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Excursions

Sinharaja Rain Forest

Trek back in time in Sinharaja rainforest

Sinharaja rainforest is located in the southwest corner of the island. It is a biodiversity hotspot and has been named a World Heritage site by UNESCO & a Biosphere Reserve. 

This ancient rainforest is teeming with many endemic species of trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Sinharaja Rainforest is the last surviving stretch of virgin rainforest in Sri Lanka.

Trekking through this forest could be compared to taking journey back in time and reconnecting with nature. The cacophony of sound created by gushing waterfalls, gurgling streams, ants marching, and leaves rustling creates a distinct atmosphere.

Sinharaja is renowned for endemic birds. There are 140 bird species seen here during a calendar year including 34 out of 37 species endemic to Sri Lanka.

Cost per person – US$45 per person onwards…

Udawalawe National Park

Wildlife safari in Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe, is situated between the southern highlands and the south coast of Sri Lanka. Udawalawe is considered to be the best place in Sri Lanka to see wild Asian Elephants throughout the year, it is also the home to many other animals such as Wild boar, spotted deer, sambar, the endemic Toque Macaque and Grey Langur, and mugger crocodiles and if you’re lucky the Sri Lanka Leopard as well. 

The ideal time for Bird watching in the park is October to March when the migrant birds can be spotted. A wildlife safari to Udawalawe is best done at dawn and late afternoon when the animals are easily spotted. Late evenings give the best lighting for photography with amazing sun sets over the Udawalawe Reservoir. 

A visit the Elephant Transit Home located close to the park entrance is also a great place to visit, which is home to About 22 young elephants, mostly babies, who have been orphaned or recovering from injuries, are being rehabilitated here before release into the wild. The elephants can be observed here only during milk feeding times which happens four times a day. It is bound to be an unforgettable experience for adults and children alike.

Cost per person – US$45 per person onwards…

RITIGALA Monastery JUNGLE TREK

Adventure awaits

Prepare for adventure as you take a short trek deep inside the Ritigala Mountain to discover 2500 year-old traces of a jungle monastery. The Dagobas and statuary of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are entirely absent here: instead, discover Ritigala’s quirky open-plan ruins that host numerous ancient palaces, stone baths and meditation platforms and Ayurveda hospital. Follow the route that scales large boulder masses and steep rock precipices, around extraordinary phallic trees, through thriving undergrowth and over burbling streams. Over the course of history, this mountain outcrop has afforded natural sheltered habitation for aboriginal tribes, religious devotees, and royal fugitive war-mongers alike. Local conservation laws forbid tourist access into the jungle beyond a certain point short of the 60 to 70 ancient meditation coves. Some parts of the restricted forest area houses many medicinal plants found nowhere else in the island. The trek will take no longer than an hour and a half but one can take your time and enjoy the birds and butterflies found in this dry zone forest as well. 

Cost per person – US$25 per person onwards…

HORTON PLAINS National Park

The highland plateau with endemics and history.

Horton Plains is one of the most visited attractions in the hill country. The most dramatic feature of this hill-country plateau is World’s End where the pathway comes to an abrupt end with a sheer drop of nearly 1000m. The wild expanse of Horton Plains National Park, with a mixture of grasslands and montane forests, is the only national park in Sri Lanka where visitors are allowed to roam around freely on foot. One of the shorter walks around the park will take you up to Word’s end and back on the same path which will take around 2 hours (depending on how fast you want to walk) and the full circle walk will take about 3 hours and will take you to the wonderful Bakers falls as well. This is also a very good location to see some of the highland endemic birds of Sri Lanka including the elusive Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush.  Ones does need a local vehicle/jeep from Nuwara Eliya or Haputhale to get to the entrance of the park.

Cost per person – US$45 per person onwards…

GALLE FORT WALK

A walk through history at The Galle Fort.

Join a local resident whose family has lived and worked in Galle for generations, on a guided walk through Galle’s historic 17C Dutch Fort - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle’s natural harbour has long been a hub of trade dating back to ancient times. The accidental arrival of the Portuguese Lorenzo de Almeida in 1505, when his fleet of ships steered off course following a storm at sea, changed the history of this island nation. The Portuguese were followed by the Dutch and then the British in 1796. With each occupation, Galle’s landscape changed and the cultural influences remained. Galle Fort covers nearly four sq. kms and is protected by 12 bastions and connecting ramparts. Wonder the maze of narrow cobblestone paved roadways lined with colonial period buildings still in use and old merchant houses where generations of Moorish families still live. Take a walk along the sturdy ramparts looking out to sea and visit colonial period churches, the lighthouse and museums. Along the way, stop by for a cup of Ceylon Tea or fresh king coconut. This fascinating excursion will give you a memorable glimpse into life within Galle Fort – one of the best preserved Colonial Fort’s in Asia.

Cost per person – US$35 per person onwards…

CYCLE IN ANURADHAPURA

Prepare for a glimpse into Sri Lankan village life, and ancient history

Cycle past water buffalo wandering the crevices of once magnificent ancient guardstone temples as you venture around the sacred ruinous city of Anuradhapura. Your driver guide can accompany you on a leisurely 2-3 hour route which sees you stop off regularly after 10 to 15 minutes of peddling. Glide past villagers washing by the ancient tanks and head for the enormous Ruwanwelisaya Dagoba. Wander through gardens where monkeys make mischief and monks preach to small groups before you reach the Sri Maha Bodhi tree; grown from a splice of the very tree under which the Buddha reached enlightenment. Continue to the oldest visible stupa in the world - Thuparama Dagoba, then cycle north up to the monastic ruins at Abhayagiri Dagoba and around the citadel towards the old twin baths. Loop down to the Jetavanarama Dagoba’s massive 3rd century dome and cruise on back for a well-earned drink

Cost per person – US$40 per prson onwards…

KINGDOM OF POLONARUWA

The majestic historical city of Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa became Sri Lanka’s royal medieval capital in 1073 and remained Sri Lanka’s capital until the late 13th century. King Vijayabahu the 1st followed by Parakramabahu the 1st were the main driving force behind the city’s development. The remains of the Polonnaruwa kingdom include an entire city of palaces, monasteries, and temples that are fine examples of the island’s heritage architecture. The famous sculptures of Lord Buddha at the Gal Vihara date back to the middle of the 12C. The entire sculpture consists of four colossal statues of Buddha cut into rock - a Samadhi image in meditation posture; a seated Buddha image inside a cave; a standing Buddha image which is 23 ft in height; and recumbent Buddha image measuring 46 ft depicting the passing away. Polonnaruwa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Prior to visiting the ruins, it is recommended that you visit the Polonnaruwa Archeological Museum which provides a clear explanation of the Polonnaruwa kingdom. The museum is closed on Tuesdays and on public holidays. One can either drive through the sites or hire a bike and cycling through it which is highly recommended. 

Cost per person – US$40 per person onwards…

ELEPHANT TRANSIT HOME

A haven for orphaned baby elephants

Run by Sri Lanka’s Wildlife Department, the Elephant Transit Home at Uda Walawe is a valiant effort at conserving the dwindling elephant population of Sri Lanka. Here young elephants, mostly babies, who have been orphaned or are recovering from injuries, are being rehabilitated before their release into the wild again. The orphaned baby elephants reside at the Transit Home for about four years until they are old enough to be weaned off milk and learn to eat grass and other vegetation from the bush. Elephants at the Transit Home can be observed only during feeding times. The rest of the time they roam freely within the National Park close to the Transit Home. Watch the mischievous baby jumbos being bottle fed. A thrilling experience for children and adults alike. Feeding times are daily at 9.00am, 12 noon, 3pm and 6pm. Baby elephants are fed on milk formula four times a day for the first six months. Much funding is required for this expensive feeding process. The Wildlife Department has initiated a Baby Elephant Adoption Programme where individuals can provide funding on a monthly basis and become a foster parent to a baby elephant of their choice.

Cost per person – US$10 per person onwards…

WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK

Anyone for a spot of Leopard?

Wilpattu is among the few national parks world renowned for its Leopard population. Recent research shows that the park is home to approximately 49 Leopards and counting. Covering a vast area of 131,000 hectares that stretches from the North western coast to the north-central province, the Wilpattu National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest wildlife parks in Sri Lanka. Situated away from the common tourist routs, Wilpattu is unspoilt and can be enjoyed in tranquil seclusion. Wilpattu’ s varying natural habitats - coastal belt, natural lakes (villus), cliff tops, and dense forest provide habitats for numerous species of animals including the sloth bear, water buffalo, and spotted deer. The coastal belt and natural lakes attract many species of birds such as Painted Storks, Black-headed Ibis, Asian Open-bills, Whistling Teals, and Eurasian Spoonbills as well as water monitors and mugger crocodiles. A wildlife safari into the jungles of Wilpattu will take up to 3-4 hours and is done at dawn or late afternoon when the birds and animals are easily spotted. We highly recommend a full day safari in this park. Ceylon escapes will arrange for a safari jeep to collect you from your hotel and be at the National Park entrance gates by 6:00 am or by 3:00 pm. Wilpattu can be accessed via the North West coast or Anuradhapura.

Cost per person – US$50 per person onwards…

WILDLIFE SAFARIS IN THE CULTURAL TRIANGLE

Elephants galore in the North Central of Sri Lanka

The Cultural Triangle consists of extensive forest cover that is home to large herds of wild elephants, deer, wild buffalo, and numerous species of dry zone birds. The jungles here extend seamlessly across the Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks to the Hurulu Eco Park. During the dry season from May to September, elephant herds migrate freely from one park to another in search of water. The receding shores of the Minneriya tank with its fresh vegetation, is a particular attraction for the elephants that converge in their hundreds – an awesome sight that is famously known as the `elephant gathering’ which has been ranked 6th by Lonely Planet in the list of `Greatest wildlife spectacles in the world. A wildlife safari will take up to three hours is best done in the evenings. Ceylon escapes will arrange a safari jeep to collect you from your hotel and be at the National Park entrance gates by 3.30 pm. 

Cost per person – US$ 45 per person onwards…

Yala National Park

One of the best places in the world to see Leopards

Yala National park, located in the South-east corner of Sri Lanka is one of the most popular wildlife parks in the country. Declared a national park in in 1938 this park consists of 5 blocks. The most visited park is Block 1 and this is the best place to see all its wildlife as well. There are 4 entrances to the park at the moment. The Palatupana entrance being the most popular close to the Tissamaharama. Yala has been known to be one of the best places in the world to see the Leopard all year round. Yala is home to many species of Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and indigenous trees.

Yala is a great place to visit year around as its mostly dry with a few months of Nov & December being rainy months. Block 1 of Yala national park is usually closed from 01 September to 15 October of each year during the peak of the dry season. However the other blocks are open for visitors during these months. Email or call us to get more details about visiting the other blocks/entrances of Yala National park. Safaris in Yala can be done as half day trip in the morning or early evenings or as full day trips. 

Cost per person – US$50 onwards…

WHALE AND DOLPHIN SPOTTING

A whale of a time

Located in the south of Sri Lanka beyond Dondra Head is considered one of the best locations in the world for spotting Blue Whales and Spinner Dolphins. Most whale species found in the waters of Sri Lanka do not migrate long distances for feeding and breeding and therefore remain in the surrounding seas throughout the year. Boat excursions into the deep seas are only possible from December to April when the seas are at their calmest along the south and west coasts. Sail into the deep seas in search of the mighty whales. Most often, pods of spinner dolphins will swim alongside your boat, leaping into the air and showing off their acrobatics. A thrilling experience. A whale watching excursion can take up to 4 hours. Many other activities such as snorkeling, sailing, sports fishing, sea kayaking, /coastal cruises and river trips could also be organized in the area.

During the months of March and April each year the East coast in Trincomalee becomes the hotspot for both Blue and Sperm Whales. This trip is best pre-booked with a reliable local provider and Ceylon Escapes will ensure you are in safe hands 

Cost per person – US$50 onwards…

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Special offer on car & driver hire for the months of
May & June 2016

Book your transport with us for a minimum of 5 days and get a free night’s stay at Randhoni Villa, near airport (01 double on BB basis) OR book for 7 days and get a free night’s stay at Albany Villa, Nuwara Eliya (01 double on BB basis)

Place your inquiry to [email protected] or via our contact form with the promo code ‘CE 007’ for more details and to grab this offer!