Rejser til Sri Lanka

Som en tåre i øjenkrogen på Indiens sydøstkyst ligger det frodige ørige Sri Lanka fuldstændigt omgivet af Det indiske Oceans varme og uregerlige vand. Sri Lanka blev hårdt ramt af den frygtelige Tsunami den 26. december 2004.

Sri Lanka, tidligere kendt som Ceylon, har altid haft en dramatisk historie både under portugisiske, hollandske og britiske kolonimagter og efter selvstændigheden i 1947. Sri Lanka var i mange år plaget af borgerkrig, da det tamilske mindretal ønskede en selvstændig stat på den nordlige del af øen. Borgerkrigen er nu slut, og du kan færdes frit på hele øen.

Dette har imidlertid ikke ændret på, at det lille land er en stor og autentisk oplevelse for den rejsende. Kystlinien er formidabel, det frodige og centrale højlands teplantager er uimodståelige, dyrelivet er helt eminent og de buddhistiske, tamilske, hinduistiske og muslimske befolkningsgrupper bidrager til en farverig, multietnisk smeltedigel af kulturer. Det afspejler sig i de smukke templer, gastronomien og overalt i gadebilledet, hvor end du kommer frem.

I Sri Lanka kan du opleve nogle helt fantastiske nationalparker, hvor du kommer helt tæt på et eminent dyreliv. Yala National Park i Sri Lankas sydøstlige hjørne er kendt for sin store leopardbestand, som alene af den grund bør være en del af din rejse til Sri Lanka.

De mange gamle kongeriger i Det Centrale Højland nord for Kandy er en absolut uimodståelig kulturel og historisk perle, som også kan opleves på Happy Lama Travels rejser til Sri Lanka.

Grupperejse 1 ► De ukendte kongeriger i Nord Sri Lanka

Generel information om grupperejser i Sri Lanka

Happy Lama Travels eksklusive grupperejser i Sri Lanka foregår i små internationale grupper med lokal engelsktalende rejseleder. Derfor er rejsebeskrivelserne på engelsk.

En lokal rejseleder kender sit land bedre end en dansk rejseleder. Det er desuden vores erfaring at en lokal rejseleder giver dig et bedre indblik i, hvordan livet leves i Sri Lanka.

Passer rejsedatoerne dig ikke eller vil du selv have maksimal indflydelse på dit rejseprogram – Kontakt os hvis du ønsker et tilbud på en individuel rejse i Sri Lanka.

Trip Summary

Join us on this small group tour to an unexplored part of Sri Lanka. Until recently much of the north has been off limits and stricken by civil war. On our journey we head north up the west coast from Colombo via the colourful fishing village of Negombo where we will see the catch being landed on the beach and wander through the busy fish market. Our next port of call is a truly off the beaten track and wonderful eco retreat where we will experience the peace and tranquillity of the natural environment and enjoy home cooked local food, nature walks and gentle bike rides. For wildlife lovers we will safari in Wilpattu National Park one of the lesser visited parks in Sri Lanka, where we hope to spot wildlife such as Sloth Bear, Leopard and Elephants. The next stop is the sun-baked island of Mannar one of the most isolated areas of the country where wild donkeys roam and the landscape is dotted with Baobab trees. We also take a boat to Adams Bridge, a chain of islets and sandbanks which almost connects Sri Lanka to India. We then head on to the Jaffna Peninsula which was until only a few years ago the scene of a fierce civil war between government forces and the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). War damage here is still very much in evidence but we will see how the area is recovering and explore points of interest such as Jaffna Fort, Fort Hammenheil and the Public Library. We also visit fascinating Delft Island where wild ponies run free. Heading back south we cross the strategically important Elephant Pass and journey towards the Ancient Cities via the North East outpost of Mullaitivu where the war came to a bloody conclusion. Back in the heart of the country we visit important religious and archaeological sites such as Mihintale, Sigiriya and Pollonuwara before heading to the East coast and hopefully en route seeing more amazing wildlife and especially elephants on safari at Minneriya. The tour winds down by spending time on the beautiful east coast with its excellent beaches and we will explore the main harbour city of Trincomalee before we take the train back to Colombo where this unforgettable tour comes to an end.

Fitness*** | Adventure*** | Culture**** | History**** | Wildlife****

Day 1 – Negombo

On arrival transfer to your hotel on the coast at Negombo just north of Colombo and closely situated to the airport. Overnight Hotel J or similar.

Day 2 – Negombo - Anamaduwa

For early risers we will take an early morning visit to Negombo fish market which is called the ‘Lellama’ in Sinhalese and experience the hustle and bustle of the second largest fish market in the country. After breakfast back at the hotel we explore the area around Negombo with its colourful fishing fleet and plentiful canals. After lunch we continue up the coast and then inland to a little visited area close to Anamaduwa where we will stay for the next 2 nights. Overnight at the Mudhouse. (BLD)

The Mudhouse
Spread throughout a large expanse of forest on the outskirts of a small village in Sri Lanka lies The Mudhouse – a remote retreat, far away from the beaten track. It is run with environmental sustainability as its core focus; The Mudhouse aims to be a positive force for the people and nature with whom they co-exist. This is a place to unwind and reconnect with nature and enjoy the fabulous home cooked food. There are many activities that are included in your stay all of which are optional. Activities include birdwatching walks, nature trails, cycling, canoeing and kayaking, cookery and visiting the nearby temple. It is interesting to take some time to learn more about the design and architecture of the various buildings at The Mudhouse as well as how it works in terms of water management and recycling. Look more closely at the lakes and how they support complex networks of life and also visit the farm which supplies most of the food for the Mudhouse.

Day 3 – Anamaduwa

Spend the day enjoying the surroundings of the Mudhouse and if you wish take part in some of the various activities on offer. Overnight at the Mudhouse (BLD)

Day 4 – Wilpattu National Park

We depart the Mudhouse mid-morning and take the short journey to Wilpattu National Park. Compared to parks in the south of the country Wilpattu receives relatively few visitors. After lunch on the outskirts of the park we take an afternoon safari in this wilderness area where if we are lucky we may be able to spot Leopard, Elephant, Sloth Bear and many other species as well as many different bird species. After our safari we will take the short journey to the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Overnight Palm Garden Village or similar (BLD)

Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu is approximately 1,908 in extent. It has a dense jungle cover, which makes it a very exciting park as animals have to be tracked. There are numerous delightful little lakes – known as villus – and the leopard and sloth bear can sometimes be spotted drinking at these. A large variety of birds are also found in this park.

Day 5 – Anuradhapura - Mannar

This morning we explore some of the main sites of the ancient city of Anuradhapura. We visit the sacred Bo Tree, which is the world’s oldest tree on record, and has been guarded by monks for over 2000 years. Later we travel back to the West coast and the isolated Mannar Island. On arrival in the town of Mannar we will explore the town and the ruined fort and its ramparts which afford good views of the town and the causeway that connects Mannar Island to the mainland. Overnight Ahash Hotel or similar (BLD)

For over 1000 years Sinhalese Kings with occasional South Indian interlopers ruled from the great city of Anuradhapura. It is the most extensive and important of the Sri Lankan ancient cities and today you’ll get to see it extensively. Anuradhapura was found in the 4th century BC and is famous for its Dagabas (Temples), Reservoirs, and beautifully landscaped gardens, the ruins of which still remain to this day.

Mannar and Mannar Island
Isolated Mannar is known for its baobab trees and for its fort, built by the Portuguese in 1560 and taken by the Dutch in 1658 and rebuilt; its ramparts and bastions are intact, though the interior is largely destroyed. Formerly the town was renowned as a centre of the pearl fishing industry. The modern town is dominated by its Hindu temples, mosques and churches. The Catholic Church has a diocese headquartered in the town. By rail the town is connected to the rest of Sri Lanka by the Mannar Line. Mannar Island is a sun-baked and windswept island and is one of the poorest and least fertile areas of Sri Lanka and was hit hard during the civil war. Despite its slightly shabby appearance, Mannar Island has an interesting and off the beaten track feel to it where wild donkeys roam a landscape of ancient baobab trees.

Day 6 – Mannar Island - Adams Bridge - Jaffna

Early this morning we journey to the end of Mannar Island and the small village of Talaimannar. Ferries once departed to India from here but now the village has a slightly eerie feel to it and it is a base for the Sri Lankan Navy. From the railway station you can walk the recently restored railway line right to the sea where the lighthouse marks the end of Mannar Island. From here we will take a boat trip to Adams Bridge a series of sand islands which almost link Sri Lanka to India. Later we leave Mannar Island and continue north to Jaffna. Overnight Jaffna Heritage Hotel or similar (BLD)

Jaffna Peninsular
Located 246 miles from Colombo, the Jaffna peninsula has an area of 380 square miles. Jaffna was an important city for both the Portuguese and Dutch. The recently restored Jaffna Fort has been fought over for centuries. It was completed in 1632 and covers 55 acres in extent. The Dutch Church inside the Fort dates to 1706. During the civil war, government forces used the fort as an encampment and it was the scene of a 107 day siege where the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) forced the retreat of government troops. There are ruins of Portuguese churches at Myliddi and Chankanai and a ruined Dutch church at Atchuveli. Fort Hammenheil can be found at the entrance to the Kayts Harbour and is located on an island. Jaffna is full of Hindu Kovils. The Nallur Kandasamy Kovil and Vallipuram Kovil at Point Pedro are considered two important Kovils. All over Jaffna peninsular the evidence of the recent war is all too commonplace with ruined homes, bombed churches and other buildings riddled with bullet and shrapnel damage. Since 2009 the area has returned to stability and slowly many of those that left the carnage have started to return.

Day 7 – Island exploring

Off limits for years due to the civil war the islands off the Jaffna peninsula are rewarding places to cruise to and visit. Today we will visit the island of Delft where wild ponies roam the landscape and the coastline is blessed with beautiful waters and white sand beaches. Our tour of the island will also take us to an abandoned Dutch fort and a 1000 year old temple. Although around 6000 people live on Delft Island this windswept island feels largely deserted. After lunch on-board the boat we visit Nagadipa Island where we visit the Hindu and Buddhist temples. Later we return to Jaffna. Overnight Jaffna Heritage Hotel (BLD)

Delft and Nagadipa Islands
Delft Island was first named by the Dutchman Rijckloff van Goens, who was governor of Zeeland in the 1660’s. Delft is a flat island surrounded by shallow waters and beaches of coral chunks and sand. The Buddhist Vihara at Nagadipa (Nainativu) Island is a place sanctified by the visit of the Buddha and the dagoba (Buddhist stupa) is an old one. The large number of dagobas in the Kantharodai site dates from the 2nd to 10th Centuries AD. At Keeramalai is a freshwater bathing pond on the beach and it is said to possess therapeutic properties.

Day 8 – Jaffna and the peninsular

We spend the day exploring Jaffna and the peninsular. Visits include the Public Library which holds deep symbolism to local Tamil people, Jaffna Fort, Point Pedro which was hit hard by the 2004 tsunami, the Kantarodai ruins and finishing with sunset at the fabulous Fort Hammenheil where we have to take a short 5 minute boat ride to the fort itself and where after taking a look at the cells and history of the place we will enjoy sunset drinks in a spectacular location on top of the fort before returning to Jaffna. Overnight Jaffna Heritage Hotel or similar (BLD)

Day 9 – Jaffna - Mihintale via Mullataivu

Today we leave Jaffna and head south on the A9 via the Elephant Pass where we will stop to view the war memorial. We continue south through Killinochi the former administrative centre of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) where we see another remnant of the war, this time the destroyed water tank lying on the side of the A9. We then take a road to the east coast to the town of Mullataivu, significant as the place where the devastating civil war came to a bloody conclusion and the LTTE were defeated. We visit the harrowing war museum before rejoining the A9 further south and continuing to Mihintale for a late picnic lunch in a beautiful setting where you will enjoy local food served on lotus leaves cooked by a local family. We enjoy a late afternoon visit to the ruins of Mihintale before heading to Sigiriya for our overnight stay. Overnight at Kassapa Lion Rock or similar. (BLD)

Day 10 – Sigiriya Rock and Minneriya National Park

This morning we arrive at Sigiriya Rock early, in the still relative cool of the day. We explore some of the interesting features in the lower sections of the site such as the Royal Gardens and the water gardens. We then visit the remarkably preserved frescoes situated about half way up the rock before the final staircase climb to the top of the rock where the reward is breathtaking views for miles in every direction. Once we have descended we visit a local village and take part in cooking some traditional Sri Lankan dishes before eating the fruits of your labour! Later this afternoon we take a jeep safari in Minneriya National Park where sightings of dozens of elephants are common. Overnight Kassapa Lion Rock or similar (BLD)

Please note that the ascent of Sigiriya and the visiting of the frescoes should not be undertaken for people with joint problems, breathing difficulties, heart problems or vertigo. The top of the rock is exposed so wearing a hat is advisable. The lower sections of the site still hold a great deal of interest from a historical perspective and the museum is excellent.

Minneriya National Park
Minneriya was declared a National Park in 1997 but has been a wildlife sanctuary since the 1930’s. The park is important for a number or species of flora and fauna and is also known for a number of large water birds such as the painted stork. The park is situated in Sri Lanka’s dry zone and so the reservoir and the surrounding forests are an important habitat for a large herd of elephants. It is not uncommon to be able to see 100-200 individuals on a single visit to the park.

Day 11 – Polonnaruwa - Trincomalee

This morning we explore the former medieval capital or Sri Lanka at Polonnaruwa with its well preserved sites of religious and archaeological importance. Later we journey to Trincomalee on the east coast via scenic back roads. Overnight Pigeon Island resort or similar (BLD)

Polonnaruwa is a UNESCO world heritage site and was the Capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th – 13th Centuries and contains splendid well preserved statues.  The medieval capital was fortified with inner and outer moats and inner and outer walls. The Parakrama Samudra is on the western side of the city. The Royal Palace, Audience Hall and other buildings in the inner city were enclosed by another tall wall.

Trincomalee situated on the east coast is a charming town with a natural deep water harbour. Its strategic significance has meant it has been fought over through the centuries and was also badly impacted during the more recent civil war. There are fine views of the town from Kandasamy Kovil and pilgrims from across the country come to visit this ancient place of worship. Swami Rock also known as lovers leap is one of the best places in the world to spot the Blue whale, the largest organism on the planet. Sightings are most common between February and November when the sea is quite calm.

Day 12 – Trincomalee

This morning we explore Trincomalee including the market, Koneswaram Temple which is also the site of the famous lovers leap and receive the blessings of a Hindu priest, the ‘Kanniya’ hot water springs and the Commonwealth war cemetery. We head back to the hotel around lunchtime and this afternoon you can choose between a snorkelling trip to nearby Pigeon Island in the clear turquoise waters or a whale and dolphin watching trip off the coast. Or alternatively take some time to relax at the hotel or on the beach. The Blue Whale, the largest species on the planet can sometimes be seen off this coastline. Overnight Pigeon Island Resort or similar (BLD)

Day 13 – Habarana to Colombo by train

An early start this morning where we journey by road to Habarana and then take the morning train and enjoy a scenic ride through the picturesque countryside. Disembark at Colombo Fort railway station and proceed to the hotel. (Scheduled train depart from Habarana at 09:30hrs and reaches Colombo at 15:30hrs, 2nd class) Overnight at Galle Face Hotel or similar. (B)

Day 14 – Colombo

This morning is the chance for some leisure time before taking a city tour of Colombo. The largest city and former administrative capital of Sri Lanka, it is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and remnants of a bygone colonial era. We will visit some of the historical, religious and commercial sites of Colombo including the bustling Fort and Pettah, the elite residential Cinnamon Gardens, the Galle face Green and a church where Dutch tombstones constitute the floor panels. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner at an excellent local restaurant. Overnight Galle Face Hotel or similar (BD)

The largest city and former administrative capital of Sri Lanka, it is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and still the remnants of a bygone colonial era. Due to its large harbour and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, ancient traders came ashore over 2,000 years ago. However it was only made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815.

Day 15 – Depart Colombo

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight (B)

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