The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
Undiscovered Sri Lanka takes you through remote regions of Sri Lanka away from the main tourist trail and provides a glimpse into the island’s rich cultural heritage, wildlife and nature. Soak up the serenity of Sri Lanka's finest landscapes and experience the traditional lifestyles of the paddy farmers, fisherman, hill country tea pluckers and the Veddas - an indigenous group of people in Sri Lanka.
Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, head an hour or so north from the airport to recover you’re your flight in peaceful rural surroundings. Soak in Sri Lanka's warmth, colours and sounds and prepare for the journey to come.
Head to Sri Lanka's hill capital - the small lakeside city of Kandy. Visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth where a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is enshrined. Religious services (pooja), accompanied with traditional drumming, are held at the temple daily at dawn, midday, and in the evening. But Kandy is well known and our Undiscovered Sri Lanka itinerary is committed to taking you off the beaten track. Continue an hour into the hills for an atmosphere of perfect peace.
Rise early and journey into the breath-taking Knuckles Conservation Range. The Knuckles Mountain Range, so called because of its appearance resembles a set of knuckles of a clenched fist, consists of five mountain peaks and several other smaller peaks. The climate is cooler here and we can offer a range of gentle walking options to suit your individual needs. Explore forests, walk along rivers and waterfalls, past tea plantations and terraced paddy fields and visit some of the small rural village communities. Panoramic views of misty mountains, stunning valleys, ancient rock formations, lush forests, crystal clear streams, beautiful animal and plant life, paddy fields, traditional villages and hospitable people make the Knuckles an unmissable and unique blend of nature, culture and adventure.
Journey out of the Knuckles Conservation Range and travel further east. Gal Oya National Park is often referred to as Sri Lanka's forgotten national park. Once again, you will meet no tourist hordes here. There are many optional experiences you can enjoy. Take a jeep safari through the jungle to the Nigala river which famously flows under a huge boulder field. A picnic can be arranged along the sandy banks. You can also go for boat safari on the lake where you can spot wild animals and many birds. Mahiyangana temple that has been recorded in the Buddhist scriptures as one of nine locations on the island that Lord Buddha visited thousands of years ago. The temple is visited by pilgrims from across the island and consists of an ancient semi-circle shaped stupa, Bo-tree, statues and murals. Consider a visit to one of the island’s indigenous groups, the Veddas or Wanniya-laeto (forest-dwellers) in the Maduru Oya National Park. The Veddas preserve a direct line of descent from the islands’ original Neolithic community dating from at least 16,000 BC. The few remaining Vedda communities retain much of their distinctive cultural identity, indigenous language, traditional lifestyles, and occupations including hunting, honey gathering, and chena cultivation.
Travel out of the hills and on to the sandy beaches of Arugam Bay in the south-east of Sri Lanka. Arugam Bay is famously known as one of ten top surf spots in the world. The relatively isolated beaches and a simple, laid-back lifestyle away from the main tourist haunts have many devotees. The best time for surfing in Arugam Bay is in July and August when the swells are high, but it is not all about the sun and surf on the South East Coast. Trek to the ancient Kudimbigala Forest Hermitage which is spread over about 4,700 hectares of wilderness. Trek uphill over huge rock boulders, thick forest cover, past ancient meditation caves and temple ruins. Once you reach the peak, visit the small temple and take in the breath-taking views across the Eastern shore. Explore the jungles of Kumana Bird Sanctuary. The swamp lakes of Kumana are nesting sites for water birds. During the nesting season, which begins in June, large colonies of pelican, spoonbills, herons, painted storks, and egrets can be spotted. The jungles are also home to wild elephants, buffalo and deer. Kumana is edged by the Indian Ocean and often the endangered marine turtles come ashore to nest on the secluded beaches. Best time to visit is at dawn and late afternoon when the animals are easily spotted. A guide can be hired at the entrance gates.
This morning you will head three hours west along the A4 route to the southern escarpment of the highlands. En route, visit the ancient Maligavila Buddha statue. This is the largest freestanding image of Lord Buddha in Sri Lanka and reaches a height of about 14 metres. Dating back to the 7 BC, the statue is carved out of a single block of limestone. A second statue depicting Bodhisattva in princely attire is also located in the same vicinity. We have two glorious properties for you to chose from in our Classically Red or Simply Red categories, with the misty mountain peaks of the southern highlands forming a beautiful backdrop. On the following day, why not visit Diyaluma falls – Sri Lanka’s second highest waterfall – or the ancient rock sculptures of Buduruwagala? The sculptures are said to date back to the 8th century and consists of a grouping of six sculptures including a colossal image of Lord Buddha spanning a height of about 50ft. Adisham, a Benedictine monastery, is also located nearby.
Today you head towards the capital city of Colombo for your final night’s stay at Villa Talangama. Set on a quiet lakeside in the suburbs of Colombo, the villa setting is best described as a 'village in the city' surrounded by paddy fields and the Talangama wetlands – one of the best places near Colombo to see water birds and waders. Relax and unwind in your own private pool before your journey back home.
Casa Heliconia is an exquisite holiday retreat on a fruit and vegetable estate only 45 minutes from the airport. It consists of just two chalets, a swimming pool pavilion and a lounge pavilion, all of which are immersed in lush tropical gardens. Sister property of the acclaimed Kandy House.
Ashburnham Estate is an old planter’s bungalow that has been caringly renovated by its British owners. It lies on a 98-acre working tea plantation in the village of Elkaduwa, about an hour from Kandy in the Knuckles mountains. Six comfortable ensuite bedrooms are sold by the room – a great choice for walkers and nature lovers.
One of the island’s secret escapes, Rangala House is a converted tea estate bungalow in the Knuckles Mountain Range, which provides a majestic backdrop for this property. Rangala House faces the luminous, tea-covered hills of the Dukwari Estate and has a pool set amidst abundant tropical foliage and birdsong.
Gal Oya Lodge is a tranquil eco retreat made up of several bungalows and villas spread across a 20-acre forest. The property is edged by Gal Oya National Park and the Senanayake Samudraya, one of Sri Lanka's largest lakes. This is an escapist choice for wildlife lovers.
Hideaway is a homely guesthouse with comfortable cottages and some a/c rooms situated on a six-acre estate which attracts plenty of birds and even the occasional monkey. Although Hideaway doesn’t have direct access to the beach, a five minute stroll takes you to one of the main surf points in Arugam Bay.
Living Heritage Koslanda is a stylish and tranquil boutique retreat with four villas set on an 80-acre estate on the fringes of the southern highlands.
Set on a quiet lakeside where sights and sounds of nature reign supreme, Villa Talangama is a luxurious Sri Lankan home meticulously laid out from its architecture and furnishings to the caring service of its staff. This villa is an ideal last stop on your holiday itinerary, an alternative to Colombo city. The airport is about 75 minutes drive.
Red Dot selects only the best accommodation in Sri Lanka, in its particular price range. Please suggest which of the three categories might most appeal to you. (You can tick more than one box).
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