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Sri Lanka | Open Only to XirCammini Members

December 27, 2024 - January 11, 2025


Sri Lanka 2024/5

Note: XirCammini is not a travel agent or tour operator. These itineraries are put together / purchased from licensed travel agencies and/or IATA ticketing agent/s and/or tour operators and are open only to XirCammini members. To register for the event please follow this link.

In Dec 2024/ Jan 2025 we are immersing ourselves in this 14-day excursion, merging history, culture, ancient spirituality and outdoor adventure:

When: We leave Malta on 27th December 2024 morning and return on 11th January 2025.

Where: The complete holiday will be in Sri Lanka.  Our last day and night will be in the picturesque Mount Lavinia with its sprawling beaches (a paradise on the mainland).

What: Highlights of this hiking adventure:

  1. Negombo (https://fb.watch/pSpQl0hYRp/): A Dutch colonial village renown for the sight, scent and sound of its fish market. The shouts of
    vendors, the rich ocean aroma, and the colorful array of seafood create an authentic and lively atmosphere.
  2. Dambulla (https://fb.watch/pSpRFzjU0W/): The cave temples’ complex; a Unesco Heritage Site. Cave entrance ticket is included. There are five caves (shrine rooms) in Dambulla temple. All these caves are full of statues depicting various personifications of Buddha throughout the ages. There are 150 Buddha images in these caves. Cave No. 5 (the last in order) has no historical value as it was done in the second decade of this century. All the other caves contain statues and paintings representing various epochs of Sinhalese sculpture and paintings. The early paintings of Dambulla are
    believed by some to belong to the 8th century A.C.
  3. Pinawala Elephant Orphanage https://fb.watch/pSqhDpLcIb/
  4. Minneriya National Park (4×4 safari). The Minneriya National Park is famous for its herds of elephants migrating for food, water, and shelter, and forming a ‘gathering’ that can be witnessed by the visitors. The dry season is the best time to visit this place, as the majestic elephants migrate to the Minneriya Tank for water. Apart from elephants, the national park is also home to several mammals, birds, reptiles, and different kinds of plant species. Minneriya National Park comes under the dry zone, meaning, it receives less rainfall compared to the other areas in the country.
  5. Hike to Sigiriya Mount Fortress (Unessco Heritage Site) (https://fb.watch/pSpTrbZn7r/): Entrance ticket included. Sigiriya Rock Fortress declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, Sigiriya serves as a fine example of ancient urban planning. Sigiriya is a significant site of the Cultural Triangle and perhaps Sri Lanka’s most iconic historical destination. The site, also known as Lion Rock, is recognized all over the world for the remains of the ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress and its numerous enchanting and well-preserved attractions. The complex hydraulics system at the fortress enhances the site’s reputation as a beautiful example of classical city planning. The fortress complex, constructed in the 5th century, includes attractions such as the royal gardens, one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, and the Mirror Wall, which is adorned with ancient graffiti. The highlight of the fortress is the colourful frescoes painted on the western face of the rock; it is believed that there were initially 500 such frescoes, but merely around 22 of them remain today.
  6. White water rafting in Kitugala, included in the price (the site where the David Niven Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed) https://fb.watch/pSqrbQ0INw/
  7. New Year’s Eve celebrations in Kandy (https://fb.watch/pSqdEvWPCc/). In Kandy we will also visit the Botanical Gardens. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (https://fb.watch/pSqnRtU1bu/), alongside Adam’s Peak, is considered one of the holiest places in Sri Lanka and is an important pilgrimage destination. The golden-roofed temple is supposedly home to a tooth of Buddha and during the pooja, the time of offering and prayers, tourists as well as religious followers can inspect the gold casket in which it is guarded. The temple itself is in the royal palace complex, which encompasses several temples and museums.
  8. Hike to Meemure rain forest https://fb.watch/pSpXtIs5E2/ (including a night in mud huts) and Trek to Nawarathna waterfall, Sooriya Arana water ponds, trekking / exploration of Nitro cave Exploration,  Heengaga River and the 7 Waterfalls. Meemure is one of the most remote villages in Sri Lanka with the only access via a 14 km (8.7 mi) trail from the town of Loolwatte. Meemure is well nourished by water as their evergreen rain forest. This is a village in Sri Lanka with a population of about 400 and it’s located near the border between Kandy District and Matale District in the Knuckles
    Mountain Range.
  9. Nuwara Eliya, a city tour of this British colonial town and the tree plantations. We also climb Mount Kirigalpoththa (https://fb.watch/pSq3hqm6Ot/) and trek to World’s end at Horton Plains (https://fb.watch/pSq0drl7UI/). Kirigalpoththa mountain is the second tallest in Sri Lanka and the tallest of the mountains in the island whose summits are open to hikers.  Horton Plains is located on a high windswept saddle at about 7,000 ft (2134 mt.) elevation. The awesome escarpment drops vertically for about 4,000 feet; hence its name was given. Sri Lanka’s highest plateau 7200 ft above sea level in the central mountain country. This ‘Fen” is a very scenic region with an astounding variety of scenery from mountains to grasslands, from marshes to trout streams. Sri Lanka’s best flavoured high grown teas are grown in the surrounding areas. Spectacular view from ‘Worlds End’ where the plateau plunges a thousand feet in a straight sheer drop. Cool and bracing climate, and very good hiking country. Distinctive flora (many English field flowers grow on the plains) colourful butterflies and many rare highland birds.
  10. A scenic train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. In Ella we visit Ella Gap, 09 Arch Bridge and the Namunukula Mountain Range and we will also walk the Flying Ravana Mega Zipline. https://fb.watch/pSqjQPGBSi/ . Ella Gap, Ella is everyone’s favourite hill-country village and the place to ease off the travel accelerator and enjoy the stunning panoramic views. On a clear night one can even see the subtle glow of the Great Basses lighthouse on Sri
    Lanka’s south coast. Nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka’s scenic highlands, the Nine Arch Bridge in Ella is an architectural marvel. This colonial-era railway bridge, constructed entirely of bricks and cement, stands majestically amidst emerald tea fields and misty hills. Visitors are enchanted by the picturesque blend of history and nature, making it a perfect spot for photography, leisurely walks, and witnessing the timeless charm of trains passing over this iconic structure. Namunukula, at 2,035m, is the 12th highest mountain in Sri Lanka and its name is emanating from its nine peaks.
  11. 4×4 Safari in Yala. Yala National Park, a wildlife paradise in Sri Lanka. Embark on an exhilarating safari adventure through its vast wilderness, where untamed nature and diverse ecosystems flourish.  Majestic elephants, elusive leopards, colourful bird species, and a myriad of other fascinating creatures call this  their natural habitat. Traverse through lush forests, tranquil lakes, and golden savannahs, immersing yourself in the raw beauty of this enchanting sanctuary. https://fb.watch/pSq63mcDlT/
  12. Trekking in the Sinharaja rain forest https://fb.watch/pSq7SRYNqU/ and https://fb.watch/pSqtvC95l2/. Sinharaja, Sri Lanka’s tropical rainforest, is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The Sinharaja forest, which is situated 30 km from Galle, covers an area of 8,900 hectares and is one of the few virgin forests left in the world. The forest covers a series of mountains and ridges rising abruptly from 90m to 1170m above mean sea level. The
    Sinharaja forest includes streams, springs, rivers, and waterfalls, and is home to leopards, deer, monkeys, butterflies, and a variety of trees, shrubs, and medicinal herbs are also found within the forest. The Sinharaja forest is unique because it is the only location in Sri Lanka where the altitude changes within one kilometre in an area measuring 01 km from east to west. This factor has contributed to the amazing variety of species of fauna and flora, a significant mammal population and several species of birds and reptiles.
  13. Balapitiya River Cruise through the mangrooves of Balapitiya and also visiting Cinnamon island (for which Sri Lanka is famous).
  14. Galle Fort. We will also be stopping for some time in Galle, with its Portugues bastions reminiscent of those in Malta, where history and culture from Sri Lanka, Colonial Portugal and Holland fuse together.
  15. Mount Lavinia. https://fb.watch/pSqaHG4M4m/ Mount Lavinia is known as the Golden Mile of beaches. However, it also shares a history with Malta – Sir Thomas Maitland – who was Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) from 1805 to 1811 and of Malta from 1815 to 1823 – lived in Mount Lavinia when in Ceylon. Aparently the name is derived from Lovina, the name of a half-cast (Sinhalese-Portugues) lady with whom he fell in love there. We will also enjoy our final dinner on the beach in Mount Lavinia.

How Much?:

The overall contribution per member is: Euros  3,375 per person (in twin / double room sharing). A non-refundable deposit of Euros 875 required when registering. In case there are already groups of 3 persons interested in sharing a triple together, a lower contribution applies. Please note that – although – Euros 3,375 includes the return flights, we would be instructing members to purchase the air ticket separately, directly from a pre-appointed travel agency that is kindly providing XirCammini members with a preferential price. The overall contribution includes:

  1. Return air tickets with 30kg luggage allowance. (Although the above contribution includes also the air ticket cost, each of us will be purchasing these separately, directly from the chosen IATA travel agent that provided us with the preferential price)
  2. Accommodation mostly in 4* hotel other than when we are trekking in Meemure area and sleeping in mud-huts
  3. All breakfasts and dinners
  4. A coach, driver and licensed and experienced guide with us at all times plus licensed trekking guides in each locality on the trekking days
  5. Entrance fee to Dambulla
  6. 4×4 Safari in Minneriya
  7. Sigiriya Fortress Mount entrance
  8. White-water rafting in Kitigula
  9. New Year’s Dinner in a Colonial Heritage Building that is now a hotel in Kandy
  10. Entrance to the Temple of the Tooth
  11. In Meemure (at the campsite) we will also include lunch (in addition to breakfast and dinner)
  12. Scenic Train-ride
  13. Mega Ravana Zipline
  14. 4×4 Safari in Yala
  15. River cruise in Balapitiya
  16. Trekking leader from Malta
  17. Training in Malta to prepare for trekking days

How many?: We are aiming to have a group of 20 persons.

Other important info:

1.) Please check vaccine requirements well ahead of time: https://healthservices.gov.mt/en/phc/pchyhi/Pages/Travel-Vaccination.aspx

To register please follow this linkA non-refundable deposit of Euros 875 is required when registering.

Looking forward to hearing from you and to having you with us | Sincerely … James & Tucc


December 27
January 11, 2025
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Sri Lanka
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