THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

Experience

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH

NEGOMBO I ANURADHAPURA I DAMBULLA I JAFFNA I TRINCOMALEE I KANDY I NUWARA ELIYA I ELLA I YALA I GALLE I BENTOTA I COLOMBO

WHEN TO GO

NOVEMBER – MAY

IDEAL LENGTH

21 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

15 HOURS 45 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

12


The Greatest Show on Earth tour explores this bountiful and spirited nation based on Active Asia’s in house Sri Lankan enthusiast and Creative Director. A one-off journey covering all the must-see spots, Valentina shares with you the places,experiences and people she fell in love with. 

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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.

WILDLIFE & HISTORY

Begin your journey in Negombo,a fishing village with old-world charm before heading to Anaradhapura. Once serving as Sri Lanka’s capital, the city is home to a large collection of well-preserved architectural achievements. Next turn your focus to wildlife, with jeep safaris in both Wilpattu and Minneriya National Parks. Boasting a treasure trove of historical monuments, continue on to Dambulla. Visit the famed Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the ruins of Polonnaruwa. Once a medieval capital, this amazing citadel boasts historic archaeological relics. 

TEA PLANTATIONS

Travel north to Jaffna. Lying close to India, the city presents a largely Indian influence and offers a different perspective from the rest of the country. Then head east to Trincomalee, recognised for its natural harbour and an abundance of water related activities. Offering an urban buzz, head inland to Kandy. Bordered by beautiful hills and countryside, explore the city before travelling to Nuwara Eliya, a quaint town with colonial English charm. Surrounded by tea plantations, with tea pluckers working the slopes,the area affords a delightful landscape, as does a trek through the Horton Plains National Park where high-altitude grasslands border dramatically plunging cliffs

THE EPIC TRAIN RIDE

Take to the train as you journey into Ella – the track snakes along the edge of the mountains overlooking breath-taking valleys of rolling tea plantations and small villages. Considered the most famous national park in Sri Lanka, head to Yala National Park for a jeep safari in search of leopards, elephants, sloth bears plus more. Continuing along the southern coastline, a stay in Galle rewards you with a unique fusion of European and Arabic charm. Nearing the end of your journey, Bentota offers a relaxing beach stay. Small and buzzing with a friendly local atmosphere, one can spend the days languidly walking the streets,partaking in water adventures or merely enjoying the sunshine. Colombo is your final stop. This vibrant capital city offers a whirl of commotion and the perfect spot to reflect on your adventures.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

NEGOMBO LOCAL MARKET I RUINS OF ANURADHAPURA I JEEP SAFARIS IN WILPATTU, MINNERIYA, YALA AND UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARKS SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS EXPLORATION I POLONNARUWA CITADEL I JAFFNA CITY TOUR I DELFT ISLAND VISIT I TRINCOMALEE CITY TOUR WALKING TOUR OF KANDY I TEA PLANTATION VISIT I SCENIC TRAIN JOURNEY TO ELLA I GUIDED TOUR OF GALLE FORT RELAXATION IN BENTOTA I COLOMBO STREET FOOD TOUR


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SRI LANK’S SECRET SIDE

Experience

SRI LANK’S SECRET SIDE

NEGOMBO I ANURADHAPURA I TRINCOMALEE I PASIKUDA I GAL OYA I KANDY I COLOMBO

WHEN TO GO

NOVEMBER – MAY

IDEAL LENGTH

15 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

15 HOURS 45 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

7


Offering the perfect mix of culture and relaxation, Sri Lanka’s Secret Side explores not only historical cities but also the lesser visited east coast of Sri Lanka. Still a little raw around the edges, the east coast is one of Sri Lanka’s upcoming areas with beautiful beaches and warm waters. It is only fair to dedicate some of your time to experiencing these caramel coloured sands,swaying palms and have the sea breeze in your hair as you watch the sun set behind the horizon.

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.

NATURE

Journey from Negombo to Anuradhapura and travel around the ancient citadel by bike to discover the ruins of its monastic complex all whilst learning about the lives of its inhabitants. Climb the famed Sigiriya Rock Fortress ahead of a jeep safari in Minneriya National Park which allows you to observe nature and its diversity from the comfort of your seat.

BEACH

As you head east to Trincomalee and Pasikuda, the days and nights are spent at leisure for you to take in the tranquil atmosphere and relax. The beaches of Trincomalee –mainly Nilaveli and Marble Bay offer white soft sandy beaches that stretch for miles whilst Pasikuda is known to have one of the longest stretches of shallow coastline in the world. At select times its possible for people to walk at least half a kilometre into the sea at certain points due to the water being only a few inches deep, with the current relatively weak compared to the rest of Sri Lanka’s coastline. 

CULTURE

Soak yourself in local culture as you visit Gal Oya, one of Sri Lanka’s most remote and least visited wilderness areas – here a walk in the forest with the ‘Veddas’, the forest dwelling indigenous community of Gal Oya, offers an insight as to how they live off the land and be at one with nature.Travel inland to Kandy and discover sacred spaces and listen to intriguing tales of the city before heading to Colombo for your last night.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR YOU

BIKE RIDE IN ANURADHAPURA I SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS EXPLORATION I JEEP SAFARI I A WALK WITH AN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITYBOAT RIDE I KANDY CITY TOUR I CULTURAL COLOMBO TOUR


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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.

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.

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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HIDDEN CORNER OF NORTHERN VIETNAM

Experience

HIDDEN CORNER OF NORTHERN VIETNAM

HANOI I SUOI MU I NINH BINH I HALONG BAY

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER –AUGUST

IDEAL LENGTH

7 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

16 HOURS 30 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

4


Rich in its long, winding history and shrouded with mystique, Northern Vietnam has always held a magnetic quality. It has provided a pilgrimage for many hundreds of thousands of pairs of feet that have come to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that sit alongside a riot of colour and culture.The landscape lives and breathes the story of time. On this 7 day itinerary,journey with us as we highlight not only iconic sights but traverse the roads less travelled to reveal hidden gems. 

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.

HISTORY

Kick off your adventure in Hanoi and get ready to see it as very few others do. Enter a special district in the south of Hanoi where it suddenly feels like stepping back in time. Wander around the narrow alleys, feel the incredible vibe and let your guide tell you the story of these unusual big yellow block buildings. It’s then off to the Temple of Literature – a little gem of architecture yet a huge piece of history, before taking a gastronomy adventure in the Old Quarter.

MOUNTAIN HIGH

You then hit the Ho Chi Minh Road to the Tam Diep mountain range where tucked away you’ll discover Suoi Mu, a much lesser known location and one that you won’t find much about on the internet. Within a valley lies a nature reserve, a well-hidden piece of paradise with a lush green environment – mountains covered in jungle, beautiful terraced rice fields and stunning natural pools. Here a private lodge awaits. Feel the love as you are warmly welcomed and hosted for the night by a family of Muong ethnic people offering a genuine cultural immersion.

CRUISING

As you arrive in the Ninh Binh region, a scenic rowed sampan cruise allows you to reach Tam Coc, the most renowned valley of the area, iconic for its towering limestone rocks and beautiful rice fields. Also, of remarkable beauty is the Trang An Grottoes, a blend of towering cliff bounded mountains with deeply developed internal basins and cave networks navigable by small sampans– admire the mystery and wilderness. Drive across the Red River Delta and reach the coast where you’ll end this unforgettable loop with an over night cruise in Halong Bay before heading back to Hanoi.

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OFF THE BEATEN PATH TOUR OF HANOI I GASTRONOMY ADVENTURE IN HANOI I UNIQUE OVERNIGHT HOMESTAY I TAM COC SAMPAN CRUISE I BICH DONG PAGODA CLIMBIBAI DINH PAGODA EXPLORATION I BOAT TRIP TO TRANG AN GROTTOES I OVERNIGHT HALONG BAY CRUISE



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EASTERN HOKKAIDO WILD LANDS

Experience

EASTERN HOKKAIDO WILD LANDS

KUSHIRO I SHIRETOKO PENINSULA I HOKKAIDO

WHEN TO GO

MARCH – MAY

IDEAL LENGTH

9 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

11 HOURS 5 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

3


On this 9 day small group tour, discover eastern Hokkaido’s rugged and remote wilderness.

Journey from Kushiro on the eastern pacific coast, through to the Shiretoko Peninsula stretching out into the Sea of Okhotsk. See untouched nature, visit UNESCO wetland nature reserves, experience spectacular landscapes formed by volcanoes and enjoy flora and fauna special to Hokkaido. Opportunity abounds for the chance to spot abundant wildlife as trails are trekked. Walk between one and six kilometres a day and relax in onsen hot springs, a by-product of the region’s geothermal activity.

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.


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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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WATCH OUT FOR DINOSAURS

Experience

WATCH OUT FOR DINOSAURS

HANOI I DONG HOI I PHONG NHA I HANG EN CAVE I VUANG TAU I BINH BA I NUI LE I SAIGON

WHEN TO GO

DECEMBER –AUGUST

IDEAL LENGTH

7 DAYS

FLIGHT TIME

16 HOURS 30 MINUTES FROM AUCKLAND

DESTINATIONS

8


If you are looking for a trip that is jam-packed with adventure and intrepid discovery, look no further than the beautiful and wild Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. On this daring 6-night trip, you will experience the best that the world’s largest cave has to offer; from underground rivers, moss-slick boulders, awe-inspiring wildlife to hair-raising activities peppered across the cave. Son Doong is for both the curious and the adventurous. Discovering a cave as big as Hang Son Doong is like finding a previously unknown Mount Everest underground. Navigating an algae-skinned maze, expedition organisers will lead the way across a sculpted cavescape. Meeting local communities along the way, this promises you an authentic connection with Vietnam that you will never shake off.

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.

JOURNEY

Depart from Hanoi on a short morning flight to the city of Dong Hoi. You will dive headfirst into spiritual immersion as you journey alongside Buddhist pilgrims to Phong Nha National Park. Breathing in the wafts of mother nature, any pre-trip stresses will soon melt away.  This is a trip that promises no shortage of wondrous moments.

GEAR UP

You’ll arrive at your first destination by private transfer where you’ll be outfitted with the kit and equipment required for you to successfully undertake your journey. Following the river, the first leg of your journey sees you straight into the wilderness. Along the way pass several isolated villages where you’ll get a glimpse into raw rural Vietnamese life. Stop for lunch in the company of the locals and listen to their stories and tales, giving you a final burst of inspiration to reach base camp. Arriving at the notoriously elusive entrance of Hang En, welcomed only by thousands of swifts, you’ll make your home at the spectacular campsite perched over the edge of the river amid dense forest.

PICTURESQUE

After a well-deserved overnight rest at base camp, keep moving towards the Son Doong entrance, where a photographic moment is a must. Atop a ridge, you’ll experience something rare in today’s bustling world: absolute silence. All harnessed up, you’ll start the 80-meter descent into the cave.  You’ll instantly feel how far removed Son Doong is from the rest of Vietnam. After a rewarding seven-hour hike, gaze at the most spectacular views in the biggest part of the cave and take it all in. There is a jungle inside Vietnam’s mammoth cavern, with the shrill call of birds and macaque monkeys’ echoing off the limestone. You are now part of the unseen world beyond the skylight.

PREHISTORIC

A new day and a new part of the cave to explore. Watch out for Dinosaurs; is what it was called when it was first discovered. The prehistoric atmosphere makes the reference obvious. This morning our expert guides will take you on a fascinating full-day trek, introducing you to the geology of the area and the diverse native wildlife. Witness the panoramic views, a nature photographers dream.

THE GREAT WALK

As your time in Son Doong comes to an end, a final day of adventurous escapades awaits. Embracing the Great Wall of Vietnam, you’ll scale the wall in three sections. What ever your level of experience may be, be prepared to see the cave from a unique perspective. After lunch, the day builds to an unforgettable passage of flowstones and cave pearls. This heart-thumping stretch varies from calcite covered animal skeletons to thick jungle. When night falls, a well-deserved final meal out on the patio winds down your all-Vietnamese adventure, but you will certainly be leaving tomorrow with an everlasting hunger for caves.

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This experience is unlike any other and has a waiting list of years. With our little black book of contacts, we can skip the line. Enquire now as only 1000 people a year world wide are able to experience this once in a life time adventure.

For further information regarding this current experience, please contact us.



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