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…
Bentota, Sri Lanka
Best for: Beach, Family, Honeymoon
A magical heritage house nestled amongst 2.5 acres of deserted beaches, jungle surroundings and breath-taking sunsets. This chic, spacious villa is perfect for those looking to indulge in some luxury and revel in the beauty of the area.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
A serene private hideaway, as one of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated villas, this resort is a brilliant mix of intimate splendour, relaxing ambience and tasteful décor, all encompassed by warm and friendly waiting staff who will cater to your every whim.
Showcasing a stunning 50ft pool, surrounded with plush sunbeds and colonial style armchairs and hammocks, there are endless spots to kick-back and relax. With the beach just a 60m stroll away, and direct access, you can meander down to the shore line at dusk to gawp at the breath-taking sunset and feel the warm, golden sand between your toes. A massage station is positioned outside for any spa treatments you may require, the ultimate bliss whilst the gorgeous Sri Lankan sun bakes down.
Large gardens and terraces surround the property and create a spacious, open ambience, highlighting the relaxing splendour of this resort and an open pavilion is available complete with a bar, dining area and lounge to spend some unforgettable evenings around the poolside in this stunning location.
If you are able to pull yourself away from the haven that is Rock Villa, take a taxi to Galle Fort to discover this Dutch-colonial town, recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or venture inland and visit an array of ornate Buddhist temples. Alternatively, help baby turtles back into the sea at a local turtle hatchery and appreciate these beautiful beings at their cutest.
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.
Galle Cycling Tour - The Paddy Trail (12km)
Heading out of Galle, explore village life by bike in this charming experience. The 12km paddy trail is a great opportunity to see inland Sri Lanka and Koggala Lake.
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.
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.
Minneriya National Park
This afternoon experience takes you to Minneriya National Park, home to an enormous population of elephants. Enjoy a game drive with an experienced naturalist.
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.
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.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
Kotugoda, Kandy, Ella, Yala, Galle, Bentota
A diverse and good value itinerary combining cultural highlights, boutique properties and wildlife. Perfect for those wishing to experience the highlights of Sri Lanka with a private guide, whilst staying in simple but very stylish boutique accommodation.
Galle, Tangalle, Galle, Colombo
A truly unique and relaxing journey taking in a selection of beautiful boutique hotels along Sri Lanka's west and south coast. From coastal Bentota to historic Galle and from Tangalle to Thalpe, this itinerary is a peaceful escape with a splash of culture