The Ro­mance of Travel, Sri Lanka

Wine & Dine - - TRAVELLER -

If the ro­mance of travel, com­plete with train rides, hill sta­tions and pri­vate es­tates pull at your heart­strings, this nine-day itin­er­ary to Sri Lanka (prices avail­able on re­quest) by Light­foot Travel is one to sign up for. The first few days take you around the his­tor­i­cal sites of Si­giriya, a fifth cen­tury fortress built on top of a huge boul­der; Polonnaruwa, its old cap­i­tal from the 11th to 13th cen­turies; and to Min­ner­iya Na­tional Park. The high­light here is the reser­voir built by King Ma­hasen in the third cen­tury, which now serves as a drink­ing hole for leop­ards, deer, painted storks and wild ele­phants. In fact, this is the site to see the largest gath­er­ing of ele­phants in the world dur­ing the dry months.

The itin­er­ary then takes you on a ro­man­tic train ride from Kandy to Sri Lanka’s Tea Coun­try, me­an­der­ing through gor­geous land­scapes of dense jun­gle, cloud forests and tea gar­dens. Stay at Tea Trails, com­pris­ing his­toric bun­ga­lows once built for tea es­tate man­agers in the days of the em­pire, and now owned by Dilmah Tea. Visit the nearby tea plan­ta­tions and fac­to­ries, see Adam’s Peak, then bike, hike or go raft­ing. Meals are all pro­vided, us­ing lo­cal pro­duce: feast on hearty break­fasts, el­e­gant af­ter­noon teas of scones and cream, fine teas from the land, and in­dul­gent din­ners with wine pair­ings. Back in Colombo, ex­plore the city with a lo­cal res­i­dent, and have a fi­nal din­ner at Min­istry of Crab, whose spe­cial­ity are enor­mous Sri Lankan crabs, be­fore head­ing home. light­foot­travel.com

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