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…
Thalpe (near Galle), Sri Lanka
Best for: Beach, Culture History, Family
Set among quiet gardens, Why House is a boutique hotel just inland from the upmarket resort of Thalpe that offers a seductive ambience of old Ceylon, and allows life to unfold at your own pace while enjoying superb beaches and the vibrant nearby culture.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Why House is a charming small hotel that distils the essence of the South in its typical vernacular architecture and its unhurried charms. There is plenty to do around Why House, including discovering the local village of Mihiripenne with its wayside boutiques and village temple, heading into Galle’s historic old town only a short drive up the coast to explore its shops, museums and restaurants. Swimming and surfing is ideal in Thalpe or Unawatuna bay, while Mirissa is the base for making whale watching trips between December and April.
The property’s spacious main house, villa and two cottages contain eight tasteful en-suite bedrooms set in three acres of tropical gardens, featuring verandas, courtyards and high timber roofs. Interiors are vibrant and furnished with plush sofas, antique furniture, colourful murals and photographs of Raj-era Ceylon.
There are no fixed meal times or pre-planned activities. Each meal is a treat with three in-house chefs specialising in Sri Lankan and international cuisine, and you can choose to dine in the garden pavilion, in the privacy of your own veranda, or by the poolside. Tasty Sri Lankan rice and curries and Thai, Chinese, Malay and English treats are served here. Why House is especially well known for its breads, cakes, and desserts, and the home-made ginger beer is delicious! The chefs are happy to share their recipes with enthusiastic guests.
Other facilities include a large salt water swimming pool set amidst the lush tropical gardens, and Ayurvedic and aromatherapy massages available in the spa. Why House welcomes families and will prepare special meals as required and a baby sitter can also be arranged on request.
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
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.
Culinary Tour of Galle
Learn the secret of Fort food on this great culinary tour. Gain knowledge of Sri Lankan street food whilst meeting several local characters along the way to bring the tour alive. Did you know that cinnamon helps improve your memory?
Galle Fort Walking Tour with Sanjei
Enjoy a walking tour of Galle Fort led by Sanjej. Enjoy numerous stories as you venture into the little nooks and crannies that make Galle Fort so special.
Merchants of Galle Fort
Enjoy a fascinating walk through UNESCO listed Galle Fort with a guide who will take you behind the historic walls of this ancient citadel. Meet the ancestors of the original merchant families and learn about the spice trade and colonial history.
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.
Holiday ideas including a stay in this property
Colombo, Ancient Cities, Kandy, Hatton, Yala National Park, Tangalle, Galle
For a tiny island, Sri Lanka packs a huge amount in and this classic itinerary takes in its captivating highlights in style. From ancient cities to tracking leopards in Yala and from tea plantations to shimmering beaches, this itinerary has it all.