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.
Embark on a 14-day-long adventure that is sure to leave the whole family with enough incredible memories to last a lifetime. Start at Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, exploring the famed Dambulla Caves, climbing Sigiriya Rock, and floating above the landscape in a hot-air balloon. Witness the wonder of hundreds of wild elephants gathering at Minneriya National Park. Hop on a helicopter and land in the middle of tea country amongst verdant hills. Head to the shores to search for the elusive leopards, then to the waters to spot whales and dolphins. Abu Dhabi, a great city known for its opulence, is home to the lesser known Sir Bani Yas, an island dominated by free roaming giraffes, cheetahs and gazelles. Spend time getting close to the wildlife and nature through fun activities such as adventure safaris, kayaking, mountain biking, archery, hiking and snorkeling.
Touchdown at the airport in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. You’ll be greeted by your guide and escorted to your private vehicle and transferred to your hotel. Check in to your luxury hotel, whether at the centrally-located Tintagel or lakeside Uga Residence. Relax for the remainder of the day ahead of your adventure. Those eager for action have the option to delve right into the nighttime Colombo scene with a guided food tour to witness the hustle and bustle of local markets, spot iconic sites and local hangouts, and of course, sample Colombo’s unique mix of Sinhala, Muslim, Tamil, and Malay cuisines.
Set off this morning for Sri Lanka’s “Cultural Triangle,” starting with Dambulla, a town two hours away famed for its rock cave temple. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage designated Dambulla caves and marvel at its ancient frescoes and sculptures depicting Buddha’’s life. Drive onward to nearby Sigiriya. Start with the Sigiriya Museum to learn about the ancient civilization, before ascending the ancient rock fortress known as the ‘Lion’s Rock,’ a UNESCO site with the rare distinction of being both a natural and manmade wonder of the world. The rock formation was carved into a small city fortress complete with palace residences, fountains, and employed a sophisticated hydraulic technology. Reach the top just in time to watch the sunset. Spend the evening at Jetwing Vil Uyana.
Earlybirds wishing to see Sigiriya and the landscape from a unique perspective may opt to take a sunrise hot-air balloon ride which drifts effortlessly over the treetops, wildlife, lakes & rivers, and local homesteads. After breakfast, check out and drive to Minneriya National Park, home to many animals including endemic monkeys, deer, leopards, sloth bears. Travelers in September may witness hundreds of elephants that have traveled across the region to the Minneriya reservoir, known as the famous annual ’Elephant Gathering.’ Take a helicopter from Sigiriya and head to the nation's tea country. Check into your bungalow at Ceylon Tea Trails, a property owned by the famous Dilmah Tea company, the most recognized international brand of tea from Sri Lanka. Enjoy fresh crumpets with a cup of afternoon tea and relax for the rest of the day.
The day is yours to leisurely explore the surrounding areas, hike the many routes across the hills, learn about the tea-making process, enjoy a game of croquet or tennis, and indulge in afternoon tea. Adventurous types can take on mountain biking, white-water rafting, and hiking more rigorous trails like Adam’s Peak.
Wake up with the finest cup of tea and fresh crumpets and spend the morning relishing sublime mountain tranquility. At noon, get on another seaplane and fly towards the southern coast to Yala National Park just in time for lunch and the afternoon jeep safari. Choose between Leopard Trails or Wild Coast Tented Lodge, both quality camps that offer the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the elusive big cat. Yala is home to one of the highest concentration of leopards in the world. Guests are treated to private safaris in jeeps with a ranger, driver, and set of binoculars.
Start the morning with another safari and chance to spot the leopards, as well as elephants, monkeys, peacocks, and a wide range of birds. Take a seaplane flight along the turquoise coastline to Koggala and drive a short way to your beach escape, Cape Weligama Resort. Freshen up and change into swimwear before your afternoon experience with Sri Lanka’s iconic fishermen who fish while perched on poles planted in the sea. Learn the technique, then climb onto a stilt and try your hand at this unique skill. Return to your resort to enjoy fresh seafood and dramatic shoreline views at sunset.
Take an early morning private cruise out to sea for whale and dolphin watching. The plankton-rich waters is home to a thriving population of marine life. Keep an eye out for breaching blue whales and jumping bottle-nose and spinner dolphins. Return to your resort for lunch and to spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Choose amongst a variety of activities such as a pampering spa treatment, cocktails by the pool, or getting PADI-certified at the hotel and diving off the shore.
Soak up more sun and beach before checking out at noon and departing for the historic town of Galle, just an hour away. Midway, stop at the sea turtle hatchery to learn about these cute yet hardy marine animals that lay their eggs on the protected Koggala shores and ongoing conservation efforts. Upon arrival at the UNESCO-designated port town, check in to Amangalla which was the Dutch Governor’s residence. Then, take to the fort town by foot and spend the rest of the afternoon wandering the byzantine streets’ old spice warehouses, cafes and restaurants, jewelry shops, and historic ramparts.
Depart from the picturesque southern coast as you drive back to Colombo. Have lunch and spend time visiting the iconic sites such as Gangaramaya Temple, Seema Malaka water temple by the lake, Old Colombo Dutch Hospital, and the Clock Tower which was initially used as a lighthouse. Transfer to the airport for your late afternoon flight, touching down in Abu Dhabi in the late evening. Meet your local guide at the airport and transfer to your palatial hotel, the Emirates Palace.
Get ready for a full day of cultural exploration, starting with the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital to learn about the local culture of falconry, about the care and treatment of these magnificent birds, and get a photo with one perched on your arm. Run by the Emirates Heritage Club, the Heritage Village is a reconstruction of a traditional oasis village providing an interesting glimpse into the emirate’s past. Traditional aspects of the desert way of life, including a campfire with coffee pots, a goats’ hair tent, and a falaj irrigation system, are attractively displayed in the open museum. Take in world-class art at the Lourve before ending the day with a visit to the beautiful Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.
Take a morning water taxi to Sir Bani Yas island and check in to Anantara’s Al Sahel Villas, an oasis in the middle of the island’s Arabian Wildlife Park. Put on comfortable shoes and explore the island for the rest of the day such as self-guided or ranger-led wildlife walks around the savannah and mangrove lagoon for close-up encounters with the free-roaming animals.
Take more wildlife walks or partake in archery and mountain biking in the morning. At noon, check out and move to Anantara’s Al Yamm Villa for a change of scenery and wildlife. Here, guests are taken on game drives. The park houses about 13,000 animals indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula, including endangered species such as sand gazelles, Urial and Barbary sheep and Arabian Oryx. There are also free-roaming giraffes, flamingos, and ostriches, as well as predators and scavengers such as the Sudan cheetah and striped hyena.