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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s geographical location and deep natural harbours have made it a focal point for the trade of goods and ideas between the East and West for centuries and the island has a strong Dutch and British colonial heritage. The sacred city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kandy, founded in the 14th century, was the last capital of Sri Lanka’s native kings and contains Sri Dalada Maligawa, a magnificent temple housing a tooth of Buddha. The island also has an impressive array of wildlife which passengers will be able to encounter on an unforgettable visit to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Kandy & Temple of the Tooth

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Full day Lunch IncludedRespectful DressLong DriveRemoval of Shoes
Journey to the sacred city of Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of unusual beauty and the location of the temple containing a tooth of Buddha. The scenic three-hour drive takes us out of Colombo, through small towns growing all kinds of exotic fruit, past pineapple plantations and paddy fields and up into Sri Lanka’s stunning hill country.

Journey to the sacred city of Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of unusual beauty and the location of the temple containing a tooth of Buddha. The scenic three-hour drive takes us out of Colombo, through small towns growing all kinds of exotic fruit, past pineapple plantations and paddy fields and up into Sri Lanka’s stunning hill country. One of the day’s highlights is a stop at Peradeniya to walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens. A visit to the Orchid House should not be missed!

Kandy was founded in the 14th century and as the last capital of Sri Lanka’s kings is the key focus of this optional tour. Lunch will be served in a colonial hotel overlooking the Kandy Lake. On the opposite side of the picturesque valley, you will then enjoy a guided tour of the monumental Temple of the Tooth, where the sacred relic is enshrined.

During the return drive from this ancient kingdom, a stop will be made at a Spice Garden to learn more about Sri Lanka’s ayurvedic tradition. Please note that this excursion is very long, with an approximate 3 - 3.5 hour drive each way.

Please note: this excursion involves a visit to a temple and you will be asked to remove your shoes. Please dress appropriately for visiting religious sites, with shoulders and knees covered as a general rule. A video fee applies for the temple.

This optional excursion can be booked using the signup sheet and paid for on-board the ship (all prices for purchases on-board Aegean Odyssey are listed in US dollars).

*Includes subsidy for unused included excursion.

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Optional $ 65*
Choice of Tours
Cultural Activity
Cruises with this tour

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Full day Lunch Included
A two and a half hour drive through the beautiful Sri Lankan countryside brings us to Pinnawala and this famous site, established by the Department of Wildlife Conservation to protect unweaned baby elephants found wandering in the forests. From a nucleus of five baby elephants in 1975, the sanctuary is now home to the world’s largest herd of captive elephants, many of which have been bred here and will stay for life.

A two and a half hour drive through the beautiful Sri Lankan countryside brings us to Pinnawala and this famous site, established by the Department of Wildlife Conservation to protect unweaned baby elephants found wandering in the forests. From a nucleus of five baby elephants in 1975, the sanctuary is now home to the world’s largest herd of captive elephants, many of which have been bred here and will stay for life. Your first stop will be at the Oya River to watch the elephants bathing and socializing, so be sure to bring a camera to capture the beauty and the antics of these majestic animals. Enjoy a buffet lunch at the Pinnalanda Restaurant in a picturesque location overlooking the river, then in the afternoon see the elephants from closer-up and maybe watch some of the older or smaller elephants being fed, for some memories which – like an elephant – you will never forget.

Please note that the terrain is uneven and dusty and the feeding of the young and sick elephants can get very busy.

Despite some negative press concerning the orphanage in recent years, VTA’s local ground partners are happy with the latest inspections of the organisation and their treatment of the animals. A detailed presentation will be given on board to provide more details on what to expect and the reasons behind the work being carried out in the orphanage.

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Included
Choice of Tours
Cultural Activity
Cruises with this tour

Morning Colombo City Tour

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Half day
Experience the astonishing blend of modern and exotic in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, a city quite unlike any other, as you travel to the Kelaniya (Kalyana) Temple, built on the banks of the Kelani River. Kelaniya is mentioned in the Buddhist chronicle, the Mahawamsa, which states that the Gautama Buddha visited the place, after which the dagoba of the temple was built.

Experience the astonishing blend of modern and exotic in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, a city quite unlike any other, as you travel to the Kelaniya (Kalyana) Temple, built on the banks of the Kelani River. Kelaniya is mentioned in the Buddhist chronicle, the Mahawamsa, which states that the Gautama Buddha visited the place, after which the dagoba of the temple was built.

Sri Lankan Buddhists believe that the Buddha visited Kelaniya in order to quell a quarrel between two warring Nāga leaders: Chulodara (literally meaning ‘the small-bellied one’) and Mahodara (‘the big-bellied one’).

From here you will then be taken to the Colombo National Museum, which is housed in a grand colonial building and is the custodian of Sri Lanka's cultural heritage. Among its exhibits are a vast collection of books, more than 4,000 archaic palm leaf manuscripts, rock sculptures from the ancient cities, royal weapons of Sri Lankan kings and an excellent collection of antique demon masks. The most interesting among the exhibits are the regalia of the Kandian Kings dating back to the 17th century.

A visit will then be made to Independence Square, where this former British colony of Ceylon was given self-rule in 1948. Winding past the cricket stadium, through affluent neighbourhoods like Horton Place and Kotte, the legislative capital, en-route to the pier, you will see the Nelum Pokuna Performing Art Centre, the Town Hall, President House and the Pettah Bazar.

This excursion involves a visit to a temple and you will be asked to remove your shoes. Please dress appropriately for visiting religious sites, with shoulders and knees covered as a general rule. A camera fee applies for the museum.

This excursion involves a visit to a temple and you will be asked to remove your shoes. Please dress appropriately for visiting religious sites, with shoulders and knees covered as a general rule. A camera fee applies for the museum.

 

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Included
Choice of Tours
Cultural Activity
Cruises with this tour

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Kandy, Sri Lanka
Full day Lunch Included
A two and a half hour drive through the beautiful Sri Lankan countryside brings us to Pinnawala and this famous site, established by the Department of Wildlife Conservation to protect unweaned baby elephants found wandering in the forests. From a nucleus of five baby elephants in 1975, the sanctuary is now home to the world’s largest herd of captive elephants, many of which have been bred here and will stay for life.

A two and a half hour drive through the beautiful Sri Lankan countryside brings us to Pinnawala and this famous site, established by the Department of Wildlife Conservation to protect unweaned baby elephants found wandering in the forests. From a nucleus of five baby elephants in 1975, the sanctuary is now home to the world’s largest herd of captive elephants, many of which have been bred here and will stay for life. Your first stop will be at the Oya River to watch the elephants bathing and socializing, so be sure to bring a camera to capture the beauty and the antics of these majestic animals. Enjoy a buffet lunch at the Pinnalanda Restaurant in a picturesque location overlooking the river, then in the afternoon see the elephants from closer-up and maybe watch some of the older or smaller elephants being fed, for some memories which – like an elephant – you will never forget.

Please note that the terrain is uneven and dusty and the feeding of the young and sick elephants can get very busy.

Despite some negative press concerning the orphanage in recent years, VTA’s local ground partners are happy with the latest inspections of the organisation and their treatment of the animals. A detailed presentation will be given on board to provide more details on what to expect and the reasons behind the work being carried out in the orphanage.

Read more
Included
Cruises with this tour

Royal Botanical Gardens & Negombo

Negombo, Sri Lanka
Half Day Respectful DressLong DriveRemoval of Shoes
Begin with a leisurely drive past Lake Kandy to a bazaar that offers an array of locally made handicrafts. Your journey then continues to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya, which date back to 1371 and are renowned for exquisite orchids, the avenue of royal palms and the gigantic Javan fig tree.

Begin with a leisurely drive past Lake Kandy to a bazaar that offers an array of locally made handicrafts. Your journey then continues to the Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya, which date back to 1371 and are renowned for exquisite orchids, the avenue of royal palms and the gigantic Javan fig tree. A stop will be made at the Ambepussa Rest House for lunch, en route to the tropical beach resort of Negombo where dinner will be served at your second hotel, the Jetwing Sea, which is situated right on the waterfront.

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Included
Cruises with this tour