Kebabs were one of the highlights!! You were quite right there was no problems in Gulmarg or anywhere else, probably helped by a considerable army presence. Please also convey our thanks to Fouzia who kept in constant…
Textiles, Arts & Crafts of Bhutan – Talk by Zara Fleming
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