Sri Lanka

For a relatively small island, Sri Lanka has plenty to offer its guests.

Shaped like a tear drop hanging off the southern tip of India, few countries can boast ancient cities, wildlife encounters, colourful festivals and some of the best beaches in the world.

5 Highlights of Sri lanka

Pristine beaches

When touring Sri Lanka, you are never far from one of its many golden beaches. Just a 15-minute drive from the international airport and you can be on the beach at Negombo and even the capital, Colombo, has a wonderful beachfront promenade. Explore the many coves and beaches between Galle and Tangalle and watch the stilt fishermen balance in the waves at Weligama. The east coast offers surfing at Arugum Bay and the wide sandy beach at Passikudah is perfect for family holidays.

Land and Sea Safaris

Nowhere on earth can you look for elephant in the morning, dolphins and whales in the afternoon and leopards as the sun goes down. Wilpattu and Yala national parks offer a chance to see leopard, sloth bears and elephants whilst on a boat trip from Mirissa, you may encounter dolphins, sperm and blue whales. Bird lovers should include a visit to the UNESCO biosphere reserve at Bundala and the rainforests of Sinharaja to get a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s endemic species.

Explore Hill Country

Explore Sri Lanka’s lush interior, where waterfalls cascade into the deep mountain valleys of the cloud forests. Scattered throughout the region you’ll find the manicured estates of the tea plantations where the colourful saris of the tea pickers add pops of colour to the verdant green landscape. Step onboard one of the world’s most scenic train journeys that weaves its way to Ella or visit Nuwara Eliya, often described as ‘Little England’ due to its colonial buildings.

Ancient Cities

The ancient cities of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle are a must see on any visit to Sri Lanka and many are UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to their cultural significance. Admire the intricately carved statues at Polonnaruwa, ascend the 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya and gaze at the Buddhas at the UNESCO World Heritage site at Dambulla. You can join the Buddhist pilgrims visiting The Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic at Kandy and explore the narrow streets within 16th-century Galle Fort.

Island of Adventure

Sri Lanka is a perfect destination for thrill seekers. Mountain bike, white-water raft or trek through Hill Country or make a pre-dawn ascent of Adam’s Peak to witness the rising sun. Climb the narrow and steep steps to the top of Sigiriya rock fortress or cycle through the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa. Water lovers can surf the waves at Arugum Bay or Hikkaduwa or snorkel and dive the coral reefs at Pigeon Island off the coast of Trincomalee.

About Sri Lanka

  • Capital: Colombo
  • Area: 65,268km²
  • Languages: Sinhala and Tamil, and English as a link language
  • Where to visit: UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Cultural Triangle, tea plantations of the Hill Country, the national parks brimming with wildlife and its golden beaches.
  • Wildlife to spot: leopard, Asian elephant, sloth bears, birds, whales and dolphins.

Sri Lanka has something for everyone, whether you are exploring its many ancient cities, seeking to be pampered in a wellbeing sanctuary, going in search of wildlife in one of its national parks or simply looking to relax on a golden beach.

Due to its multi-cultural heritage, there are many colourful festivals throughout the year with the Esala Perahera Festival in Kandy one of the biggest. Foodies will love the chance to try hoppers – a deliciously curry-filled pancake whilst a visit to Hill Country opens up the art of making the perfect cuppa during a tea plantation tour.

Whether you are travelling as a couple or a family, there are plenty of types of accommodation from quaint former plantation bungalows nestled in the heart of Hill Country to modern beach resorts. Getting around is easy and most people opt for a local driver/guide with the option to take scenic train journeys through the Hill Country or air taxis if time is short.

 

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When to go to Sri Lanka

The weather in Sri Lanka is rather complicated for such a small country, due to the fact that the island is affected by two separate monsoons. On the bright side, this means that there is usually good weather somewhere on the island at most times of the year.

The main southwest (“Yala”) monsoon brings rain to the west and southwest coasts and the hill country from April or May to September and is wettest from April to June. The less severe northeast (“Maha”) monsoon hits the east coast from November to March and is wettest from November to December.