Sri Lanka Tropical Explorer

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Tour Overview

Duration : 13 Night/ 14 Days

Destination : Kochi - Periyar - Allepey - Varkala - Colombo - Bentota - Nuwara Eliya - Kandy

Visit two fascinating countries in this fabulous fortnight. We start by exploring india's tropical south in the state of kerala. We visit the colonial city of kochi, discover the famous backwater scenery on a houseboat and relax on the beautiful beach. We then depart for sri lanka where we visit stunning gold sand beaches and stroll through the green tea plantations of the hills. We finish by discovering the colonial past of the capital city colombo. Two weeks of exploring some of the most beautiful places on earth.

DAY 1: Kochi

Today we start the trip by going to see a traditional dance show called "Kathakali". Kathakali shows are characterised by the heavy make up of the performers almost like a mask and by the facial expressions and hand movements. The performances are tales of love, lust and power struggles based on the Ramayana and Mahabharata and stem from 2nd century temple rituals. The form of dance we see today was developed in the 16th century. Before the show we will watch as the performers put on their make up, a process that can take one and a half hours. The movement and expression of the artists is quite enthralling and the costumes extraordinary.

DAY 2: Kochi

Today we have a full days sightseeing in Kochi a city that has been on the map for over 600 years. We start the day by taking the local ferry to fort kochi. Here we will visit the Dutch palace, now a museum that houses a collection of intricate paintings of some of the Hindu gods. Next we go to the Pardesi synagogue which was originally built in 1568. The synagogue contains a number of interesting features including an ornate gold pulpit, hand painted floor tiles from China and Belgian made chandeliers. We visit St Francis church which is believed to be the oldest European built church in India. The current building dates from the 16th century and was the original burial place of the Portuguese Vasco-de-Gama whose body was moved to Lisbon after 14 years. We will also see the giant Chinese fishing nets first introduced by Chinese traders in 1400 AD

DAY 3: Periyar

Today we drive to Periyar national park and wildlife sanctuary which was established in 1982. The park is located high in the mountains of the south western ghats and surrounds Periyar lake. Here we can see many different animals and plants including 140 different species of orchid. The park is also a tiger and Indian elephant reserve. In the afternoon we visit a local spice plantation where we can see many spices growing including cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and turmeric.

DAY 4: Periyar

This morning we have an early morning walk through the jungle of the national park to explore the wildlife and plant species here including the wild pig, flying squirrel and sloth bear as well as tigers and wild elephants. There are also over 250 species of bird. There is an optional boat trip on Periyar lake to see the wildlife of the park from a different angle and to enjoy the view of the jungle. The rest of the day is free to relax and explore the park.

DAY 5: Allepey house boat

This morning we drive to Allepey where we will board our houseboat and set sail along the backwater network that Kerala is famous for. Spend the afternoon relaxing on board and watching as the beautiful scenery and scenes of village life pass you by. We spend the night on board where we can marvel at the stars above and enjoy the tranquility of this part of India.

DAY 6: Varkala

This morning we further enjoy the backwater scenery before heading back to Allepey where we leave the houseboat and drive to Varkala, one of Keralas beautiful beach resorts. The resort town sits atop a high russet coloured cliff with the beach and warm waters below. These two days are free to relax here and explore the resort. Kerala is famous for Ayurvedic treatments so why not try a relaxing massage or take part in a yoga class. Varkala also has many restaurants along the cliff offering a perfect place to gaze dreamily out to sea and to watch the sunset on the horizon

DAY 7: Varkala

This morning we further enjoy the backwater scenery before heading back to Allepey where we leave the houseboat and drive to Varkala, one of Keralas beautiful beach resorts. The resort town sits atop a high russet coloured cliff with the beach and warm waters below. These two days are free to relax here and explore the resort. Kerala is famous for Ayurvedic treatments so why not try a relaxing massage or take part in a yoga class. Varkala also has many restaurants along the cliff offering a perfect place to gaze dreamily out to sea and to watch the sunset on the horizon.

DAY 8: Colombo

This morning we drive to the airport at Trivandrum for our flight to Colombo in Sri Lanka. The airport here is situated across the road from a beach so offers a lovely view while waiting for the flight. On arrival in Sri Lanka we transfer to the coastal town of Bentota situated to the south-west of the island where the Bentota river meets the Indian ocean. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy the strip of golden sand beach.

DAY 9: Bentota

Today is free to enjoy all that Bentota has to offer. Bentota is known as a watersports destination and offers activities including snorkelling, diving, sailing and water skiing. Relax on the palm-fringed beach or enjoy an ayurvedic massage. The Galapota Buddhist temple, which dates back to the 12th century, is also worth a visit with its impressive sitting Buddha.

DAY 10: Nuwara Eliya

Today we drive to the city of Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka's hill country. The city as we see it today was founded by the British in the 19th century and the buildings retain many colonial features including mock Tudor style timber and bricks giving the feel of an English country town. The day here is free to enjoy the views of the surrounding green hills the upper slopes of which are covered with tea bushes which produce some of the worlds finest teas.

DAY 11: Nuwara Eliya

Today we have a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya allowing us to further take in the beautiful hill views. Stroll through the Victoria Park named to commemorate the 60th jubilee of the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1897. The park has a number of picturesque lakes and is home to many bird species including the Kashmir flycatcher and Indian blue robin. We can also take an optional boat ride on lake Gregory giving us a different view of the surrounding scenery. Nuwara Eliya offers a peaceful place to relax away from the heat of the coastal areas.

DAY 12: Kandy

Kandy is one of the most sacred Buddhist places of worship due to the "temple of the sacred tooth relic" situated here. Today we visit the temple is situated within the royal palace complex which contains a tooth of lord Buddha inside seven golden caskets which are crafted in the shape of a stupa and are inlaid with precious gemstones. Kandy is a major shopping destination and in the afternoon we take a shopping tour in search of local handicrafts and batiks. In the evening we go to see a cultural dance show where the dance is said to originate from an exorcist ritual that was used to cure the king from an illness caused by black magic.

DAY 13: Kandy

Kandy is one of the most sacred Buddhist places of worship due to the "temple of the sacred tooth relic" situated here. Today we visit the temple is situated within the royal palace complex which contains a tooth of lord Buddha inside seven golden caskets which are crafted in the shape of a stupa and are inlaid with precious gemstones. Kandy is a major shopping destination and in the afternoon we take a shopping tour in search of local handicrafts and batiks. In the evening we go to see a cultural dance show where the dance is said to originate from an exorcist ritual that was used to cure the king from an illness caused by black magic.

DAY 14: Colombo

Today we travel to the busy, vibrant, capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo located on the west coast of the island. Colombo was known to ancient traders 2000 years ago due to its important position on the ocean trade routes between the east and west. Colombo has many interesting sights including the Gangaramaya temple, Galle face green with views along the indian ocean coastline and the national museum. In the afternoon we have a tour to explore the city. Tonight we will have a final group dinner to mark the end of the trip.