Long Haul Product Director Richard Harrington on touring the island with Newmarket Holidays
We head up into the ‘Cultural Triangle’ from the seafront city of Colombo. Clean, modern and vibrant, it still retains a colonial feel in many of its restored older buildings. On the way, a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage allows you to get up close with these majestic animals. See babies being feed from milk bottles and, in the afternoon, watch them wander down through the town’s streets to the river for the ritual bathing session. There are some great cafes overlooking the river here, too.
Habarana is our base to explore the highlights of the Cultural Triangle – namely the old, ruined capital Polonnaruwa; the rock fortress of Sigiriya (which you may want to climb for the fabulous views over the wild plains); and Dambulla’s Buddhist rock temples. The hotels here recreate the feel of being on safari, with open restaurants and public areas, low-level buildings and bungalows, and, of course, magnificent swimming pools.
By contrast, the cool hill country resembles Britain, with half-timbered buildings and beautiful parks and gardens. Another highlight is our stay in Kandy, a beautiful lakeside spot in the heart of the mountains.
In Sri Lanka, visiting a tea plantation is a must, as is spending some time with wildlife. Our tour takes in the famous Yala National Park – home to elephants, sloth bears and – often seen from safari vehicles – leopards.
Last (but not least!) is relaxing in an idyllic beach resort. Although the sea can be rough, the hotels all try to outdo each other for the best swimming pool. Many have views over the sea, so they’re the perfect place to watch some truly beautiful sunsets over the water!
Find out more about our escorted tour on our website: http://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/NMP18710.htm