Known affectionately as the teardrop isle due to its shape, few islands in the world oﬀer the diversity that exists in Sri Lanka. Explore its culture and history with no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. Head to the hill country with emerald-coloured tea plantations dotted with colours of sari-clad women picking leaves to create some of the ﬁnest tea in the world. Then add a scenic train ride, hike highland trails, or seek rebalance and rejuvenation at a wellness retreat. Venture south with stunning beaches of honey-coloured sand or take a leopard-spotting safari in tropical jungles with a wealth of wildlife to discover. Tantalise your tastebuds with culinary creations, learn the secrets of spices and the ancient beneﬁts of “Ayurveda”. And at the end of each day, relax and luxuriate in accommodation styles ranging from historic colonial bungalows, mid-century architecturally inspired resorts and glamping under canvas of luxury safari-style tents.
Sri Lanka offers an array of breath-taking experiences and activities. Its diversity is astonishing – the vibrant and chaotic commercial capital of Colombo, the central plains where ancient cities bear witness to the island’s rich history, national parks full of leopards and elephant, coastlines of palm-fringed white sand beaches, spice gardens of cinnamon and clove and the hill country with manicured mountains of Ceylon tea. Complemented by an amazing food culture, colonial architecture from Dutch, Portuguese and British influences combined with the friendly smiling locals – it is no wonder that Sri Lanka is one of the hottest destinations to visit.
As diverse as its culture it makes for a fascinating exploration by taste: Sinhalese food is mainly vegetable-based and what is known as ‘traditional’ Sri Lankan cuisine. Tamil closely resembles southern India cuisine and then there is Burgher, influenced by the Dutch and Portuguese colonists who worked with the Dutch East India Company.
What To See and Do
- Dutch hospital, Colombo – enjoy a meal or a cup of tea at the former 17th century hospital, tastefully restored and now a shopping and dining precinct.
- Learn about architect Geoffery Bawa – his work and his art collection with a visit to his house just off Bagatelle Road in Colombo..
- Snacking on hoppers – cup-shaped rice-flour pancakes, eaten most commonly for breakfast and dinner.
- Visit Yala National Park – home to the world’s highest concentration of leopards and if you are lucky you may even spot a sloth bear!
- Experience Ayurvedic and yoga – disconnect from the world and rejuvenate the body and spirit at one of Sri Lanka’s exclusive wellness resorts.
- Join in the daily pilgrimage to the summit of Adam’s Peak to watch one of the world’s best sunrises.
- Visit the historic port city of Trincomalee – arrange to sail out to sea to catch a glimpse of the sperm and blue whales that swim in the warm waters offshore.
When To Go
Sri Lanka generally offers warmth and sunshine throughout the year. Temperatures average between 27-30˚C in Colombo and on the coasts and the hottest month is April. Its about 10˚C cooler in the hill country. Sri Lanka is affected by two monsoons: the southwest (Yala) brings most rain to Colombo and the south and west coasts in May/June and the inter-monsoon affects October/early November. The north-east monsoon (Maha) affects the north and east between December and February. This region is normally dryer, while the western slopes of the central highlands are wettest.
You’re likely to need a visa, in the form of an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), to visit Sri Lanka. There is a non-refundable processing fee for some nationalities. For more information visit: www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa