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Sri Lanka Destination Guide

Exclusively Elegant Travel Since 1988

For more information, please call our Travel Consultants on:01244 897 551

Your guide from the Luxury Travel Experts


Welcome to the Elegant Resorts Destination Guide for Sri Lanka, created to help make your choice of luxury holiday as easy as possible. Here, you will find more detailed factual information about the destination you have selected.

If you require further information, not featured on this page, please call one of our Travel Consultants.

Overview+

Capital Colombo
Language Sinhala, Tamil
Time Difference 6 hours
Currency Sri Lankan Rupee
Voltage 230v

Sri Lanka is brimming with ancient monuments, national parks, wonderful fauna and flora and, of course, the lush rolling green hills of the central tea region. Gain the most out of your trip to Sri Lanka by staying in more than one place. Sri Lanka will definitely surprise and delight, it is a country with a long and proud history, and you will be amazed at the diversity of landscapes, climates and wonderful experiences available as you travel around Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of Galle and Tangalle, in the south west of the country, are the perfect places to unwind at the end of your Sri Lankan explorations, as there are some beautiful bays and peaceful corners to retreat to. For stunning green scenery, Bogawantalawa Valley – also known as ‘The Golden Valley of Tea’ – is one of Sri Lanka’s most scenic areas. A historic cradle of Buddhism, Sri Lanka has much to offer the traveller in search of a spiritual experience. Visit Kandy, in the centre of the country, where you will witness the famous Temple of the Tooth and observe Buddhist traditions in beautiful harmony. Whatever you decide to do, Sri Lanka will not disappoint!

Highlights+
Cuisine

Sri Lankan cuisine incorporates spices to great effect to produce mouthwatering curries, rice dishes, pickles and chutneys. Experiencing a traditional Sri Lankan ‘rice and curry’ for the first time is a joy to behold, as more and more bowls of steaming flavoursome treats are delivered to your table! Try one of our favourites, succulent black pork, made with a bewildering array of local spices and marinated to perfection. Prepare your tastebuds for an explosion of flavours and spices that will simply leave you wanting more and more!

Shopping

Colombo offers plenty of fascinating shopping opportunities, including street markets and modern shopping centres, perfect to buy keepsakes and souvenirs. Our favourites are the interior design havens of Barefoot Road and Paradise Road for an array of gorgeous artisan home decor items and knick-knacks. Good buys whilst in the country include Ceylon tea, spices, hand loomed fabrics and jewellery, including indigenous blue sapphires.

Cultural Highlights

In addition to the main attractions, there is a vast array of sites to discover across the country. Just outside Tangalle is Mulkirigala Temple – a series of natural caves filled with wall paintings and statues of Buddha. It was here, in 1862, that a British Administrator discovered some palm-leaf manuscripts that contained the key to translating the Mahawamsa, the Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka. The climb to the summit is challenging, but well worth it for its magnificent views. Meanwhile, in the dry zone known as ‘The Cultural Triangle’ you will find ancient cities such as Anuradhapura and Polonaruwa, rock fortresses icluding Sigiriya and the Dambulla Rock Temples, some of Sri Lanka’s oldest relics and famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Further inland, towards Kandy, you will find a temple that reputedly houses Buddha’s tooth, while the vibrant arts scene has survived colonisation and remains true to its millennia-old roots.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Travel north to see the amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. Marvel at Sigiriya Rock, built in the 5th century AD by King Kasyapa as a great fortress in the sky, to protect himself from the rightful heir, his brother, who had sworn revenge and returned from India to fight an epic battle with armies of warrior elephants. The nearby ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa will also wow with their hidden monasteries, cave temples and sacred rocks. The scattered ruins of one of the ancient world’s greatest civilisations await!

Wildlife

Sri Lanka is amongst the most bio-diverse countries in the world, and a little-known fact is that it has the world’s largest density of leopards in Yala National Park. Monkeys, crocodiles, elephants, innumerable species of birds, lizards, deer and rare bears can all be spotted, if you are lucky, on game-drives around the park. Close by is one of Sri Lanka’s finest parks, Uda Walawe National Park and one of the best locations for elephant-watching, surpassing many of East Africa’s famous national parks. With low-lying vegetation, enjoy interrupted views of wild buffalo, herds of elephants, sambar and spotted deer, the occasional leopard and much, much more!

Travel Gems+

Travel Planning
Helicopter transfers from the airport now make access to popular Sri Lankan destinations even easier. Please call our Travel Consultants for further information.

Sri Lanka is one of those places you can spend a bit of extra time exploring, after which you might think about heading off to a Maldivian atoll for a complete rest and time to reflect on your travels, alternatively, you could combine with Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur for a ’shop and flop’ holiday.


   

Climate+

The Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka has a tropical climate, which is tempered by two monsoon seasons. These affect the island at different times of the year. Although this means that there may be a high chance of rain in Sri Lanka, you can also be sure that there is always a place on the island that is sunny and dry. Evenings can be very warm and humid. Along the coast, sea breezes help to cool temperatures down, while in the mountains and around tea country, the altitude moderates the temperature, which is usually very pleasant and comfortably warm. Rainfall is frequent but seasonal, and usually falls as afternoon showers, with thunder possible during the off-season.

Temperature Guide

These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Sri Lanka.

  Temp °C Rain mm
January3155
February3174
March32136
April32250
May31382
June30186
July30124
August30116
September30236
October30371
November30306
December30166

Getting There+

Flight Information
Sri Lankan Airlines direct from London Heathrow to Colombo.
Via Malé with British Airways from London Gatwick.
Via Dubai with Emirates from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow and Manchester.
Via Doha with Qatar Airways from London Heathrow and Manchester.

Flight Time

From London Heathrow to Colombo: 10 hours, 35 minutes. London Gatwick to Malé: 10 hours.
London Heathrow to Dubai and Abu Dhabi: 7 hours. London Heathrow to Doha: 6 hours, 45 minutes.
Onward connecting flight from Malé to Colombo: 1 hour, 25 minutes.
From Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Colombo: 4 hours, 20 minutes.
From Doha to Colombo: 4 hours, 45 minutes. .

Travel Documentation+

Travelling With Children or Without an Adult

Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.

Visa and Advance Passenger Information

All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.

Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.

For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk

Health+

Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/

In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.

Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net, www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.

Talk to our Asia, Australasia and Africa Experts

Our dedicated Asia, Australasia and Africa Experts are ready to help you design your luxury holiday to Sri Lanka. Furthermore, we have 6 Travel Consultants who have personally visited Sri Lanka and can offer you their first-hand knowledge and experience.

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