For a small island, Sri Lanka has so much to discover. Rich green hillside, golden-sand beaches, bustling local villages and a kaleidoscopic display of spices, jewellery and artwork, are only the beginning of the country’s mesmerising offerings. We have compiled our five favourites to inspire your itinerary for your next luxury holiday to Sri Lanka.
Elephants, leopards, monkeys and abundant tropical birdlife – experience up-close encounters with some of the world’s most spectacular species when you visit Sri Lanka. The island might be small in size, but with countless National Parks and immense forest reserves, it isn’t short of wildlife-watching potential. Pack your binoculars and join a walking or 4x4 jeep tour to some of the region’s renowned locations. Yala National Park has the highest concentration of leopards in the world. Although particularly elusive, expert guides and expedition leaders recognise the animals’ favourite spots, and are usually able to seek them out for a picture-perfect moment. Only a few hours from Yala, uncover the open plains of Uda Walawe National Park – home to a growing elephant population. Often unphased by the presence of passing safari vehicles, the animals happily graze in the savannah and cool off in nearby water.
Since the late 1800s, Sri Lanka has been one of the world’s most prominent tea-producing countries. Today, the gloriously green Bogawantalawa Valley – also known as ‘The Golden Valley of Tea’ – is one of the country’s most scenic areas, and a must visit for anyone looking to unearth the tea-stained history of Sri Lanka. Join one of the many escorted tours that lead you through the blossoming estates, before you head inside the tea factory and learn more about the intricate tea-making process. Round off your day with a Ceylon tea-tasting as you gaze across the seemingly endless horizon of rolling green hillside.
Venture through the jungle-clad interior of this teardrop-shaped island and you’ll soon reach the golden coastline. Travellers looking for a rustic beach experience should head to Sri Lanka’s east coast, which contrasts the popular west and south coast beach scenes. Unawatuna may be busy, but that’s because it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Soft sands, slow rolling waves and nearby shops and cafes make it a popular choice for those looking to spend the day. For wildlife-seekers, a short walk or tuk-tuk ride will take you to Jungle Beach; relish spectacular snorkelling and admire exotic birds overhead.
Reflected through the food, architecture, sculptures and people of the country, Sri Lankan culture is outstandingly diverse. Immerse yourself in the country’s cultural heart by touring ‘The Cultural Triangle’. Formed by Anuradhapura to the north, Polonaruwa to the east and Kandy to the south-west, the interior of the triangle includes further sites of interest, such as Mihintale, Ritigala and Dambulla. If you’re looking to delve deeper, hire a bicycle and travel through some of Sri Lanka’s smaller, lesser-known villages, where you’ll have the chance to witness day-to-day life and meet local families.
Hidden gems amongst the undisturbed wilderness of Sri Lanka, the region’s luxury hotels are both opulent and original. Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort is nestled on a secluded rocky outcrop, offering guests seven impressive dining options and the sumptuous Anantara Spa, while beautiful Amanwella has an excellent vantage point to witness some of nature’s finest events, including turtles laying their eggs on nearby beaches. For a full immersion in Sri Lanka’s natural beauty, the rustic luxury of Chena Huts by Uga Escapes is idyllic. The safari-style ambience is underpinned by regular sightings of elephants and flamingos wading in the water, while you can still relish luxury in your private plunge pool and climate-controlled cabin.
To book your luxury holiday or journey to Sri Lanka, please call our Luxury Travel Specialists.