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…
Marawila, Sri Lanka
Best for: Family, Honeymoon, Off the beaten track
Horathapola is a delightful colonial mansion set on a working coconut plantation in the Sri Lankan countryside, ideally located just an hour from Colombo airport and a perfect place to unwind and catch your breath after a long flight.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
The main house at Horathapola is a 1920s planter’s bungalow, and the Dutch colonial furniture, verandas opening out to the peaceful surroundings, and well-clipped lawns dotted with hardwood trees and resonant with bird song all give you a taste of the planter's lifestyle at its finest, away from busy Colombo.
Five spacious and airy bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom, large ceiling fans and beautiful antique furniture, provide a comfortable base. The main living and dining areas open out onto the gardens, and provide the space to enjoy a little reading, or one of the mouth-watering curries, prepared with estate-grown produce and lovingly cooked to order in traditional clay pots over firewood.
While you are here, you could perhaps gently explore the plantation where coconuts, tropical fruits, spices and paddy are cultivated, take a bullock cart ride or cycle ride to the nearby rural village, have a refreshing dip in the beautiful salt water swimming pool, or relax with an evening drink in the Jacuzzi as the sun goes down. Guests must remember that they are in rural Sri Lanka so it is not ideal for those looking for bars and nightlife.
Horathapola Estate is a genuinely relaxing spot making it ideal for the start or end of a trip to Sri Lanka, and particularly well situated for those wishing to head on next day to visit the Cultural Triangle, Wilpattu National Park or the Highlands. Only 90 minutes from the airport, the Horathapola Estate is the ideal place to stay on your first or last night in 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
Colombo Tuk Tuk Safari
Enjoy this fun and hip way to take in Colombo, as your tuk tuk driver transports you to the ‘must see’ attractions of the city, from downtown landmarks to off-the-beaten-track secrets.
Old Colombo Walkabout
This Colombo walking tour is a leisurely 3-4 hour walk that celebrates the city’s Portuguese, Dutch and English heritage. With a specialist guide, you’ll also learn about modern Colombo and how locals conduct their business.
Dambulla Rock Cave Temple
The rich history of the huge rock temples involves Indian invaders being driven away through the strength of meditation in the first century BC. Its just as exciting today as you are guided through five intricately carved caves past giant stone statues.
Private Audience with a Monk in Colombo
Enjoy the chance to meet a resident monk at the Gangarama Temple in Colombo. Learn about the stories of Buddha’s life and how to achieve inner peace. Afterwards, experience some Buddhist practices and customs.
Colombo City Tour
This guided tour is a journey through Colombo’s highlights, from strolling along Galle Face Green overlooking the India Ocean, to the fort area and railway station. Enjoy parks, gardens, the town hall and the city’s famous Independence Square.
Night Cycling in Colombo
Pedal your way around an atmospheric dusky Colombo to reveal its hidden secrets. As some of the city goes to sleep, other parts come alive. Enjoy this little cycling adventure before dinner.
Cycle tour of Colombo
Explore Colombo on two wheels, passing museums, railways, parks and gardens with an experienced guide who will show you the best sights and short cuts in this bustling city. Galle Face Green, right next to the sea is a highlight.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Kandy, Hatton, Yala National Park, Galle
Embark on an epic journey through Sri Lanka taking in the far north and south as well as central Sri Lanka and the east coast. This trip is designed for those who want to experience all corners of the country and really get under the skin of the island.