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Sri Lanka

While most holiday destinations around the Indian Ocean look to blend cultural heritage with modern-day attractions, Sri Lanka does it better than most. Old certainly meets new at every turn, with the country’s rich heritage embraced and entwined with some of the most deliciously golden beaches in the world on offer.

Sun lovers will be in paradise, while watersports enthusiasts will love the surfing, kayaking, yachting and scuba diving opportunities. The breath-taking and unspoilt landscapes filled with lush forestry, mountains and waterfalls must be seen to be believed. This gentle mix of views and beaches are watched over by giant statues of Buddha which rise above the forest line making for the ultimate Instagram snap – no filter needed, of course.

An ideal way to see the real Sri Lanka is by train, with both the Colombo to Jaffna and Kandy to Ella routes ones to remember. Seaplanes are becoming more and more popular and are a great way to get to the country’s jungles on the south of the island.

If you are feeling energetic, the Sigiriya is a must-see, though can only be reached via an extremely steep and narrow staircase. The result certainly makes all the hard work worthwhile when you reach the abandoned palace at the top of a huge boulder.

The Sinharaja rainforest is another feature, one of the country’s last viable areas of natural rainforest and a beauty spot for treks, waterfalls and all manner of varied plant life.

There are few places in the world that can offer a holiday maker such an intoxicating blend of pristine beaches, culture and stunning landscapes in a relatively compact location. It’s a destination where there is a heady mix of World Heritage Sites, tea estates, botanical gardens and waterfalls. Billed as ‘the wonder of Asia’, this description is spot on, with so much to do and enjoy for simply everyone.

WINGED BOOTS WISDOM

If you want to get up close and personal with the wild, Sri Lanka is the right place. Home to around 5,800 wild elephants, it also has the largest concentration of leopards in the world. You can also dive with blue whales in season or watch spinner dolphins in Kalpitiya.
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Good to know

  • Time difference: UTC +5.5
  • Capital: Colombo
  • Currency: LKR
  • Flying time to destination:
    11-hours from London

Best Time To Travel

Average Temperatures
Jan: 27°c   Feb: 27°c   Mar: 28°c  
Apr: 29°c   May: 29°c   Jun: 28°c  
Jul: 28°c   Aug: 28°c   Sep: 28°c  
Oct: 27°c   Nov: 27°c   Dec: 27°c  

Location

Sri Lanka In A Nutshell

  • With nearly 1,600km of coastline, sun-worshippers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to the beaches of Sri Lanka.
     
  • Different in nature, popular southern beaches include Tangalla, Mirissa and Bentota while many along the east coast are less populated.
     
  • In the summer, Arugam Bay, to the south east of the island, is the place to go with beautiful golden sand making a haven for surfers and beach parties on balmy nights.
     
  • Looking for something a little less lively? Try the Uppuveli or Nilaveli beaches. Both are secluded and feature stunning stretches of beach that’s perfect for romantic or lonely walks alike.
  • The feature of Sri Lankan cuisine is boiled or steamed rice served with a curry of fish, chicken, beef or mutton as well as other curries made with vegetables, lentils or fruit. Dishes are often accompanied by pickled fruits, vegetables and chutneys.
     
  • As with the rest of the island, the old meets the new with an abundance of flavours influenced by Sri Lanka’s location, creating a fusion of eastern and western culture.
     
  • The ultimate Sri Lankan street food is kottu roti, a simple stir-fry often made using the leftovers including pieces of roti bread, meat and a variety of spices.

Soak Up The Culture
  • With a 3,000 year old history, Sri Lanka contains some of the world’s most ancient cities including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Digamadulla.
     
  • Filled with Buddha statues and cave paintings, the Dambulla caves are incredibly atmospheric and a must-see.
     
  • Fancy something a little different? The Wewurukannala Vihara temples has models of humans being boiled alive and sawn in half. Not for the faint-hearted, this trek through the Tunnel Of Hell is well worth it for the final vista of Sri Lanka’s largest Buddha.
     
  • The beautiful water displays of Sigiria contain some of the most futuristic elements of landscaping as well as some of the oldest murals in the country making it a perfect way to experience the local culture.
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