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.
Need to Know
– 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.
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.