Colombo, Sri Lanka
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Approximately 9 Hours
Fly from Colombo by seaplane into the heart of the Kandy plateau, landing on a lake in the charming foothill city of Nestled in a valley surrounded by hills, Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese monarchy -- an appropriately regal location surrounded by a ridge of mountains and dense jungle that borders the city's gardens, tea and rice fields. The town's focus is a beautiful artificial lake with a pagoda in its center. The Temple of the Tooth stands here.
On arrival, you'll enjoy a panoramic drive around the lake, past some well-preserved colonial buildings and local street markets.
A visit to the Temple of the Tooth will be the highlight of your day. Built to house the precious relic of the Buddha, which is enshrined in an inner chamber, the temple is a work of art in itself. Behind a gilt railing, the golden reliquary rests on a silver table and the famous Buddha tooth lies within. Ritual prayers by the local monks are accompanied by beating drums, blaring trumpets and hypnotic chants.
Next, lunch awaits you at Kings Pavilion.
This afternoon, visit the Royal Botanic Garden, originally built for the pleasure of Sinhalese queens in the 14th century. Beautifully manicured, with huge trees and bright bougainvillea, it contains a wide variety of tropical and temperate flora -- 4,000 species in all. There is also a spice garden with centuries-old nutmeg trees, cinnamon, cardamoms, vanilla and clove trees, a medicinal herb garden with plants used in Ayurvedic medicine, and an orchid house which houses 450 hybrid species.
Drive to the Pollgolla reservoir to board your flight back to Colombo, were you will re-join the ship.
Please note: Modest attire is required; knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered and shoes must be removed before you enter the temple(s). Shorts are not allowed. Bring along a pair of thick socks to protect your feet from the hot pavement. Shoes and hats must be removed prior to entering temples. For security reasons, all bags must be checked at Temple of the Tooth. You may encounter a delay here for entering the Temple. The temple will be crowded on public and religious holidays. Flash photography is prohibited inside the temple. Photography in certain parts of the temple may be prohibited. The temple will be crowded on public and religious holidays. Tour operates weather permitting. Guides are provided locally in Colombo and Kandy--the seaplane flight is unescorted. Serving alcohol is prohibited in Sri Lanka on full moon days and certain religious holidays - alcohol will not be served in case of operation on those days. Due to this tour’s popularity, exclusivity, and strict booking conditions, tour bookings must be confirmed 60 days prior to the actual call to Colombo with no cancellations allowed thereafter. Maximum weight is 175 lbs. Minimum age for infants is one month.