Some of the wildlife that can be spotted on a Sri Lanka holiday...
The teardrop island is particularly proud of its natural bounty, and rightly so. For thousands of years, vast swathes of land have been protected by Sri Lankan royalty, preserved as sanctuaries for nature to thrive and even today, countless areas of protected land exist on the island. Despite its small size, its diverse landscapes, contrasting seasons, unique climate and incredible biodiversity confirm it as an exceptional place for wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy year round.
Whether you’re a culture vulture keen to explore the impressive temples and UNESCO sites of the Cultural Triangle, a wildlife fanatic who hopes to spot the elusive leopard in Yala National Park, or a fervent foodie whose mouth waters at the tantalizing aromas of cardamom and coriander, here's our pick of the top Sri Lankan experiences that are not to be missed...
Here’s a guide to our favourite local street-food delicacies to sample during your stay…
Mirissa is the gateway to Dondra Point. This is one of the best spots to witness the whale migrations in Sri Lanka from the Bay of Bengal - Sri Lanka’s southern sea is calm offering up the perfect conditions.
On a recent trip to Sri Lanka, Ellis was bowled over by this unique and calm country which is worlds apart from nearby India. From the fascinating culture of the north, to the scenic rolling hills of Tea Country and the beautiful golden beaches on the coast, there is no end to the country's beauty.
In Sri Lanka, festivals are an integral part of life and culture; with a population composed of many races and religions and given its long, ancient history – they are never short of celebrations. Here are a few of the significant festivals:
Tea is part of Sri Lanka’s unique cultural heritage and some of the world’s finest teas are produced here. Due to Sri Lanka’s diverse climate each tea variety is uniquely different. The country is particularly famous for Ceylon tea, recognised over the world for its high quality and distinct aroma (crisp and citrus).
The best of Sri Lanka and The Maldives in this luxurious journey that takes in Sri Lanka's ancient cities and tea plantations before flying off to one of the finest islands in The Maldives. It combines culture with some of the world's finest beaches.
Spotting the Big Five in Africa is often hailed as the holy grail of wildlife holidays, but plenty of other places around the world offer animal sightings impressive enough to rival Africa's, and Sri Lanka is certainly one of them. Here, we introduce you to Sri Lanka's own Big Five and give you all the information you need to go in search of these wild beasts...
Here’s a guide to our favourite things to do in Galle…
Southern Sri Lanka
Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Uda Walawe National Park, Tangalle
Best for: Beach, Wildlife, Spectacular scenery
In this captivating itinerary, explore the very best of Sri Lanka's scenic south. Explore the luminous hill country, the serene southern coastline, spot wild elephants in Uda Walawe National Park and explore Kandy, Sri Lanka's historic city in the hills.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
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This journey is ideal for those who want to enjoy Sri Lanka's scenery and beaches, as it journeys from Kandy south through the tea plantations and onto the beach. It also takes in a night in Uda Walawe National Park, home to a fantastic population of wild elephant. You'll start in historic Kandy in the hills, which is home to the famous Temple of the Tooth, before heading by train into the tea country. Stay in a restored plantation house in the tea growing region and visit a tea factory before continuing south to Uda Walawe National Park in the low lying plains below. Enjoy a jeep safari here and go in search of wild elephant. From Uda Walawe it's a hop down to the coast to Tangalle, where you will stay at The Last House, one of Geoffrey Bawa's last hotel creations. Tangalle is a beautiful beach location and ideal for a relaxing four nights. For your final night stop in Colombo, the capital, where you will stay in Tintagel.
Days 1 - 4 : Kandy, Sri Lanka
Stay at Ellerton Bungalow for 3 nights
On arrival, a private chaffeur guide will greet you at the airport and will drive you to Ellerton, a beautiful boutique hotel outside of Kandy in the hills. This is where you will spend your first two nights. This colonial bungalow is a charming boutique hotel, tastefully maintained by British owners who perfectly intertwine antique furniture and modern amenities. This is the perfect base from which to explore Kandy, famed for the Temple of the Tooth and Kandy Lake, which is an idyllic location for an evening stroll. We'd also recommend visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens, some of the finest in the Indian Subcontinent.
Days 4 - 6 : Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
This morning, you catch the train to Nuwara Eliya, a beautiful journey taking you into the heart of the tea growing region. Here you will stay in Warwick Gardens for two nights. Warwick Gardens is a renovated and colonial era tea bungalow, situated in the heart of thirty acres of plantation. This is a remote but fantastic base from which to explore. We'd highly recommend going to see a tea factory, or for a wonderful long walk through the plantations.
Day 6 - 7 : Uda Walawe, Sri Lanka
Stay at Kalu's Hideaway for 1 night
From Nuwara Eliya you will be driven to the outskirts of the Uda Walawe National Park for a night in Kalu's Hideaway for one night. Owned and run by former international Sri Lankan cricketer Romesh Kaluwitarana, this luxury boutique hotel is the perfect place from which to explore Uda Walawe by jeep. Other experiences include visiting an elephant rehabilitation centre. This is a fantastic region for seeing elephants in the wild and we love the scenery of this part in particular.
Days 7 - 11 : Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Stay at The Last House for 4 nights
A drive to the southern coast will take you to Tangalle, where you will stay in The Last House for four nights to completely unwind. Enjoy the beautiful beaches that are lapped by the Indian Ocean and enjoy your characterful hotel. With a maximum of fourteen guests at a time, this retreat is perfect for those wanting to escape the crowds. Courtyards and verandas are scattered around the property so everything feels intimate and private. Simply relax here and unwind.
Day 11 - 12 : Colombo, Sri Lanka
Stay at Tintagel for 1 night
Your final transfer will take you to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, for your last night. Stay in a beautiful property, Tintagel, before being taken back to the airport for your flight home.
When to go
Sri Lanka is considered a sunny year round destination; there is always somewhere experiencing good weather on the island. However, there are huge regional differences. The Southwest ‘Yala’ Monsoons brings rain to the west and southwest coast, as well as the hill country, from April/May to September. During this time the north and east coasts are good. The northeast ‘Mahe’ monsoon is less extreme and brings rain to the east and north during October and November. This monsoon can bring a bit of rain to the south as well. Put simply; head to the south, central, hill country and western areas between December and March and ideally head to the north and eastern areas between April and September. We can never guarantee good weather but believe this is a good guide to follow.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Things to do
Visit Dowa Temple from Ella
Visit this rock temple, which is one of Sri Lanka’s many important heritage sites and houses an enormous 38 ft. granite Buddha.
Visit Hakgala Botanical Gardens
Established in 1861 for Cinchona cultivation in Sri Lanka, the botanical gardens at Hakgala sit at about 1,745 meters and are some of the finest on the island. Covering 28 hectares, the experimental gardens are well worth a visit.
Trekking in Horton Plains Nature Reserve
Situated above 2,000 meters above sea level, Horton Plains covers rivers, waterfalls, unique fauna, and numerous landscapes. This 9km trek takes around 3 hours, with highlights such as the famous Baker Falls and ocean views from World’s End escarpment.
Escorted Climb of Adam's Peak
This experience begins at 1am, heading out to one of the most stunning mountains in Asia for a summit sunrise. The 5,200 steps offer plenty of rest opportunities as your rise above the clouds.
Millennium Elephant Foundation
Visit rescued and orphaned elephants at the Millennium Elephant Foundation (MEF), established in August 1999 as a sanctuary of care, protection and medical services for elephants in Sri Lanka.
Rosyth Estate - Cooking Class
During your stay at Rosyth, we highly recommend that you try your hand in the kitchen at their cooking class, whipping up some delicious dishes using local produce.
Visit a Tea Plantation
Spend the day exploring the local area and enjoying the stunning scenery. You may wish to visit a local tea estate, where you can see the tea pluckers at work and visit a tea factory so that you can learn all about the tea making process.
Afternoon Jeep Safari - Uda Walawe
Home to marshes, open grassland and the Walawe River, Uda Walawe National Park is the perfect location for wild elephants and lots of other wildlife. Head out in the afternoon with your guide for an exciting jeep safari.
Little Adams Peak and Ravana Ella Falls
Located just outside Ella, Little Adam’s Peak offers a short 30-minute climb to the 1,140-meter peak. Named after the more famous and arduous Adam’s Peak due to its close resemblance, this climb is on a small scale so a little easier.
Trekking in the Knuckles Range
This is a must for trekking enthusiasts, who will love the striking landscapes and ever-changing fauna on this 4-5 hour trek from Illukkumbura to Riverston. Expect sweeping panoramas and waterfalls in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Adam's Peak Descent
Make your way down from Adam’s Peak in the morning at a leisurely pace. The descent is much quicker although not necessarily easier as you may be tired from walking through the night.
From $2600 per person
International economy class flights and airport taxes from the UK
Meals as per itinerary
Private guide and driver
Ask our specialists for prices excluding flights from the UK. This price is as a guide only. The actual price is influenced by fluctuations in exchange rate, time of year, travel class of flights and the use of private versus shared excursions. Single supplements are likely to apply.