The sea off Mirissa between Galle and Matara is one of the best places in the world to endangered blue whales. Half-day trips leave from Mirissa fishing harbour, and a number of other communities, and encounter lots of wildlife along the way. Best mid-November to April. This two days tour also gives you the opportunity to see some of the important places in the southern coastal belt such as Galle Fort, Unawatuna beach, sea turtle hatchery etc.
Day 1:: Meet & greet by “Seerendipity Tours” Representatives and proceed to the hotel in Mirissa, En-route Bentota and Galle sightseeing tour.
Bentota Beach for leisurely Beach Holiday
Bentota beach is the most popular beach holiday destination on the island. The unique location of Bentota beach resort is one important reason for its popularity as a beach holiday destination. Bentota resort is located on an island and the island is connected with the mainland its southern border. Bentota is mainly comprised of a narrow strip of land that spreads along the north-south axis. Unlike most other islands, Bentota is surrounded by both sea and a river. One side of the island is the Bentota River while the western side of Bentota is flanked by the Indian Ocean. Large numbers of hotels are built in this narrow strip of land enabling the travellers to have a peaceful atmosphere during the holiday.
Sea Turtle Farm
Projects have been launched to conserve the population of turtles that are reaching extinction and such projects are found along the southern coast of Sri Lanka where turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. The turtle digs a hole on the Beach, Lays her eggs and covers it with sand where it is supposed to, incubated by the heat of the sun. What often happens is, the eggs are dug out by fisherman and sold to people who consume them. But now the eggs are bought up by the conservation projects and are hatched the Natural way in enclosed areas where the Birds don’t have a chance of picking them up and the babies are let into the sea after two days at night time which offers them a better chance of survival.
Visit a spice garden at Matale where spices and herbs used for Sri Lankan cuisine and medication are grown Spices of Sri Lanka attracted the early seafaring merchants who made the long voyages to purchase this precious merchandise.
Kalutara is historically important due to the fact that it was one of the 32 places indicated by Arahant Mahinda Thera to the king Devananpiya Tissa in the 2nd century B.C. as a place where one of the thirty-two saplings of the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura is planted, to which the King extended his patronage. It is recorded in the Sinhala Maha Bodhi Wansa that until such time when the Maritime Provinces were subjugated by the Portuguese in 1505 A.D., the historic Kalutara Bodhi exited intact. In the 16th century, this sacred site was turned in to a Portuguese fort. Though no harm is supposed to have done to the Bodhi it was not venerated by the people during that period. It was after the planting of a Bodhi in lower terrace of Pahala Maluwa by an Indian Prince from the Pandya country named Wickrama Pandya in 1042 A.D. that the public began to venerated and consider the site as a sacred place. This prince from Indian became a viceroy in the Kalutara area.
After the Portuguese, the Dutch too use of the present upper terrace or the udamaluwa area as a camp followed by the British as well, subsequently. During the British period, since the latter half of the 19 century, it was used as an office premise with the residence of the Government Agent.
Madu River Boat Tour
In the global context, the ecological importance of this site has garnered it the ‘Ramsar Wetland’ status in 2003 is the second largest wetland in Sri Lanka with a colossal 915 hectares with 23 islands inhabited by nearly 300 families. The River Sanctuary is now a Tourist Development Area and a Special Area Managed (SAM) by the Coast Conservation Department. Balapitiya is where the ‘Madu Ganga’ makes its home.
Galle is one of the ancient seaports of Sri Lanka and was an anchor point in the Silk Route. It was later discovered by the Portuguese where they built a fortress and the Dutch that succeeded them fortified it further. This fortress is today a World Heritage Site.
The fort has a colourful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world. The heritage value of the fort has been recognised by the UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv, for its unique exposition of “an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The Galle Fort, also known as the Dutch Fort or the “Ramparts of Galle”, withstood the Boxing Day tsunami which damaged part of coastal area Galle town. It has been since restored. The Galle Fort also houses the elite Amangalla resort hotel, located near the Dutch Reformed Church. It was originally built in 1684 to house the Dutch Governor and his staff. It was then converted into a hotel and named then as the New Oriental Hotel in 1865, which catered to the European passengers travelling between Europe and Galle Port in the 19th century.
Unawatuna Beach is located just south of Galle, the main city in the south and 125km from Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. This 4km expanse of palm-fringed sand is said by some to rank amongst the twelve best beaches in the world. This beach is a paradise for all those who yearn to enjoy the silence of the sea and dive deep into the blue waters of the ocean. There is a reef protecting the beach, which makes it perfectly a safe haven for bathing. Other major attractions of this southern beach include shallow waters for swimming and diving. Within its reach, there is an accessible, reasonably well-preserved coral reef that serves as the base for snorkelling.
Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary
Hikkaduwa is one of the most popular tourist destinations in southern Sri Lanka. It is 98 km south of Colombo and its beautiful beaches a lot of glamour to this town. It is the place where you can have a glimpse of the fascinating underwater world and see the creatures that inhabit the unfathomable depths of the sea. The famed coral gardens are located here. Just get hold of a glass-bottomed boat or goggles and flippers and plunge into the ocean.
City and Shopping
The Galle city tour will also include places of tourist interest such as
Bentota Beach Galle coastal area Galle lighthouse Kande Vihara Cinnamon Island Handicraft centre Mask carving centre
Meetiyagoda moonstone mines Batik shop Handicraft centre
Overnight stay in Mirissa
Day 2:: early morning leave for the whale watching trip and later breakfast at the hotel.
Mirissa off southern Sri Lanka coast is one of the best known for greatest wildlife spectacles on the planet – lunge-feeding humpback whales and blue whales. Groups of whales construct enormous circular fishing nets with bubbles to catch vast shoals of herring and then launch themselves high into the air with their mouths wide open. Best from November to April (but can be observed throughout the year). Afterwards, proceed to Colombo.
….End of the tour….