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…
Gal Oya Lodge
Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka
Best for: Off the beaten track, Safari, Walking safari
Situated next to Sri Lanka’s largest lake, Gal Oya Lodge is an eco-retreat comprising of eleven rooms constructed from locally sourced materials. Take a walk on the wild side in this glorious lodge perfectly located for boat safaris and game drives.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Situated on the cusp of Gal Oya National Park which features herds of wild elephants and deer, it is one of the few places, and definitely the best, to embark on a boat safari through the extensive lake centring the park. A collection of nine spacious bungalows fit snugly into the forest canopy and all provide spectacular views. Private living rooms, bedrooms, outdoor showers and a beautifully rustic veranda allow for complete seclusion and an intimate wildlife getaway. The lodge also has one two-bedroom villa, ideal for families.
Read your book on the patio or sip your tea on the ornate loungers surrounding the pool with breath-taking mountain views. Surrounding jungle encompasses the lodge and gives a truly authentic feel of rustic charm and is a perfect getaway from normal chaotic life. Dine in style on the teak veranda, the a la carte menu’s feature local produce and provide the perfect accompaniment for an evening of pure relaxation whilst admiring the stunning scenery.
Jeep safaris can be arranged to the impressive Nigala River, with an optional picnic for a spot of lunch on the sandy banks – if you’re lucky you may spot some bathing elephants. To guarantee this spectacular site, embark on a boat safari on the beautiful lake to spot a huge selection of animals, birds and fish from the comfort of your own private boat. Meetings with the indegenous people, the Veddas, can be arranged upon request and come highly recommended, an opportunity of a lifetime and a chance to discover how other cultures live. Bush walks from the lodge are also a fun option, for slightly shorter outings whilst accompanying naturalists educate you on the local wildlife. You can also explore the surrounding countryside on brand new mountain bikes, cycling to the beautiful lakes or under the canopy of the nearby forests. Please note due to the unique location in the heart of the jungle, Gal Oya does not have wifi nor mobile phone service, which we think really allows you to immerse in your incredible surroundings. However, due to this aspect of the property we recommend that you bring cash with you for your stay in case there are any connection issues for credit card machines.
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.
Gal Oya Lodge - Walk of Discovery with the Chief Veddha
Explore the jungle with the Veddha chief himself, the leader of the indigenous, forest dwelling people of Sri Lanka. Learn how they hunt, cure sickness and create shelter in this unique experience.
Gal Oya Lodge - Boat Safari
Embark on this unique safari, cruising on the Senanayake Reservoir, the largest lake in Sri Lanka, on this unforgettable boat safari. Spot spectacular wildlife and game on countless islands around the lake.
Gal Oya Lodge - Jeep safari with picnic lunch
Tantalise your taste buds with a beautifully prepared lunch on either the banks of the Gal Oya River or beside a nearby tranquil waterfall. Then, embark on a jeep safari through the Nilgala region of the park.
Boat safari in Gal Oya Park
Enjoy a morning boat safari followed by a lovely picnic in the Gal Oya Park. This is a unique opportunity to observe the local wildlife from the stunning Gal Oya Lake.
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.
Gal Oya Lodge - Jeep safari at night
Discover ancient archaeological sites and fascinating caves before exploring the wilderness of Gal Oya National Park at night, spotting some nocturnal wildlife from your jeep.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
Kotugoda, Anamaduwa, Pallepolla, Passikudah, Gal Oya National Park, Kandy
Designed with teenage families in mind, this adventurous and active journey explores Sri Lanka's wilder side, perfect for energetic teens looking for something unique. With time on the stunning east coast, this trip is perfect during the summer holidays.
Colombo, Kotugoda, Pallepolla, Kandy, Gal Oya National Park, Passikudah, Sigiriya
Without compromising on comfort get off-the-beaten track and experience the unseen side of Sri Lanka. Secluded accommodation, ancient cities, incredible wildlife and pristine beaches allow for a completely unique experience.