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…
Ambewela, Sri Lanka
Best for: Spectacular scenery, Hideaway, Culture History
Warwick Gardens is an evocative colonial tea planter’s bungalow situated on a 30-acre tea estate in Ambewela in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. Ideally placed for exploration, it has superb personal service and a real sense of history.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Once the home of a Scottish tea planter, and lovingly restored by Jetwing Hotels, Warwick Gardens is an atmospheric Edwardian-style bungalow with a truly personalised service. Five elegant en-suite bedrooms overlook the front gardens and the mountains beyond or the herb gardens at the back. Furnished with antique beds dressed in fine linen and with working fire places in four of the rooms, each has a unique ambience.
A cosy living room, complete with a fire place and grand piano, opens out to a patio and terraced gardens. The dramatic red dining room with a 10-seater table and crystal chandelier also opens out to the front gardens. Sri Lankan dishes along with Indian and western cuisine are served here prepared with fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits from their own gardens. There are no meal times or set menus. Meals are prepared according to guest’s wishes and served in the dining room or in the gardens overlooking the tea-covered hills. There is a separate breakfast room, lounge area with satellite TV, selection of DVDs and indoor board games, and an extensive library on Sri Lanka’s wildlife and cultural heritage. Warwick Gardens also has a farm from which free range eggs and fresh milk is collected each morning. The manager, who is also a naturalist, is knowledgeable about the surrounding area and will accompany guests on nature treks and walks.
Several treks are possible winding through tea estates and factory, vegetable gardens, and rural villages. A challenging full day’s trek up Olive Mountain is possible for those who are more energetic. Flanked by Mount Pidurutalagala and Single Tree Mountain, Nuwara Eliya was made into a summer retreat by the British in the early 1800s and much of its colonial character still remains; you can enjoy a round of golf at the challenging Nuwara Eliya Golf course, followed by a gin and tonic in the atmospheric clubhouse bar.
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
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.
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.
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.