Leave your home in favor of culture, history, art and adventure when you embark on this 17-day journey from Bollywood to Ancient Ruins through India and Sri Lanka itinerary. There's hiking, temples, ancient ruins, a backwater boat trip and more in store! Travel through Mumbai, Cochin and Kumarakom in India. Depart lively India and travel to its island neighbor, through Colombo, Dambulla, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Tangalle and Galle in stunning Sri Lanka.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
Arrive in western India where Bollywood was born - Mumbai. Famously overcrowded, this is the fourth-largest city in the entire world. The culture-rich city is the perfect starting point for your adventure.
Enjoy a full day touring the pulsing city. The National Gallery of Modern Art is a fantastic spot to check out the country’s artistic side. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Victoria Station is an incredible central railway station constructed in the Victorian Gothic style. There are several ancient, well-preserved churches throughout the city. A trip to Mumbai isn’t complete without a visit to Bollywood - visit a set for a closer look at how the cultural favorites are created.
Depart Mumbai for a more remote location. Fly to Cochin and transfer to Kumarakom, an area known for its incredible backwater tourism. The city is set against the stunning largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala - Vembanad Lake. Check into the hotel of your choice in the city.
Spend your first day in the area exploring the natural beauty. Give yachting or fishing a try on the lake. The Bird Sanctuary is home to several species of migratory birds. The sanctuary covers over 14 acres - you may even spot a beautiful, rare Siberian Crane.
Enjoy a unique experience as you spend the day on one of the area’s much-loved backwater cruise boats. The area surrounding the lake is covered in mangrove forests, paddy fields, coffee plantations, pineapple orchards and coconut plantations. Step aboard and sail across the massive lake and absorb the natural surroundings.
Travel back to Cochin (also known as Kochi,) to see a town seemingly retired after the spice trade cooled off in the area. The once bustling cosmopolitan city is now a sleepy, charming port town.
Begin your day by paying a visit to the Jewish section of the city. The area was largely populated in the 1940s and the brightly painted houses are built in classic old-world designs. Visit the bay and watch as fishermen haul in Chinese fishing nets filled with fresh fish - you can even buy fish straight from their nets and carry your purchase to the nearby Dutch House to have it filleted. Come evening, you’ll have the opportunity to learn local favorite dishes from a warm and welcoming chef who teaches classes in the intimate setting of her private home.
Depart India as you fly from Cochin to colorful Colombo in Sri Lanka. You arrive in the nation's capital city in the mid-morning. Begin your city tour by visiting the pivotal Gangaramaya Temple - an important learning and spiritual location. Next, visit the tiny temple built on a lake, the Seema Malaka Temple. Observe the national sport at a Sri Lankan cricket match. Finish the day with a stroll along the half-kilometer-long Galle Face Green Promenade.
Travel 4 hours to Dambulla. Explore the fantastic UNESCO sites of the Dambulla Cave Temple and the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. See the ancient Buddhist art preserved in the caves, then climb up Sigiriya rock to the fortress ruins at the top. Settle in to your hotel in Sigiriya.
Leave the city for a bit and take a half-day trip to the UNESCO site of Polonnaruwa, some 80 minutes from Sigiriya. The ruins are in amazing shape and make it easy to imagine life in ancient times. This afternoon, take a safari at the Minneriya National Park. The wildlife refuge has been known to serve as a home to wild elephants.
Travel 2 hours to picturesque Kandy, a UNESCO-designated city known as the island’s cultural capital. Kandy was the last kingdom in Sri Lanka. Learn about Sri Lankan spiritual practices when visiting the Bahirawakanda Monastery. See the incredible Temple of the Tooth that contains the relic of the tooth of Buddha.
Leave vibrant Kandy and gaze at the green rolling hills as you make your way 2 hours into the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill country. See the temple where the Hindu God Rama’s lover prayed for Rama to rescue her from the evil King Ravana.
Spend your second day in the the area in the great outdoors. Take a hike in the rolling hills, in the idyllic Horton Plains National Park. The park is one of many UNESCO sites in the country.
Travel 4 hours to Tangalle to soak in the sunshine. Here, you’ll have the incredible opportunity to catch baby sea turtles hatch on a deserted beach. The Rekawa Turtle Conservation’s mission is to preserve the turtles’ natural environment, and help them thrive within it. In the evening, learn to cook the area’s famous cuisine and eat your own creations.
Enjoy an extra-special sight this morning, as you marvel at the Mulkirigala Rock Temple, home to seven cave temples, perched on terraces of various altitudes, the highest of which is 676 feet above sea-level. Note the handdrawn Buddhist art on the cave walls. The afternoon has you taking a safari ride through seaside Yala National Park. Return to you hotel tonight to enjoy some leisure time.
Reach the final destination of your adventure - the gorgeous coastal city of Galle, 90 minutes away. Along the way, stop at the UNESCO site, the Ancient Port of Galle. Enjoy a whale-watching tour and see the large mammals playing in their natural environment. Visit the Yatagala and Rhumasala temples for a unique spiritual tour. Check in to the historic Amangalla hotel located inside of the old fort within the Ancient Port, for the final night of your trip. The hotel is known for providing five-star quality in an old-world beautiful setting. Get a good sleep ahead of tomorrow morning’s departure.
For over a century, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower has been the haunt of India's elite, and has played host to princes, kings, maharajas, presidents, CEOs and countless celebrities. Built in 1903, it is an architectural marvel, bringing together Moorish, Oriental, and Florentine styles. Inside, the hotel showcases contemporary Indian art framed by vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, graceful archways, hand-woven silk carpets, crystal chandeliers, and an eclectic collection of furniture. There are 519 rooms and 46 opulent suites with panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and the Gateway of India. The Taj's excellent dining options include Golden Dragon - voted the best Chinese restaurant in Mumbai; Masala Kraft - Indian cuisine with a contemporary twist; Souk, which has stunning views of Mumbai from its rooftop location and serves Middle Eastern cuisine; The Zodiac Grill, where a special menu is offered for each month's star sign, and the stellar Wasabi By Morimoto - Mumbai's first contemporary Japanese restaurant, helmed by the Iron Chef himself. There is also the Harbour Bar, Mumbai's first drinking establishment, and the Insomnia nightclub, filled with "Bombabes" and their millionaire boyfriends. Guests can unwind at the luxurious spa, the fitness center, equipped with cardiovascular and weight training equipment, steam shower and sauna and swimming pool, or with a game of badminton, squash, tennis or billiards. The hotel also has a private yacht available for day trips on the Arabian Sea or to nearby Elephanta Island. There is a business center with wired and wireless Internet access, secretarial services and cell phones and laptops for hire. Wi-fi available throughout the hotel. The Taj Mahal Palace is 45 minutes from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM).
Bask in the ultimate luxury at The Oberoi Mumbai, a spectacular building with incredible ocean views and a front-row seat for the Queen’s Necklace, the name for the golden crescent of lights that glimmer on the shoreline after the sun sets. From the moment guests arrive on the spectacular grounds, they are whisked away into a world of elegance and luxury. Inside the lobby, floor-to-ceiling windows offer unparalleled views of the ocean and the incredible shoreline. And within each incredibly-decorated guest room, guests may marvel at the views as they enjoy personalised butler services. The hotel also features a variety of world-class restaurants serving delicious cuisine from around the world, as well as a state-of-the-art spa, fitness center and temperature-controlled, outdoor pool in a private courtyard.
Located on the banks of Lake Vembanad, Kumarakom is a beautiful retreat on the backwaters of Kerala. The building that houses Ettukettu, its principal restaurant, was commissioned by King Marthanda Varma as a gift to his martial arts teacher, and dismantled from its original location before being reassembled at Kumarakom. The 115-seat restaurant offers multiple cuisines, including continental, Chinese, Mughlai, North Indian and traditional regional dishes. Ayurmana, Kumarakom’s Ayurveda spa, has an extensive menu of massages, therapeutic and beauty treatments, while the fitness center has a wide array of cardio machines and free weights. Thattukada is a traditional Kerala teashop. Kumarakom is approximately 1.5 hours from Cochin airport (COK).
Set in a restored boatyard dating from the Victorian era, the Brunton is located at the tip of Fort Cochin. Designed in the style of early Dutch and Portuguese buildings, with whitewashed walls, a sloping tile roof and terracotta floors, the Brunton features twenty-two rooms – all of which face the sea, and are fitted with antique furniture and high royal beds with steps to climb up to them. Dining options include the History Café, which serves a fusion of Dutch, Syrian, Indian and Keralan cuisines in a room paneled with warm woods and teak crossbeams; the Terrace Grill serves the best of that morning's catch; and lastly, the Armoury Bar, which overlooks the harbor and features a selection of teas and classic cocktails. The hotel has a small pool next to the sea, an Ayurvedic center with massage and healing treatments, and a steam room, but does not have a fitness center. There is no business center, though there are secretarial services and Internet access. The Brunton Boatyard lies approximately 30 minutes from the airport in Cochin (COK).
The charming Malabar House, voted Best Boutique Hotel by Time magazine, dates back to 1755 when Dutchman Jan Herman Clausing owned it. Spice traders, tea merchants and bankers subsequently occupied it before being turned into luxury accommodations. There are 17 rooms and suites, divided into Deluxe Rooms, Roof Garden Suites and the Malabar Suite; all have tiled floors and are decorated in vibrant color schemes with antique objets d’art. In-room amenities include televisions, direct dial telephones, safe deposit lockers, coffee makers and mini bars. The property’s restaurant, Malabar Junction, serves delectable seafood prepared in Indian and Mediterranean styles and if the weather is nice, meals or drinks can be taken in the courtyard, which often hosts local dance or musical performances. Upstairs from the restaurant is Divine, a wine bar focused on Indian wines. Malabar House is in the heart of historical Fort Cochin, opposite St. Francis Church and 3 minutes walk to the Chinese fishing nets. The property is a 1.5-hour drive from Nedumbassery Cochin International airport.
The dramatic and sultry Tintagel property is located in central Colombo, close to Colombo Town Hall, National Art Gallery and Sinhalese Sports Club. The hotel was previously home to three of Sri Lanka’s political leaders, making it an important structure of national heritage. This unique and intimate hotel boasts ten high-ceilinged suites with timber floors, lavishly decorated with a unique blend of color, texture and atmosphere. The spacious bathrooms feature rain showers, bathtubs and large vanities. All rooms include complimentary WiFi, LCD TV screens with DVD/CD players, a minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities and Egyptian cotton bedding. Selected suites come with a private courtyard or a balcony. There are a range of dining facilities including an alfresco restaurant, a chic indoor restaurant offering international cuisine, a private dining room and a bar with black leather lounges and bronze tables. Other facilities and services of the hotel include a spa with optional in-room service, swimming pool, gym, steam room, library and courtyard.
In prime position next to the lake and nearby Buddhist shrine, Uga Residence screams old-world elegance in modern Colombo. Nestled on a verdant avenue, this perfectly-appointed Victorian mansion offers an escape and some peace and quiet within the bustle of the city. Guests can relax in their luxurious suites, bedecked in rich materials and textures, or on their private terraces; alternatively, they may enjoy tranquil walks in the shady gardens. Relaxation and reinvigoration are close at hand with massages available on request and the hotel pool awaiting with cooling waters in a sunny courtyard. A la carte dining is a sumptuous affair at the poolside restaurant, where guests may begin with a cocktail from the adjacent bar and continue with wine from the cellar to accompany the gourmet delights on offer.
Located just six kilometers away from the historic Sigiriya Rock, Water Garden Sigiriya resort provides visitors to Sri Lanka with world-class comfort and second to none service. With one and two bedroom options, the resort's 30 villas are chicly designed, spacious, and imbued with an air of mystique thanks to their secret gardens and private plunge pools. Havens of relaxation and excellently positioned to observe the lush outdoors and roaming wildlife, the villas are also equipped with such modern comforts as flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi, and coffeemakers. The expansive resort property can be traversed via a traditional buggy, swimming across the outdoor pool, or aboard a helicopter from the resort’s helipad that provides aerial tours of the adjacent countryside. Master chefs cater to diverse appetites with dishes from around the world at the outdoor dining sites and traditional indoor venue. Quality is ensured with an emphasis on organic produce and imports from top quality suppliers. At the resort's spa, various treatments can be enjoyed including renowned Balinese massages. On-site, there is plenty to keep guests entertained with activities as diverse as billiards, biking, and archery while travel off the premises to explore such nearby attractions as the ancient cities of Dambulla, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa is easy and convenient.
Nestled amongst reed beds and paddy fields on top of a man-made lake lies Jetwing Vil Uyana, a premier luxury eco resort in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. Hailed by Harper's Bazaar as the "best eco luxury hotel in Sri Lanka," this one-of-a-kind resort comprises 36 dwellings that merge sophisticated modern comforts with ecological rural simplicity. Located on a property that spans 28 acres, the resort's structures have been carefully placed to best allow the surrounding nature to thrive, inducing 36 species of butterfly, 120 species of bird, and 20 species of mammal that regard the resortas home. Guests can attempt to identify all the species from the comfort of their dwellings or participate in any of the various wildlife observation tours organized by the resort’s staff. Magnificent views of Sigiriya rock are also offered from the resort's fine dining restaurant serving Eastern and Western dishes alike. There is also a café for light bites and a fully stocked bar. Strategically located, getaways to elephant gatherings at Minneriya National Park, a wildlife safari at Wilpattu National Park, and other tours of nearby natural wonders and cultural relics are easily accessible. The resort itself is equipped with a spa, yoga treatments, gymnasium, coffee makers, Wi-Fi, and more.
Situated in the midst of a coconut grove on a secluded bay, the Amanwella resort is one of the world's most exclusive beach retreats. The resort sits on a perfect crescent of white-sand beach and is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, national parks and exotic wildlife and a 5 and 1/2 hour drive from Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). There are 30 suites, each equipped with a plunge pool, terrace, and floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides. A number of ocean suites are located further down the hill and have uninterrupted views of the coconut palms and the beach. The Amanwella restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, and uses its location next to the ocean to cook up fresh Asian- and Mediterranean-style seafood. The Pool Terrace also serves meals in a more laid-back setting. When not enjoying a safari, snorkeling, or swimming in the pool, there is a library with Internet access and reference books on Sri Lanka. The spa offers massages and traditional therapies using local, natural ingredients, which can be given either in the spa's suite or in selected garden locations. There is no fitness center.
Located along the beautiful coastline of Dickwella, southern Sri Lanka, the beautiful Ani Villa Sri Lanka estate is the handiwork of Reda Amalou and AW2 of Paris. Contemporary tropical architecture is merged with the finest bespoke finishes and furnishings across the 15 bedrooms of this two-villa estate. The Villa Monara has eight suites while the Villa Divia has seven. Either of the villas can be rented separately, or the whole estate can be rented at once. Both villas have their own oversized infinity pools and are located right along the beach. Rooms are spacious and lavishly appointed. They can be fitted with a king-size or two twin beds. Bathrooms feature both showers and tubs, and many rooms even have private plunge pools. There is a lot to do at the estate besides basking under the sun; namely, there is a private spa, state of the art fitness center, tennis and basketball courts, yoga pavilion, and a shuffleboard court. All meals are provided by the estate’s kitchen according to guests’ preferences, whether this means authentic Sri Lankan meals or International favorites. There are also several places worth visiting nearby, such as the Galle Fort, tea plantations, and Uda Walawe National Park.
Located in the center of a preserved 17th-century Dutch Fort, the sumptuous Amangalla resort is also a beautifully restored UNESCO World Heritage site that perfectly captures the charm of the historic trading port of Galle. Amangalla has 17 rooms, eight suites and the Garden House, a two-story house with treetop views. Rooms are decorated in a style that blends luxurious contemporary amenities with a perfectly rendered colonial-era aesthetic. Sri Lankan curry and other traditional dishes are served in the dining room, and the Veranda is a cool spot to have a drink during the day; the fort's Zaal (Dutch for Great Hall) serves light meals and a classic afternoon tea. The pool is located in the resort's gardens and has five shaded pavilions where you can relax post-swim. A library with Internet access houses information on Sri Lanka and the history of the Fort. The Baths, Amangalla's spa, offers Ayurvedic massage, hydrotherapy pools, and a steam room and sauna, among other treatments. There is also a garden pavilion for yoga practice or meditation. There is no fitness center. The resort is roughly a four-hour drive from Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).
Spend 10-days exploring the best of Sri Lanka from the cultural triangle, to tea country, and down to its sandy southern coast. You’ll stay in some of Sri Lanka’s most luxury hotels, as you explore Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Dambulla, spot wild elephants on a safari, travel tea country by railway, and learn about turtles at a sanctuary.
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Play with elephants, relax as the kids swim in the Indian Ocean and fall asleep to the calming ocean lull while staying in a floating house on this 13-day luxurious Sri Lankan holiday. With hiking, elephant trekking and rafting in store, there’s plenty of action to keep the kids busy and still time for you to relax.
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On this two-week tour of beautiful Sri Lanka, discover the country’s hidden treasures, from historic colonial towns to its lush jungles, rainforests and tea terraces. Savor the views and allow yourself to be enchanted by ancient culture.
Step back in time without leaving any luxury behind on this 14-day journey through Sri Lanka’s most important heritage sites. Picnic atop an ancient rock fortress, take an exciting safari through Yala National Park and visit the revered UNESCO site, Anuradhapura. This adventure offers insight into ancient cultures.
Experience Sri Lanka’s natural beauty on this luxurious 17-day adventure. Observe wild elephant herds in their natural habitat, trek in the lush Sinharaja Rainforest, explore multiple UNESCO sites, hike through an ancient monastery and still have plenty of time to unwind by the turquoise sea in stunning Galle.
Spend an unforgettable 10 days touring the beautiful island of Sri Lanka for a romantic honeymoon filled with stunning sights and spectacular scenery. From ancient ruins to whale-infested waters, this trip is packed with treasures that will guarantee your newlywed life starts in style.
A unique region with a strong Indian presence, no stone goes unturned on this 15-day luxury Northern Sri Lanka adventure. This is the most luxurious tour you will find in the region – but this is not your typical 5-star service. You’ll experience the rare opportunity of seeing the country’s rebirth from the civil war.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
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The tiny island of Sri Lanka has endured a lot, both in the past and in recent memory. Torn apart by civil war and a devastating tsunami, this strong and determined little country has fought its way through the hard times and come out on the other side not only with its beauty and culture intact, but also with its eyes on bigger rewards.
Here is a small selection of the kind words our guests have said about us, as well as features by journalists and travel writers.