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Sri Lanka: Canadian Charity Trek - 2005


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Canadian charity trek challenge in support of southern Sri Lanka's tsunami victims and orphan children

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Sri Lanka: Canadian Charity Trek - 2005

  1. 1. Sri Lanka Challenge Trek November 18 -29, 2005 05 The Challenge The giant tsunami that struck most of the Indian Ocean last December had destroyed the lives of many forever. Sri Lanka, a tiny island nation surrounded by the mighty ocean, was one of the worst affected countries. The international community came forward with help but it needs more assistance to alleviate the suffering as the country makes painful inroads towards the rehabilitation of survivors. Each year hundreds of Canadians donate thousands of dollars for humanitarian causes by undertaking physically challenging trips around the world. Escapades is the first Canadian tour operator to initiate a 10-day Walking Challenge to Sri Lanka, dedicated to the victims of the tsunami. by Huntington Inc. In support of “Ontario Village” Housing project for Tsunami victims in Sri Lanka THE PARADISE REVISITED
  2. 2. Quotes from past trekkers in Sri Lanka “Sri Lanka turned out to be the best experience of my life! I made great friends; the trek guides were so much fun and got their guitars out every night. We all generally had a great time. The trek was challenging but we were all together to support each other all the way! Sri Lanka is a very beautiful country with varied terrains and climates. To top it all, meeting the hospitable locals were a real treat and I want to do it all again! “. Veronica – a veteran trekker in Sri Lanka “Nothing will ever beat the euphoria you feel as you walk the last steps knowing how proud of you those you are trekking for will feel . . .What’s more…a walk in Sri Lanka, you are sure to make life long friends”. Nick Cook, UK “ Sri Lanka is one of the unique islands in this planet, where one can explore a 2500 year old civilization, learn about Buddhist culture, walk in the soil that gives us world’s finest tea and rarest precious stones found nowhere else. Most of all, one gets to savour the simplicity of life Lankans enjoy”. Jon, Canada How can you help? By simply undertaking this trip to Sri Lanka. Pay the advertised tour price and you will automatically donate C$300 in your name to OIDA, one of the Canadian charities operat-ing in Sri Lanka, while the rest of the funds are used for the actual cost of your challenge. Your donation is used to build the OIDA designated “ Ontario Village”, a community project in southern Sri Lanka. What is ‘Ontario Village’ “Ontario Village” project is a part of Sri Lanka’s post-tsunami rehabilitation program and the estimated cost of the project is CDN$ 800,000. The project, scheduled to start in September 2005, will have three phases and consists of a village with 40 middle-income houses near Galle in southern Sri Lanka. The project will also include the set up of facilities like wastewater and onsite sanitation unit for each house, drinking water facility, solid waste management unit and a community center. Ontario Village project report is avail-able on OIDA website. Why a Sri Lanka Challenge ? A teardrop shaped island just off the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka or Ceylon, as it was known under the British Raj, is relatively unknown for many Canadians but a favourite island getaway for many world travellers of the past and present. World’s travel elite call it “ the pearl of the Indian Ocean”. Sri Lanka is a natural paradise ideal for walking; a landscape of verdant mountains, rainforests, paddy fields, tumbling waterfalls and sweeping gorges. A land with a thousand shades of tropical greenery, friendly people, delicious spicy food and 2500 years of re-corded history of a pre-dominantly Buddhist culture and civilization. Our trip is co-sponsored by Air Canada and Sri Lankan Airlines with reduced air travel rates. The 10-day walk from central Sri Lanka to deep south, a soft adventure, is suitable for any age group. At times the trek involves long days of walking in different terrains as it takes us through remote villages and farms of cen-tral highlands, through scrub jungle and cane forests, on to the cooler climates of the hill country with astounding mountain scenery. Descend to lowlands and rain forests in the south of the island. We also take a glimpse of the devastation caused by the tsunami in the southern regions. Escapades invites you to walk through a wonderful country and with your participa-tion; there is time to rejoice knowing that you have made a difference to the lives of those affected by the tragedy. Sri Lanka Challenge Trek November 18 -29, 2005 THE PARADISE REVISITED Price : C$ 3199 per person. All inclusive. Official Airline for Sri Lanka Challenge Trek 05 “Marco Polo considered Sri Lanka the finest island of its size in all the world” – Lonely Planet
  3. 3. November 18 - Depart Toronto Overnight flight to London, UK (On Board Meals) November 19 - London, UK (In Transit) Connect with Sri Lankan Airlines flight to Colombo (On Board Meals) November 20-Colombo - Negombo Early morning arrival at Colombo. A tradi-tional fresh flower garland welcome and transfer to the beach resort of Negombo. A full day of rest. Breakfast and lunch at the hotel. Welcome dinner. (B,L,D) November 21- Negombo – Habarana (Central Sri Lanka) Leave for Habarana in central Sri Lanka by coach. Orientation walk/ Bird Trail around the hotel. Overnight at The Village, a simple bungalow resort in the midst of countryside.(B,L,D) November 22-Habarana- Sigiriya Rock Full day trek 6 – 7hours(14 KM) Begin the trek by taking in the 5th century AD Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, a UNESCO heritage site. This simple trek is the perfect way to start the Sri Lanka chal-lenge. It exposes you to the typical dry zone scenery with its shrub forests, lakes, simple village life and rural agricultural patterns. The trek is on infrequently trav-eled gravel paths and village trails, which abound with dry zone bird life. Overnight in Sigiriya. (B,L,D) November 23 - Sigiriya – Kaludiya Pokuna – Kandalama - Dambulla Full Day trek 6 hours (14 KM) 4-5 Km trek on an infrequently trav-eled village road, followed by 3 Km trek through forest and rice fields to the ancient site, once a forest hermitage with several simple caves, which housed medi-tating monks. Continue in the direction of the Kandalama reservoir. The first part of this journey is a steep 45º climb up a granite rock face (a rope is laid for safety) that eases after 100 metres un-til the summit is reached at approximately Sri Lanka Challenge Trek November 18 -29, 2005 TREK PROGRAM 300m. Traverse the ridge and descend through shrub jungle and cane forest to the watershed plateau of Kandalama reservoir. Trek through shrub, jungle clear-ings and grassland to Kandalama Hotel and transfer by coach to Dambulla Oya Family Park for the night (B,L,D) November 24-Kandalama – Kandy– Nuwara Eliya Full Day trek 6 hours Leave for hill capital of Kandy. Brief sight-seeing of Kandy including a visit to Sri Lanka’s much revered Buddhist temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Proceed to Galaha for a trek through breathtaking mountain scenery. The day’s trek will be on tea estate roads, through tea planta-tions and forests and includes a packed lunch. Proceed to Nuwara Eliya, located at 7,000 ft above sea level. Overnight at Galway Forest Lodge (B,L,D) November 25- Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains - Bandarawela Full Day trek 5 hours Leave for Horton Plains. Horton Plains is Sri Lanka’s highest plateau at 7200 ft above sea level in the central mountain country. This ‘Fen” is a very scenic region with an astounding variety of scenery from moun-tains to grasslands, from marshes to trout-streams. Sri Lanka’s best-flavoured high grown teas are grown in the surrounding areas. Spectacular view from ‘Worlds End’where the plateau plunges a thou-sand feet in a straight sheer drop. Cool and bracing climate, excellent for trout fishing and very good hiking country. Dis-tinctive flora (many English field flowers grow on the plains) colourful butterflies and many rare highland birds. Transfer to Orient Hotel for overnight. (B,L,D) November 26-Banadarawela – Ha-putale – Ratnapura. Full day trek 7 hours Leave for Haputale. The trek this day starts from “Adisham” a Benedictine monastery built in the shape of a small castle. The seven hour trek through pine forest of the Thangamale nature reserve, the colo-nial railway line and the highest railway station in Sri Lanka, tea plantations and the final decent on “Satans Steps” with its panoramic views. Vehicles pick you up and transfer to Ratnapura, well known as the City of Gems (an area where finest precious stones like white and blue Sap-phires are found). Overnight Ratnaloka Tour Inn. (B, L,D) November 27-Ratnapura –Sinharaja Rain Forest –Hikkaduwa. Trek for 4 hours Early breakfast, an excursion to Sinharaja Rain Forest – the last remaining tract of tropical rain forest in Sri Lanka, a UNESCO “World Heritage” site and known for its bio-diversity. Most of Sri Lanka’s endemic bird varieties are found here. Proceed to Hikkaduwa in the southern coast and drive past some of the villages, which were devastated by the tsunami. Over-night Coral Gardens Hotel. (B,LD) November 28-Hikkaduwa – Galle – Colombo This morning a short walk on the ramparts of the historic Dutch fort of Galle and view the town of Galle, another coastal town destroyed by the disaster. We drive north on the scenic south coast to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Farewell celebratory dinner at a typical Sri Lankan restaurant. Our final night is spent at the 5-star deluxe Colombo Plaza Hotel. (B,L,D) November 29-Colombo – Toronto via London, UK Transfer to the Colombo Airport to board Sri Lankan Airlines flight to London. You will transit London Heathrow airport and connect with Air Canada to Toronto. (B)
  4. 4. Escapades - Book with Confidence. Escapades is the tour operating arm of Mississauga-based Huntington Travel Group. Huntington has been serving the Canadian travelling public since 1973. As a leading travel wholesaler in the country, Huntington is a name you can trust. They carry an undeniable reputation for reliability, high standards, friendly and personal service - the hallmark of a Huntington service. Escapades is a fully licensed and bonded tour wholesaler with Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) and a member of Association of Canadian Travel Agents (ACTA). This means your travel dollars and bookings are protected when you reserve an Escapades tour product. by Huntington Inc. Sri Lankan Cares is the charitable arm of SriLankan Airlines, the national airline of Sri Lanka, committed to the empowerment of the child through educa-tion, good health and a sustainable environment. 3100 Ridgeway Drive, Unit 15 Mississauga, Ontario L5L 5M5, Canada (905) 820 2266 or 1 800 563 8939 Ext: 243/244 Fax: (905) 820 1090 What is included in my challenge? Return flights Toronto – Colombo - Toronto with Air Canada/Sri Lankan Airlines. 9 nights accommodation at hotels, inn and lodges listed in the program or similar available. Land transportation, wherever necessary by air-conditioned coaches. All meals (Starting with breakfast on Day 3 till Breakfast on Day 12) including Welcome dinner and Farewell dinner. Local Trekking guides and the services of a travelling doctor on the trek, medicines and first aid. 3 litres of mineral water per person per trek day. Fruit and glucose and dextrose drinks on treks and Leech socks. Back up crew and vehicles for emergencies. Admissions to Sigiriya rock fortress, temple of Tooth relic in Kandy and Horton Plains reserve and Sinharaja rain forest. Services of the accompanying Tour Director of Escapades. Escapades “ Certificate of Participation” What is not included? Tax on air travel (Approx: CAD 250 at the time of printing and subject to final confirmation); Travel insurance ; Personal equipment – well worn pair of walking boots, a day sack etc is a must; Tips for local guides and staff (Keep aside approx CAD 50) and personal spending money (We recommend approx CAD 300 depending on how many Sri Lankan souvenirs you wish to buy) What will a typical Trekking day be like? On average we are on the move for about 5-10 hours each trekking day, with a break for lunch. A typical trekking day starts with an early wake up call and hearty breakfast. We walk for ap-proximately 3-4 hours before lunch. The trek is not a race and there are lots of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful scenery and meet the friendly locals along the way. Our local guides walk with us and add insight about the local area. We usually arrive at lunch stop by mid afternoon. Our main luggage will have been transported to your inn or lodge when you arrive. During dinner we talk about the days events and have a briefing about the next day, by which time most trekkers are ready for an early night! Each day you will carry a daypack with everything you need for the day, including water, lunch, snacks, fleece, waterproofs, first aid kit, sun and mosquito protection lotion and your camera. How fit do I need to be ? The nature of the trek means that a certain level of fitness is required. You do not need to be super fit but it is your responsibility to ensure that you are fit enough and can cope with several hours of walking over 5-6 consecu-tive days, including steep up and downhill sections. As with many trekking challenges, the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the trek and be able to take in the stunning views of Sri Lanka. Remember, the trek is a team event for everyone to come and complete together. The team spirit and camaraderie certainly helps overcome all difficulties and successfully com-plete the challenge. Will I fit in? We welcome participants of all ages (over 18) from many backgrounds and varying levels of fitness. What is the weather like in Sri Lanka ? Sri Lanka’s climate is tropical and in November it will be hot and humid with temperatures of about 25-28C, however it is toward the end of the rainy season. Upland areas are cooler than the coast but can still be humid. As with any destination it is impossible to predict the exact weather so you will need to be prepared for eventualities. How do I register my place on this challenge? Call or e-mail Escapades, visit your nearest travel agent or visit for the registration form, medical questionnaire and terms and conditions. You may also visit the following web sites for details – www.wfjb. org ;; www. What is OIDA? Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization; solely governed by volunteers in Ontario, Canada. OIDA does not represent any political or religious groups. OIDA provides hu-manitarian programs to develop skills, alleviate poverty, chronic unemployment and hunger in communities in Canada and worldwide. It is actively involved in the creation of a condu-cive and sustainable environment through programmes and projects for the restoration of normalcy in tsunami affected areas in Sri Lanka. OIDA fosters socio economic development by promoting ethnic harmony ensuring the provision of equal opportunities to all communi-ties. OIDA is also an umbrella organization of Canadian registered charity - World Job and Food Bank (WJFB). WJFB has special consultative status in the United Nations’ Economic and Human Resources Council (UNEHRC). Ontario Registration: 1646106