Discover the picturesque city of Kandy, visiting its temples, lakes and tea estates, before heading to the west coast for a relaxing week on the beach.
4 nights Kandy including breakfast and excursions; 8 nights Avani Kalutara including breakfast. Includes flights and transfers.
12 days from £1,210pp
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On the beach - 8 days
Set between rolling Indian Ocean waves and a tranquil river lagoon, Avani Kalutara feels a million miles from home. This good value resort has sleek, contemporary design and a laid-back atmosphere making it a great place to unwind.
Avani sits on a peninsula about ten minutes from Kalutara. It offers excellent facilities and overlooks a long, wide stretch of quiet, golden sand. The sea here is a bit choppy so only suitable for strong swimmers but there's a beautiful pool overlooking the ocean as well as weekly yoga sessions. Guests can also use facilities at Anantara Kalutara, a sister property next door, including a water sports centre, a lovely spa and kids’ club. The main restaurant, Mangrove, offers a range of themed buffets, while Moya's oceanfront terrace is a great place for lighter meals. There's plenty to see in the local area if you can muster up the energy to explore. Forts, plantations and elegant mansions dating from the colonial era are all nearby, or you can kayak up the river for a snapshot of local life, or head into Kalutara, a former centre of the spice trade.
The 99 rooms and six junior suites here are contemporary in style with tasteful Sri Lankan touches such as carved wooden panelling, soft silks and shuttered windows. Standard rooms surround a pretty courtyard, while others offer views of the lagoon or ocean.
Before the beach - 4 days
Easy to explore on foot and scenically positioned on a lake surrounded by forested hills, Kandy is Sri Lanka's second city, rich in history and culture, and refreshingly cool. Grand colonial era buildings line the charming streets of the old town, while Sri Lanka's most sacred relic, one of Buddha's teeth, is protected in the ornate Temple of the Tooth. Take a boat tour on Kandy Lake, visit a number of interesting colonial sites or head out of town to visit 14th-century temples and craft villages, or the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, originally created for local nobility.
Set on a steep hillside just outside Kandy, the Cinnamon Citadel is a sophisticated, modern hotel with luxurious rooms. With a wonderful pool and terrace overlooking a river below, a good spa and tranquil atmosphere, it is a great base from which to explore.
103 rooms, 2 restaurants, 1 pool
This great value resort has a peaceful, laid-back atmosphere and a beautiful setting. Poised on a peninsula between a beautiful stretch of golden sand and the river, sitting among coconut groves, the hotel is also well placed for those who wish to explore.
Although the hotel doesn’t offer a children's club, families are welcome and there is a smaller children’s pool.
The Avani Kalutara is located in a secluded setting on a peninsula overlooking a quiet beach and the ocean on one side and the Kalu River on the other side.
The beach is a long, wide stretch of golden sand although it is worth noting that the sea here is a bit choppy and so only suitable for strong swimmers.
Although it has a quiet setting, the Avani is only 10 minutes’ drive from Kalutara town. It’s also only two hours’ drive from the airport making it a very convenient choice.
Avani Kulutara is a good value beach property with a convenient location that combines a beautiful and quiet setting with the town in easy reach.
The 105 rooms have a smart, contemporary design and each has air conditioning, satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, rain shower, minibar and tea and coffee facilities.
Superior sea view room
Similar in size and features to the Superior Lagoon View Room the Superior Sea View Rooms offer views over the Indian Ocean.
Superior lagoon view room
Larger in size than the standard rooms, the Superior Lagoon View rooms also benefits from views over the lagoon.
At almost double the size of a standard room the Junior Suites offer plenty of space to enjoy with beautiful views over the lagoon and sea and the benefit of either double balconies or terraces.
Pictures of the rooms
Activities, diving & excursions
There is a large pool overlooking the ocean, a gym and a variety of water sports are available for a local charge including kayaking, wind surfing, jet skiing, waterskiing, body boarding and sea fishing. The hotel also offers complimentary yoga classes weekly.
Food & drink
There are two main restaurants at Avani Kulatara. Mangrove’s menu changes daily covering local specialities, fresh seafood, steak and a range of international dishes. You can choose from indoor dining overlooking the ocean or an alfresco terrace by the river.
Alternatively the Moya restaurant offers a down to earth setting for lunch and dinner with an ocean facing terrace next to the beach. At Moya, gourmet deli style Western and Sri Lankan dishes are joined by seafood specialities.
The hotel offers a small spa using Ceylon products. There are a number of treatments available includes massages, facials and body treatments, as well as specialising in aromatherapy, anti-stress and slimming programmes.
Stronghold of the Sinhala Kings and capital of Sri Lanka’s hill regions, Kandy is perhaps the most beautiful and romantic city on the island.
Surrounded by green hills and with a large lake in the town centre, Kandy combines the sophistication of a modern city with the timeless appeal of ancient temples.
Temple of the Tooth
The most famous is the gold-roofed Temple of the Tooth, where a simple wooden structure contrasts with the lavish golden roof and exuberant Buddha statues. The temple houses the tooth of the Buddha and bustles at night with pilgrims attending a lively ceremony involving several drummers.
Sri Lanka has a majority Buddhist population and their main festival, the Esala Perahera, is a ten-day pageant that transforms Kandy during July or August. Timed in accordance with the lunar calendar, it is a wonderful spectacle with dozens of robed elephants, dancers and musicians thronging the streets. The dates are announced about a year in advance. In festival times, a stay in Kandy is an assault on the senses.
Outside Kandy, there are two particularly fascinating places to visit.
The nearby botanical gardens are renowned worldwide, bringing together countless species from every part of the island.
As night falls, cultural shows take place in a number of venues around Kandy. Offering a snapshot of music and dance on the island, they may conclude with a dramatic fire walking demonstration.
Kandy is also a good place to shop, with gems and jewellery especially good value.
Two or three days here are needed to explore the many facets of this holy town and the beauties of the surrounding area. Centrally located, Kandy is easily accessed from Colombo, the Cultural Triangle and Nuwara Eliya. If travelling on, a scenic train journey runs from Kandy up to Nuwara Eliya, in the heart of the tea country.
Day by day
You will fly overnight to Colombo.
On arrival into Colombo you will be met by your driver-guide who will transfer you to Kandy for three nights exploring this lovely city and its lake.
Your driver will meet you this morning and take you on a tour to the Botanical Gardens and the Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka's most important religious site.
You have some time to explore the city's colonial history or perhaps walk around the lake. This evening your guide will take you to a performance of traditional Kandyan dance including fire walking.
Today you will be taken to a tea estate near Kandy to learn more about the production of tea at one of the many tea plantations on the hillsides surrounding the city.
Your driver will transfer you to Kalutara for a week to relax on the beach.
There are plenty of water sports available from the hotel or you may like to take a boat trip along the river and the old canals today.
Today is at leisure. You could visit Richmond Castle in nearby Palataota. This beautiful country house was originally a spice plantation mansion and is set in a 42 acre fruit garden estate.
At leisure to relax on the beach.
Days 9 - 11
Today you will be collected from the hotel and driven to the airport for your flight home.
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