The Romance of Travel, Sri Lanka
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