ATBC Asia Pacific conference 2019 in Sri Lanka, is a great opportunity to explore the natural wealth of
the island nation. Within few hours you can cut across golden beaches, emerald rain forests alive with
birdlife, turquoise blue riverine systems, lakes shimmering with lotus flowers and bustling with water
birds, scorching arid zone habitats, soothing dry zone forests and villus where large herds of elephants
walk through and sloth bears sated with berries slumber up on trees, all the way to the freezing central
highlands and its moisture drenched cloud forests where the golden eyed leopards lurk in the shadows
eyeing their prey.
For those who love heritage and cultural experiences, we offer the remnants of a glorious past from the cradle of civilization that dates back to 25 centuries to the landmarks of the colonial past with a touch of ancient wisdom and lessons we can use today for sustainable living.. Being part of the Western Ghats Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot, this little island is a living biological museum waiting for those who are eager to uncover its mysteries. For the participants of ATBC AP 2019, we are excited to offer a range of tours under the following three categories; Tailormade tours, Personal tours and Trip with volunteers. All trips are on a first come first served basis.
The Sinharaja Man and Biosphere reserve and the UNESCO world heritage site is one of the largest
tropical lowland rainforests existing in Sri Lanka holding a unique and iconic diversity of plants and
animals. The abundant rainfall and the stratification in the vegetation have created a magnificent array
of microhabitats. This tropical rain forest believed to be home for almost 50% of Sri Lanka’s endemic
wildlife draws thousands of visitors wanting to explore and experience this natural wonder that is rich
in endemism; an inevitable treasure trove.
Sinharaja has recorded over 155 species of birds. Unlimited twittering of the unique mixed foraging bid flocks adds magic to this amazing journey. Informally called a ‘bird wave’ where two or more species feed and move together, this unique sight witnessed at Sinharaja sometimes consists of flocks containing 30-50 birds of various species sometimes 10-12 species, erupting in various bird sounds as they feed and move within a short time. For those who seek adventure, there are great hiking trails within the forest.
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Udawalawe lies on the boundary of Sri Lanka's wet and dry zones. Largely comprised of grasslands and
bush forest and framed by soaring highlands on its northern boundary, the UdaWalawe National Park is
one of the world's best places to see wild elephants and the third most visited park in Sri Lanka. The
national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the
Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir.
Udawalawe is also a good birdwatching site. Endemics such as Sri Lanka spurfowl, red-faced malkoha,
Sri Lanka grey hornbill, brown-capped babbler, and Sri Lanka junglefowl are among of the breeding
resident birds. White wagtail and black-capped kingfisher are rare migrants. A variety of water birds
visit the reservoir, including cormorants, the spot-billed pelican, Asian openbill, painted stork, black-
headed ibis and Eurasian spoonbill.
The Furry, adorable, and mischievous elephant babies at the Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home (ETH) capture the hearts of all visitors. ETH is a facility within Udawalawe National Park that was established in 1995 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation. Its primary objective is to rehabilitate orphaned elephant calves for ultimate release back into the wild.
Sri Lanka is gifted with splendid, millennium old memorials and cultural artefacts in its ancient cities.
The three demarcating points of the Cultural Triangle are; Kandy Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. The
eight world heritage sites are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Dambulla, Sigiriya, the walled
colonial city of Galle; and the nature’s heritage; the Sinharaja Rain Forest and the Peak Wilderness. In
this triangle, Sigiriya rock fortress is known as the cultural tourism base and one of the must-see
destinations in Sri Lanka. The picture gallery, the mirror wall, water gardens, boulder and the terraced
gardens have made the fortress to be even proposed as the eighth wonder of the ancient world.
Minneriya and Kawudulla national parks located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka are popular destinations known for a wide array of plant and animal species, specially the large mammals and birds. However, the key attraction of these two parks is the world famous great elephant gathering Around August & September every year, the receding banks of the Minneriya and Kawudulla tanks create one of the most unique scenes. A mass exodus of elephants create the World famous 'Minneriya Elephant Gathering'. A sight to behold and a must see if you happen to visit Sri Lanka! See
The archeological site in Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well- preserved ruins of an ancient Sinhala civilization. The city, now a World Heritage site, was the centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. The city lies in the North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu River. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. Hydraulic civilisation thrived historically in Sri Lanka and to overcome water shortage in certain period of the year, a water management system which is called Tank Cascade System or ellangawa was developed by our forefathers. It is a sophisticated and excellent water management methodology which stores and distributes rainwater, enabling water security and enrichment of interior water resources. Ellangawa or the cascade system consists of a cluster of small tanks interconnected with an irrigational canal network. This ancient irrigation technology ideally suited to the Dry Zone in Sri Lanka has been now declared a World Agricultural Heritage by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization from April 19, 2018. Wilpattu National Park known for the existence of "Willus" Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater, is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world-renowned for its Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. The ancient Mahavansa records that in 543 BC Prince Vijaya landed at Tambapanni now known as Kudrimalai Point (Horse Point) within Wilpattu , established the Sinhalese kingdom in Tambapanni and founded the Sinhala nation.
Kandy, the glorious last kingdom of the island is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features the
colonial architectural structures with cultural and historical value. This hill capital city is known for its
pleasant climate, eye-catching images that reveal the ancient pride of the upcountry environment and
the most scared Tooth Relic” of Lord Buddha precious to all Buddhists. .
Nuwara Eliya often referred to as ‘Little England’, have a rose-tinted, vaguely British-country-village feel to it, with its colonial-era bungalows, Tudor-style hotels, well-tended hedgerows pretty gardens and vast expansions of Tea gardens, Vegetable and flower orchards. Nuwara Eliya was once was the favoured cool-climate escape for the hard-working and hard-drinking English and Scottish pioneers of Sri Lanka’s tea industry.
Once heavily cultivated by the British, today the dark and mysterious Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka covered by montane grassland and dense cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres is rich in endemic biodiversity. The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, Stone tools dating back to prehistoric periods have been found here. The plains' vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan sambar deer feature as typical mammals and the park with the most recent research findings revealing a rich diversity of other mammals, specially a healthy population of the fascinating montane leopard. It is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. The sheer precipice of World's End and Baker's Falls are among the tourist attractions of the park.
Whale and dolphin watching is one of the most exciting water activities you can do in Sri Lanka. Just off the coast of Sri Lanka, swims the majestic blue whale, the largest creature on earth. It is often an experience of a lifetime. This 2-4 hour boat tour will provide magnificent sightings of blue whales, Bryde’s whales, sperm whales orcas, playful spinner and bottlenose dolphins, turtles and whale sharks in their natural environment.. The beauty of the coast is also not to be forgotten, where one can experience mangrove stands that safeguard the shores, provide habitat to wildlife and enrich the livelihood to the local communities. .
If you are interested in customizing a trip or visiting other places, we recommend the following tour operators at conference discount rates.
Lester Tours | +94 716389827
If you wish to plan and execute your own trips at budgetary prices, you may obtain the support from one of our volunteers, given that all related expenses of the volunteers are also covered by the traveller. Drop by our volunteers’ desk at the conference venue.