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…
Ceylon Tea Bungalows
Bandarawela, Sri Lanka
Best for: Culture History, Hideaway, Spectacular scenery
Ceylon Tea Bungalows is an intimate collection of bungalows in the Hilpankanadura Tea Estate, near Ella. Surrounded by some of Sri Lanka's most beautiful scenery, it is a great place to relax for a few days, exploring the tea estate and surrounding hills.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Surrounded by 20 acres of high value tea, Ceylon Tea Bungalows offers a quintessential experience of elegant tea estate living. Originally used by the Estate Superintendent, the property is now owned by the Wijetunga family, who add warm and welcoming Sri Lankan hospitality to this charming tea estate property.
There are five unique bungalows spread across the hotel's grounds including Appleby, Grasmere, Conniston, Eskdale and Windermere. The bungalows are suitable for different group sizes, from couples to families, each featuring modern design elements infused with a colonial flavour and ambience. A delicious range of meals are served at Ceylon Tea Bungalows, including hearty breakfasts, traditional afternoon tea and a 3 course dinner menu featuring English and Sri Lankan options.
The hotel offers a great selection of excursions that take advantage of the stunning natural scenery that surrounds the property. Guests are welcome to join the morning team of tea pluckers as they tend to the surrounding tea gardens, and even enjoy a private hilltop barbecue dinner amongst the tea bushes. Approximately 30 minutes away, the small pretty village of Ella has quite a lively evening atmosphere with lots of bars and restaurants open late into the night.
Further afield, but still within easy reach for a day trip, are the renowned view points of Lipton's Seat and World's End. They both offer utterly breathtaking views over Sri Lanka lush rural landscape, with Lipton's Seat boasting the best view in the whole of Sri Lanka.
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
Tea Trails - Tea Trails Tea Experience
Guests staying in the bungalows can enjoy this experience free of charge. The resident tea planter will show you how to make tea, starting in the fields picking the plants.
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.
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.
Trek to Ella Rock
A great experience for the adventurous, this 8km trek is a challenging climb that rewards with the most spectacular views across the hill country and plains below. The glorious scenery makes this 4-hour round trek well worth the effort.
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.
Ella City Tour
Explore Ella with your chauffeur guide. Ella is blessed with some of Sri Lanka’s most spectacular views. On this tour you will visit Ella Gap, Ravana Ella Falls, Little Adam’s Peak, Ravana Cave and Bambaragala Park.
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.