After years of civil war Sri Lanka is booming. As the country has opened up, it has slowly unveiled its vast repertoire of cultural and natural riches to the world. From buzzing cities to palm-fringed beaches, tea plantations to Buddhist temples. It is quite astonishing quite how much this relatively tiny island packs in. The time to go is now, as the secret won’t keep for long!
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Whether you prefer being a short tuk-tuk ride from the action, or simply want to get away from it all – we’ve got you covered. We can even arrange revitalising health retreats at traditional Ayuverda resorts.
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History and Culture
No less than 181 monarchs have ruled Sri Lanka, leaving the countryside dotted with ancient ruins and a myriad of temples of pagodas – some dating back 2000 years. The most famous is the fortress atop Sigiriya Rock, located in the heart of the ‘Cultural Triangle.’ Dating back to 477 AD, the UNESCO protected fortress serves as an enlightening example of ancient ingenuity and urban planning.
Haven’t yet had your fill of history and culture yet? Head to Galle. The highlight is the UNESCO protected old fort. Here you’ll find the finest colonial-era architecture in the country. Its cobbled streets, lined with an array of fabulous bars and eateries, have an almost fairy-tale feel to them. There’s also a range of beautiful craft boutiques and one-off shops, making Galle the best place to do all your souvenir shopping.
Nature and wildlife
Animal lovers should head south and west in Sri Lanka for a chance see elephants and leopards in the wild. In fact. Sri Lanka is one of the only places it is possible to do so outside of Africa! You can also see sperm whales, playful dolphins and blue whales along Sri Lanka’s coastline.
And while you’re spotting incredible wildlife in one of the island’s 22 National Parks, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation. Take your pick from high-end lodges and mobile camps at Yala National Park, to small guesthouses and characterful safari lodgings at Udawalawe.
Food and drink
Make sure you factor in plenty of time for culinary treats during your trip to Sri Lanka, as there are countless delicious dishes to try.
Highlights include the moreish street food of kottu roti, banana-leaf baked Lamprais, dhal curry, egg hoppers with sambal and of course, the freshly caught seafood. It’s foodie heaven.
Adventure and experiences
With its world-class temples and fantastic examples of both colonial and ancient architecture, history buffs should make a beeline for Kandy, Sri Lanka’s second city and cultural beating heart. Kandy is home to the wonderfully preserved ‘Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic’ (colloquially known as ‘the Temple of the Tooth’) – the most sacred Buddhist site in the country.
From Kandy, head south to Ella on one of the great train journeys found anywhere on the planet. While taking 7 hours to complete a journey no longer than 50 miles may sound like the stuff of nightmares, the train to Ella is anything but. You’ll traverse canyons, wind your way around verdant mountains and catch a glimpse of local people going about their days. This journey should be on every culture-lovers bucket list!
Ella, with its beautiful rugged landscape, lends itself well to trekking enthusiasts. Plus, you can visit one of Sri Lanka’s famous tea plantations from here. The island is the world’s largest producer of the stuff, with a staggering 1 million people employed in the industry.
And finally, no rundown of Sri Lanka would be complete without mention of its staggeringly beautiful coastline. There’s a whopping 830 miles of it, so sun-worshippers are spoilt for choice! Picture powdery soft, coffee-coloured sand and azure blue waters, framed by dense clusters of impossibly tall palm trees – and you’ll have the ‘classic’ Sri Lankan beach. Your Insta-feed will thank you for visiting!
In short: Sri Lanka packs a mighty punch. But don’t take our word for it – go and see for yourself!
- Capital city: Kotte & Colombo
- Language: Sinhala, Tamil
- Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee
- Time Difference: UTC + 5.5 Hours
- Flight Time: 10h30 to Colombo from London Heathrow
- Visa: E-Visa before Travel
- Peak Season: December to April
Did you know?
Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to democratically elect a woman to the highest office in the land.
Sri Lanka Climate Guide
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Sri LankaBentota, Sri Lanka
Bentota, Sri Lanka
Sri LankaGalle, Sri Lanka
Galle, Sri Lanka
Sri LankaColombo, Sri Lanka
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sri LankaElla & Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Ella & Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Sri LankaJaffna, Sri Lanka
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Sri LankaKandy, Sri Lanka
Kandy, Sri Lanka
Sri LankaThe Cultural Triangle, Sri Lanka
The Cultural Triangle, Sri Lanka
Sri LankaUdawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka
Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka
Sri LankaYala National Park, Sri Lanka
Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Sri LankaThe East Coast, Sri Lanka