Unknown Northern Sri Lanka

This holiday introduces you to the still largely undiscovered northern Sri Lanka. A trip for those who really want something different! The extreme North is a part of the island that is recently accessible for tourists and has many places that are well worth the effort visiting. You're visiting the cultural triangle and then travel northwards where you acquaint with the Hindu culture and Dutch and Portuguese influences around Jaffna. Also visit the northernmost tip of the island and make a safari in the Wilpattu national park where you have a chance to stand face to face with a leopard.

Day 1

Departure to Sri Lanka, the earlier called Ceylon, in which you will arrive with a day difference.

Day 2 Airport - Negombo

At the airport you are welcomed by your driver then he will drive to your first hotel in Negombo. Negombo is lying half an hour from the airport directly on the coast. Your hotel is located here on the beach, an ideal place for your first impression in Sri Lanka to be processed. Overnight stay in Negombo.

Day 3 Negombo - Dambulla

One of the special caves in Dambulla rock temple complex
One of the special caves in Dambulla rock temple complex

Your holiday begins today with a visit to the Pinnawela elephant orphanage. This orphanage was started in 1975 and here lives more than 70 elephants, you'd better keep your camera in your hand. It gives beautiful pictures. In the afternoon we visit the unusual rock temple of Dambulla. You will be overwhelmed by the amount of about 130 Buddha statues and many beautiful ceiling frescoes in these five caves in a huge rock. Your design hotel in Dambulla is located a short distance from the rock.

Day 4 Dambulla - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla

You leave in the morning to visit the ancient royal city of Polonnaruwa. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dating from the 11th and 12th century AD has various buildings such as the Gal Vihara, which has several rock-sculptured Buddha statues and Vatadage with its unique moonstones. You will certainly be in the company of inquisitive monkeys. We climb Lion Rock Sigiriya on the way back to the hotel. On top of the rock was the castle of King Kassapa and halfway you will find exceptional frescoes from ancient times, located in a cave. The view on top of the rock is wonderful though the climb is steep. You stay this night also in Dambulla.

You can always spot monkeys in Polonnaruwa.
You can always spot monkeys in Polonnaruwa.

Day 5 Dambulla - Aukana - Anuradhapura

Meditating ladies in Anuradhapura
Meditating ladies in Anuradhapura

In the morning we drive to Anuradhapura, another royal city with beautiful dagobas. Along the way we pass the special Buddha rock image of Aukana. During an extensive tour we show you all the sites, pagodas and temples in the ancient city of Anuradhapura. This former royal city has much on offer for you. Besides important and beautiful examples of ancient Buddhist temples there are often services going where people meditate sit or standing. Stay in Anuradhapura.

Day 6 Anuradhapura

Today you have the day to explore the Anuradhapura area yourself or to relax in your hotel pool. In the afternoon we take you to Mihinthale and you'll visit the monastery on top of the mountain. The monastery is still in use today. With special days it is crowded with pilgrims from all over Sri Lanka. Stay in Anuradhapura.

The monastery of Mihintale is a very holy place.
The monastery of Mihintale is a very holy place.

Day 7 Anuradhapura - Jaffna

Today the journey is towards the north. We drive you through Vavuniya to Jaffna. Vavuniya is considered as the gateway to the north. In Nallur near Jaffna there is a special hindhoe temple called the Nallur Murugan Kovil. You will definitely visit this and will see that you have arrived at a very different Sri Lanka. The population here is predominantly Tamil and besides speak a different language. you are staying in a hotel in Jaffna town.

Day 8 Jaffna

In Jaffna you discover another Sri Lanka.. No more temples but Kovils!
In Jaffna you discover another Sri Lanka.. No more temples but Kovils!

Today you will visit Point Pedro, the northern most town in Sri Lanka. This region is known for its cotton production and the huge sand dunes along the coast. In Jaffna we visit Nagadipa Vihara, a Buddhist holy place where Buddha visited, one of the sixteen in Sri Lanka. Also visit Jaffna fort built by the Portuguese (1618) and later renovated by the Dutch (1680). Then it was conquered by the British in 1795 who remained here until 1948. Jaffna played the role until 1995 in the recent conflict between the LTTE (Tamil liberation army) and the Government of Sri Lanka. You will stay in a hotel in Jaffna.

Day 9 Jaffna - Delft Island - Jaffna

A remberance of the Dutch influence on Delft island
A remberance of the Dutch influence on Delft island

Today you will visit Delft island that we reach by ferry (crossing for about 1 hour). Delft Island was occupied on various occasions by Portugal and the Netherlands. On the island there are two fortresses that you can visit. On the island runs one bus and other transport modes are only possible with tuk-tuks or lorries. There are various wild ponies around here which were left behind by the Portuguese. Departure to the island at 09.00 and return by ferry at 15.00. You'll stay at the hotel in Jaffna.

Day 10 Jaffna

Day at leisure in Jaffna. Jaffna is almost an island. You pass Elephant pass to reach it and have several shallow lagoons which seperates Jaffna from the many islands off the coast. It is an area inhabited by Tamil people and has a unique atmosphere that you will not find in other parts of Sri Lanka. You'll stay at the hotel in Jaffna.

Day 11 Jaffna - Kalpitiya

Today we drive you back to the south. We pass Puttalam- capital of the Puttalam district in North Sri Lanka. This area is known for its salt production. (The name comes from Uppuththalam - In Tamil Uppu is salt and Thalam is production). Puttalam was with Nallur one of the Tamil capitals around 1350. The ultimate aim today is to reach Kalpitiya, about 150 km north of the capital Colombo. Separated by a huge lagoon it is a beautiful peninsula in the sea. Stay at Kalpitiya.

Day 12 Kalpitiya

Off the coast of Kalpitiya, its a paradise for dolphins and whales. In December / March you can see them here in huge schools. European summer months are ideal for kite surfing in the coast of Kalpitiya . You have a strong wind there almost every day. Optionally you take a boat trip today to see the animals up close. Kalpitiya still has no comprehensive tourism and it has a clear eco character. Stay in Kalpitiya.

Day 13 Kalpitiya - Wilpattu - Waikal

Today you'll visit the Wilpattu National Park. A park known for its many ponds and lakes, where there are about 60. It is the largest and oldest park in Sri Lanka. It is, together with the Yala park in the south, one of the national parks where leopards can be observed in the wild. You drive to Waikal, north of Negombo, after the safari and stay there the last few days in a luxury hotel by the sea.

Leopard in the Wilpattu National Park
Leopard in the Wilpattu National Park

Day 14 and 15 Waikal

Relaxing day in your beach hotel in Waikal. Waikal is located north of the business centered Negombo. Here you have the quiet beaches and some nice hotels. A great place to be in the last days. Perhaps you still a chance to see a beautiful sunset behind the palms.

Magnificent sunset in Sri Lanka
Magnificent sunset in Sri Lanka

Day 16 Waikal - Airport

Transfer to the airport for the return flight.