Hidden Treasures & Jungle Trails

Explore the wildlife opportunities and eco retreat hideaways galore taking only memories and leaving only footprints on this tiny island …

What to Expect

11 Nights / 12 Days

Explore the wildlife opportunities and eco retreat hideaways galore taking only memories and leaving only footprints on this tiny island …

Day 1 : Route – Airport to Makandura

Driving time: Approx. 45 minutes

Overnight: Notary’s House – Bed & breakfast basis

Following your arrival at the airport, meet your English speaking chauffeur guide and transfer to Makandura.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure at the villa surrounded by serene villages and paddy fields.

Contemporary and traditional Sri Lankan design and architectural features adorn the property’s legacy.

Day 2 : Route – Makandura

Overnight: Notary’s House – Bed & breakfast basis

 

After a leisurely breakfast, cycle around the small villages and interact with the locals as they go about their lives in rural areas situated around the paddy fields and vegetation. There are harvesting festivals in the afternoons and quiet jungle sanctuaries which are best explored by bicycle in the morning around the area. Also visit the small village temple and meet the devotees.

The forest and village surrounding villa offers some charming cycle routes and trekking paths which guests can take at their own pace. Ride past scenic paddy fields with resident buffalo and egrets and surrounded by rural households and their seasonal crops. You will be greeted with the warm smiles of the locals as you ride along and quite possibly have the occasional curious house dog tagging along for a while. The dense foliage of the neighboring Dikkale forest reserve, a local biodiversity hotspot with a wide range of flora and fauna, offers some very pleasant trails with many species of birds. The lake front is a great place to observe the many species of resident and migratory birds.

Day 3 : Route – Makandura to Anavilundawa to Wilpattu

Driving time: Approx. 2.5 hours

Overnight: Leopard Trails Wilpattu – All Inclusive basis

After a leisurely breakfast, transfer to Wilpattu national park.

En route visit Anavilundawa wetland and bird sanctuary. The exceptionality of Anawilundawa is its direct proximity to three massively dissimilar ecologies; the beach, the mangroves and the fresh water reservoirs. This distinctive setting has made it a satisfactory breeding and nesting ground for hundreds of bird species. Some birds found here are Herons, Great cormorant, White ibis, the Open-bill, Stalk, Egret, Purple swamp hen and the Pheasant tailed jacna.

Check in to your luxury camp site and have a well-deserved lunch before heading on your safari at Wilpattu national park!

Wilpattu is Sri Lanka’s largest national park although lesser known and visited. It is also the oldest park which has been reopened after the end of the armed conflict in the island a decade or so ago. An exclusive feature of Wilpattu park is that the entire area is dotted with large sand bordered lakes known as “Villus”. The main draw here is the leopard and sloth bear and it is also one of the best parks to see the barking deer. Wilpattu is surrounded from the north and south by the Modara Gamaru river and the Kala Oya river.

Afterwards enjoy your dinner and exchange stories around the bonfire of the camp with the camp naturalists.

 

Day 4 : Route – Wilpattu to Sigiriya to Dambulla

Driving time: Approx. 2 hours

Overnight: Kalundewa Retreat – Bed & breakfast basis

In the early morning, take a packed breakfast and go on another morning safari at Wilpattu national park. Then transfer to Dambulla and check into your jungle hideout!

In the afternoon climb Pidurangala Rock and Sigiriya rock Fortress. Rising intensely from the central plains, this enigmatic rocky outcrop is perhaps Sri Lanka’s most theatrical sight.  Near-vertical walls ascend to a flat-topped peak that contains the remains of an early civilisation, thought to be formerly the epicenter of the brief kingdom of King Kassapa.

Even though Sigiriya Fortress is the highly spoken rock formation in the area, a hike to Pidurangala especially in the early morning can be a more memorable experience. Pidurangala Rock has a much more earthly natural feel. A climb of 30 minutes will be well rewarded with the majestic view of Sigiriya Lion’s rock, picturesque lakes, greenery and land vistas.  The cool breeze will take away all your tiredness when you on the top. You can explore more on the connections king Rawana claimed to have had with aliens and spaceships believed to be landed on this flat rock base of Pidurangala. Sound interesting!

Day 5 : Route – Dambulla to Ritigala to Minneriya and back

Driving time: Approx. 3 hours both ways

Overnight: Kalundewa Retreat – Bed & breakfast basis

In the early morning, visit Ritigala, the forest sanctuary after breakfast. Deep inside the Ritigala Nature Reserve are the rambling, jungle-covered remnants of this widespread monastery. It looks like it was a place of refuge and also has mythical status. Reclusive monks found these caves ideal for an austere existence and there are over 70 caves discovered.

Afterwards go on a safari at Minneriya national park. This national park is one of the best places to see wild elephants in their natural habitat, who are often present in vast numbers. Surrounded by the prehistorically built Minneriya reservoir, the park has plenty of forest, wetlands and scrub to also provide shelter for sambar deer, buffalo, toque macaques, wildboars and crocodiles. Large herds of elephants come to feed and bathe together during what is known as ‘the Gathering’.

Day 6 : Route – Sigiriya to Dambulla to Kandy - Elkaduwa

Driving time: Approx. 3 hours

Overnight: Ashburnham Estate – Bed & breakfast basis

After a leisurely breakfast transfer to Kandy. En route visit Dambulla cave temple and Matale Heritage Centre. Dambulla’s rock cave temple and its art that adorns the cave is an iconic Lankan symbol. It’s glory is recognized and that is why it holds the title of a world heritage site. Dambulla Cave Temple lies in the central part of the country and is also known as the Golden Temple.

En route visit the little known Arankelle Monastery which is an archeological wonder in its own right. On the grades of the hills is a collection of rock caves once used by priests and monks for protection, contemplation and shelter. Though the exterior of the caves remain rough, the interior stones are well coated with lime. It was the site of a primeval forestry monastery – the somber abode for recluse priests and monks who sought its very isolation and seclusion.

Then upon arrival at Kandy city, take a walk along the upper lake drive and visit the Temple of the Tooth before heading to your quaint villa in the mountains. Kandy is a countryside hamlet with cool breeze, leafy green landscapes, misty mountains gathered around the lake. It is home to sacred landmarks, beautiful gardens, and diligent cultural delights. A leisurely stroll down the lanes will give you a feeling of a paradise.

You can find many diverse seasonal fruits, vegetables and spices for a small price if you make a visit to Kandy local market. When you walk down the market towards the station, you will pass small shops with handcrafts, wood ornaments that you will want to stop and check. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth with its golden roof holds the most important Buddhist object – a tooth of the Lord Buddha. During ‘puja’ (prayers), the protected compartment housing the same is open to visitors.

Day 7 : Route – Elkaduwa

Overnight: Ashburnham Estate – Bed & breakfast basis

Ashburnham Estate is a quaint and characteristic bungalow set in its own tea estate and offers some of the best views of the region. The estate claims hidden waterfalls up to and across the Knuckles Mountains, as well as its own lush tea fields, plucked every working day.

Go on a waterfalls hike with a picnic and see the large waterfall and several other cascade and plunge pools which are all lovely little hideaways at which to cool off, lay back and chill out. An afternoon is happily spent, meandering tea trails and old estate steps rambling from one to the next. Climbing up and beyond, you reach more beautiful tea estates in territory entirely untouched and into the unique Cloud Forest beyond.

Day 8 : Route – Elkaduwa-Kandy to Ella to Wellawaya

Driving time: Approx. 45 minutes

Train time: Approx. 6 hours

Overnight: Jetwing Kaduruketha – Bed & breakfast basis

After a leisurely breakfast transfer to Ella via scenic train admiring the views of forests, waterfalls, villages, mountains and tea estates! The nostalgic train journey from Kandy to Ella through breath taking sceneries of emerald tea plantations and rolling mountain, is one memorable experience which will take 6 hours.

See the Rawana waterfalls en route. The views from Ella village are fabulous, and on a clear evening you might even be able to see the glow of the Great Basses lighthouse in the island’s south coast.

For eras, agriculture has shaped the way of life for civilizations across the country. Villages were home to farmers who inspired a lifestyle filled with simple luxuries. Farmers were also held in high regard for their service to these traditional lands, once thriving with a culture that truly represents the heart of Sri Lankan hospitality. You can also experience agro-tourism, which continues to embody this legacy within this luxury eco property.

Day 9 : Route – Wellawaya

Overnight: Jetwing Kaduruketha – Bed & breakfast basis

 

Today spend the day at the traditional farmlands to the picturesque regions of our island beyond.

Experience activities that range from chasing waterfalls, discovering archaeological sites, hiking and trekking the countryside

Amidst the serene environment that surrounds the villa, indulge in agro-luxury with organic gardening at the farm, or witness the celebrations of paddy farming and harvesting festivals of the local Maha and Yala seasons, where the first harvest of rice is offered to deities in a traditional ceremony known as ‘Dewa Danaya’. For further exploration, you can indulge in village walks, a tree trail, and nocturnal wildlife trail as outdoor excursions, along with a dedicated bird watching experience.

In the neighboring regions, the Hadapanagala Tank is another hotspot for elephants, while the Weheragala section is known as one of the best places in the world to spot the elusive Sri Lankan leopard. An alternative is the Poonagala mountain range, where you can organize adventurous hikes through the cool climes. Diyaluma Falls, which is the second highest waterfall in the country, is also located nearby these highlands, while the sheltered Elle Wele waterfall can be accessed by bicycle from the hotel. Finally, you are also located near archaeological sites such as Yudaganawa Temples and Buduruwagala which take you back centuries, yet remain not too far away.

Day 10 : Route – Wellawaya to Galle-Koggala

Driving time: Approx. 4 hours

Overnight: Tri Koggala island – Bed & breakfast basis

Today take a leisurely breakfast and then transfer to the beaches Hiriketiya and Dalawalla following a visit to the beach of Rummassala in Unawatune.

Do not forget to drop into and explore the Galle fort which is also an Unesco World Heritage Site. This historic city is a delight to explore on cycles or foot, an boundlessly striking trading port containing grand Dutch-colonial architecture, grand mansions and museums and ancient churches. No visit to the Island is complete without visiting picturesque Galle city which is a perfect combination of blue ocean, history and culture. More interestingly, Galle is a living world heritage site that you can explore by a leisurely walk in the morning or afternoon. This is a walled city surrounded by ramparts. Galle Fort is the slow beating heart of Galle.  Visit the fresh fruit and vegetable markets in Galle and sample some fruit and vegetables!

Day 11 : Route – Galle to Kanneliya to Kalametiya and back

Driving time: Approx. 2.5 hours both ways

Overnight: Tri Koggala island – Bed & breakfast basis

After a leisurely morning visit Kanneliya Rainforest; the forest complex designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. The woodland reserve contains parallel hills and valleys encompass many streams and rivers in the area that have their foundations within the woodland, and flow toward the woodland accordingly. There is a wide range of flora and fauna to witness whilst walking leisurely on the pathway.

Afterwards visit Kalametiya bird sanctuary by boat and see an extensive area of wetland with brackish lagoons, mangrove swamps, open grassy areas and pockets of scrub jungle. It provides sanctuary for the common wetland birds. You can spot some of the sought after bird species such as Slaty breasted Crake, Watercock and Black Bittern, Glossy Ibis may be present with thousands of waders along with Grey Mongoose and Hanuman Langur are the mammals most likely to be seen. Grab some delicious ginger tea with jaggery en route for an authentic beverage! Spend the rest of the day at leisure at Unawatune or Hiriketiya beach or at your fully organic riverfront resort.

Day 12 : Route – Galle-Koggala to Airport

Driving time: Approx. 2.5hours

After a leisurely morning and breakfast head to the airport in time for your flight with pleasant memories and a feeling that you only left your footprints on our beloved island!

Where to Stay

Learn more about the properties available for your trip.

Exuding rustic charm, character and stylish simplicity, the unique eco-luxury resort Jetwing Kaduruketha is the latest link in Jetwing’s hospitality chain.

Ashburnham Estate Guest House is set on a 98 acre working tea estate. The homely guesthouse is nestled in the foothills of the Knuckles Mountain Range offering an idyllic retreat to unwind and enjoy stunning scenery.

Listen to the sounds of the birds at your private chalet on a lake, amidst the beautiful fauna and flora; your visit to Kalundewa Retreat is bound to leave a mystical and soothing impression in your mind. Designed for comfort with luxury, this spacious accommodation is a two storied fully air conditioned private chalet with two ensuite bedrooms.

Add-on Experiences

We have many activities to keep you busy during your stay. See our destination pages for more information.

Take up water activities, including kayaking, skiing, boat excursions and jet skis with Jet Watersports.

There are many beach stretched around, with the Yala beaches being a key experience.

Catch the waves in the Southern Coastlines of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Tailor-made