04 February 2019
With an interior of dense tropical jungle and mountains framed by sandy golden beaches, this stunning island is one of the Indian Ocean’s most fascinating destinations. Combine visits to sparkling waterfalls, forays along spectacular hiking trails and wonderful wildlife encounters (especially in Yala National Park) with trips to sacred Buddhist cities where you can marvel at ancient temples dating back thousands of years.
Best time to visit Sri Lanka
Despite two monsoon seasons; the south-western monsoon which brings sporadic rains to the south-west of Sri Lanka between May to December and the north-eastern monsoon, which brings wind and rain between October and January, Sri Lanka is a year-round destination. Conditions remain humid and balmy throughout the year, across most parts of the island.
Recommended length of stay: Stay two to three nights for a safari or wildlife stay.
Local currency: Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR), although USD, GBP and the Euro are accepted at all leading hotels
Top three experiences
Visit Sigiriya in the Cultural Triangle
Climb one of the island’s most iconic sights, the UNESCO-listed Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Considered the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, this was built in the 5th century AD by the island’s then ruler King Kasyappa and boasts world-famous frescoes painted on the sheer rock face as well as lush gardens. Sigiriya is located within the Cultural Triangle, an area in which you’lll find the ancient capital cities of Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa – the latter also a UNESCO World Heritage site
Visit a Mask Gallery in Ambalangoda
Visit a Mask Gallery in Ambalangoda, a town renowned for its hand-crafted wooden masks and puppets. The traditional masks are carved from light, balsa-like wood from Kaduru trees that grow in marshy lands bordering the paddy fields. The wood is smoke dried for a week in preparation. The hand-carved and hand-painted masks have been used in traditional dance and dramas originating from centuries-old village rituals.
Snorkel and dive in Hikkaduwa
Snorkel or dive in the Hikkaduwa National Park with its incredible marine life and rocky islets, especially in the famed Coral Gardens. Hikkaduwa Beach is a popular spot, protected by a reef and hence offering shallow waters perfect with kids. While swimming you may spot leatherback turtles and dolphins, or you can take a glass-bottomed boat trip out to see them. Surfing is also on the up in Hikkaduwa.
Where would you like to visit on your next adventure? Contact your local Travel Counsellor for a tailor-made holiday, or read our Authentic Encounters brochure for more inspiration.