A glorious itinerary for Sri Lanka

Yambateva, an Israeli travel agency that specializes in exotic and extreme destinations, offers several deals to this Asian island.

sri lanka 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
sri lanka 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sri Lanka is considered as beautiful and as easy and cheap to visit as Thailand. Although it is suffering from a 23-year internal battle against the Tamil Tiger rebels in the north who have been fighting for an independent homeland, great parts of the country continue to operate with no disturbance. Yambateva, an Israeli travel agency that specializes in exotic and extreme destinations, offers several deals to this Asian island whose white sandy beaches have become its identifying mark. One recommended course the company proposes includes a private tour guide who will accompany the entire trip, from touch-down in the capital, Colombo. For starters, the guide will drive you in his private vehicle from the airport to one of the biggest tea exporting cities in world - Nuwara Eliya, east of the capital, with cool and comfortable weather. You will be visiting the mountainous tea plantations, the tea factory and will be welcomed at a high-end hotel where a cup of hot herbal tea and a friendly ritual of blessing the new visitors will await you. On the next day, you will go rafting on the white water of the Kelani River at a small, western town named Kitulgala. The seven kilometer river will expose you the unique landscape of the area. You will have the opportunity to swim in the river and then sate your appetite with a typical Sri Lankan lunch that will be prepared for you at the rafting site and includes curry, rice and eight small side-dishes of cooked vegetables, meat, fish and more. On the third day, you will arrive at the Yala Nature Reserve on the island's eastern side, where Sri Lanka's biggest safari is situated. You will be sleeping in the wooden huts of the Yala Village Hotel, located in the heart of the safari, surrounded by wild vegetation, a pastoral pool, monkeys, iguanas, hares, squirrels and wild boar. After a short rest, you will be on your way to see the safari up close, driven by the tour guide in an open jeep. You will also encounter crocodiles, elephants, leopards, peacocks and deer. In the morning of the fourth day, just as every morning, you will start the day with a rich breakfast that includes tropical fruits, pancakes, sweet Belgian waffles, eggs, cold cuts and freshly squeezed juices. Full and relaxed, you will be heading to Galle, in the southwest. You will be sleeping at the Kosgoda Hotel. In the next couple of days, you will be resting at the pool or at the beach, sipping fruit cocktails, getting massages and exploring the area that was hit badly by the tsunami and is now almost fully recovered. On the way to Galle you will be able to stop at the Spice Garden. After touring this attraction, you will end up in a cosmetic heaven where endless kinds of creams and masks made of the garden's crops are sold very cheaply. Other possible stops are the feldspar mine, which features reasonably priced jewelry made from the pale stones; a mask factory, Hindu temples and more. The tour guide will return for you on the seventh day and will drive you back to Colombo, where you can shop in the city's many malls. You will be sleeping at the luxurious Cinnamon hotel, and can visit the town's bars or restaurants. The next day you will be heading home. The trip costs $1,480, not including lunches and dinners. Israelis do not need a visa to enter Sri Lanka and the itinerary can be modified in accordance with travelers' requests.