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…
Wild Sri Lanka
Kotugoda, Sinharaja, Uda Walawe National Park, Yala National Park, Tangalle, Galle
Best for: Beach, Culture History, Wildlife
Sri Lanka's diverse landscapes and climate has resulted in a country rich in wildlife and extraordinary national parks. This alluring and exciting itinerary makes the most of the national parks and biospheres but also gets you more off the beaten track.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
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Sri Lanka is one of Asia's finest regions for wildlife, due to its extraordinary geography and climate. With a dense population of leopard and wild elephant along with striking endemic birds, blue whales and sea turtles, Sri Lanka makes for a brilliant two week journey for those with a keen interest in nature.
On this trip you will visit some of the country's most impressive national parks. Starting with Sinharaja, one of Sri Lanka's remaining biospheres and primary rainforests, you will journey to Uda Walawe National Park, Yala National Park and Tangalle. You'll stop for some time in historic Galle before returning home from Colombo.
For something truly unique and off-the-beaten-track, we'd also highly recommend spending time in Wilpattu National Park and Gal Oya National Park, so just let us know if you want to add them into your trip.
Day 1 - 2 : Kotugoda (near Colombo), Sri Lanka
Stay at The Wallawwa for 1 night
On arrival in Colombo you will be warmly greeted by your private guide and driver and transferred to The Wallawwa where you will be spending the night. Nestled amidst a 2-acre coconut estate and lush tropical gardens, this lovely boutique hotel is situated just 15 minutes from the Bandaranaike International Airport and is a great place to relax after a longhaul flight.
Days 2 - 4 : Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka
Stay at The Rainforest Eco Lodge for 2 nights
Drive from Colombo to Sinharaja, a forest reserve that's UNESCO protected due to it's uniquness. Explore this biodiversity hotspot on foot and by jeep, hopefully spotting the endemic blue magpie! Whilst in Sinharaja you will stay at The Rainforest Eco Lodge, located on a tea estate bordering the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. The lodge consists of 16 eco chalets designed with recycled materials and including a washroom, living area and a private deck.
Days 4 - 6 : Uda Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka
Stay at Kalu's Hideaway for 2 nights
Today you will drive from Sinharaja to Uda Walawe. Enjoy a morning and afternoon jeep safariand hopefully see wild elephant roaming free in this beautiful park. Whilst in Udawalawe you will stay at Kalu's Hideaway. This hotel is nestled amongst 5 acres of beautiful gardens surrounded by shrubs and forest, neighbouring Uda Walawe Reservoir. Kalu's Hideaway is located just 10 minutes from Uda Walawe National Park.
Days 6 - 8 : Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Stay at Kulu Safaris for 2 nights
From Uda Walawe you will head to Yala National Park where you can simply relax for your first afternoon. The following day enjoy a morning and afternoon jeep safari to go in search of the the illusive leopard. Yala is said to have the highest concentrations of leopard in the world, and therefore your chances of seeing them are fairly high but not guaranteed. You will stay with Kulu Safaris, a comfortable tented camp.
Days 8 - 11 : Tangalle, Sri Lanka
Stay at Buckingham Place for 3 nights
Today you will drive to Tangalle on the south coast of Sri Lanka. This is the perfect place to relax but also a good base in which to access Rekawa Beach, often the home to nesting sea turtles.
Days 11 - 13 : Galle, Sri Lanka
Stay at Galle Fort Hotel for 2 nights
For the last part of your trip you will be visiting Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was originally by the Dutch in 1663. This is a wonderful place to explore on foot independently or with your private guide, but between November and March it's also possible to see blue whales off the coast nearby.
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
Afternoon Jeep Safari - Yala National Park
Enjoy a late afternoon jeep safari through Yala National Park. The twilight is the best time to spot sloth bears as they come out of their daytime hiding spots and begin feeding. The famous Leopards of Yala might be around and bird life is aplenty.
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.
Sinharaja Rainforest Trek
UNESCO protected Sinharaja is a unique biosphere and one of Sri Lanka’s last remaining primary rainforests. Enjoy trekking through this spectacular region and spot unique and diverse endemic species.
Galle Fort Walking Tour with Sanjei
Enjoy a walking tour of Galle Fort led by Sanjej. Enjoy numerous stories as you venture into the little nooks and crannies that make Galle Fort so special.
Galle Fort Walking Tour
Walk along the ramparts and through the ancient streets of Galle Fort, founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Galle is rich with merchant history and colonial charm.
Whale Watching from Mirissa
Explore the waters off Sri Lanka’s south coast from Mirissa fishing harbour. Enjoy 4 hours watching whales, spotting blue whales and spinner dolphin. The best spotting is between December and April.
Galle Cycling Tour - The Paddy Trail (30km)
Head out of Galle and discover village life by bicycle. The 30km paddy trail is a fantastic opportunity to see some of inland Sri Lanka and Koggala Lake. This is an ideal experience for those who consider themselves fit.
Morning and Afternoon Jeep Safari - Yala National Park
Whilst at Yala National Park, enjoy a morning and afternoon game drive to witness the variety of wildlife, particularly leopards, for which the park is renowned. Yala is known to have the highest density of leopard on the planet.
Morning Jeep Safari - Yala National Park
Enjoy a morning game drive in a jeep through Yala National Park, which has the highest leopard density in the world, making it incredibly popular. Various other mammals can often be spotted, including sloth bears.
From $3271 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.