Soulful Sri Lanka 

29th August 2020 – 14 days

 

Colombo/Galle/Ella/Nuwara Eliya/Kandy/Passikudah/Habarana-Sigiriya-Dambulla

Experience this  14 day journey through Sri Lanka’s exquisite landscapes, archaeological sites, tea plantations, mountain peaks, historic cities and sparkling coastlines. 

Tour Overview


Never before has a Soulful Escape offered so many inclusions, from the delicious cuisine, to a 3 night beach stay, and all sightseeing activities included along the way. You will find yourself on walking tours, visiting local sites with expert knowledge and insight, dining with a family in their home to learn their traditions and history. Gaining insight into the production of tea, cinnamon and spices and their importance to Sri Lanka, whilst immersing yourself in landscapes so beautiful it will take your breath away. People, food, markets, colour, joy, dance, wildlife, shopping, recharging, snorkeling the beautiful waters of the east coast, yoga, meditation and time for you, are all available in Soulful Sri Lanka. Through our guided meditations and seminars you will gain a deeper understanding of yourself and take the time for reflection. Let Sri Lanka’s spirituality, people, landscapes and essence capture your imagination.




Tour Highlights


  • Spiritual Discourse with a Private Host in Colombo.
  • Afternoon walking tour and evening foodie walk in Colombo.
  • Galle Heritage Walk with a local expert.
  • Cinnamon Experience at Top House in Weligama.
  • Dine with a local family in their home.
  • Tea Experience at Handunugoda Tea Estate in Ahangama.
  • Explore the township of Nuwara Eliya and Ella.
  • Explore Kandy with Mike Johnson, visit sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy.
  • Private Kandyan Dance Performance in Kandy.
  • 3 night beach stay giving you time for relaxation and reflection.
  • Polonnaruwa Archeological Site.
  • Afternoon game drive in the Minneriya National Park.
  • 1 hour Ayurvedic massage and private yoga session.
  • Alms Giving Ceremony in Ritigala.
  • Visit of the Dambulla Cave Temple and Sigiriya Rock Fortress




Detailed Itinerary


Day 01 | Saturday, 29 August 2020

Airport - Colombo

Meals included: None

Ayubowan! (may you have long life).

Welcome to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Colombo.

Hotel - Taj Samudra

Day 02 | Sunday, 30 August 2020

Colombo

Meals included: B L D

Sri Lanka is a destination that nourishes not only your sense of adventure and fun, but also your mind and soul. Yoga and meditation have been practiced for thousands of years in the South Asian region, including Sri Lanka. There are plenty of ashrams and centres around the island that offer traditional yoga and meditation experiences.

This morning we will offer you a unique opportunity to begin your day with a Spiritual Discourse . This offers you a completely unique foray into the world of spirituality, where you will be urged to view life from a different perspective. This is a private session with a guru who has engaged in spiritual studies for almost three decades in Sri Lanka, as well as abroad. You will learn about his specific approach to meditation, spirituality and enlightenment, after which you will embark on a guided meditation and discourse on spirituality.

Visit the Barefoot Gallery, an iconic brand in the Sri Lankan textile industry started by Barbara Sansoni over 50 years ago. Working almost exclusively with women in small workshops throughout Sri Lanka, Barefoot products are all made and designed in Sri Lanka by locally artists and craftsmen. There are no factories and no production lines. Then sit down at their garden café for an alfresco lunch.

Later this afternoon we will embark on a heritage tour of Colombo with Shanelle. The walk begins at the Old Dutch Hospital. Every city has a character that loves it, studies it, and shares his knowledge and passion with those who want to learn about it. Colombo has Mark, Shannelle & Sri. Their walking tour will take you through the years of the Portuguese and Dutch Fort right at the heart of the city to the most recent British period. Start with a visit to the outer streets of Pettah where your tour will commence. Along the way, you will explore a handful of the many lively streets that sell everything from textiles to electronics to spices.

Tonight your dinner will be found amongst the popular and well hidden street food carts located in the heart of the city. You will get the opportunity to sample some deliciously unique treats that are bound to set your senses alight. Your night will end at one of Colombo’s oldest and most popular dessert spots.

Hotel -Taj Samudra

Day 03 | Monday, 31 August 2020

Colombo - Galle

Meals included: B D

Today after breakfast and checkout we will begin our drive to Galle.

Galle is very picturesque and interesting city. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle Fort and surrounding area may have been home to the Biblical city of Tarshish from where King Solomon obtained gems, spices and peacocks. For centuries it has been a hub of trade and culture and this exciting tour will take you through the different periods—Portuguese, Dutch, British and into the present day.

After settling in we will, embark on a Galle Fort Walk with a local host who is an expert in Galle and the Fort. This will provide insider access to areas in the Fort, which is off limits for other tourists, hosts, guides and the general public.

An elegant dining experience awaits you this evening.

Hotel - Fort Bazaar

Day 04 | Tuesday, 01 September 2020
Galle

Meals included: B D


This morning we visit , working Cinnamon Estate of 25 acres, just 45 mins drive from Fort Bazaar. A British couple, choosing to live in Sri Lanka have restored the old plantation and now produce healthy “Ceylon Cinnamon”, growing along steep slopes of a hill. Their beautiful home is perched on the hilltop with spectacular views over the jungle to the north and the Indian Ocean down south. An artisan distillery has been set up to extract Cinnamon Oil, incorporating age-old techniques, fine-tuned with modern technology.

After the tour of the Cinnamon plantation, we take short drive to learn about an interesting tea that is only produced at the world famous Handunugoda Tea Estate.

The Handunugoda Tea Estate, perhaps be the closest tea plantation in the world to the sea. Though Handunugoda Tea Estate is known as the Virgins White Tea Factory – it produces a tea completely untouched by hand. Following an ancient Chinese Ritual where the choicest of teas were offered as a tribute to the Emperor, this tea is rich in anti-oxidants and is said to be the healthiest tea in the world.

On your return to the hotel, stop by the home of Sri Lanka’s most famous author, Martin Wikramasinghe, which is now a Museum of Folk Culture and local lifestyle, surrounded by eight acres of a restored eco-system with hundreds of varieties of indigenous trees and shrubs in which bird life abounds. There’s a special collection of artifacts and memorabilia offering insight into a world of tradition, integrated and at peace with the environment.

Continue towards Galle and look out for the stilt fisherman that you will see along the way.

This evening, we make our way to a dinner party hosted by a local family in their home. Your host tonight is a 04th generation resident of Galle, with deep roots of ancestry originating from the Malays who were brought to Sri Lanka and Galle by the Dutch around the 16th Century.

Hotel - Fort Bazaar

Day 05 | Wednesday, 02 September 2020

Galle – Ella

Meals included: B D

This morning after an early check out we will start our journey to the chic hill country township of Ella. This drive is approximately 5 hours but very scenic with stops along the way.

Arrive in the low-key mountain town of Ella, which translates to 'waterfall,' a name fit for this little town located in a hilly nook, owing to its stunning vistas adorned with cascades that trickle down its rugged terrain. This one-of-a-kind locale offers some of the most scenic sights in Sri Lanka.

Check in at your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure or feel free to explore Ella with your guide.

Hotel - 98 Acres Resort

Day 06 | Thursday, 03 September 2020

Ella – Nuwara Eliya

Meals included: B D

Today, we board the 09:30 am from Ella to Nanu Oya. This is one of the most scenic train rides in Asia. An engineering marvel, this route is spoken off as the most picturesque of rail journeys. Our train ascends along winding tracks into the home of the famed Ceylon Tea, with its rolling hills turning into a carpet of velvety green plantations, interspersed with gushing steams and tumbling waterfalls. One meets Sri Lankans from all walks of life on the train. The locals are really friendly and you will often be greeted with warm smiles once you are on board.

The train arrives at the Nanu Oya railway station at 12 noon, where we reconvene with our coach and make our way to Nuwara Eliya, which is also known as LIttle England for its resemblance of a typical English village. Arrive in Nuwara Eliya and check in at the hotel by lunchtime.

Post lunch, explore the town of Nuwara Eliya with your guide. Highlights include the Gregory Lake, Race Course, Nuwara Eliya Market, Victoria Church & Post Office. At the end of the tour, you will visit, what we call the local water holes to experience the social gatherings of the community.

Return to the hotel in time for dinner.

Hotel - Jetwing St. Andrews

Day 07 | Friday, 04 September 2020

Nuwara Eliya

Meals included: B

Today you will visit a working Tea Estate to learn about how a freshly plucked tea leaf ends up in a cup of Ceylon’s finest.

Following the factory visit, go a gentle walking tour in and around the hotel along a visit to strawberry farm.

Later this afternoon, make your way to the iconic Hill Club for High Tea.

Return to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Jetwing St. Andrews

Day 08 | Saturday, 05 September 2020

Nuwara Eliya – Kandy

Meals included: B D

Today, we check out and transfer to Kandy, the last bastion of Buddhist political power against colonial invasion. This hill station is remarkable for the natural beauty of its setting in a peaceful wooded valley overlooking a vast artificial lake. The palace, shrines and British period buildings give it a special character, while Buddha’s Tooth Relic lends a religious importance to the historic highland capital. (approx. 2.5 hours)

Arrive in Kandy and check in to your hotel by lunchtime.

Later this afternoon, reconvene with your guide for a walk on small lanes and back roads to discover the heritage of Kandy through its people who carry on the traditions of the Kandyan Kingdom, from the keeper of a Buddhist temple, to a lady selling coconuts and several small mom and pop cottage industries. Is a bit like stepping back into a gentler time. We recreate the charm of Ceylon in the 1920s, an era where things moved at a slower pace.

We end the day with a visit the Temple of the Tooth, which holds the sacred tooth relic of Buddha, brought to Sri Lanka during the reign of king Meghavarna (301-328). The relic is encased in seven caskets, one kept inside the other, the outmost of which has a shape of a stupa, adorned with a large number of gold ornaments.

Afterwards, return to your hotel in time for dinner.

This evening, enjoy a Traditional Kandyan Dance performance at your hotel. This is a private dance performance, arranged especially for you.

Hotel - Cinnamon Citadel

Day 09 | Sunday, 06 September 2020

Kandy - Passikudah

Meals Included B L D

This morning, we check out and head to the east coast of the island and check in at your home for the next 3 nights. This drive is approximately 4.5 hours. Your guide will arrange comfort stops along the way. Again, this is also a very scenic drive where you descend from the hill country down to the east coast. You would also pass a mountain side dubbed as the “daha ata wanguwa” which literally translates into 18 turns down the mountain side.

The rest of the day is at leisure.

Hotel - Uga Bay

Day 10 - 11 | 07 – 08 September 2020
Passikudah

Meals included: B L D

These next 2 days are an opportunity for you to relax, unwind and even take the opportunity for some pampering at the spa. We will host a cooking class on Day 10 and on Day 11 we will explore the local town of Batticaloa, followed by a lovely seafood dinner on the beach on our final night here.

Many of us find it hard to slow down so this is an opportunity to do this. We will have a meditation session and seminar during this time but this is your chance for some “me time.”

If relaxing for you involves activity there is plenty to keep you busy here from snorkeling, water sports, whale watching and cruises.

On day 10, get ready for Cooking Class with the resident chef followed by lunch.

On day 11, Explore the local town today and enjoy an Exclusive Seafood BBQ Dinner on the beach.

Hotel - Uga Bay

Day 12 | Wednesday, 09 September 2020

Passikudah - Dambulla
Meals included: B L D

Today, we say goodbye to the sandy beaches of the east coast and head west to the cultural triangle and visit the medieval city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which rose to fame as a capital between the 10th to 12th century AD. Bicycles are available should you wish to cycle through the archaeological sites.

Following this visit, enjoy a traditional home cooked Sri Lankan meal at a rural café, prepared using wood fire, clay pots…

We then make our way to the Minneriya Natioanal Park for an afternoon game drive. After an exhilirating game drive, continue towards Habarana and check in at your hotel.

Hotel - Signatura by Amaya

Day 13 | Thursday, 10 September 2020
Dambulla – Ritigala - Dambulla

Meals included: B L D

Early this morning, there will be private yoga session arranged just for you.


After breakfast, head towards Ritigala and take part in a traditional alms giving ceremony. Meet with a local family to offer alms to the monks who, in turn, will bless you for a long life. An alms-giving is a sacred tradition that has been passed down from the time of Lord Buddha. Buddhist monks only have two meals a day and their last meal needs to be consumed before noon. When a layman presents this last meal of the day to a monk it is considered a great deed, which brings blessings and long life to the layman and his/her loved ones.

We will then make our way back to Dambulla and sit down for an organic lunch at the Amuna Ayurveda Retreat.

Post lunch, treat yourself to a 1 hour ayurvedic massage at the retreat.

Later this afternoon we will visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a vast isolated rock mass 500-feet high and a mile around the base built by King Walagambahu in the 1st century BC. Dambulla houses a complex of more than 80 documented caves. The major attractions are spread over five caves which contain statues and paintings related to Lord Buddha and his life. There are total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods and goddesses. The cave temples have over 2,000-square feet of painted walls and ceilings, the largest area of paintings found in the world. There is also a colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock spanning 45-feet tall.

We then return the hotel for the evening and our Farewell Dinner.

Hotel -Signatura by Amaya

Day 14 | Friday, 11 September 2020
Habarana – Sigiriya - Airport

Meals included: B

Early this morning, at 06:30 am, (snack breakfast) we visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Climb the 5th century Sigiriya Rock fortress that is a UNESCO world heritage site. This remarkable 5th century archeological site is made unforgettable by its dramatic setting. A moat, rampart, extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock and the frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya.

We then return to the hotel for a late breakfast and some relaxation time.

Post lunch, we check out and begin our 4 hour journey towards the airport. Upon arrival, we check in at The Gateway Hotel Airport Garden which is just 15 minutes away from the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). Here you will have wash & change rooms to freshen up, and maybe even grab a quick snack before heading to the airport.

We will then transfer you to the airport in conjunction with your international departure flight.




Cost and Inclusions


From $6375 pp

Single supplement $1400

Inclusions

  • Accommodation in 4-5 star Hotels, mix of modern and boutique.
  • Price is based on twin share accommodation with a single supplement provided.
  • Transportation in an air conditioned vehicle with the services of an English speaking National Guide.
  • Scenic Train Ride from Ella to Nanu Oya (First Class Reserved).
  • All excursions and site seeing as per the itinerary.
  • All Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 11 Dinners + 1 High Tea
  • Workshops and meditation sessions led by Jo Langhorne – owner of Soulful Escapes and qualified Life Coach.
  • All tips & gratuities for included activities, meals and hotels.





*Travel restrictions and conditions apply. Please ask us for further details. Prices correct as of 15 November 2019  and are subject to change without notice or sold out prior. Valid for travel 29 August – 11 September 2020. Prices are per adult and are based on twin share accommodation on a minimum of 8 group members and are subject to availability. A single supplement of $1400 applies for single travellers in individual rooms. International flights to Colombo are not included and are additional. A $500 Expression of Interest deposit is due upon booking. An additional deposit of $1500 is due by 10 March 2020. Deposits are non-refundable unless minimum numbers are not met. Monthly payment options are available. Final payment is due by the 29 May 2020  after which time 100% cancellation fees apply. Prices shown are fully inclusive of taxes, levies, government charges and other applicable fees. Credit card fees may apply. Soulful Escapes (ABN 92 633 340 351).

CONTACT US

Tel: 0434 156 999

0434 156 999

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