TEA, LEOPARDS & TEMPLES

Experience

TEA, LEOPARDS & TEMPLES

GALLE I YALA I NUWARA ELIYA I GAL OYA I KANDY I SIGIRIYA I COLOMBO

WHEN TO GO

FEBRUARY – MAY

IDEAL LENGTH

12 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

15 HOURS 45 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

7


From epic legendary tea estates, historical towns and spectacular national parks, Sri Lanka has it all. For a slightly different taste of what this country has to offer, embark on this eleven night itinerary through Sri Lanka and take in the tea plantations surrounding Nuwara Eliya, the majestic wildlife in both Yalaand Minneriya National Parks and the exquisite carved rock Buddha images at Polonnaruwa.

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Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

WELLNESS

As soon as you touch down in Colombo, you’ll take a trip south along the coastline to Galle, an amazing fortified town filled with an eclectic mix of art galleries, cafes and boutique hotels. Offering a truly invigorating way to start your day, hop on a bike and cycle through flourishing paddy and cinnamon plantations in the charming southern countryside.

ECO RETREAT

From the walls of Galle head to the open spaces of Yala National Park, home to leopards,elephants, sloth bears, sambar, spotted deer, jackals, wild boar, buffaloes,langur, macaque monkeys and an array of bird life. Travel inland and enjoy the spring like weather in Nuwara Eliya, surrounded by hills and tea plantations –here you’ll need to blink twice as the quaint town keeps the atmosphere of a misplaced British village. Continue on to Gal Oya, one of Sri Lanka’s hidden gems and an area waiting to be explored. Along with recognisable wildlife, Gal Oya is also home to Sri Lanka’s indigenous communities.

TREATMENT

Move on to Kandy, a city which attracts visitors from afar and visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya. The 147 acre site is composed of endemic plants and mixed with species brought from as far as the famous Kew Gardens in England. Travelling further north and with Sigiriya as your base, discover the archaeological relics of Polonnaruwa and the wildlife of Minneriya National Park. Your journey comes to an end in the vibrant capital city of Colombo – traverse the varied streets of a city rooted in trading, a colonial past and around every corner where buildings from another era remain hidden between renovations.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

RURAL GALLE BIKE RIDE I JEEP SAFARI AT YALA NATIONAL PARK I NUWARA ELIYA EXPLORATION I KANDY CITY TOUR PERADENIYA ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS I RUINS OF POLONNARUWA I JEEP SAFARI AT MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK I HISTORIC SITES OF COLOMBO


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TAKING THE ROAD LESS BIKED

Experience

TAKING THE ROAD LESS BIKED

NEGOMBO I KANDY I DAMBULLA I POLONNARUWA I ANURADHAPURA I COLOMBO

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER – MARCH

IDEAL LENGTH

7 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

15 HOURS 45 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

6


Where else can you tick off five off the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in one go? Consisting of Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, these three great, ancient capitals form the Cultural Triangle. Crammed with monuments and ruined cities, there is so much to see in this one area, it’s an obvious ‘not-to-miss’ on this small group cycling tour. Cycling offers the opportunity to see things close up, cycle the many back roads and absorb a grassroots feel of the country. 

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

OLD TOWN

The ride commences on the road to the beautiful old town of Kandy. Sweet-sounding Kandy lives up to its name, deep in the heart of the island and in perfect proximity to explore Adam’s Peak, which is known by a multitude of different names and brings together four separate strands of religious beliefs. Kandy is home to the famed Temple of the Tooth Relic and located around an atmospheric lake.

TEMPLES & WILD

The following day pedal through open countryside to see the ancient Buddhist cave temples of Dambulla or the city of Polonnaruwa (which you may recognise from Duran Duran’s ‘Save a Prayer’ video if you are a fan). Pedalling out of Dambulla head to Sigiriya, it’s dominating rock fortress will be in continuous view as you cycle towards it. It’s well worth the climb to explore its green slopes and holy summit. Taking a 4×4 through Minneriya National Park, home to herds of elephant, a sprinkling of leopards, buffaloes, boar, spotted deer,sloth bear, crocodiles and jackals, is another Sri Lankan treat and a generous slice of safari adventure. 

ANCIENT JUNGLE

After an adventurous morning, cycle back to Polonnaruwa, an ancient former capital with 800 years of history and with fascinating ruins rescued from the jungle’s grip. Cycle through and explore this historic complex. The last stop is the even more ancient heritage site of Anuradhapura, the centre of Theravada Buddhism and the most continuously inhabited city in the world.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

CYCLE THE SCENIC BACK ROADS I ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS VISIT I GOLDEN TEMPLE OF DAMBULLA I SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS JEEP SAFARI AT MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK I ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK OF POLONNARUWA I RUINS OF ANURADHAPURA


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FAMILY MEMOIRS IN VIETNAM

Experience

FAMILY MEMOIRS IN VIETNAM

HANOI I CAT BA ISLAND I PHONG NHA KE BANG NATIONAL PARK I HUE I HOI AN

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER –AUGUST

IDEAL LENGTH

11 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

16 HOURS 30 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

5


With many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, breath-taking scenery, beautiful beaches, an abundance of shopping and a delectable cuisine – Vietnam is a kaleidoscope of cultural and sensory contrasts; it offers the perfect destination for a family adventure. We here at Active Asia, quite simply believe that Vietnam is one of the most divine Asian destinations on the planet. Travelling as a family is rewarding, it creates fond memories and for most children, it offers a different perspective on life – any trip to the east offers eye opening contrasts to the ways of the west. 

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

BACKSTREETS

Start out in Hanoi, the bustling capital city. Dive into the backstreets and explore with a flurry of noise, scooter horns, bicycle bells and vendors selling goods. Get off the grid with a cool urban hike which includes walking a piece of heritage, the symbol of Hanoi, the beautiful Long Bien Bridge.

SCATTERED MOUNTAINS

Catch a hydrofoil from Hai Phong and continue to jungle-clad Cat Ba Island, the largest island in Halong Bay. Explore nearby Lan Ha Bay, the twin sister of Halong Bay and certainly one of the less travelled corners of the Halong Bay archipelago. Fly to Dong Hoi, the gateway to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, where you’ll spend two days exploring. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park contains numerous karst mountains scattered with caves and under ground rivers. You’ll explore Paradise Cave with its magnificent scenery and spectacular stalagmites.

HISTORY

As you continue travelling south, drive across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which will take you to the Hien Luong Bridge, a historic landmark that served as the border gate between North and South Vietnam before reunification. As you arrive in the ancient imperial city of Hue, you’ll actually stay in a beautiful resort on Thuan An Beach, about 10km from Hue town

FAMILY

Although Hue unveils important pieces of Vietnam history it also offers plenty of fun with a stand-up paddle board expedition to a restaurant on stilts above a lagoon. Wrap up your family journey in Hoi An, travelling from Hue via the Hai Van Pass and its superb vistas. Some days may feel exhausting but we’re pretty sure they’ll be loaded with long lasting memories for years to come.

MORE

HANOI CITY TOUR I HANOI URBAN HIKE I TREKKING IN CAT BA NATIONAL PARK I EXPLORATION OF LAN HA BAY I BICYCLE RIDE THROUGH PHONG NHA KE BANG NATIONAL PARK I PARADISE CAVE EXPLORATION I ZIP LINING I DMZ AND VINH MOC TUNNELS EXPLORATION I COOKING LESSON I STAND-UP PADDLE BOARDING I IMPERIAL CITADEL EXCURSION I TRAVEL THE HAI VAN PASS COUNTRYSIDE CYCLE OF HOI AN I CAM THANH MANGROVE KAYAK



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CHRONICLES, CRABS & PEPPER

Experience

CHRONICLES, CRABS & PEPPER

SIEM REAP I PHNOM PENH I KEP I KAMPOT

WHEN TO GO

NOVEMBER – APRIL

IDEAL LENGTH

7 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

13 HOURS 15 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

4


Cambodia offers rich history, both enchanting and depressing. The Khmer shave been to hell and back, struggling through years of poverty and bloodshed,most recently from the Khmer Rouge – but of late, the country has risen to a destination which should be a must visit on any Asia holiday plans. This 7 day itinerary promises a roller coaster of emotions – the Khmer temples will dazzle you, the sombre scenes at Choeung Ek will give you chills down your spine and the relaxed atmosphere of Cambodia’s south coast will put a smile on your face.

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

ANCIENT TEMPLES

Start your journey in Siem Reap, whereby day, the town is a buzz with restaurants, bars, boutique shops, colourful markets and tuk tuks – the evenings also offer little respite. Visit Angkor Wat and also Ta Prohm which, unlike most of the temples of Angkor, has been largely left to the clutches of the living jungle. With its dynamic interaction between nature and man-made art,this atmospheric temple makes you feel a little like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft(which was filmed here). You’ll also have an opportunity to admire the incredible carvings of Bayon Temple – known for its huge stone faces of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, with one facing outward and keeping watch at each compass point. The curious smiling image, thought by many to be a portrait of Jayavar man himself, has been dubbed by some as the ‘Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia’.

HISTORY

Fly to the capital city of Phnom Penh with its bustling streets scenes yet relaxed riverfront. Encounter the Khmer Rouge face on with a visit to the notorious Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. In 1975 Pol Pot’s security forces turned Tuol Svay Prey High School into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). Slightly further out, the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek offer a stark insight and reminder of some of the country’s darkest moments.

SEA

Then head south to Kep, where crab is the local speciality. Many flock to the nearby offshore islands in search of white sands, turquoise waters and snorkelling, with Koh Tonsai being the closest. With the Bokor Mountains as your backdrop, Kampot is your last stop and home to adeserted hill station, vast salt flats and famed pepper plantations

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

CAMBODIAN CULTURAL EXPERIENCE TOUR I ANGKOR TEMPLES EXPLORATION I ANGKOR WAT AT SUNRISE I PHNOM PENH CITY TOUR I PHNOM CHISOR MOUNTAIN RELAXATION AT KOH TONSAI I KEP CRAB MARKET I PHNOM CHHNORK CAVES EXCURSION I KAMPOT PEPPER PLANTATION VISIT I KAMPOT EXLORATION I SUNSET RIVER CRUISE


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FOCUS ON SRI LANKA

Experience

FOCUS ON SRI LANKA

COLOMBO I ANURADHAPURA I SIGIRIYA I KANDY I NUWARA ELIYA I NEGOMBO

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER – MARCH

IDEAL LENGTH

9 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

15 HOURS 45 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

6


Sri Lanka is a country just waiting to be photographed! Offering diversity with tranquil locations, ancient temples, colonial architecture, wildlife parks and pristine beaches, endless photo opportunities abound here. Get your creative juices flowing engaging with traditional culture and contemporary scenes.

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

VIBRANT CAPITAL

Work on your weaknesses and enhance your skills as you chat with a local professional photographer. Begin in Colombo, the vibrant and cosmopolitan capital of Sri Lanka. The city offers a constant buzz of activity perfect for snapping up the local culture. Take a step back in time as you discover the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Explore its culture and heritage through its architectural marvels.

HISTORIC

With your first taste of Sri Lanka’s illustrious history in Anuradhapura, continue on to its second capital, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa to see some of the island’s most dazzling ruins from its next significant era. As you head to Sigiriya Rock Fortress, an early start offers a morning hue resulting in a different filter altogether for landscape photography. Offering fantastic moody images, the cave temples of Dambulla will surely excite, ahead of arriving into Kandy where a picturesque lake setting with delightful stalls and buzzing street market await.

SCENIC HILLS

From Kandy, travel up the verdant green hills that surround the city and venture further into Sri Lanka’s most beautiful and magical region, the Hill Country – proceeding to the town of Nuwara Eliya. With its cool air, magnificent waterfalls and thriving tea culture, the enchanting allure of these hills has to be seen to be believed – have your camera ready! With winding roads through the gorgeously lush tea plantations – see tea pluckers amid the well-maintained tea bushes that look like green sculptures stretching up and down the misty hills as far as the eye can see.

GOLDEN HOUR

The last part of your journey will see you relax in the coastal town of Negombo. Watch the sunset over the tropical landscape and marvel at its rich pinks and ambers, the ideal end to an enchanting journey.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

TIPS FROM A LOCAL PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER I COLOMBO CITY TOUR I ANCIENT RUINS OF ANURADHAPURA AND POLONNARUWA I EARLY MORNING SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS CLIMB I KANDY CITY TOUR I DRIVE THROUGH THE TEA PLANTATIONS OF THE HILL COUNTRY


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FEELING WILD

Experience

FEELING WILD

KALPITIYA I KANDY I NUWARA ELIYA I YALA I HAMBANTOTA I MIRISSA I SINHARAJA I GALLE I COLOMBO

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER – MARCH

IDEAL LENGTH

18 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

15 HOURS 45 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

9


As the name suggests, this is the perfect trip for adventurous wildlife and nature enthusiasts of any age and with a good sense of fun. Sri Lanka’s rich biodiversity and untouched natural habitats have been carefully protected and nurtured for generations. Both ancient and contemporary Sri Lankan rulers have continually made it a priority over time to preserve the land and its wildlife, where there are hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles and birds that all call the island home.

MAKE THIS ITINERARY YOURS

Inspired by what you see? Remember we design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something that is entirely you. If we need to start from scratch, lets start with a conversation.

ADVENTURE AWAITS

Easing into your adventure, start with a stay in Kalpitiya, a small fishing village that’s free from the hustle and bustle of city life. It offers an ideal gateway for your next step – a jeep safari in Wilpattu National Park, which, among its abundant array of wildlife, is also renowned for its leopard population. Explore the tranquillity of the hill country with a trek in the Knuckles Mountain Range. With an experienced trekker, an outdoor enthusiast and knowledgeable naturalist accompanying you, experience jaw-dropping cliff views on the surreal Horton Plains National Park trek, where you are very unlikely to see another soul along the way.

EPIC

The last half of your journey encompasses a few more national parks after an epic scenic train journey to Ella. A second jeep safari in both Yala and Udawalawe National Parks gives you the opportunity to see herds of elephants and possibly even leopards. The chances of witnessing a herd of Sri Lankan elephants is extremely high, particularly near the rivers and the reservoir of Udawalawe. Less crowded with tourists is Bundala National Park, an important area for coastal wetlands and an important wintering ground for migratory birds.

OCEAN & RAIN FORESTS

Then, continue on to Mirissa for an exciting whale watching experience before heading off to Sinharaja Forest Reserve for an eco-friendly rainforest trek. As a biodiversity hotspot, this tropical rainforest is believed to be home to almost 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic wildlife, which are well worth looking out for and listening to during this amazing trek. As your adventure slowly draws to an end, Galle offers a fascinating insight into the city’s mixed past whilst in Colombo you will surely reminisce about all the highlights and those moments to cherish!

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

JEEP SAFARIS IN WILPATTU, YALA & UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARKS I KANDY WALKING TOUR I TREK THE KNUCKLES MOUNTAIN RANGE I TEA EXPERIENCE A TREK IN THE HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK I TRAIN JOURNEY TO ELLA I MIGRATORY BIRD VIEWINGS IN BUNDALA NATIONAL PARK WHALE WATCHING EXPERIENCE I RAINFOREST TREK IN SINHARAJA FOREST RESERVE I TOUR OF GALLE I COLOMBO STREET FOOD TOUR


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