Sri Lanka: Holidays
Pearl of the Indian Ocean
Beach in Sri Lanka
Sun-drenched and set amid some of the world’s most awe-inspiring environs, a beach holiday in Sri Lanka is perfect for anyone looking to kick back and get away from all the fuss in a land largely untroubled by the gaudy tourism of similar destinations. Sri Lanka contains some beautiful beaches including Hikkaduwa, Benthota and Unawatuna on the Southern cost. These beaches are safe for swimming, surfing, diving and other water related sports.
If you are looking for a more exclusive stay, we recommend beaches in an area called Bentota, in the southwest. Bentota has many tourist resorts, but more notably, many private boutique hotels, such as Taru Villa, River House, and Club Villa, which have stunning private beaches and exclusive pools. The south coast has many wide beaches and lagoons, which are safe for swimming, but they narrow down during April to October. Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, both in the south, have narrow beaches, but have excellent snorkeling reefs. Also, there are many secluded and quiet bays along the south coast of Sri Lanka where there are many private villas, perfect for couples who want time alone. There is a wonderful town in the south called Mirissa, which has superb beaches, but very few tourists. Other splendid beach areas are Trincomalee, Tangalle, and Aragum Bay, which are towards the east. The temperature is very hot, but you can keep yourself cool by indulging in a wide range of water sports, from surfing to diving. Sri Lanka’s first beach resort was at Negombo. It is the closest beach to the airport and there are many and hotels and beachside restaurants. Mount Lavinia, just south of Colombo, is famous for its colonial touch, and the Governor’s House built in 1805 by Sir Thomas Maitland, is now part of the famous Mount Lavinia Hotel. Overall, Sri Lanka has amazing beaches, which are definitely worth seeing. An impressive coral reef can also be found at Hikkaduwa. Negombo north of the capital Colombo attracts many package tourists from Europe as well. Overall, Sri Lanka has everything one could want from a beach holiday break - jump in and enjoy!
Camping in Sri Lanka
Sir Lanka is the perfect place for those looking for a camping holiday with a difference, with a whole host of experience that are sure to make for an unforgettable camping vacation. Get up close to elephants, bunk up under the lush canopy of nature and get lulled to sleep with the owl: a camping holiday in Sri Lanka is sure to be an treasured and unique holiday that is well worth your time. The best way to experience camping is to be right in the heart of Sri Lanka and marvel at its raw and untamed natural beauty. Most of the campsites that are operated by tour guides are tried and tested spots selected by experienced personnel or are sites belonging to the wildlife and forest department of Sri Lanka.
Most camp site providers offer guests with all the necessary facilities such as illuminating oil or copra torches, make shift outdoor restaurants with a variety of world class cuisines and other camp equipment. Participatory camping, Luxury camping, and Super-Luxury camping can be found in most camping sites in Sri Lanka. Overall, Sri Lanka is a perfect spot for a camping break, just be sure to come correct and well-prepared as there is not the largest selection of hire equipment shops readily available.
Culture and Arts in Sri Lanka
A country steeped in history and tradition, Sri Lanka is the perfect place to seek out a culture and arts holiday with a difference. There are 100 rivers in this small country and more than 10 000 ‘wawa’ (man made lakes). Some of them are more than 3000 acres. Most of them were built by the ancient kings more than 1500 years ago. Sri Lanka is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a history going back over 10 000 years. There are ancient capitals all over the country. Some of them are Anuradapura, Polonnaruwa, Yapahuewa, Kandy, Kurunagala, Dambadeniya & Jayawardanapura. A lot of the culture is based on Buddhism. Ancient temples and ‘Dagaba’s can be found all around the country. The Jethawana, Abhayagiri and Ruwanwali Dagaba’s are even larger than the great Pyramids of Egypt.
The Ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya are on the Unesco list as well and are of important historical and cultural value for the country. Polonnaruwa was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. Sigiriya is famous for its 370 meter high granite peak, called the Lion's Peak, which can be climbed by stairs. Kandy is home to a tooth of Buddha as well. Anuradhapura and Kandy are the two sacred cities on the Unesco list. The first one was the first capital that flourished for 1,300 years and was abandoned after an invasion in 993. This sight with its palaces, monasteries and monuments is one of the cultural highlights in the country. Galle has some wonderful old town and fortifications - including a Dutch fort. A perfect place to combine culture and sun-kissed beaches, Sri Lanka will give you an unbeatable cultural hit while also allowing you to top up your tan.
Family Holiday in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has miles of unspoiled beaches, balmy seas, sunshine, cool uplands, a rich culture, and is indeed very safe; it’s not surprising that it makes for an exceptionally well-fitting family holiday destination for families. From towering Pagodas, Hindu temples and ancient fortresses to holy rivers and sacred mountains, Sri Lanka is blessed with a sense of deep spirituality and history. All of this, along with the fact that Sri Lankan people seem genuinely delighted by children and will go out of their way to make you and your family welcome; make holidays a pleasure for everyone. Lots of families are choosing Sri Lanka for their holiday destination; and why wouldn’t they? This is one place that offers inspirational journeys that take you to the very heart of wildlife safaris, jungles and a Sri Lankan family adventure is sure to include elephants, rafting and wilderness parks, as well as tea plantations, spice gardens and tropical beaches. Enjoy a Jeep ride or cycle around the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa where you will be entertained by Kandyan dancers, drummers and firewalkers. Be sure to visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawela. This is not to be missed! Not enough activity for your family? How about lunch in one of the 24 wildlife reserves which are home to leopards, wild elephants, sloth bears, wild boar and buffalo? But just don’t end up on the menu! Smile at a cute purple-faced leaf monkey and see if you can spot porcupines and anteaters. Don’t forget to keep a look out for crocodiles, snakes and a vast number of native birds. When considering family friendly accommodation for your holiday in Sri Lanka do look for those hotels, resorts or apartments that are located close to at least a beach, park or attraction so that you can have an easy day without too much traveling around. You will be surprised just how tiring sight seeing can be; and after all even parents need some relaxation time too! If possible see that your accommodation offers a kids club and/or baby sitting so that you will have time to have a holiday as well!
Gay and Lesbian in Sri Lanka
Male homosexuality is illegal in Sri Lanka and, although female homosexuality is not outlawed, the subject is not openly discussed. There have been some convictions in recent years so it would be a good idea for gay and lesbian holidaymakers in Sri Lanka not to unduly flaunt their sexuality. Consequentially, Sri Lanka has very little in the way of gay-friendly accommodation, clubs or neighbourhoods and most of the indigenous gay populations are secretive and disparate. Overall, Sir Lanka is perhaps not the ideal destination for those looking to revel in an overtly gay and lesbian holiday.
Honeymoon in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is one of the top Overseas Wedding and Honeymoon destinations. Set for a traditional Sri Lankan wedding or for a simple ceremony on the beach. Diverse locations are available and choice is yours, Hill country locations amidst the Tea Plantation, Beach, Jungle and many more. Your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life so to make it a memorable occasion for both you and your guests, why not have the Wedding ceremony in a unique location in the very heart of nature in Sri Lanka ? Picture making you vows standing on a temporary platform (made from all natural materials and decorated with beautiful flowers) suspended over the Belihuloya river, with the Bakers Falls waterfall serving as a back drop. Or why not have an evening Wedding ceremony next to a reservoir, with the famous Sigiriya rock in the background. How is a waterfall as a backdrop? Candles and oil lamps can illuminate the area and a mouth watering buffet can be served under the shelter of the nearby forest. Traditional touches of Sri Lanka such as the inclusion of local dancers, drummers, costumes and cuisine as well as the practice of local customs like cutting a 'kiri bath' in a 'kulla' (a milk rice alternative to the traditional wedding cake) will make the occasion a truly Sri Lankan experience! After the ceremony, we can arrange a whole honeymoon itinerary tailor-made to your exact requirements.
Couples Holiday in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a wonderful destination for a couples holiday. Whether it is the fragile beauty of Jaffna, Galle or Negombo, or the peace and quite of the beautiful hinterland of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s sunshine coast has a multitude of activities for couples to share and enjoy. Tourist areas such as Colombo have become a favourite for locals and visitors alike, with the world-class dining and shopping and, of course, the stunning beaches which made the region famous in the first place. Kalkudah, an old favourite, is still a highlight of Sri Lanka’s holiday destinations, while the stunning scenery across the region are always sure to wow couples on holiday in Sri Lanka. There is no doubt that a romantic getaway along the Sri Lanka is sure to delight all, and particularly those who love sun-drenched sights, sounds and activities that can keep you occupied from dawn to dusk, and then some. Be dazzled by some of Sri Lanka’s most stunning beaches - a sweeping coastline that is a jewel of the country that rank among some of the best in the world. Enjoy fabulous culinary delights - the region is renowned for offering up a culinary plethora of fantastic options for every taste and budget. Couples seeking some adrenaline in their break need not be disappointed either: from surfing and hiking to waterskiing and sailing, Sri Lanka is packed with activities that are sure to please. Accommodation on the coast tends to be more resort, hotel and high-rise orientated, while the hinterland offers intimate cottage retreats, hostels and b&bs. Overall, Sri Lanka offers a huge range of activities and ideas for couples looking for a quick vacation or an extended break, promising fun-filled days and nights that will remain unforgettable.
Safari Activity Holiday in Sri Lanka
Follow the flight of the butterflies into the jungle, the trail of the giant sea turtles into the sea or take a walk with the elephants at Minneriya. For bird watchers, snake lovers, leopard spotters and butterfly gazers, Sri Lanka is one of those few places in the world with a breathtaking array of landscapes and wildlife packed into a relatively compact area. Get, up-close & personal with nature, observe wilderness in all its beauty, splendour and complexities in the Island. The Island’s 100 plus national parks reserves are home to literally thousands of different species. Our National Parks offer the maximum wildlife safari opportunities for viewing the country's diverse wildlife of the 86 species of animals. Top wildlife spots include Uda Walawe; with its beautiful grassland, thorn scrub, elephant, deer, buffalo and boar. Meanwhile, Wilpattu is also highly recommended to safari holidaymakers, boasting some fantastic Jungle, scrub, elephant, leopard, bear and deer.
Yala, at a slightly more remote remove, houses some great grassland, jungle, lagoon and mangrove; home to crocodile, elephant, leopard, buffalo, eagle, flamingo. Minneriya is similarly awe-inspiring: with elephants, an evergreen forest and a beautiful reservoir to tempt visitors. Other interesting sites in Sri Lanka is also famous for the beautiful solitary Leopard, best sighted at dawn or dusk and its elephant gathering at Minneriya.
Excellent overnight and extended stay accommodation can be found a Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana Lodge, Chaya Village, Kalu's Hideaway and Uda Walawe. Jeeps can often be hired from your hotel but ensure that they have good safari experience for some up close and personal experiences with the wild. The guides are employed by the conservation and wildlife societies and accompany all visitors to the park. Costs can adjust in accordance with Government tax.
Golf Activity Holiday in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has almost everything that a tourist would look for- the aesthetic tropical beaches, lush surroundings, salubrious hills, verdant vegetation and a thousand other delights. It comes as no surprise that this island paradise also makes the perfect destination for a golf holiday. Sri Lanka is relatively unknown in the field of Golf, but surprisingly the country boasts of the finest 18 hole courses in Asia. The game of golf in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), was rumoured to have been played by the occupying Dutch, as far back as 1656.The association with golf is more than a century old and the Sri Lanka Amateur Golf Championship, which was instituted in the year 1891 follows the British Amateur Golf Championship, as the oldest national championship in the world. You can also try out the various Golf courses in Sri Lanka at the lush out greens of the Sri Lankan clubs.
The Royal Colombo Golf Club founded in 1879 is the oldest in the country, also the 4th oldest Golf Course outside the UK. With a history of over 125 years the club proudly announces a membership of around 3,000.The course is situated in the midst of the busy hub of Colombo. Yet, it never fails to amaze every golfer with its calm and tranquil surroundings. The lush greens, the tall pines, the flower ponds in bloom with water lilies and the landmark Kelani Valley Railway Line that runs across the course all add to its natural beauty. The Royal Colombo Golf club is the ideal course for golfers on business.
If you are looking for a truly unique experience of an invigorating round of golf in exotic settings, come down to the Victoria Golf Club, rated among the 100 most beautiful golf courses in the world by Golf Digest.. It is not just a good golf course within the realms of Sri Lanka, but acclaimed as a fine golf course around the world golf clubs. The layout and terrain of the course incorporates the majestic trees, jack forests, coconut palms and rolling hillsides which makes the game of golf look more magnetic . This is more than enough reason why the Sri Lankan Airlines Golf Classic is held here for the 10th consecutive year at this particular golf course. The best golfers deserve nothing but the best.
Sailing Activity Holiday in Sri Lanka
When it comes to sailing, Sri Lanka has everything to give anyone a wonderful holiday on the water. Sri Lanka’s tranquil and picturesque south coast is studded with magnificent bays including Unawatuna, Mirissa, Weligama, Dickwella, and Tangalle. They provide ideal waters for sailing during the season from December to April. Sailing inland on Bolgoda Lake close to the capital city of Colombo is also popular. Mirissa is a good area for sea-hardy holidaymakers: opportunities for sailing, boating and yachting in the south have improved in recent years, with one significant achievement the establishment of Mirissa Watersports. Red Dot enthusiastically supports this community-based project, which offers watersports such as sailing, fishing, coastal cruises, snorkelling, whale and dolphin watching and boating activities for visitors to the south coast. The Ruhuna Sailing Association trains village youth and provides employment through watersports. It held its first competitive sailing competition this year with several participants from the Bolgoda Yacht Club as well as from overseas. Bolgoda Lake, located south of Colombo in the suburbs of Piliyandala, is Sri Lanka’s largest natural freshwater basin. The Ceylon Motor Yacht Club, on the shores of the lake, is an established sailing club that conducts sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing and motor boat activities. With an active racing and cruising calendar, club member take sailing very seriously with some even representing Sri Lanka in international events. The club also encourages junior sailing. Overall, whether you are an expert or beginner, Sri Lanka has a host of wonderful and affordable sailing destinations.
Scuba Diving Activity Holiday in Sri Lanka
A wide coral reef surrounds Sri Lanka’s coast at intervals, from north to south, providing excellent sites for scuba-diving - perfect for holidaymakers looking to have a exciting holiday amongst some of nature‘s most fascinating beauty in its deep blue sea. The discovery of the natural beauty of the underwater world in Sri Lanka is sure to fascinate and keep one spellbound. The turquoise and aquamarine waters are home to a burgeoning populace of magical and mysterious world of coral reef, shells and vibrant shoals of fish. The adventure of scuba diving can be combined with activities ranging from underwater photography, to the study of the varied types of ocean life. The coral world is inhabited by a profound number of beautiful species such as rays, eels, clown fish, porcupine, moorish idol, unicorn and moorish angel to name a few. The common species belonging to the families of Aroporidae (Staghorn Corals), Poritidae (Donnie Corals), Mussidae (Brain Corals), faviidae (Ster Corals) and Pocelloporidae (Flower Corals).
"Sri Lanka's spectacular scenic beauty is rivalled only by the wonders of her underwater world," an apt saying as the sea surrounding the pearl of the Indian Ocean holds many treasures; The multi-hued coral reef which encompasses the south and east coast is illuminated by the rays of the sun creating a magical effect along with the vibrant tropical fish, and the submerged shipwrecks offer ample opportunity for underwater archaeologists, photographers and adventure seekers alike. Some of the diving hot spots are Ambalangoda, Hikkaduwa, Dondra, Tangalle and many more in the south and south -east coast; Negombo, Bentota and Beruwala in the West and Pigeon Island, Batticaloa, Kalmunai, Passekudah, Kattankudy on the east coast. The above areas are a mere handful compared to the plethora of cities which are equipped to give a memorable diving experience.
Conveniently rostered monsoons ensure that one half of the island's coastal waters remain in season for aquatic pursuits. The west coast from December through March and the north and east coast from March to September. Underwater visibilty is good and range from 50 to 100 feet. Apart from treasures of coral and fish, the reefs and sea-beds off shore offer an exciting attraction to skilled divers. Submerged wrecks are strewn off the thousand mile-long coastal waters, a legacy of more than twenty centuries of maritime trade and sea-faring. A few treasures have been salvaged and are in view at the maritime museums in Sri Lanka and a 15 kilogram mass, containing exactly one thousand of these coins, still in the shape of their original bag is now on display in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.
Diving in Sri Lanka holds endless possibilities, worth experiencing. There are many water sports centres around the Island enabling the visitor to rent diving equipment inclusive of photographic material. Exceptional dive -tour packages and underwater safaris are arranged by dedicated agencies and travel agents who employ professional diving guides and instructors.
Hiking Activity Holiday in Sri Lanka
There’s no better way to explore the natural scenic beauty of this island which is blessed with diverse climatic zones. Trekking is an excellent way to explore a country, people, their traditions and beliefs. Paths and campsites have been selected to give nature lovers the experience of a lifetime. All measures are taken to ensure local community benefit and nature conservation in keeping with all international camping guidelines.
The possibilities are endless as one has the option of hiking or trekking in cities and towns which are in close proximity to Colombo ( the business capital) such as Gampaha which is ideal for an easy hike. It offers the chance to view tiny hamlets and farms. For the more challenging hiker, the Knuckles range (a cluster resembling the knuckles of a hand )stretch 1,863m above the Dumbara Valley. It offers the rarest and most beautiful sights and the option of camping, it also has the option of visiting the Wasgamuwa National Park and the Veddah ( Sri Lanka's native folk) territory known as Dambana in Mahiyangana. The Knuckles range consists of a few allocated trails such as the Alugallena Montane Forest Nature Trail ( a 5-6 hour trail which covers a distance of 8km starting at Thangappuwa and ending at the Alugallena cave), Dekinda stream nature trail ( approximately 2km of walk through the hill slope of Naela ending at Dekinda stream) are some. Since the Knuckles range is a protected area you must obtain prior permission from the Forest Department to enter the forest.
An exhilarating trek which takes approximately 6 hrs is highly recommended starting from Belihul-Oya with its magnificent environs leading to the Horton Plains which is also a nature reserve dotted with unique flora and fauna, wildlife and waterfalls. It is situated 2,134m above sea level climaxing in the Worlds End an amazing encampment which drops 328m vertically and falls away a further 1.312m. On a clear day one can view the Balangoda Town ( in 'Lilliputian' form) which s directly below.
The many paths within the cultural triangle such the old path from Minneriya to Sigiriya ( 27km probability 9 hrs) give a glimpse of the irrigation system and the uninhabited jungle life of the dry zone. Trekking in the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary in close proximity to Adam's Peak offers a diversified experience as it is home to a plethora of rare birds, leapord, deer and jackal. The possibilities of hiking and trekking cannot be summed up in one page as Sri Lanka presents bountiful opportunities for the adventurous persona. There are a fw words of advise which is to ascertain the ideal time for hiking or trekking in the varied location; it is wise to avoid the monsoon rains due to muddy terrain and leeches.
Cycling Activity Holiday in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a mountain bikers paradise and is a cyclist friendly destination. Its mountainous terrain is among the finest of the world's biking sites. Among the slopes, valleys and the tea plantations are tracks and trails that will beckon the avid mountain biker.Tours range from lush tea estates to caves, rain forests, ancient temples , reservoirs etc., slopes, valleys and the tea plantations are tracks and trails that will attract any mountain biker. Most Hotels and tour operators offer mountain biking holidays, alternatively the guest has the option of contacting a smaller 'adventure' based operation for the purpose of selecting his/her own trip. Many tour operators such as Sri Lankan Expeditions market tailor made mountain biking tours. The majority of mountain biking tours are conducted in the Knuckles range with its verdant hills and challenging trails. Kital Ella near Bandarawela, a very attractive mountainous region overlooking the ‘Namunukula' mountain range. At an altitude of 1230 metres, the mountainous area has an extremely pleasant climate, with warm (but not humid) days and cool nights. The environment is remarkably varied with something to satisfy everyone's taste. You can chose an apt trail and ride to your hearts content. Longer tours are arranged along with a supporting vehicle for transporting luggage. For those who prefer a solitary ride, a sense of adventure and average map reading skills are sufficient ingredients and satisfaction is guaranteed. Mountain bikes can be transported in buses and trains but one has to ensure that it is dismantled and in carry-on bags. Unless the rider is part of a group with a support vehicle it is advisable to carry a tool kit and a pump since the local cycle repair shops may be inadequately equipped to repair a complex mountain bike. One could replenish ones energy from wayside shops but make sure the drinking water is sealed. 'Thambili,' (King Coconut water) is an ideal choice as it is naturally sealed and safe to drink. Cycling is considered one of the most daunting and physically demanding adventure sports one indulges in. Cycling arguably offers the best way to explore Sri Lanka and a great way to see the country hitherto offering a rare proximity to the natives, culture and landscape that is unparalleled. Cycling through rice fields and villages to see 700-year-old temples is an astounding experience.
Touring - Driving holiday in Sri Lanka
Whether you're cruising along the sand dunes on the beach between the ocean and the lagoon at Kalpitiya in southern Sri Lanka, riding the 32 hair-pin bends of the Devil's staircase near Belihuloya, or crossing the many streams on the exciting ‘Makara' (dragon) drive to the Gal Oya National Park reservoir, you can be sure that these ‘off-the-road' adventures are more than just ‘going for a drive'! At Sri Lankan Expedition, we can offer complete adventurous jeep tours for any number of days, short 4WD tour programmes combined with any of the other activities that we offer, or even longer ‘cross-country' jeep tours that start from one end of Sri Lanka to reach a specific destination (avoiding main roads as much as possible).
Winter Sun in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka enjoys a warm, if not entirely temperate, climate year-round and is a perfect destination for holidaymakers who fancy a spot of winter sun. Sri Lanka summer runs from May to September while their winter extends from September into December. Sri Lanka’s sun-drenched climate gives an average temperature of roughly 22°C during December, meaning plenty of winter sun so you won’t have to bring scarves and sweaters if you are looking to spend a Christmas in Sri Lanka. Also be sure to stick out the winter sun and enjoy the spectacular new year’s eve celebrations, a giant street party in the heart of the capital and along several of the main beaches and streets of major city centres.
Well-being and Spa in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is new on our top ten destinations to enjoy a spa holiday. Although an up and coming destination, you won't be short for choice when booking a spa break in this beautiful Asian country. You will also benefit from excellent rates and pristine, peaceful beaches.