When to go:
Traditionally December–April are the driest and sunniest months but weather patterns are changing and you can now consider travel all year round.
From about £2200 per person for a two-week trip including flights.
"The Faces of Galle" by Juliet Coombes is a captivating biography of the characters who have made the fort what it is today.
A scarf to cover your shoulders and head when entering a temple.
Did you know?
Sri Lanka only started growing tea due to a blight on the predominant coffee plantations.
Gorgeous, verdant, oft-overlooked Sri Lanka takes shelter just to the south-east of India. For some time now the country has enjoyed peace and the signs of prosperity. However, tourists are still reluctant to visit. Quite why is beyond the comprehension of those who are lucky enough to set foot here.
Exquisite cuisine created from the very freshest produce welcomes the visitor alongside an easy sincerity and a warm smile. Actually, it was indeed the food that really clinched it for me. I love Thai cooking but have always been more wary of Indian food; Sri Lanka married the two and I cannot get enough of it. It comes fresh from the trees and straight from the fishing nets, as Sri Lanka intended.
Far from basic, the accommodation on offer also represents extraordinary value for money and is delivered with real imagination and panache. Our top tip is to travel out of season to avoid the crowds and have this wonderful place to yourself.
These are just a few of the activities we’ve arranged for our clients in the past. One of them could be the defining reason for your whole holiday, or simply an afternoon diversion.
– The ancient cities of the central northern region of Sri Lanka are fascinating and impressive. Down south the stunning fort town in Galle is a must-see with its dusty streets hiding all manner of stories and mysteries. If you are particularly adventurous you could visit the temples of the far northern Jaffna region, previously off limits but now safe and secure.
– The parks of Sri Lanka are gorgeous and verdant and, unlike many national parks in Asia, you can camp within the boundaries. Leopards are the main draw and the adventurer is blessed with regular sightings; there are also wild elephants and oodles of birdlife.
Shopping, markets and food
– Sri Lanka has a keen eye on design and home furnishings in particular are beautifully produced. Food is like a combination of Thai and Indian and is fresh, zingy and addictive. In fact, Sri Lankan food is a hidden gem and you’ll be not only get hooked but also probably start stalking the chef in the hope of picking up tips. Alternatively we could always arrange a cooking lesson for you.
– Beaches are lovely, lined with palm trees, and the sea is beautifully clean but the west coast is often too rough for swimming other than at a few choice spots. We know where they are. The east coast has some truly spectacular beaches but as it is only recently open to tourism, hotels are more modest.
Trekking and hiking
– In the Tea Country you’ll want to stretch your legs among those impossibly green hills or even up Adam’s Peak, but for those wanting more serious hiking we can arrange some great excursions in the beautiful Knuckles mountain range.
- Getting there
– Colombo is about a 10-hour flight away from London with Sri Lankan Airlines. Other airlines like BA, Emirates and Qatar fly via non-direct.
– Sri Lankan roads are in surprisingly good nick and journey times are mostly manageable. There are a few internal flights which can also help keep logistics simple. Charter flights and helicopters are also an excellent option for keeping journey times down.
– Sri Lanka has two separate regions in terms of weather patterns, but as a general rule December–April is the best period for travel. Having said that, climate change means that Sri Lanka is now a year-round destination, but the weather is not always predictable and you should pack a raincoat, but you’d be unlucky, any time of the year, to be rained out. More likely you’ll get the odd sharp shower and year-round 30 degree temperatures. Travel in ‘low season’ and you’ll get great rates at many of the hotels.
Visa/ entry requirements
– Tourist visas are issued on arrival but you need to pre-register and pre-pay online prior to travel.
Events (festivals, wildlife migrations)
– July/August sees the Buddhist festival of Esala Perahera with its parade of impressive dancers and painted elephants. It’s quite a spectacle and can get very busy; however, there are other festivals on a smaller scale throughout the year where you will still witness the same sort of show. Let us know if you are interested and we’ll work around the dates.
- Cultural Nuts
-The ancient northern cities are fabulous for a historical hit. Down south the highlight is definitely the historical fort town of Galle, but there are also local temples and ruins dotted around if you need further culture for the soul.
– Sri Lanka is amazing value for money and has some gorgeous private villas, perfect for honeymooners, as well as some lovely converted colonial tea plantation bungalows. There is loads to do but equally for those who really want to relax after the big day, you can base yourselves in one place and simply explore from there.
- Young and Old Families
– Sri Lanka is a perfect family holiday destination. Safe, clean, gorgeous and welcoming. There is so much for a family to do but there are also great, staffed, private villas where ma and pa can have some down-time when the Sri Lankans, in Italian style, will whisk the kids off to be entertained.
- Solo Travellers
– There are some lovely lodges, camps and guides which are not deliberately geared towards solo travellers but certainly offer wonderful, welcoming and sociable experiences. You’ll never want for company when you’re in the mood, but you can also retreat to your own tree under where you’ll be left to read your book.
- Big Parties
– There are some fantastic private homes which can be taken over for private parties, as well as smaller hotels which make excellent venues, particularly when fully staffed. We’ve got some pretty awesome party ideas, from elephant processions to fire dancers to marriage blessings.
- Limited Mobility
– Sri Lanka is not technically geared towards those with limited mobility, though the Sri Lankans are always keen to make your trip comfortable and rewarding. By sticking to a few choice experiences and hotels there is no reason why you shouldn’t still have the opportunity to experience this beautiful place.
-If you haven’t already tasted it, Sri Lankan food is the hidden gem of the subcontinent. It’s fresh, hygienic and fabulously zingy.
– Sri Lanka is a twitcher’s dream with a few hotels actually geared towards those birding nuts out there. If you have only a passing interest, you’ll still find you’re spotting barbets, bulbuls and babblers before you come home.
- Wildlife Enthusiasts
– There are some charming wildlife experiences in Sri Lanka. While not on a par with African wildernesses, the parks are generally quite well maintained and you have the opportunity to stay in the heart of the park, unusual for Asia. Apart from the stunning birdlife there are also wild elephants and, the main draw, leopards.