Sri Lanka with Backwater Cruise

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Negombo | Pinnawela | Dambulla | Sigiriya | Polonnaruwa | Matale | Kandy | Colombo | Cochin | Backwater Cruise


  1. Arrival-Colombo / Negombo
  2. Negombo – Pinnawela - Dambulla
  3. Dambulla – Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa - Dambulla
  4. Dambulla – Matale - Kandy
  5. Kandy
  6. Kandy - Colombo
  7. Colombo - Cochin
  8. Cochin
  9. Cochin – Backwater Cruise
  10. Backwater Cruise
  11. Backwater Cruise
  12. Backwater Cruise
  13. Backwater Cruise
  14. Backwater Cruise
  15. Backwater Cruise
  16. Backwater Cruise – Cochin – Departure


  1. Accommodation in twin/double sharing room as per the above mentioned hotels or similar in the room category specified.
  2. All meals as and all entrance fees at monuments as per the itinerary.
  3. Services of English speaking Chauffeur guide in SRI LANKA till 2 – 6 Pax and English speaking national guide from 7 Pax onwards , local guides in India as per the itinerary.
  4. 7 nights on houseboat along with all the meals & excursion mentioned in the itinerary and Kathakali dance show in Cochin tickets are included.
  5. Two bottles of bottled water per person per day in the car will be provided.
  6. Assistance on all Arrival & Departure transfers with Representative at the airport and Land transport by Air-Conditioned vehicles in Sri Lanka and India are included in package price.
  7. Expense of personal nature like laundry, telephone/fax calls, alcoholic beverages, camera/video camera fee at monuments, medical expenses, airport departure tax, any Insurance and any tipping is not included within package price.
  8. Expenses caused by factors beyond our control like rail and air plane delays, roadblocks, vehicle malfunctions, political disturbances, taxes, lost luggage, etc and any other services not mentioned might result in customer to incur additional charges.
  9. In case on any currency fluctuations or amendment in local Government taxes, or any fuel hike, we intimate you of the supplement price.
  10. Services of accompanying tour director,Bottled water at breakfast, Any meals or beverages that are not specified, Christmas & New Year Evening dinner supplement is not included within package price.
  11. International & domestic Air fares are not included in package.


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Day 1 – Arrival – Colombo – Negombo:

On arrival in Colombo our Sri Lankan representative will meet you on arrival at the airport and transfer you to the hotel in Negombo the airport.

Note: Overnight at hotel (No meals)

Day 2 – Colombo/Negombo – Pinnawela – Dambulla by road: Approx. 170 Kms | 106 Mi. | 4 Hrs.

After breakfast, check out from hotel and drive to Dambulla.

En-route visit the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela – This orphanage is the home for about 89 elephants, out of which some are baby elephants found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. They are being cared, fed and trained by the wild life authorities. The best time to visit is during the feeding times, when one will have the opportunity of seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed. Also could accompany the elephants to a river close-by and see them having their daily bath.

Continue drive to Dambulla and visit the Dambulla Rock Temple. Climb up to the temple, which was donated by king Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks. Dambulla is a World Heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world. These caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock spanning 14 meters.

Evening is free at leisure.

NOTE: Breakfast, Dinner & Overnight stay at the Hotel is included.

Day 3 – Dambulla – Excursion to Sigiriya – Polonnaruwa: Approx. 145 Kms. / 90 Mi. / 3 Hrs. (round-trip)

Today we explore the World’s heritage site Sigiriya. Climb the 5th century Sigiriya rock, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). The ‘Lion Rock’ is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 meters from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 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.  These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster.

Thereafter we leave to enjoy a Sri Lankan village experience where a walk along the village path will bring us to a “Wewa” typical village lake. The village homes are totally different to build up urban areas of Sri Lanka. The small houses are surrounded by green woods on the edge of which their home gardens extend. It is common to spot watch huts in the fields from which the men folk keep up at night on the lookout for wild Elephants and Wild Boar. Cross the Lake by canoe observing the rich birdlife. Once we reach the farm, the lady of the house gladly demonstrates her cooking abilities using a traditional hearth. We can also participate if you wish in this experience before partaking off her delicious meal.

Once completed, proceed on a sightseeing tour of Polonnaruwa – which was the 2nd capital   city of Sri Lanka, built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, and which is a world   heritage site – Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya –   where 4 splendid statues of the Buddha in ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and ‘Recumbent’ postures carved out of rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, king   Parakramabahu’s statue, and the Parakrama Samudraya lake built by King Parakramabahu the great.  There are also monuments of famous places of worship such as the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic. 

Return to Dambulla and relax.

NOTE: Breakfast, Dinner & Overnight stay at the Hotel is included.

Day 4 – Dambulla – Matale – Kandy by road: Approx. 80 Kms. / 50 Mi. / 3 Hrs.

After breakfast, check out from hotel and drive to Kandy.

En-route visit a Spice garden in Matale to see the different types of flavours the island is famous for and how they are grown.

Continue drive to Kandy and check-in to the hotel on arrival.

In the evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.

Return to hotel by late evening.

NOTE: Breakfast, Dinner & Overnight stay at the Hotel is included.

Day 5 – Kandy:

Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings, and is a World Heritage Site.  The name Kandy conjures visions of splendour and magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive.  Drive around the Kandy Lake built by the last Sinhala king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798. Visit the Kandy town and Bazaar, the arts & crafts center and a gem museum and a lapidary. Enjoy the tuk tuk ride in the Kandy bazaar.

Thereafter, visit a tea plantation and factory.

NOTE: Breakfast, Dinner & Overnight stay at the Hotel is included.

Day 6 – Kandy to Colombo by road: Approx. 120 Kms. / 75 Mi. / 4 Hrs.

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and drive to Colombo.

On arrival, check-in to the hotel.

Thereafter proceed for the sightseeing tour of city. The city skyline has dramatically changed during the last decade, trendy malls and cafes sit alongside old colonial architectural monuments and local eateries. The city tour will take you pass the Colombo harbor to the area known as the Fort, the islands administrative and main banking quarter adjoining the famous Dutch Hospital and the esplanade known as the Galle Face. The colorful religious edifices that adorn the different zones in the city reflect the countries multi-ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. The Cinnamon Gardens, the ‘chic’ residential section of Colombo with its numerous villas and mansions blends well with the recently restored Race- Course and Victoria Park. The Gangaramaya Temple with its collection of oriental antiquities and Buddhist manuscripts offers visitors a completely different turn-around from the rich and grand archaeological monuments of Sri Lanka.

NOTE: Breakfast, Dinner & Overnight stay at the Hotel is included.

Day 7 – Colombo to Cochin by flight: 

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and transfer to airport to board your flight to Cochin.

Cochin is perfect blend of ancient and modern, a lively city at just an hour’s drive away from renowned backwater of Kerala. Posh cafes sit right by the side of Chinese fishing nets that were installed here in 1350 AD; India’s largest man-made island is a major attraction and so is the Paradesi Synagogue that was built in the year 1560. St Francis CSI Church once housed the remains of Vasco da Gama and is also the oldest European church in India.

On arrival in Cochin, transfer to your hotel and relax.

In the evening watch a Kathakali dance performance, the most developed dance-drama art of India where facial expressions and hand gestures combine with movement to create this highly expressive traditional Kerala art form which depicts great Indian epics.  Distinct among the six classical Indian dances, Kathakali is a highly dramatic and mimetic dance depicting various stories from Indian epics.

NOTE: Breakfast & Overnight stay at the Hotel is included.

Day 8 – Cochin:

Morning have breakfast at hotel. Later visit Fort Kochi, your first stop, where the Portuguese flag was first hoisted is also believed to be the oldest settlement in India. Thereafter, visit the St. Francis church, built in 1510 by friars brought to India by Vasco da Gama. The gorgeous view of the ocean from the beach enhanced by the Chinese fishing nets, first erected between 1350 and 1450 AD makes extremely picturesque sight.  Proceed the old commercial area Mattancherry an take a walk along the Jew Street. Visit the Jewish Synagogue (closed to non-Jews Fridays and Saturdays) and the Dutch Palace (closed on Fridays) which contains mythological murals and traditional Keralite flooring.

Rest of the day is free at leisure.

NOTE: Breakfast & Overnight stay at the Hotel is included.

Day 9 – Cochin – Backwater Cruise:

This morning we arrive in Nettoor village in Cochin to watch Kalari Payattu-the traditional martial art performance, at an authentic training centre-Kalari. Drive to the nearby village Marad and embark on RV Vaikundam, by noon. The team  on-board welcome you to the boat and help you with smooth check-in. Gather at the lounge for a briefing about the boat and about the cruise a. We set sail. Unwind, as the boat leaves behind the rapidly growing city and gently cruise in to the   interconnected rivers, lake and coastal estuaries. We pass by the interspersed islands and islets covered by coconut trees. Enjoy the traditional lunch and relax on-board.

We talk about   Cochin, the Queen of Arabian Sea, and its geographical, cultural and social significance.  

By evening we arrive in the ancient village, Vaikom. By tuk-tuk or by foot   we proceed to the ancient temple of Shiva. We take a tour around the temple to get to know about its history and architecture. The architecture of temples in Kerala is based on ancient science of construction and geographical features of the land. As per the traditional architecture, the each element   of temple represents an element of human body, and, a temple is not only the space for spiritual enlightenment but also the venue for harmonious social networking. Return to boat. After dinner, we retire for the night.

Note: Overnight onboard Cruise, Breakfast, Lunch and dinner provided.

Day 10 – Backwater Cruise – cruise to Vaikom:

After meditation/yoga/taking walk in the village in the early morning, we have our breakfast on the boat. By tuk-tuk or by foot we proceed to the cultural centre in the locality   to watch the traditional dance performance – Kathakali, the traditional dramatic and mimetic dance form, which plays stories from epics. It is a unique blend of dance, music, action, literature and make-up.

Cruise to Chenganda village. The people of this rustic village are having a laid-back and peaceful life. Spend time with the coir weavers, the shell harvesters and farmers, engaging in conversation about the riparian life and watching various indigenous techniques of fishing. Return to boat for lunch.

Cruise through Thanneermukkom barrage. The barrage at Thanneermukkom built across Vembanad, the largest lake of Kerala, divides the lake into two– one half with perennial salty water and the other with fresh water enriched by 5 rivers from hills.

We talk about indigenous practices of paddy cultivation in Kuttanad. Cruise to the expanses of lake Vembanad experiencing its wetland eco-system. We visit a farm house by evening.

This house is located on an island which was made by the men of the house, by reclaiming land from Backwaters. A walk in the farm will be educative. The hostess will demonstrate the preparation of traditional Syrian Christian cuisine. You may also try your hand at cooking and listen to the story of her family, of three generations of hard working men, and equally strong women who supported their pioneering spirit. We will have dinner at this house .Return to boat and retire for the night.

Note: Overnight onboard Cruise, Breakfast, Lunch and dinner provided.

Day 11 – Backwater Cruise – Birding:

Having an early and light breakfast, we set out by   country boat to watch the migratory and endemic birds of Kumarakom, which is a cluster of lagoons of lake Vembanad, at the backdrop of mangroves, paddy fields and coconut groves. Waterfowl, cuckoo, owl, egret, heron and the water duck are some of the endemic species seen here. Parrots, teal, larks, flycatchers, wood beetle, and other birds are seen here during their respective migratory seasons. Return to the boat, refresh and while cruising   elaborate breakfast will be served.

Having lunch on-board   while cruising through the wetland eco-system of the lake and the low-lying paddy fields and coconut groves we arrive in Kavalam. Here we watch a folk dance performance (Kaikotti kali), by the girls of the village. Return to the boat and cruise till dusk, further interior to Veliyanad village. After dinner retire for the night.

Note: Overnight onboard Cruise, Breakfast, Lunch and dinner provided.

Day 12 – Backwater Cruise – cruise to Kainakari:

After meditation/yoga/leisurely walk in the village, we have our breakfast on-board. This day as we cruise through the interior villages we visit a traditional Ayurveda centre. Interact with Ayurveda doctor and get to know about this ancient knowledge on holistic way of life. You may try any of the wellness massages based on the recommendation of the doctor.

A short cruise ahead we arrive at Chavara Bhavan, the ancestral home of Saint Kuriakose Chavara which is now preserved as a museum.  Saint Chavara, the first canonized Catholic male saint of Indian origin, was the co-founder of the first congregation for men, the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate-C.M.I., and of a similar one for women, Congregation of the Mother of Carmel-C.M.C.

Return to boat. After having lunch on-board, cruise to Pulinkunnu village. Get closer to the laid-back, yet harmonious, life along the way, paddling   along narrow canal by country boat, interacting with the villagers. Return to boat. After dinner retire for the night.

Note: Overnight onboard Cruise, Breakfast, Lunch and dinner provided.

Day 13 – Backwater Cruise – Excursion to artisan villages in Kuttanad:

After breakfast, cruise to Nedumudy. On arrival at Nedumudy we drive through the quaint and scenic villages to Mannar which is famous for bell metal craft. Interact with the artisans; inspire them, watching the indigenous method of casting of traditional lamps, utensils and ornate locks. Return, refresh and   have lunch and relax on-board.

We cruise to Champakkulam village. Kerala’s old spice trade used to pass through this town en route to Cochin and other ports on the west coast. Settled more than 1000 years ago by Syrian Christian traders, who later converted to Roman Catholicism under the Portuguese, the people chose to keep their syncretic cultural heritage. This can be seen in the monumental St Mary’s Church on the riverside. Built in 1550, the foundations are said to be as old as 5th century AD. Architecturally, it is a mélange of several European styles, from the Levantine altar and structure to the Dutch arches that tower overhead.

We visit the old church, a school, the local artisans (open on week days) who skillfully and passionately craft biblical heroes. Take a look at   the Snake boat (Chundan Vallom) of the villagers, gracefully docked on the shore. These types of boats, which are being used for races today in modern days, were once maritime war boats and their structure and design reflect the prowess of ancient Kerala architecture and are one of the icons of Kerala culture. Cruise to Changankari village till dusk, passing through the serene canals. You may relax on board or take a walk. After dinner retire for the night.                    

Note: Overnight onboard Cruise, Breakfast, Lunch and dinner provided.

Day 14 – Backwater Cruise – Excursion to the midland:

After having early breakfast, we drive to the prosperous and picturesque midland to Konni village (You may have to wait near a railway cross), at the backdrop of forest.    Spend time with elephants at a shelter  camp. Elephants are integral part of Kerala culture. It is the State animal and is featured on the State’s emblem. Pageant of caparisoned elephants accompanied with percussions   is the high-light of all temple festivals in Kerala.

Proceed to Aranmula village which is home to a family of craftsmen who are skilled at making mirror out of a special combination of certain metals. The secret of the trade has been passed down through generations. These mirrors have the distinctive feature of 100% reflection unlike the common mirror. Also, it is considered as one of the auspicious item that brings prosperity in house. Visit the mirror makers and inspire them. The ancient temple of Krishna, Snake boat building, the mural art, the school of traditional architecture are the other high lights of this old village of heritage value.

On your return, we will be passing by small plantations of rubber, banana and tropical trees, sawmills beautiful houses of contemporary design and traditional architectural elements, small and prospering townships.  Lunch will be arranged at a local house of beautiful architecture, located on the bank of Pampa, the holy river of natives. The host will talk about the art of Snake boat building and the ritualistic annual regatta in Aranmula.

Drive back to Changankari. After refreshment,   cruise through Thakazhi enjoying the picturesque and serene villages along, to the coastal village, Thottappalli, passing by the   spillway at the southern area of Kuttanad preventing the saline water from flooding the low-lying paddy fields.

We take a leisurely walk to the beach. Return to boat. After dinner retire for the night.

Note: Overnight onboard Cruise, Breakfast, Lunch and dinner provided.

Day 15 – Backwater Cruise – Excursion to Karumadi Village:

Today we will have early breakfast and take a short drive to visit an ancient scared grove where serpents are worshipped. This is the only temple in Kerala having   female priests. You can take walk inside and see the rituals going on. Return to Thottappalli. We have our breakfast on-board.

Honoring your cruise with us,   we plant a coconut sapling for the village. Coconut tree is considered as the ‘Kalpavriksha ‘or Divine tree of Kerala. All parts of coconut tree are useful in one way or the other: the water inside is a healthy drink; the   fresh kernel and the oil extract from dried kernel are inevitable components of every cuisine; fiber from the coconut husk is used to make coir, mats and geotextile; the palm fronds are used for thatching roof; the wood suitable for making furniture and all the dried parts of coconut make good firewood. Last but not the least, the toddy – the local alcoholic beverage that boost for the laborers after toiling in the fields.

After breakfast we arrive in a quaint village – Karumadi village.

We take a walk around a small shrine preserving the ruin of a sculpture of Buddha that belongs to the early centuries of current era. Along the way we interact with toddy tappers, who are in to the occupation of collecting the sap of coconut palm to make the local alcoholic beverage –Toddy. We learn from him the process of making toddy and   may take a sip from his pot!

We visit the village   Kanjippadom for a leisurely walk. We meet the carpenters at the boat building yard and talk about the traditional method of building wooden boats (Kettuvallom), joining wooden planks using coir, cotton and natural resin. Tonight we celebrate our sojourn over farewell dinner on board RV Vaikundam.

Note: Overnight onboard Cruise, Breakfast, Lunch and dinner provided.

Day 16 – Backwater Cruise – Cochin – Departure

After having a sumptuous breakfast we disembark at Punnamada in Alleppey. We take a guided tour to experience the heritage of this ancient port town and bustling trade centre. Visit the old market, temples, churches and mosques, the beach and the oldest light house of the country.

Note: Breakfast provided.

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Sri Lanka with Backwater Cruise

From: £1,999.00

Price displayed above are for each individuals on Superior cabin without balcony rooms.

Rates include only those items specified in your itinerary.

Per Person prices will have a moderate increase if the final group strength is less than 15 paying guest.

Single accommodations can be provided if requested in advance but could be bit expensive.

Transfers in Private vehicles and entrance fee to all sightseeings mentioned in Itinerary are included within the package price.

Please download the file under Requirement section to have an idea about the cancellation and Refund policies.

15 Nights / 16 Days

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