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…
Ulapane, Sri Lanka
Best for: Culture History, Spectacular scenery, Wildlife
Mas Villa is a 19th-Century manor house, spread over two floors. Recently converted into a luxury boutique hotel, the colonial charm and breath-taking views in the Kotmale Valley make it an unforgettable villa in the heart of Hill Country.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Nestled in the heart of 15 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, is Mas Villa. Six spacious guest rooms all individually designed, each with their own unique flair, constitute the villa and all provide breath-taking views over the surrounding Kotmale valley and mountain ranges.
Four deluxe rooms, decorated in rich majestic colours are the most basic room type. Calathea, Heliconia and Sanderiana are all spacious, elegantly renovated and house stunning double beds; Jasmine is the final deluxe room and contains twin beds. Two superior rooms, Dracaena and Oleander, have a separate living area and both provide stunning views over both the terraced paddy fields and beautiful pool. Or treat yourself and go for the master suite, Cordyline, which occupies the entire first floor and features panoramic views of the Kotmale reservoir, as well as the rice fields, mountains, waterfalls and tea plantations - truly spectacular.
Enjoy the breath-taking views over dinner, on the veranda which skirts the side of the house. A relaxed, homely ambience coupled with traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, often created from produce grown in their own garden, creates an alfresco dining experience like no-other.
Explore the Kotmale reservoir on a scenic boat trip, with an experienced boatman on hand, you can learn about the area without a care in the world, dine on a delicious three course picnic on the shore when you return to finish your trip. Uncover Hill Country’s heritage with a tea estate tour or visit the Pusulpitiya Temple to discover the legend of Prine Dutugemunu or stroll around the various waterfalls which are scattered throughout the area for a fun-filled day out.
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
Explore the immaculately preserved remnants of Buddhism’s second city. Polonnaruwa is grouped in clumps between enticing forests so that you can walk and cycle your way around giant Buddhas and impressive temples that are over 1,000 years old.
The Sigiriya Rock Fortress
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 'fortress in the sky' is one of Sri Lanka's most iconic landmarks. This 370-meter-high monument has 1,202 steps, a 5th century palace and 2 giant stone lion paws, as well as spectacular views.
The Sacred City of Anuradhapura
Dating from the sixth century BC and one of Buddhism's holiest sites. A 2,200 year old tree, grown from a cutting of the branch beneath which Buddha found Enlightenment is a highlight. Ancient hospitals and baths add a sense of normality to it all.
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.
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.