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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 Included
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.

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!

Continue on to Kandy, founded in the 14th century and the last capital of Sri Lanka’s kings. Lunch will be served in a colonial hotel overlooking the Kandy Lake. On the opposite side of the picturesque valley, take a guided tour of the monumental Temple of the Tooth where the sacred relic is enshrined.

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

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.

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Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Full day Lunch Included
Watch Asian Elephants as they bathe and play in the river, then see the babies being fed on this full-day adventure.

A two and a half hour drive through the lovely 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. Head first to the Oya River to watch the elephants bathing and socializing. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the beauty – and the antics – of these majestic animals. Many of the elephants have been bred here and will stay for life. Enjoy a buffet lunch at the Pinnalanda Restaurant in a picturesque location overlooking the river.

In the afternoon, see the elephants from closer-up, and maybe watch some of the older or smaller elephants being fed. Return with 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.

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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.

Experience the astonishing blend of modern and exotic in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, a city quite unlike any other. 

You will 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’).

Next, drive to Visit the Colombo National Museum. Housed in a grand colonial building, the National Museum 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.

Make a visit to Independence Square where this former British colony of Ceylon was given self rule in 1948. Wind past the cricket stadium through such neighborhoods as affluent Horton Place and Kotte, the legislative capital. Enroute to the pier, drive past Nelum Pokuna Performing Art Center, 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.

 

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Included
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UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO Polonnaruwa

Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Full day Archaeological Site
The magnificent World Heritage Site of Royal Polonnaruwa is the centrepiece of this full-day tour, which begins with a scenic drive across Sri Lanka to one of the best preserved archaeological cities on the island.

The magnificent World Heritage Site of Royal Polonnaruwa is the centrepiece of this full-day tour, which begins with a scenic drive across Sri Lanka to one of the best preserved archaeological cities on the island.

During the 11th and 12th-centuries Polonnaruwa was the capital of Sri Lanka’s second most ancient kingdom and became the seat of Vijayabahu I, who founded the city, and Parakramabahu the Great, whose reign is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa.

Among the site’s many impressive structures is the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, a circular stone shrine built to a design that is wholly unique to Sri Lanka. This reliquary is believed to have been commissioned to hold either the Relic of the Tooth or the alms bowl used by the Buddha. Only ten such structures remain in existence, but the virtually intact Vatadage of Polonnaruwa is widely considered the finest.

Also on display are the Royal Palace and Audience Hall, statues of Parakramabahu the Great, the Lotus Bath and the Gal-potha stone book, which recounts the achievements of King Nissanka Malla. Monuments of worship include the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Kiri Vehera stupa and the Gal Viharaya, where four enormous reliefs of the Buddha, consisting of an ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and two ‘Recumbent’ poses, have been carved into a single huge rock.

The Parakrama Samudraya reservoir, also known as The Sea of Parakrama, also offers a place for some peaceful reflection, before departing for a buffet lunch at the exclusive Cinnamon Lodge in Habarana, on your way back to Aegean Odyssey in Trincomalee.

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City Tour of Trincomalee

Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Half day
The natural deep-water harbour of Trincomalee has attracted many sea farers throughout the ages, from Marco Polo and Ptolemy to the traders of ancient China and East Asia; its strategic importance has always been immense.

The natural deep-water harbour of Trincomalee has attracted many sea farers throughout the ages, from Marco Polo and Ptolemy to the traders of ancient China and East Asia; its strategic importance has always been immense.

Your tour here begins with a visit to the remains of what was once the largest European fort in Sri Lanka, Fort Fredrick. Built by the Portuguese in 1623 the fortress was originally named Fort Triquillimale, until it was captured by the Dutch in 1639 and went through a phase of dismantling and reconstruction.

Inside the grounds, the classical-medieval Hindu Koneswaram temple can be reached by passing directly through the still intact fort entrance. The Thirukoneswaram Kovil temple, as it is also known, is the oldest Hindu temple in Sri Lanka, although the original shrine was demolished in 1622 by the Portuguese, who called it the Temple of a Thousand Columns.

Much of the art from the demolished temple was taken to the Lisbon Museum, including a stone inscription by the Chola King, Kulakottan, but the remaining building materials were subsequently used to enlarge the fort’s ramparts.

There will also be a chance to visit the Trincomalee War Cemetery, commemorating soldiers of the British Empire who lost their lives during World War II, followed by the tranquil remains of the Velgam Vihara temple, an historic place of worship for both Sinhala and Tamil Buddhists that is today one of Sri Lanka’s most important Archaeologically Protected Monuments.

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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.

Experience the astonishing blend of modern and exotic in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, a city quite unlike any other. 

You will 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’).

Next, drive to Visit the Colombo National Museum. Housed in a grand colonial building, the National Museum 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.

Make a visit to Independence Square where this former British colony of Ceylon was given self rule in 1948. Wind past the cricket stadium through such neighborhoods as affluent Horton Place and Kotte, the legislative capital. Enroute to the pier, drive past Nelum Pokuna Performing Art Center, 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.

 

Read more
Included
Choice of Tours
Cultural Activity
Cruises with this tour

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Kandy, Sri Lanka
Full day
Watch Asian Elephants as they bathe and play in the river, then see the babies being fed on this full-day adventure.

A two and a half hour drive through the lovely 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. Head first to the Oya River to watch the elephants bathing and socializing. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the beauty – and the antics – of these majestic animals. Many of the elephants have been bred here and will stay for life. Enjoy a buffet lunch at the Pinnalanda Restaurant in a picturesque location overlooking the river.

In the afternoon, see the elephants from closer-up, and maybe watch some of the older or smaller elephants being fed. Return with 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.

Read more
Included
Cruises with this tour