Culinary  Programme Sri Lanka

DAY 01   AIRPORT/ NEGOMBO

Arrival to Sri Lanka -Transfer to Negombo

 

Proceed on a Negombo city tour

Negombo is known as the ‘City of Churches’ and the town is dotted with some historic and colourful Roman catholic churches. It was one of the first territories occupied by the Portuguese who converted a large number of locals to Catholicism.  During the period of Dutch rule, Negombo was established as a major trading point and in the 15th century AD a network of inter-connected canals were built to transport spices such as Cinnamon from further inland to Negombo that extended as south as Colombo and as North as Puttalam along the coast. These waterways are inter-connected to the vast expanses of the Negombo lagoon which preserve vital biodiversity rich mangrove habitats abundant in flora and fauna. Today, visitors can go on scenic boat rides along the Hamilton and Dutch canal and explore these ancient waterways and mangroves which are abundant in birdlife.  Some of the other historic colonial sites include the ruined remains of the Dutch Fort which was built in 1672, centuries old Portueuse and Dutch houses and numerous administrative buildings and Roman Catholic churches.

 

Afternoon at leisure

 

Dinner

 

 

 

DAY 02   NEGOMBO/SIGIRIYA/ HABARANA

Visit the Negombo fish market early morning, and see the fisherman bringing the freshest catch to the market.

 

Negombo is a fishing town where most of the locals hail from fishing families by centuries of descent. Currently, over 2,000 boats including traditional outrigger canoes called ‘oru’ in Sinhalese, catamarans and larger mechanized motor boats operate from Negombo harbour. The harbour is best visited early in the morning, when it is a hive of activity. Fishermen can be seen taking fish from their nets, vendors within the market bargain and trade and a variety of different fish species including herrings, sardines, snappers, breamers, croakers, groupers, parrot fish, sprats, catfish, mullets and shellfish such as prawn and crab are stored in all parts of the harbour.            

 

Breakfast back at the hotel

 

Departure towards Sigiriya enjoying delicious juicy spicy pineapple and mango wedges

 

Visit Sigiriya

Climb the 5th century Sigiriya Rock fortress which is a UNESCO world heritage site, built by King Kashyapa (477-495). The spectacular citadel of Sigiriya rises sheer and impregnable out of the plains of the dry zone. It is the country’s most memorable single attraction, a remarkable archeological site made unforgettable by its dramatic setting. The rock was the innermost stronghold of a 70 hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock. Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the 'Heavenly Maidens' of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway.

 

Later in the afternoon, a visit to Dambulla market.

In the late afternoon, explore the Dambulla Wholesale Market and dodge the trucks and people piled high with every type of produce imaginable. Boasting an incredible array of fresh food, much of which is subsequently transported to Colombo for sale, this is the perfect place to get a sense of Sri Lanka's agricultural diversity

Dinner

 

 

 

DAY 03   HABARANA/ HIRIWADUNNA/ POLONNARUWA/ HABARANA

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Hiriwadunna Village visit

Here you will get on to a typical village bullock cart which will take you on an enjoyable journey through paddy fields. It will stop at the village temple near the Hiriwadunna Lake. You will visit the temple and after a short foot walk of around 10 mins, the journey by boat will start. The boat will make a stop at a traditional farm (“Chena”) where you will taste delicious king coconut water from the coconuts plucked from the farm itself. Then again the boat trip (around 40 mins) will commence and it will drive you to a traditional village house where you will be warmly welcomed by a local village family. A cooking demonstration will take place and afterwards a tea will be served with some traditional Sri Lankan cookies

 

Visit the archeological city of Polonnaruwa.

The ruined capital of Polonnaruwa is one of the undisputed highlights of the Cultural Triangle and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The heyday of the city in the twelfth century represented one of the high watermarks of early Sri Lankan civilization. Polonnaruwa extensive and well-preserved remains, offer a fascinating snapshot of medieval Sri Lanka, including some of the island’s finest monuments and it is compact enough to be thoroughly explored in 3 hours. The Gal Vihara, a collection of magnificent Buddha statues carved out of sheer rock is not to be missed and a prime example of the craftsmanship of that era

Afternoon tea at a village farmer’s house (if possible up in his watch hut in chena) including traditional sweet meats of Sri Lanka, from the oil cakes known as Kavum to the crunchy Kokis and much more.

Dinner

 

DAY 04   HABARANA/ KANDY

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Departure towards Kandy

 

Visit Dambulla Cave Temple

Dambulla Cave Temple, which is famous for its rock paintings and is among the best preserved monastic temple cave complexes in Sri Lanka. Dambulla’s origins as a place of worship dates back to the reign of King Valagamba in the 1st century BC, who took refuge in these caves when driven out of Anuradhapura by Chola invaders. Once he regained the throne, the king had the interior of the caves transformed in to magnificent rock temples. More paintings and statues were added over time by later kings

 

Continue to Kandy and make a stop at the spice garden, Matale

Sri Lanka has been famous for centuries for its trade in spices and spice gardens. A visit to one of these herb and spice gardens provides a visitor with a firsthand experience on how these amazing treasures are grown and prepared. Some of the herbs and spices grown can include Sandalwood, Margosa, Cocoa, Citronella, Almond, Jasmine and Coconut and spices such as cloves, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and saffron are grown in these gardens.

You can also attend to a traditional Sri Lankan cookery demonstration followed by a traditional spicy lunch

Arrival in Kandy 

Later in the afternoon, explore the bustling Kandy local markets in a TUK TUK where you will experience a perfect exposure to the local life styles

Enjoy a dinner lead by KOTTU at restaurant

Kottu is a must try in Sri Lanka. Kottu Roti is the Sri Lankan street food favoured by locals and visitors alike. Some love it late at night after a stint of partying, others love it for breakfast. The coolest thing about Kottu is the way it’s made. Believe it or not, Kottu-making has a rhythmic beat. It’s a Sri Lankan icon, once only for the low and middle class, now a favourite with the upper class youth.

The myth of Kottu Roti

Kottu Roti legend says that once upon a time there was a kottu seller on the east coast of Sri Lanka that was closing up his roti stand when a group of tourists arrived asking for some food. The roti seller only had scraps left over from the day, bits of cooked roti, some vegetables and leftover chicken curry. Instead of telling the tourists that he was all out of food, he made a mashup of the leftovers. Tourists loved it and raved about it in their travels. Thus, Kottu Roti was born. No one knows if this is a true story but it’s fun to have myths and legends, even about food.

 

DAY 05   KANDY

 

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Visit Peradeniya Botanical Garden

 

The Royal Botanical Gardens is the largest of Sri Lanka’s botanical gardens with over 4,000 different species of plants and is regarded among the finest in Asia.  The origins of the Botanical Gardens date to 1371 when King Wikramabahu III took to the throne and kept his court at Peradeniya near the Mahaweli, where the gardens were reserved exclusively for Kandyan Royalty. Some of the highlights when visiting these unique gardens would be the Orchid collection, walking through a stunning avenue of Royal Palm Trees as well as a giant Javan Fig Tree on the great lawn. Another key feature of the gardens is the large collection of medicinal plants and spices.

 

Proceed on a Kandy city tour

Kandy is a UNESCO world heritage site. The historic city about 480m above sea level surrounded by mountains was known to Sri Lankan as Kanda Uda Rata, which means the hill country. Kandy was home to Sri Lanka's last independent Kingdom, which survived two centuries of colonial incursion before finally falling to the British at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Visit the Temple of the tooth, the Peradeniya University campus and catch a panoramic view of the picturesque town from Upper Lake Drive.

Afternoon tea at a small restaurant with a variety of hoppers and ginger tea.

Sri Lankans love their hoppers – a pancake bowl served with either eggs in the morning or curries in the evening. Add your own sambols and chutneys and the  ratio of how crispy the pancake to how soft and gooey the filling is a debate as old as time

Early evening, you will attend a Kandyan Dance performance and a spectacular fire walking finale.

Dinner

 

 

 

DAY 06   KANDY/ NUWARA ELIYA

 

Breakfast at the hotel 

 

Departure towards Nuwara Eliya

 

Visit a tea plantation and a tea factory en route

 

Arrival in Nuwara Eliya and proceed on a city tour

Situated in the central highlands of the island, Nuwara Eliya is also known as “Little England” due to the cold climate, endless gardens of flowers and strawberries along with vegetables, and colonial style buildings and holiday homes. The salubrious climes are a contrast from the humid heat in the lowlands. The breathtaking views of the valleys, and mountain ranges as well as the lush greenery make Nuwara Eliya on of the most visited places by local and foreign tourists alike.  One of the picturesque attractions of the town is Lake Gregory, which is nestled at the bottom of a small hill.

 

Enjoy tea with freshly made rotti with piping hot Kochchi chilli sambal and “ Ulundu Wadei “ amidst your exploration of the local market rich with fresh fruits and vegetables

 

Dinner

DAY 07   NUWARA ELIYA/ TISSAMAHARAMA

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Departure to Yala &  you will be able to savour a steamy bolied corn  on the way sold by villagers by the roadsides

 

Arrival in Yala and Safari in Yala National Park

Yala National park is Sri Lanka’s most visited wildlife reserve. Yala covers an area of 1260 square kilometres. The park’s dry-zone landscape is strikingly beautiful and the park’s wildlife has its own distinctive charm, with huddles of colorful painted storks perched on the incongruously conjoined sight of elephants marching sedately through the bush while rabbits scamper through the undergrowth. Leopards, sloth bears and elephants are the "big 3" here although crocodiles, jackals and the many variety of birds are also a huge draw to this park which is the largest national park in the country

 

Dinner

 

 

DAY 08   TISSAMAHARAMA/ HIKKADUWA

    

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Visit a buffalow farm to see how curd is proceesed. You will be able to taste curd with honey in a clay pot and it will definitely be a memorable experience.

 

Proceed to Galle

 

Make a stop at a ‘Kalu Dodol stall’ at Hambantotoa to taste a few varieities of delicious “Kalu Dodol’

Kalu dodol is a sweet dish, a type of dodol that is popular in Sri Lanka. The dark and sticky dish consists mainly of kithul jaggery (from the sap of the toddy palm), rice flour and coconut milk. Kalu dodol is a very difficult and time-consuming dish to prepare. The Hambanthota area is famous for the production of this dish.

 

Continue to Galle and visit a Cinnamon Plantation en route

The Cinnamon Experience isn't just informative; it is also a hands-on experience, encouraging you to get your hands a little dirty and strip down some Cinnamon sticks for yourself. Experience the chain of events from the growing of the trees, harvesting, piling and finally processing of the cinnamon in the aroma filled factory. Understand the history behind this precious spice and where it is headed in the realm of Sri Lanka’s export priorities

 

Dinner

 

 

 

DAY 09   HIKKADUWA/ GALLE/ COLOMBO

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Proceed on a city tour

 

once sleepy Galle Fort is now a vibrant and bustling area with a distinctively Mediterranean feel to it with excellent examples of colonial architecture and well preserved fortifications. Explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site by taking a leisurely stroll along the Ramparts with its panoramic views. You can explore its narrow streets and laneways bustling with jewelry shops, numerous cafes, restaurants and luxurious villas. The Main Gate built by the British in the 19th century and the old gate which is inscribed with the Dutch East India Company’s coat of arms, the18th century built Clock Tower, Meeran Jumma Mosque and the nearby Lighthouse, the Anglican All Saints Church and the Dutch-reformed Church are some of the key sites that you will visit.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Continue to Colombo and proceed on a Colombo city tour. Colombo is an ideal place to enjoy street food.

 

Dinner at Nugagama

You don’t really need to travel far to see Sri Lankan village life – merely to the Eastern gardens of the Cinnamon Grand. The Nuga Gama or Banyan Village is a distinct Sri Lankan restaurant in Colombo, brought to life around a 200-year-old Banyan Tree, surrounded by wattle & daub huts and traditionally dressed staff who also help run this communal tribute to Sri Lankan life. The venue comprises dining areas, an open kitchen, local kade (grocery store), Ambalama (historical resting spaces for travelers) and a farm complete with chickens and cow!

 

Nuga Gama is also Asia’s first carbon neutral venue.Now, Auybowan and welcome to a perfect little village in the jungle we call Colombo.

 

                                                                            

 

DAY 10           COLOMBO/ AIRPORT

Colombo-airport 30mins approx.

 

Breakfast at the hotel

 

Transfer to the airport to connect with the departure flight.