This 13-day Sri Lanka getaway takes you on an architectural journey through the influential works of Geoffrey Bawa. See how Bawa incorporated Sri Lanka’s ancient and modern architecture into each of his works. His beautiful buildings are inspired by different aspects of the lush countryside - the beating sun, cool sea breeze, rushing waterfalls, and unending dense forests. Journey across the countryside through Kotugoda, Dambulla, Kandy, the Central Highlands, Tambulle, Bentota, Galle and Colombo.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 Colombo and transfer to nearby Kotugoda, where you will find your charming colonial-style bungalow at The Wallawwa. Indulge in a much-deserved rejuvenating massage after your long trip into Sri Lanka. This deluxe boutique hotel is the perfect place to relax and explore Sri Lanka’s lush natural landscape.
Make the scenic 4-hour trip to Dambulla in the center of the northern region of the island. Here you will lay eyes on the first of many of Geoffrey Bawa’s creations - the 1994 Heritance Kandalama. Bawa coined the hotel as “an austere jungle palace.” The hotel is integrated seamlessly into the jungle surroundings and appears to be a part of the cliff face, giving guests breathtaking views of Kandalama Lake. Visit the area’s magnificent ancient Buddhist cave temples. Pay a visit to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Spend the night in luxury at the Heritance Kandalama.
After spending some time in the naturalist’s heaven at the Heritance Kandalama, climb the 1,840 steps to the Mihintale rock - a key monument for Buddhists. Check out the Mahakanadarawa stone bridge that has been suspended in the middle of the dense forest since the 7th century. The 2,500-year-old irrigation system is still in place and working. Retire to the Heritance Kandalama for the evening.
Your journey moves 2 hours away to the picturesque, quaint lake town of Kandy. The little town is considered Sri Lanka’s hill capital. That afternoon, enjoy touring the plush Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya and the Temple of the Tooth. The temple earned its name for containing an actual tooth belonging to Buddha. It’s been in the temple since the 4th-century.
Enjoy a peaceful day in natural Kandy. Relax or stroll around Kandy Lake in the middle of the town. Feel tranquil as you visit the Udawattekele Sanctuary and explore the Primeval Forest. For all the tea aficionados - the Tea Museum is an unexpected treat in the town. Spend your final evening in the sleepy town at your hotel.
Travel 2 hours into the Golden Valley of Tea in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. This tealeaf-covered area also boasts rolling hills, roaring waterfalls and incredible greenery. Spend the night at the incredible, extravagant Tea Trails. The four charming colonial-style bungalows were initially built for British tea estate managers.
Start the morning off right with a freshly-picked cup of tea. You may want to enjoy the “Tea experience.” This begins with a plantation visit to learn about the handpicking business as far as the processing to packaging phases. Enjoy a scenic mountain bike ride on one of the many trails - guides are available from the hotel if you would like. Kayak out onto the reservoirs of Castlereagh and Maskeliya.
Leave the hills and head 3 hours to the Southwestern portion of the country to tropical Tangalle. Spend two nights in Bawa’s final creation - fittingly-coined the Last House. Built with a lagoon on one side and a beach on the other - you can have the best of both worlds. This is your accommodation for the next three nights. Spend your first day exploring the unending beach. Go for a swim in the fresh, sparkling water.
Explore the small fishing village of Rekawa. There is an incredible Marine Turtle Conservation project where you may be lucky enough to spot the endangered animal. Chat with locals and observe their simpler way of life. Return to the Last House for the evening.
If you’re feeling up for an active day, consider whale watching, snorkeling, sailing, river trips and sea kayaking. The company employs youth affected by the tsunami. Pay a visit to the ancient Mulkirigala temple. The temple rests atop a boulder more than 650 feet above sea level. Revel at the ancient inscriptions dating back more than 2,000 years. Spend your final evening at the Last House.
Enjoy a scenic 2-hour coastal drive as you make your way to historic Bentota. Along the way, you’ll stop and visit the Ruhuna University in Matara. Bawa created the university by combining space and the natural landscape between the university’s two hills. Between numerous pavilions, courtyards and a stunning view of the Indian Ocean, Bawa transformed the area into a haven for the academic youth. After Matara, you will make a stop in Galle to visit the UNESCO site of the town's 17th-century fort. View period Portuguese and Dutch architecture and wander through the town’s narrow alleys, imagining life centuries ago. Enjoy lunch at the Lighthouse Hotel, designed by Geoffrey Bawa in 1994. The Lighthouse maintains a Portuguese style, reenacting the country’s landing at Galle in brass and bronze on the expansive main stairwell. Once you reach Bentota, spend two nights in Bawa’s garden retreat, which was once a rubber plantation. The Lunuganga is notable as Bawa’s personal space. The property was known for being his favorite retreat and where he spent nearly 50 years developing his work and style. The dense foliage, pavilions and statues have turned this once-industrial area into a garden haven.
Take a morning flight and spend the last evening of your adventure in Colombo, where you will be staying at the elegant boutique hotel, The Tintagel, in Sri Lanka’s famous ancestral neighborhood. The hotel was once occupied by Sri Lanka's former president’s family. You can see the Parliament Building also built by Bawa. The building sits in the middle of a massive man-made lake. We recommend having dinner at Bawa’s office turned into a restaurant - The Gallery. Rest up at your luxury hotel before your flight home tomorrow.
Today, enjoy breakfast at your hotel, before being transferred to the airport to catch your departing international flight.
Situated just 15 minutes from Bandaranaike International Airport, The Wallawwa is an old colonial home that has been restored and converted into 17 guestrooms and suites-- The Mountbatten Suite, two Family Suites, two Wallawwa Bedrooms, and twelve Garden Suites. The property offers well-manicured, lush gardens, a library, a study with computer and complimentary internet access, a swimming pool, and a spa. The Verandah offers Asian Fusion cuisine and is set overlooking the property's beautiful gardens.
Designed by famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the unique Heritance Kandalama hotel is set into a cliff face among dense tropical forests, flanked by the Dambulla rock temple and Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The hotel’s buildings were planned to blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment and are covered with hanging vines and flowering plants. Each of the 152 rooms faces either Kandalama Lake or the forest – even the bathrooms were planned to showcase the view – and is decorated in an elegantly simple contemporary style. The Kandalama is the first Green Globe 21-certified hotel in Asia, and the first hotel in the world to be awarded the prestigious LEED Green Building certification. There are three restaurants to choose from, including the Kanchana Café, which has won multiple awards. Among The Kandalama’s amenities are a pool, business center and fitness center, while the world-renowned Six Senses Spa has a location here that offers Asian, Swedish, aromatherapy and Ayurvedic massage.
Sri Lanka, once known as Ceylon, is one of the world's historic centers of tea production, replete with rolling green hills and genteel plantation homes. Ceylon Tea Trails, run by the Dilmah Tea Company, has restored four classic colonial bungalows built for British tea estate managers in the days of the Raj. These historic houses offer guests the unique experience of life on a working tea estate in the highlands (elevation here is over 4,000 feet). The bungalows range in size from four to six rooms and two have their own pools. Summerville and Castlereagh are situated opposite each other on the shores of the Castlereagh Lake, Norwood is at the other end of the valley about 15 minutes away by car and Tientsin is about 30 minutes away in the next valley. Maintained trails with beautiful views run between all the bungalows, and through the surrounding hillsides and plantations. Each house comes with its own manager, chef, butler and houseboys; in-house massage appointments can be arranged. Meals and afternoon tea are prepared by your private chef using gourmet ingredients and produce grown right on the property, and can be served indoors or on the lawn.
A remarkable seaside manor, The Last House is appropriately named as it was the final masterpiece designed and constructed under the direction of world-renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. The seaside estate is a striking example of Bawa's signature 'tropical modernist' style. The six-bedroom house provides beautiful views of the sea and lagoon and luxurious offerings, which include spa treatments, a kitchen with a diverse menu, and a list of outdoor and cultural activities. The entire property can be privately reserved, or guests can stay in one of the individual rooms or suites, which include The Cinnamon Hill Suite or the Moonamal, Atteriya and Na rooms.
The Lunuganga Estate was the private residence of world-renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. It was on this property that Bawa spent nearly 50 years experimenting and perfecting his ideas and visions. The result is a Sri Lankan national treasure--a beautiful combination of elaborate and wild gardens and living spaces framing the natural setting of the residence. Enjoy the secluded walkways, romantic gardens, and breathtaking views of Deduwa Lake and relax in this work of art that perfectly blends the wild with the civilized.
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.
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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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.
With seaside, ancient stupas, rustic rural hamlets, and abundant wildlife, Sri Lanka’s east coast is a holistic island experience.
Travelogues speaks with Malik Fernando of Resplendent Ceylon, proprietor of some of the finest accommodations on Sri Lanka, including Wild Coast Tented Lodge, Ceylon Tea Trails, and Cape Weligama.
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.