With tropical temperatures and two monsoon seasons, Sri Lanka’s climate provides the perfect conditions for growing delicious tea. In fact, Sri Lanka is the fourth largest producer of tea in the world. Wander through the verdant landscape of manicured tea plantations and learn how some of the world’s finest teas are created. Sip on luxury Virgin White Tea in the coastal Handunugoda Estate, or head up into the hills and unearth the origins of Britain’s love of tea as you stroll through the rolling Caroline and Kelinworth estates of colonial Hatton.
With a wealth of varying landscapes and habitats, from swampy marshlands to abundant rainforests, Sri Lanka’s wildlife is incredibly diverse. Explore the monsoon forests and wetlands of Yala National Park, home to the biggest concentration of leopards in the world, or witness the incredible phenomenon of the elephant gatherings at Minneriya and Uda Walawe National Parks. Learn about conservation efforts to protect Sri Lanka’s endemic species at the Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve, the country’s last viable area of tropical rainforest, or follow the journey of baby hawksbill turtles at Kosgoda’s Turtle Hatchery as they are safely released into sea.
Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is renowned for its idyllic white sand beaches, with 1,600 kilometres of palm-fringed coastline. Whether you are looking to dive, surf, or simply unwind on the sand, there is certainly no shortage of tranquil tropical beaches to enjoy. While tourists flock to the more developed west coast, you can find Sri Lanka’s quintessential rural atmosphere to the south and east. If waves are what you are after, Arugam Bay is home to some of the best surfing in the country, while the coastal stretch between Dalawela and Ahangama is one of the most notorious places to witness the emblematic stilt fishermen. To escape the crowds, retreat further along the east to the untouched Uppuveli Beach for the perfect sleepy haven.
With four major religions on the island, festivals are an integral part of Sri Lankan life, often claiming to have more festivals than any other country in the world. Traditionally following the lunar calendar, every month brings a different celebration. Whether taking part or just watching from the sidelines, witnessing a Sri Lankan festival is a spectacular way of experiencing the country’s diverse identities and cultures. Here are just some of the festivals worth experiencing in Sri Lanka:
Kataragama Esala Festival (Jul/Aug)
Watch as elaborately-decorated elephants take centre stage in the vibrant and lively Kataragama Esala Festival. Intertwining the major religions of Sri Lanka, pilgrims from all over the island and even India attend to present their offerings and prove their dedication to the Skanda deities, while a procession of fire walkers, traditional Kawadi dancers and acrobats provide a truly unforgettable performance.
Esala Perahera (Jul/Aug)
Witness the colourful celebrations of the historic Esala Perahera Festival in the streets of Kandy. Dating back to the 4th century, the annual festival honours the sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha as a replica is carried on the back of a Maligawa Tusker elephant. With thousands of drummers, acrobats and fire-breathers, as well as processions of up to 100 jewel-encrusted elephants, this is one of the most spectacular festivals in Sri Lanka.
Galle Kite Festival
Amble along the shores of Galle Face and marvel at the uniquely shaped kites of the Galle Kite Festival. From dragons to birds and horses to ships, each handmade kite is an expression of creativity, assessed by a panel of judges based on size and individuality. The display of thousands of colourful kites filling the sky over Galle’s seafront is a truly mesmerising sight.
Sri Lanka is blessed with majestic landscapes which are often best explored on foot. Options range from gentle village walks through lush paddy fields and tea plantations to sultry treks amongst the towering trees of Sinharaja rainforest. For something even more challenging, consider the midnight trek up Adam’s Peak or walking trails through the Knuckles Mountain range and take in stupendous views from World’s End in the Horton Plains. Contact us to put together your ideal trekking itinerary.
Follow in the footsteps of Geoffrey Bawa, one of South Asia’s most renowned architects. We have developed an itinerary which showcases some of his most iconic buildings. You will also get the opportunity to stay in some of these properties, which include: • No.11 Colombo Residence • Lunuganga, Villa Bentota • Heritance Kandalama • The Last House, Tangalla • Jetwing Lighthouse, Galle To learn more about his work, visit: www.geoffreybawa.com
Foodies will love the culinary delights Sri Lanka has to offer. Visit the vibrant fish market in Negombo, meet pickers at a working tea plantation and learn all about Ceylon tea, feast on crispy dosas and spongy idlis, try your hand at cooking fragrant coconut curries and serve up delicious ‘hoppers’. Let us develop the perfect culinary-themed tour for you. Alternatively we recommend some unique food experiences as part of your Sri Lanka holiday.
After decades of civil war but now peaceful, Jaffna is Sri Lanka’s Tamil and Hindu heartland. Board the train to Jaffna and take in the town’s colonial sights including the impressive Jaffna Fort and temples (bike ride optional).Take the boat out to little-known Delft Island whose palm-dotted hamlets boast long walls of coral. It is also home to diverse flora including an ancient baobab tree and has some of the best isolated beaches in the country. Throughout mingle with locals over delicious home-cooked meals. Contact us to arrange your extension to this lesser-seen region of Sri Lanka.