Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport you will be met and assisted by a Compass India representative. We will then accompany you through passport control, customs, baggage collection and money changers, all the way to the arrival lounge where we will meet you, address any last minute questions you have about the itinerary and introduce you to your guide or guide who will be your travel companion and explorer around Sri Lanka.
The drive to the Kotugoda on the outskirts of Colombo takes approximately half an hour. Check in, unpack and relax.
Overnight in hotel at Kotugoda.
Breakfast at the hotel and then proceed for Galle
The journey by road from Kotugoda to Galle takes about 3 hours on the new highway. The road runs parallel to the west coast. Enjoy views of the Indian Ocean and your first experience of the simultaneously hectic and laid-back island atmosphere.
You will arrive around midday. Post Lunch you will take a guided tour of the Galle Fort .
The best time to explore Galle Fort in the afternoon. The 16th century Galle Fort is a world heritage site. Spanning over 90 acres, it is Asia’s best preserved and largest surviving fort built by European occupiers. It was originally built by the Portuguese in 1588 and extended to its present glory by the Dutch in 1663. The best way to soak up the charm of the Old City and to get our bearings is by taking a stroll around the thick granite walls of the fort. This one hour circuit is most enjoyable at sunrise and sunset as the air is cool and the light is long and low. The real allure is found in simply wandering through its warren of narrow alleys and side streets, replete with colonial homes with original archways and verandas, 18th century churches, mosques, museums and impressive art galleries and clothing boutiques.
Overnight in hotel at Galle.
Breakfast at the hotel and then proceed for exploring the surroundings of Galle.
Driving inland from Galle is a refreshing contrast of lush jungle interior, unspoilt and seemingly untouched by tourism. A resident tea planter will meet you and take you around the private paradise of a working tea plantation. The plantation, which lies at sea-level is the famed Titigalla Tea Factory founded by Herman Gunaratne. Herman will take you on a private tour of his Virgin White Tea Estate plantations, where you will learn how the famous white tea, one of the most expensive in the world, favored by the Chinese Emperors and traditionally cut by virgins with gold scissors is grown and produced. The tour ends with a tasting session of some of the finest high and low grown teas from around the island.
From here, we take a tuk tuk ride through winding paths to a breezy hilltop which overlooks pristine Ahangama coastline. A local cinnamon planter will greet you at the border of a vast cinnamon plantation, interspersed with landscaped tropical gardens and take you on yet another walking tour through a working cinnamon plantation where you will learn how Sri Lanka’s Southern Province produces the best cinnamon in the world. You have the option of a nearby factory visit to experience the processing and packaging methods of the spice or heading straight to a cinnamon inspired four course lunch at the luxurious Villa Mayurana, located in the center of the cinnamon gardens.
Afternoon at leisure.
Here are some optional activities:
Get up early in the day and proceed for canoeing on the Ginganga river
A great way to spend a morning when you are in the Galle area is to enjoy a canoeing adventure on the Ginganga River. You will start from the banks of the sweeping gardens of a beautiful colonial hotel, and travel up-stream passing villages, gnarled mangroves and coconut groves. You will see a wealth of bird and animal life including monitor lizards and possibly even a python. Paddle along at your ease and enjoy the water nature trail and its own brand of Sri Lankan wildlife. The excursion takes place at break of day.
You will return to the hotel for breakfast – and then check-out.
Between Galle and Tangalle you have first a stretch of coastline known as Thalpe which runs for about 5 kilometers. The coastline is mainly a coral reef like the one you have in front of APA. The first town you pass through is called Habaraduwa and here the coral reef gives way to a few coves with clear blue water which are beautiful. There is a café on one of them called The Strip – but perhaps a bit too close for a first stop. 20 minutes down the coast you come to Weligama Bay which is the largest and most impressive bay in the south. Here you will see Taprobane Island on your right.
Taprobane Island is a rocky private island with one villa, located just off the southern coast of Sri Lanka opposite the village of Weligama,. The island was named after the old Greek word for Sri Lanka. The island was previously owned by the Count de Maunay who, exiled from France, fell in love with Weligama Bay. It was he who had the villa built on this tiny island. Another previous owner was the American author and composer Paul Bowles. Other notable people who stayed on Taprobane include Dutch author Peter ten Hoopen, who spent a month there in 1984 during civil unrest on the mainland, as well as Australian performer Kylie Minogue, who composed a song about the island inspired by her stay titled "Taprobane (Extraordinary Day)."
At the end of the bay you cross a bridge and to your left you have a very picturesque image of Sri Lanka with the railway bridge crossing the river and tropical jungle as backdrop. Here there are known to be crocodiles and not the safest place to swim. Next is Mirissa Bay well known as a backpacker beach and then the town of Matara which is actually one of Sri Lanka’s largest cities.
Matara historically belongs to the area called Ruhuna, one of the three kingdoms in Sri Lanka (Thun Sinhalaya). The temple in the middle of the town is also built by ancient kings and now it is a very popular sacred place among the Buddhists in the area. In 16th and 18th centuries Matara was ruled by Portuguese and Dutch respectively. The culture and architecture can be still seen in the area.
The Matara Fort is pretty but not so much as Galle Fort. Still it is very underdeveloped and there is nowhere to stay or have a decent meal. As you drive out of Matara it is worth taking the beach road – there are actually two roads, one interior and one along the coast which has better views. Very soon you will see to your left the University of Ruhuna, and the interesting fact is that is was designed by Geoffrey Bawa and you can clearly see his mark as you drive by.
A few kilometers down the road you reach Dondra, the southernmost point of Sri Lanka. Here truly there is nothing between you and the south pole. The popular light house in Point Dondra was built by the Dutch and it is considered as one of the most beautiful and oldest light houses in Sri Lanka.
Dondra Head Lighthouse is an offshore lighthouse in Dondra, Sri Lanka and is operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. It is located on Dondra Head near the southernmost point in Sri Lanka and is the tallest lighthouse in the country. It was designed by Sir James Nicholas Douglass and constructed by William Douglass.
What follows after are a series of beautiful bays, Talalla and Dickwella with towns which were severely affected during the Tsunami.
Overnight in hotel at Tangalle.
Breakfast at the hotel and then a day at leisure .
Here are a few of the things we would recommend one can do while staying in Tangalle:
Breakfast at the hotel and then proceed towards Lunuganga and Colombo
The trip takes approximately 3.5 hours. Enroute you will visit Lunuganga situated approximately 2.5 hours from Galle, in the area of Bentota.
Created over several decades by the ‘father of Asian architecture’, the late Geoffrey Bawa, this beautiful 15 acre estate of Lunuganga, a few kilometers inland from Bentota, was fashioned by Bawa into a place of extraordinary beauty as his tropical vision of an Italian Renaissance garden bordered on two sides by the Deduwa Lake. Featuring rolling lawns, terraces and pavilions set out like a series of spacious outdoor rooms, whose position has been carefully chosen to exploit the fabulous vistas over the lake, tropical jungle and paddy fields. Statues, pavilions, courtyards and lily ponds provide much interest as they flank secret pathways that link gardens characterized by majestic banyans, silvery rubber trees and ageing frangipani.
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo. Colombo is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins and a population of 647,100.
Due to its large harbour and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. It was made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation became independent in 1948.
For dinner we will take you to the Ministry of Crab. Dharshan Munidasa, in partnership with two of Sri Lanka’s best known faces - cricketers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene - claims to be the best place in the world to sample the renowned Sri Lankan crab. Occupying prime space in the landmark Dutch Hospital complex, the restaurant specializes in serving enormous crustaceans that would otherwise be whisked away to Singapore and Malaysia.
Overnight in hotel at Colombo.
Breakfast at the hotel and then proceed for departure
At a pre-arranged time your chauffer guide will take you to the airport for your departure.