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We've put together a guidebook with everything you need to know about Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Written by our specialists, it details destination information, a wildlife guide, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post within the next couple of days. For those who live abroad, we will send you a link by email which will allow you to download your own copy.
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...
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Best for: Family, Highlights, Honeymoon
Ulagalla is a seriously indulgent luxury eco-resort near Sri Lanka’s ancient capital of Anuradhapura, providing balm for the soul, and blissfully cocooned in a pristine rural setting of bird-filled woodland and emerald-coloured rice paddies.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
A beautifully restored ancestral estate, Ulagalla is an eco-friendly luxury resort that offers a spectacular experience of rural Sri Lanka as well as being close to the great cities of the Cultural Triangle. The hotel prides itself on being green and there are walls are made from recycled rice paddy, solar electricity, reverse osmosis water purification and an education programme for local children. There is plenty to do around Ulagalla – you can spend a day exploring the two-thousand-year-old Buddhist temples, caves and dagobas of the ancient cities, or take a hike in Wilpattu National Park.
Ulagalla is both the perfect place for complete relaxation or to become a wilderness explorer. Pamper yourself at the luxury open-air Coco spa and enjoy traditional Balinese treatments, laze by the large pool with a cocktail, test your archery skills or take a leisurely cycle ride through the local villages. For more active adventurers, there are opportunities to go horse riding and kayaking.
Dinner is a spectacular affair at Ulagalla and guests can enjoy meals in the main restaurant, poolside under the stars, at a table romantically laid in a paddy field or by the lake, and you can even have a barbecue in your chalet accompanied by your own chef and waiter. All the dishes are prepared to your liking from the freshly grown organic ingredients.
The huge, tasteful and supremely comfortable chalets are dotted around the grounds, and come replete with floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the panoramic vistas, and a private plunge pool on the outside deck. They rooms are incredibly indulgent and come with full luxury amenities, and are designed to create a feeling of a private sanctuary.
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.
Jeep Safari - Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national parks, with an area of over 130,000 hectares. Explore by jeep, driving past natural lakes, scrubland and dense jungle, possibly spotting sloth bear, leopard and wild elephant.
Visit Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism
Mihintale is an important landmark in Buddhist culture. Climb 1,840 steps in the morning, surrounded by the sights and sounds of traders and pilgrims, before heading to Anuradhapura for a guided tour.
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.
Polonnaruwa by bicycle
Enjoy an easy ride through the sights and enchanting ruins of UNESCO protected Polonnaruwa, a highlight of the cultural triangle. It was first declared a capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country.
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.
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.
Ulagalla - Ideas for your free time
During your stay at Ulagalla, enjoy a myriad of activities, including meditation and yoga, nature walks and horse riding, kite building and archery, and wildlife encounters in nearby Minneriya National Park and even whale watching excursions.
Aukana Buddha Statue
An architectural marvel of the ancient Sinhalese, the Aukana Buddha statue stands at an impressive 39 feet tall. Visit the statue today alongside a visit to the ancient city of Anuradhapura.
Ritigala Ancient Monastery
Not far from Anuradhapura, Ritigala is a unique nature reserve and an ancient Buddhist monastery dating back to the 1st century. Travel through tropical forest filled with monkeys, birds and butterflies until you reach the monastery.
Private Audience with a Monk in Dambulla
Achieve inner peace whilst listening to tales and teachings of Buddhism from one of the resident temple monks. Afterwards, enjoy ‘Dhamma’, 30 minutes of discussion, practices and customs.
Anuradhapura by bike
Explore the ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura on a bicycle, riding past highlights such as stupas, bathing tanks, ancient hospitals, and allegedly the oldest tree in the world.
Ulagalla - Village Bike Ride
This 2-hour guided mountain bike ride will allow you to meet the local community, practise spiritual temple meditation and spot abundant wildlife on your way back through the countryside.
Ulagalla - Organic Cooking Class
Take a tour around Ulagalla’s organic garden with a chef and handpick vegetables and herbs for your Sri Lankan coking class. Take home the recipes you learn so you can recreate the dishes for family and friends.
Ulagalla - Jungle Kayaking
Enjoy this kayaking experience in the serene Wannamaduwa Tank, observing wildlife and birdlife in their natural habitat as they paddle through the lotus flowers, water lilies and jungle trees.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
A perfect combination of the very best of Northern Sri Lanka with a luxurious stay in the Maldives. Ideal for those wanting to see Sri Lanka's cultural highlights and wildlife, but who also want to relax and unwind on a private island.
Staying in luxurious boutique hotels, enjoy the best of Sri Lanka in this enchanting getaway. This is an ideal journey for honeymooners or couples, taking in the ancient cities, Kandy, the tea growing region, Galle and the glorious coast.
This luxurious itinerary showcases the highlights of Sri Lanka whilst staying in some of Sri Lanka's most spoiling and luxurious hotels. This is the perfect trip for those wishing to combine comfort, style and culture with some time on the beach.
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.
Brilliantly diverse and blessed with an epic beauty, Sri Lanka is a great destination for a family holiday. This small island offers a remarkable range of experiences ideal for children of most ages and this itinerary really packs them in.