Sri Lanka and Maldives Welcome Chinese - 2 Weeks

13 nights / 14 days

This combination of Sri Lanka study trip and Maldive islands beach holiday is worked out for our Chinese clients in particular. It includes all places and therefore the same large variety of attractions and activities as our Chinese Lanka one-week-trips, but additionally visits the Cultural Triangle area and more places in the central hillcountry and at the southern coast including two National Parks, one famous for water birds, the other one for wild elephants. This tour itinerary will appeal if your objective is to learn more about China's historical influence on Sri Lanka and to visit some less crowded places as well as the famous tourist destinations Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya etc. Places of special interest for Chinese travellers usually not included in other tour packages are: Faxian's abodes in Abhayagiri monastery, Veheragala and Pahiyangala, the Yapahuwa rock fortress influenced by the Yuan dynasty, and the modern port of Hambantota constructed with Chinese support. You will spend 7 of your 13 nights in seaside hotels having enough time for leisure and relaxation. Of course you can book additional overnight stays in beach resorts on the Maldives or in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, according to your intended time frame.

Day 01 - Airport / Negombo:

After breakfast time for leisure at the beach, in order to have a rest from your long flight and nighttime arrival. We start a Negombo city tour after lunchtime, including the fish market area, the Dutch Canal, a Buddhist temple, a Tamil Hindu temple, a Muslim mosque, a typical Negombo church, and afterwards the cenral shopping complex. The late afternoon hours are the best time for your boat safari in the marsh land of Muthurajawela at the southern end of the Negombo lagoon. Here you can watch crocodiles, lots of native species of water birds and, during wintertime, migratory species as well. Dinner and second overnight stay in your hotel in Negombo.

Day 03 - Negombo / Yapahuwa / Anuradhapura:

After breakfast leave for Anuradhapura. On the way visit the medieval fortress and rock palace Yapahuwa, which was the capital of the island in the late 13th century. The builder of this town was king Bhuvenaikabahu who received a Chinese mission from emperor Kublai Khan (Shizu) in 1284. Nowhere else in Sri Lanka have been found more Chinese coins than in Yapahuwa, and the famous lion sculptures of the magnificent stairway of Yapahuwa are also said to be influenced by the Chinese style. In the afternoon visit Sri Lanka's most venerated dagoba called Ruwanweliseya in Anuradhapura and the neighbouring Sacred Bo-tree which is a sapling from the original Bodhi-tree at the spot of the Buddha's enlightenment in Bodhgaya that did not survive, but now is grown again in Bodhgaya in India from a sapling from the Sri Lankan Bo tree of Anuradhapura. Then proceed to the remains of the Abhayagiri monastery which was the abode of Faxian, who in the year 411 AD travelled from India to Sri Lanka in order to study Buddhist scriptures in Anuradhapura. Here he witnessed the ceremonies for the Sacred Tooth of the Buddha that arrived on our island only a few years earlier. Bo-tree and the Sacred Tooth are Sri Lanka's most venerated Buddhist relics until the present day. In the Abhayagiri compound see the famous moonstone, a masterpiece of Sri Lankan stone carving. Dinner and overnight stay in a 2-star hotel in Anuradhapura.

Day 04 - Anuradhapura / Mihintale / Veheragala / Sigiriya:

After breakfast proceed to Mihintale, the legendary place of the first arrival of Buddhist missionaries sent by emperor Ashoka from India, see some excavated monuments and the renovated Ambasthala Dagoba, considered to be the location of the first meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and Sri Lanka's king Devanampiya Tissa. Afterwards drive 16 kms more eastwards to Veheragala, an almost unknown destination, but in particularly interesting as find spot of Sri Lanka's most beautiful golden Mahayana sculptures, duplicates are exhibited in the monastery's small museum, see a typical Sri Lankan cave temple and a white dagoba on a rock bolder, too. Veheragala is also believed to be an abode for China's famous scholar Faxian. After lunchbreak proceed to Sigiriya, Sri Lanka's most spectacular World Heritage Site, see the most ancient South Asian gardens, the charming 1500 years old rock paintings depicting the so-called "cloud damsels" or "heavenly maidens", and climb the "Lion Rock" to enjoy the former palace on the top and the gorgeous panorama. Dinner and overnight stay in a 2-star hotel in Sigiriya.

Day 05 - Sigiriya / Dambulla / Matale / Kandy:

After breakfast leave for Kandy, on the way visit the Dambulla cave temples, a World Heritage Site Dambulla, also called "Golden Temple". The Buddhist rock paintings date from the 18th century, they are considered to be the best examples of the Kandyan style. From Dambulla the road heads south, close to Matale learn more about tropical plants and traditional Ayurveda medicine in a herbal and spice garden, enjoy a massage free of charge. After check in at the 3-star hotel in Kandy take part in a city tour and join a puja ceremony at Sri Lanka's most venerated Buddhist shrine, the Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. After dinner enjoy a cultural show featuring various dance types of Sri Lanka. Dinner and overnight stay in a 3-star hotel in Kandy, its location only 1 km outside the town centre offering a lovely view to the Kandy lake and hillforests and temples.

Day 06 - Pinnawela / Peradeniya Botanical Garden / Kandy:

After early breakfast leave for Pinnawela, visit the world-famous Elephant Orphanage, here you can watch the elephant's feeding and training, participate in their babies' bottle feeding, and enjoy the view of the huge elephant herd's bathing in the nearby river. Afterwards visit Ceylon tea factory. After lunchbreak walk through the Peradeniya Botanical Garden, famous for its orchid house and the many different species of trees from many different tropical and subtropical parts of the world. In the afternoon and evening take your time for shopping or leisure in our delightful hill capital Kandy. Dinner and second overnight stay in the 3-star hotel in Kandy.

Day 07 - Kithulgala / Hatton / Nuwara Eliya:

After breakfast in your Kandy hotel proceed to Kithulgala, experience the adventure of whitewater river rafting in rubber boats, and see the location where the famous movie "The bridge on the river Kwai" was shot. After lunchbreak enjoy a sightseeing tour through the most scenic central part of the Ceylon tea highlands, crossing Hatton and stopping at Devon falls and St. Claire' falls. In the late afternoon take part in a small city tour in Nuwara Eliya, the "Little England of Sri Lanka", this always mild or even cool valley is surrounded by the island's highest mountains. Dinner and overnight stay in a 2-star hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

Day 08 - Nuwara Eliya - Sita Eliya - Ella - Buduruwagala - Hambantota:

After breakfast drive only a few kilometers to Sita Eliya, visit the colourful Hindu shrine dedicated to Rama's wife Sita. Sita Eliya is the location of Sita's captivity and liberation, climax of India's national epos Ramayana. This is why you can meet many Hindu pilgrims from India in this area. The mountain road now leaves central plateau of our highlands and the descends to the bassin of the Uva province. Stop in Ella with its spectacular view into the Ella gap, see the Ravana Ella falls. After descending into the southern plains of the island tun off westwards into as cul-de-sac ending at the Mahayana Buddhist rock-cut sculptures of Buduruwagala, see the island's tallest ancient standing Buddha in the centre of a group of altogether seven huge statues. The rest of today's route heads south till Ambalantota and then further 17 kilometers eastwards reaching the harbour and beach of Hambantota. Dinner and overnight stay in a 3-star hotel in or near Hambantota.

Day 09 - Hambantota / Bundala Bird Sanctuary:

After early breakfast take part in a jeep safari in Bundala National Park, famous for its abundance of water birds, the route passes several lakes and marshes home for crocodiles. Afterwards drive back to Hambantota and visit the modern industrial port built with Chinese support very important for Sri Lanka's development. In the afternoon leisure, enjoy your hotel's ayurveda facilities or relax at the beach. Note: For those guests who like to visit Yala National Park famous for its leopards we can arrange an afternoon safari, but this is optional and not included in the price, so for a Yala safari a guest has to pay an extra entrance fee and costs for a transfer to the National Park's gate additionally.

Day 10 - Hambantota / Udawalawe National Park / Ratnapura / Pahiyangala / Colombo:

After very early morning breakfast (or breakfast packed for take-away) we drive one hour to the main gate of Udawalawe National Park, in order to take part in a jeep safari during the early morning hours when most animals are roaming, Udawalawe is crowded with small herds of wild female elephants and their offspring and some lonesome adult tuskers. You can watch deer and birds, too, and with a little luck jackals and wild boars as well. Lunchbreak in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka's "Gem city", here you can visit a small private gem museum or buy precious stones or jewellery. In the afternoon proceed to Pahiyangala, a less frequented place, but of special interest for Chinese travellers, "Pahiyan" is the Sinhalese transcription for "Faxian" or "Fa Hien". This well-known Chinese scholar Faxian is believed to have lived several weeks in this Pahiyangala cave on his way from Anuradhapura to the Buddha's footprint on top of the mountain Adam's Peak. This Pahiyangala cave, by the way the largest rock-shelter ("abri") in South Asia, furthermore is of significance as find spot of South Asia's oldest fossils of Homo sapiens, belonging to our island's so-called Balangoda culture. After sunset arrival in Colombo and check in at your hotel. Dinner and overnight stay in Colombo, in the evening opportunity to visit a shopping mall or Karaoke bar in Colombo.

Days 11 - flight to the Maldives:

Morning flight from Colombo International airport to Male, speedboat-transfer to your holiday resort on one island of the southern group of atolls.

Day 12-13 - Beach holiday on an Maldives island:

Spend three nights in a 3-star accommodation on the Maldives. For couples or families without young children we can reserve sea bungalows, for guests accompanied by children younger than 8, according to security advice, we only provide hotel rooms on the same island, but not in its adjoining sea bungalows.

Day 14 - Transfer to the Airport:

After check-out leave to Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, arriving for check in approximately 3 hours before departure.

PLEASE NOTE: Arrival time of flights from China to Colombo is usually only a few hours before (or even after) midnight, this is why on the first day of your round trip we only offer transfer to the hotel in the nearby beach resort Negombo. In case you arrive in the morning or early afternoon hours we can arrange some additional itinerary for the first day (visiting Maha Oya river mouth) without extra charge, but costs for an optional boat trip in that area are not included in our price offer, only the scheduled boat trip on the second day (in Muthurajawela) is already included.

PLEASE ALSO NOTE: Most flights back from Colombo to Chinese destinations also start at nighttime. This means: Arrival in China usually is on the following day, so this would be day 15 of the total journey. In case you only like to offer an 14-days-trip, e.g. starting on a Sunday in China and return to China on the a Saturday instead of Sunday, you please inform us to cut one night at the Maldives beach resort (booking only 2 instead of 3 overnight stays on the Maldives) and to offer you a better rate.