Sri Lanka Holidays

Sri Lanka Holidays

Sri Lanka holidays offer Western amenities, cultural diversity, amazing island adventures and all types of beach and water-based activities. Hot and tropical along the coasts, visitors can enjoy the various mountains and plateaus where temperatures are cooler and flora and fauna are biologically diverse. Known as Ceylon until 1972, the country has more than 3,000 years of documented history, colonial charm, Indian Ocean water-sports activities, bespoke tours, colourful temples and religious artefacts.

The island is home to four major religions in a temperate climate, so outdoor festivals occur year-round. If one side of the island is experiencing bad weather, then the other side is likely to have superb conditions for holidaymaking. Visitors can enjoy the national parks, mountains, beaches, cultural attractions, religious shrines, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and beautiful beaches, but prepare to spend at least two weeks on the island to sample Sri Lanka's charms.

Featured Sri Lanka Hotels

Travel Info

Language

Sinhalese & Tamil


Currency

Sri Lankan Rupee


Local Time

+4:30 hours

Weather in Sri Lanka

weather in Sri Lanka

Best Time to Visit

Temperatures vary throughout the country, but the island does get monsoons from late May to September and November to February but on different sides of the island. Unlike other islands and travel destinations, Sri Lanka really does claim year-round desirability as a holiday destination. Summer months are hot from June to September but cooler in the mountains. Monsoons generally come from one direction, so you only need to schedule your visit on the other side of the island to avoid excessive rains.

Sri Lanka Major Attractions

Sri Lanka hosts many festivals throughout the year due to the country's religious diversity and harmonious relationships among the island’s followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Attractions include outdoor recreation of all types, naturalism, more than 3,000 years of cultural sites, white-water rafting, boating, medical tourism and spas and meditation centres for relaxation. Top attractions of the island include:

- Anuradhapura Ruins

This sacred city hidden in the jungle served as a Celanese religious and political capital for 1,300 years before being abandoned in 993 CE. Featuring palaces, monasteries and monuments, the ruins are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the ancient fig tree where Lord Buddha was purported to have reached enlightenment.

- Dambulla

This city features the Rangiri Dambulla stadium, Dambulla cave temple complex, the largest range of rose quartz peaks in southern Asia and spectacular coral reefs and beaches.

- Bentota

Thais coastal city is famous for an alcoholic drink made from coconut nectar and its luxurious hotels and golden beaches.

 

- The Sigiriya

An ancient rock fortress that resembles a stone lion, this site in the Matale District features reservoirs, gardens and ancient fresco paintings alongside the remains of buildings.

- Astonishing Varieties of Wildlife

Sri Lanka generates ideal conditions for biological diversity, and the island is home to 433 species of birds, 190 species of reptiles, 92 species of mammals, 242 types of butterflies, 106 species of amphibians and 3,210 species of flowering plants. Blue whales, sperm whales, dolphins and 26 species of aquatic mammals live and play along the coast, and exotic land animals include Sri Lanka Asian elephants, sloth bears and herds of sambar deer.

- Unspoiled Kalpitiya

Kalpitiya in the Puttalam area is a closely knit fishing community where visitors can interact with village residents, watch the fishing boats return and choose their dinner's entrée fresh from the day's catch. Local highlights include St Peter's Kerk church, the Dutch Fort, Jeep rides along the sand dunes and canoe trips on the river.

- Horton Plains National Park

The Horton Plains National Park offers family adventures, recreation and animal watching in the highlands of Sri Lanka on a plateau that ranges from 2,100 to 2,300 metres above sea level. Visitors enjoy spectacular waterfalls like World's End and Baker's Falls, at least 87 bird species and many native mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The park is a natural habitat for long-clawed shrews, toque macaques, Sri Lanka leopards, giant squirrels and purple-faced langurs. European otters and fishing cats inhabit the wetland areas of the park.

Sri Lanka Tours

Professional tours are a great way to see Sri Lanka, and visitors can choose bespoke itineraries that focus on beaches, wildlife, culture, historic sites or festivals. Sri Lanka has a long and fascinating history, diverse communities, bird and animal sanctuaries and multiple religions, so tourists have choices of staying in luxurious resorts, visiting quaint villages, enjoying the incredible beaches and water-based sports and discovering the melting-pot history of native influences and British colonialism. Tours include such electrifying events as whale watching, wildlife safaris, cricket tours, scuba diving and traditional holidaymaking pursuits such as snorkelling, kite surfing, cycling, swimming, boating and fishing.

Holidays to Sri Lanka provide gorgeous beaches, salty lagoons and ancient Buddhist architecture and art in an environment reminiscent of Britain's colonial past. The small nation offers some of the most biologically and culturally diverse attractions of any destination in the world, and visitors will thrill at the sights, colourful temples, ancient ruins, stunning landscapes and cultural attractions.

Reason to visit Sri Lanka in 2021

Diversity

With many sites and scenes bottled up in to a small island, a traveler could be riding the waves in the dawn and admiring the green carpeted mountains by dusk. Travel destinations in Sri Lanka provide an array of holiday experiences from beach holidays to a marathon of wildlife watching, adrenaline pumping adventure sports and pilgrimage to some of the oldest cities in the world. With so many cultures living next to each other, life in Sri Lanka offers a series of festivities throughout the year.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda & Spas

Well-being for all senses is part of Sri Lanka's tradition: Ayurveda, the 2000 year old Indian medicine, is still very popular in Sri Lanka and visitors coming to the island for ayurvedic treatments are very often repeaters. Those who don't have the time for a two or three weeks stay at one of the health resorts, find Ayurveda massages, meditation, yoga lessons or spas in many hotels. Sri Lanka is definitely a perfect place for relaxation.

Cultural Heritage

The small island is proud of eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, which can be visited within one week. These include historic Galle in the south of the Island with its famous fort from the Dutch colonial period. In the heart of Sri Lanka, right in the mountainous jungle, Kandy, the hidden kingdom and the religious capital, awaits to be discovered. The gigantic monolith Sigiriya and the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are also worth seeing – as well as the cave temple of Dambulla, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and the Central Highlands.

A Year-Round Destination To Holiday

Perfectly sandwiched between 02 monsoons, the west and southern regions of the island are sunny and dry between November to April whereas east and north get their share of sunshine between May and October, which makes Sri Lanka ideal to travel throughout the year.

26 National Parks & Wildlife Sanctuaries to Explore

From Yala National Park, which records the highest leopard density in the world, to Minneriya where the planet’s largest phenomenal elephant gathering occurs annually and far-flung Delft Island with its wild ponies and the Pigeon Island with its vivid coral life – wildlife is preserved in its natural habitat across 5700 sq.km of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the Island.

SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES

Buddhism has become extremely popular in Western countries and in Sri Lanka visitors can experience the pure teachings of Buddha, mix with the local Buddhists at places of pilgrimage and plunge into the popular belief of the Singhalese. One of the most important relics of Buddhism, a holy molar, is preserved in the temple of the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. Visitors can join the daily poojas (praying ceremonies)and once a year a magnificent procession, is dedicated to the holy relic. Another important place of pilgrimage is Adam's Peak, a holy mountain to Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims alike. Visitors can join the walk up to the peak to enjoy the sunset and the spiritual atmosphere.

08 Unesco World Heritage Sites to Rediscover

Among the 06 Cultural Heritage Sites are the Sigiriya Rock citadel, the colonial Dutch Fort of Galle, known to be the best preserved colonial sea fort in Asia and the Kandy city. The 02 Natural Heritage Sites spread across a vast mountainous area include the Sinharaja Rain forest, enigmatic Adam’s Peak mountain, the Knuckles mountains and the Horton Plains with its renowned trek to the ‘World’s End’.

The Maldives Just an Hour Away

The inconsiderable distance and frequent flights have made it popular among travelers to combine Sri Lanka with Maldives during their vacations in South Asia. A round tour in Sri Lanka, is often booked along with a beach break in Maldives.

Arugam Bay - One of The Top 10 Surf Points In The World

Known to be the best surf spot in the island and naturally blessed with a variety of breaks suitable for novices and pros alike, Arugam Bay comes alive between May to October. Don’t be dispirited if you are new to the sport. There are a number of schools and outlets where you can have a lesson or rent a board.

'Esala Perahera' - The Most Colorful Street Festival in Asia

Mountainous Kandy city annually hosts the world’s oldest recorded religious street procession, which is in honor of the sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha. Over a hundred of spectacularly costumed majestic elephants, hundreds of drummers and dancers parade through the night streets in this epic festival for ten days, ending on the full-moon night in August.

ENGLAND'S CRICKET TOUR OF SRI LANKA IN OCT/NOV 2018

England Cricket Team will arrive in Sri Lanka on the 1st October, 2018 for a Bilateral Series, which will consist of 5 ODIs, 03 Test Matches and 01 T20 game.

 

     

DATE

MATCH

VENUE

10th October

01st ODI - (D/N)

Rangiri Dambulu International Cricket Stadium

13th October

02nd ODI – (DAY)

RanBACKGROUND-COLOR: #96B8C3giri Dambulu International Cricket Stadium

17th October

03rd ODI – (D/N)

Pallekele International Cricket Stadium

20th October

04th ODI – (DAY)

Pallekele International Cricket Stadium

23rd October

05th ODI – (D/N)

R. Premadasa International Cricket Staidum

27th October

Only T20I ( D/N)

R. Premadasa International Cricket Staidum

06th to 10th November

01st Test Match

Galle International Cricket Stadium

14th to 18th November

02nd Test Match

Pallekele International Cricket Stadium

23rd to 27th November

03rd Test Match

SSC, Colombo

 

During the English Cricket tour of Sri Lanka, we have many authentic experiences and excursions in Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Dambulla and Sigiriya areas. Whether it is a half a day experience , full day trip or multi day round trip we could tailor make it to suite your budget and schedule.

We have the following experiences for Barmy Army

  • Tented Safari Camping
  • Wildlife Safari Game Drives
  • Water sport / Adventure activities
  • Rain Forest walks
  • Open top Tours in Colombo, Dambulla, Sigiriya and Habarana
  • Fishing trips in the Sea and Lakes
  • Bird watching trips
  • Food and cooking with locals
  • Village Cycling trips in Galle and Sigiriya
  • Jungle walks followed by sun downers
  • Day trip to Dambulla, Sigiriya, Kandy, Galle, Udawalawe , Yala

Tailor-made itineraries from Sri Lanka holiday experts will help you design a trip perfect for you

Our office and representation in Sri Lanka ensures that there is nothing to worry about on the ground. The best team of chauffeur guides in Sri Lanka will introduce you to a side of this country that the masses will pass right on by. The use of small, boutique and personal hotels means luxury can be combined with an authentically Sri Lanka experience

Sri Lanka Hotels

Sri Lanka Tours

Maldives Stopovers

Admire the isles of the breathtaking Maldives. Enjoy a few days spectacular pure paradise on your way to or from Sri Lanka. Maldives holidays trigger the imagination: Picture a private villa located over crystal waters as your holiday centre. You only need to sit on the porch to enjoy spectacular sunsets, breathtaking views of underwater marine life and lush tropical vegetation. The Republic of Maldives, in the area south-west of Sri Lanka, consists of multiple islands in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. The smallest nation in Asia, Maldives remains mysterious and exotic, and each island offers signature attractions, unique places to stay and incredible white-sand beaches.

Sri Lanka Experiences

GALLE FORT TREASURE HUNT

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • An interactive and unique way of exploring Sri Lanka’s best-preserved colonial fort
  • Traverse the timeless streets of the Galle Fort on a treasure hunting adventure
  • Understand the history and culture within the fort, a world contained in itself

Includes: Host & treasure hunt
Times: 1.5 hours, 9am/4pm
Children: Suitable for all children
Wear/bring: Sun lotion, walking shoes, comfortable clothing

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Explore the colonial history of the Galle Fort in an interactive adventure.

Experience the deep history of colonial Sri Lanka through a treasure hunt with your friends and family which will take you a complete circuit around Galle Fort; which is UNESCO World Heritage site, built in 1588 by the Portuguese and later fortified by the Dutch and British respectively. Today, the Galle Fort is a vibrant and self-contained, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society that showcases an effortless balance of European and Sri Lankan culture. Your treasure hunt begins at the Moon Bastion near the entrance to the fort and will take you through the fort. You will be able to look for clues, learning a new topic at each stop and finish the whole experience with a lot of new knowledge and a nice cold treat at the end.

 

BAWA IN COLOMBO

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • An insight into the life and work of Sri Lanka's most distinguished architect
  • Visit a small collection of his achievements including his own house, Number 11

Includes: Host, drink (Gallery Cafe)
Times: Approx. 2 - 2.5 hrs. 10am, 2pm, 3.30pm
Children: Older kids, tour can be tailored
Wear/bring: Light, cool clothing, camera

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Take a guided journey around Colombo with a focus on Sri Lanka's great architect, Geoffrey Bawa. Visit his home and his other notable buildings in the city.

Your tour of Bawa’s Colombo begins at Number 11, the hub of Geoffrey’s city life. Your host is very knowledgeable on Bawa. You will discover those that worked for him still look after the house and some of the countless stories to be told. Continue to Gallery Café and appreciate another of Bawa’s triumphs over a drink. Finally visit Seema Malaka Temple on Beira Lake, which he redesigned in the 1970s .

Hosted by Raconteur

Born and bred in Colombo, your host began developing his walk in the city to share his passion for developing authentic and soulful experiences after working for a jungle eco resort in Yala. With a passion for giving back to the community and travel, when not curating experiences for visitors he volunteers at the National Institute of Mental Health conducting art therapy, or hops on his motorbike to a secluded spot to camp and read.

 

COLOMBO BY TUK TUK

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Witness Colombo’s important sites
  • Travel between locations by Tuk Tuk
  • Discover the colonial influences on the city’s architecture

Includes: Guide, refreshments, tuk tuk ride
Times: 3 hours, 9am or 3pm
Children: 5+
Wear/bring: Light clothes & walking shoes

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Immerse yourself Sri Lanka’s capital city, discovering its hidden gems both past and present.

Meet your host at independence square, an historic backdrop to begin the experience. From here you will travel by Tuk Tuk through winding streets that reflect both the bustling city that exists today and its colonial heritage. Reflect in the gloriously colourful Gangaramaya temple and marvel at the granite structure of Sri Ponnambala Vanneswarar Temple. It is here you will learn about the influence of Buddhism and Hinduism continue to have on one another long after their inception in Sri Lanka. After you travel through some of modern day Colombo you will reach Pettah. Your knowledgable guide will walk you through the bustling streets of this merchant city developed over time since 1656. By far the most stunning landmark in this area is Jami Ul-Alfar, a red and white brick mosque built in 1909. Marvel at its detailing before you hit a side road out of the hustle of Pettah to refresh yourself in a colonial hotel. It is from here you will travel a short distance to climb to a viewpoint unparalleled in the city. A 360 degree view awaits you. From port and sea to city views, take your time to drink in an often overlooked and under appreciated Colombo.

Hosted by Raconteur

Born and bred in Colombo, your host began developing his walk in the city to share his passion for developing authentic and soulful experiences after working for a jungle eco resort in Yala. With a passion for giving back to the community and travel, when not curating experiences for visitors he volunteers at the National Institute of Mental Health conducting art therapy, or hops on his motorbike to a secluded spot to camp and read.

 

FABRIC WORKSHOP

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Learn how to use plants to create colour
  • Learn about the social enterprise Take home a beautiful shawl of your own

Includes: Materials, teaching, refreshments
Times: 2 hours, 10am/2pm
Children: 8+
Wear/bring: An extra layer of clothing

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Learn the ancient art of natural dye, and take home a piece of Sri Lankan highland life.

You will be met at the social enterprise workshop, where you will be greeted and shown around the studio. After an introduction to natural dyes and the various methods of creating colour from plants, you will create a shawl of your own through a step by step process hosted and taught by the local staff team. Learn how various foods and plants give different colours and shades, and how the process is positive for the environment. Take a break in our courtyard with refreshments, during which time there will be an opportunity for questions you may have. After the break, you will finish your piece, which you will be able to take home with you after your holiday. This experience gives participants the opportunity to learn more about two of Nuwara Eliya’s main industries- tea and textiles, and their effects on the highlands & its majority Indian Tamil population.

 

TALE OF TOBACCO

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Take a guided tour around a state-of-the-art cigar factory
  • Understand the delicate processes that tobacco leaves undergo to become cigars
  • Observe local staff working for one of Sri Lanka’s top companies

Includes: Private tour of factory
Times: 1.5 to 2 hrs, 1 hour from Colombo
Children: Some may not follow
Wear/bring: Light, cool clothing

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Visit a tobacco processing factory near Negombo and follow the journey of leaves from their arrival to preservation, cutting, wrapping and packaging for export.

In Katunayake, there is a free trade zone designed to benefit the country’s economy and local people. Alongside textile and apparel manufacturers (largest export), a different type of leaf processing than that of Ceylon Tea can be found. Tobacco from all over the world arrives here to be processed by 2,000 expert staff, trained for 4-6 months and aided by new technologies. Though the company itself has operated in Sri Lanka for 30 years, the factory you will visit is only a few years old and boasts the largest cold room in Sri Lanka! The tour almost feels theatrical as you travel through chambers via huge doors that reveal the next step.

 

COLOMBO CULTURE

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Walk vibrant streets fringed by flower garlands and fruit sellers
  • Visit an array of religious buildings illustrating Colombo’s diverse culture
  • Roam the lively streets of Pettah, passing echoes of a colonial past

Includes: Host, sarongs, socks, water
Times: 2.5 – 3 hrs, 8am or 4.30pm
Children: 12+ years
Wear/bring: Conservative dress/flip flops

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Take a peek into a handful of Colombo’s sacred spaces, as you stroll with your guide through Kochichikade into the sights and sounds of Pettah’s lively streets.

Meet at the floating Gangarama Buddhist temple, Seema Malaka on Beira Lake. Travel by tuk tuk to Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil, an intricately carved granite Hindu temple, a short walk from St. Anthony’s Shrine, a national Catholic monument where you can hear the story of Anthony of Padua. Follow a chain of flower garland kades (shops) into the cacophony of Pettah life and the smell of Indian short eats sold from local stalls. Pass by the old town hall, an eye-catching neo-gothic building and Kayman’s Gate, a more inconspicuous Dutch bell tower, before finishing your walk outside Jami Ul-Afar Mosque whose exterior resembles a pomegranate

Hosted by Raconteur

Born and bred in Colombo, your host began developing his walk in the city to share his passion for developing authentic and soulful experiences after working for a jungle eco resort in Yala. With a passion for giving back to the community and travel, when not curating experiences for visitors he volunteers at the National Institute of Mental Health conducting art therapy, or hops on his motorbike to a secluded spot to camp and read

 

COLOMBO HISTORY

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Walk the streets with a local advocate of the often overlooked city
  • Mingle with local life on Pettah’s streets, passing buildings steeped in history
  • Witness the changing face of Colombo from the past, present and to its future

Includes: Guide and water
Times: 8:30am and 4:00pm for 2 hours
Children: Welcome
Wear/bring: Light clothes & walking shoes

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Traverse the varied streets of a city rooted in trading, a colonial past and around every corner buildings from another era remain hidden between renovations.

Begin nearby colourful produce behind the old town hall where your local host will set the scene for your journey ahead. Hear of the colonial powers and Arab traders who visited “the pearl of the Indian Ocean” and put this lesser known city on the map from the 14th century onward. Much of Colombo’s architecture is an intriguing memento of the past, whether this be a Mosque or old Dutch Bell Tower out of sight along vendor-lined streets or the renovated statement buildings in a recently re-opened part of town. Glimpse the future of Colombo as you arrive at the Dutch Hospital, surrounded by high rise buildings, new hotels and café culture.

Hosted by Raconteur

Born and bred in Colombo, your host began developing his walk in the city to share his passion for developing authentic and soulful experiences after working for a jungle eco resort in Yala. With a passion for giving back to the community and travel, when not curating experiences for visitors he volunteers at the National Institute of Mental Health conducting art therapy, or hops on his motorbike to a secluded spot to camp and read.

 

ESSENCE OF TEA

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Learn about the tea production, packaging and distribution processes
  • Understand the subtle art and science behind blending, brewing and tasting tea
  • Learn about tea technology and value addition for local and export markets

Includes: Tea tasting, factory visit
Times: Morning/Evening (1.5 hours)
Children: Advised to be cautious due to open machinery
Wear/bring: Light and comfortable clothing

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Learn the subtleties of tasting, grading, blending and brewing tea from professional tea tasters who regularly visit the Sri Lankan tea auction.

Sri Lanka is recognized as one of the best tea producers in the world. You will visit one of the oldest tea producers in the country and get exclusive insights into the production process, and technology used in the different stages of refining, blending and packaging of tea as well as the unique grading process. Expand your knowledge of Ceylon tea by understanding subtle differences in grain, texture, colour, strength and flavour across high, mid and low grown teas. You will also gain an understanding of how different teas can be blended to cater to the demand of global tea markets, with unique preferences stemming from different regions.

Hosted by Raconteur

The experience will be hosted by professional tea tasters who regularly visit the Colombo Tea Auction and have academic backgrounds, professional experience and an undying passion for tea. For them, tea is not simply a beverage but a science, an art and a genuine way of life. Their passion for tea is infectious and soon you will start to understand their unique language of tea.

 

COLONIAL COLOMBO

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Tour Colombo in a vintage car with an expert historian
  • Driven by your own chauffeur, admire the city’s impressive colonial architecture
  • Appreciate the impressive influence of Portuguese, Dutch and British settlers

Includes: Host, chauffeur, car, refreshments
Times: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Children: 12yrs +, not families (2 seats).
Wear/bring: Dress the part

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Take a step back in time and re-live Colombo’s grand history from the comfort of you classic car, as you pass by buildings inspired by foreign lands.

Colombo life took a dramatic turn in the 16th century when the sleepy sea port was invaded by the Portuguese and developments began. As a new century came, so the Dutch prevailed, constructing decadent churches, hospitals, official buildings and famously, Forts. Colombo’s fort was developed into an administrative base by the British when they arrived in the 18th century. In recent years, many of the city’s most striking buildings have been given government-lead restoration and previously closed-off areas, opened up once more. Explore the city by car, you might even be lucky enough to ride in the same vintage model the Queen had when here!

Hosted by Raconteur

Your host is a well-travelled visionary and well-established in the travel industry. His passion is pioneering experiences where guests can connect with the island in a different light, whether this be in the city, the hills or the ocean. Along with his team, he is keen to share his spirit of adventure with visitors to Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on the country’s "true flavour" and the conservation of the island.

 

COLOMBO STREET FOOD

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Great for adventurous travelers who want to discover Colombo’s authentic street food
  • Explore a variety of dishes, snacks and drinks influenced by different cultures

Includes: Host, water
Times: 6:00pm – 8:30pm (2.5 hrs)
Children: 16+ years
Wear/bring: Dress the part

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Take a step back in time and re-live Colombo’s grand history from the comfort of you classic car, as you pass by buildings inspired by foreign lands.

Wander through Colombo as evening draws in, where food, often in unusual guises, is everywhere. Begin with a shot of local Arrack in a well-worn local bar and wander past enticing higgledy-piggledy streets peeking between buildings. On thriving Hulfsdorp Street indulge in traditional sweet treats and pots of bubbling curry with packed dinner-time crowds. Grab a tuk tuk to the evening buzz of Galle Face to join families, friends and your final food vendors for a main meal. You will never be pressured to try food or drink and we cannot guarantee hygiene standards but this is the perfect opportunity to learn about the city’s sights and aromas.

Hosted by Raconteur

Born and bred in Colombo, your host began developing his walk in the city to share his passion for developing authentic and soulful experiences after working for a jungle eco resort in Yala. With a passion for giving back to the community and travel, when not curating experiences for visitors he volunteers at the National Institute of Mental Health conducting art therapy, or hops on his motorbike to a secluded spot to camp and read.

 

DISCOVER RITIGALA

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Discover this ancient abandoned forest monastery with your expert guide
  • Venture along shady rock hewn paths, discovering hidden structures and stories
  • A lesser visited mountain reserve, home to wildlife resembling that of the Himalayas

Includes: Host, refreshments
Times: All day, 1.5 hours
Children: Suitable for over 8s
Wear/bring: Shoes for walking, camera

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Explore Ritigala’s jungle enshrouded paths on this guided walk and hear the secrets of the forest dwelling Buddhist monks who were once its inhabitants.

As you begin the gradual ascent through ancient jungle over tumbling, untouched steps, it is hard not to feel like you are discovering Ritigala for the first time. There are 700 acres of monastic areas in this region, however, the reserve here is home to flora and fauna found only in Ritigala in the dry zone. There are many tales of how this came to be, your guide will share some of these as you traverse seemingly endless paths and flights of carved stairs in dappled sun-lit jungle. This was once a place of meditation, congregation, teaching and general life for a monastic community who devoted their lives to living simply in the forest.

Hosted by Raconteur

With an education rooted in Buddhism and tourism development, your host has worked and studied in Sri Lanka and abroad, developing an infectious interest in Buddhism across Asia. Having lived in Anuradhapura most of his life, his local experiences are thoughtfully developed in an eco-sensitive way, avoiding well-trodden tourist trails for a deeper understanding of Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms.

 

SENSORY SRI LANKA

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Tailor-made mindful activities in calming Colombo home at start or end of your trip
  • Connect with your own experience of Sri Lanka with all five senses
  • Yoga, meditation and use of a blindfold relax and open the mind and body

Includes: Host, refreshments and journal
Times: 2 hours, 7:30am – 9:30am
Children: 6+ years
Wear/bring: Open mind, comfy clothes

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Visitors to Sri Lanka often find themselves facing a mild sensory assault, this experience offers the chance to explore a sensory connection to your travels.

Closely linked with traditional methods of meditation which have existed in Sri Lanka for thousands of years, mindfulness is thought to promote relaxation and general well-being. This approach links the mind and the body, and involves paying attention to your breath, feelings, thoughts and sensations that occur within your body. Visit a beautiful suburban house in Colombo for a morning spent with your host as she leads you through a mixture of breathing, exercise, meditation, relaxation and an immersion of the senses. Embrace the sounds, smells, tastes and feel of some of what Sri Lanka has to offer.

Hosted by Raconteur

Your host has been living in Sri Lanka for 11 years, in a beautiful house in Colombo shared with her Sri Lankan husband and young son. She has been teaching yoga and mindfulness to adults and kids since 2013. Her goal with this experience is to deepen a visitor’s travel experience and potentially a connection with themselves, through a "sri-lankanized" connection to the senses involving movement, breathing, relaxation and meditation.

 

COOKING BY COLOR

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Learn simple techniques to repeat at home
  • Create curries, sambols and salads that are a fusion of Malay, Sinhalese and Tamil
  • Enjoy the lunch you prepared together on the veranda

Includes: Class, all refreshments, lunch
Times: 10.00am - 2.00pm
Children: Not suitable for small children
Wear/bring: Light, cool clothing

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

A great way to easily understand the flavours of Sri Lanka, your delightful host will guide you through a range of home cooked rice, sambols, salads and curries.

Meet your host at home in Colombo’s suburbs, to join a hands-on cooking class, creating a collection of dishes rich in the taste, aroma and of course colour. With her help, craft an array of elements key to a typical Sri Lankan meal whose flavours are a nod to not only her Sinhalese and Tamil friends and neighbours but also her own Malay heritage. Savour the morning’s efforts together as you all tuck into lunch on the terrace. Her expert yet logical teaching will easily leave you able to replicate recipes back home, especially as you return to your kitchen armed with her recipe leaflet and a sample of her very own freshly ground spices!

Hosted by Raconteur

Your host has a passion for cooking and sees it as a form of self-expression. She wanted to cook simple, fast and nutritious meals for her children and their friends and named her method "cooking by colour". This intrigued those around her, so she used these techniques and dishes as inspiration for her now well-established cooking class.

 

ROYAL COLOMBO GOLF

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Your host has lived in Sri Lanka for 20 years and is a top senior golfer in the city
  • Join him for a round of golf on his turf
  • Benefit from course knowledge, clubhouse access and green space in central Colombo

Includes: Host, green and caddy fees
Times: 8:00am or 2:00pm for 4 hours
Children: No
Wear/bring: Suitable golfing attire, cap & sunscreen

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Meet a resident expat and member for a round of golf at Sri Lanka’s finest and oldest club, the Royal Colombo Golf Club which was established in the 1800s.

An avid golfer, your host has played on the finest courses the UK and south Asia have to offer and has been a member of the sought-after Royal Colombo Golf Club for 12 years. Accompanied by your caddies, walk the course with your host and experience another side to urban life in Sri Lanka on this half day experience. With two decades of tales to tell about his life as a golfing aficionado and expat on the teardrop isle, there is plenty to keep you occupied. Why not wrap up your time together over refreshments at the clubhouse.

 

ANURADHAPURA

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Explore the ancient monastic city of Anuradhapura with your expert guide
  • Cycle around ruins of the island’s first kingdom on lesser-known trails
  • Hear fascinating tales of Buddhist life, history, engineering and architecture

Includes: Host, bikes, helmets, refreshments
Times: 8:30am or 3:00pm, 3 - 4 hours
Children: 8+, baby seat or tuk tuk possible
Wear/bring: Clothes/shoes for cycling

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Travel around the ancient citadel of Anuradapura by bike and discover the ruins of its monastic complex and whilst learning about the lives of its inhabitants.

Begin your cycle amongst local paddy fields, following your expert guide around Anuradhapura’s archaeological marvels and ingenious irrigation systems. Weave along hidden paths to ancient jungle-enveloped structures, neighbouring local villages. Pedal beside soaring stupas including Abhayagiri Dagoba, the largest Buddhist monument in the world. After a break at the Elephant Pond (Eth Pokuna) continue on a picturesque stupa-fringed cycle beside Basawakkulama Reservoir. Here, witness the local life this tank still supports and visit the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree, one of the most sacred Buddhist relics in Sri Lanka.

Hosted by Buddhist

With an education rooted in Buddhism and tourism development, your host has worked and studied in Sri Lanka and abroad, developing an infectious interest in Buddhism across Asia. Having lived in Anuradhapura most of his life, his local experiences are thoughtfully developed in an eco-sensitive way, avoiding well-trodden tourist trails for a deeper understanding of Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms.

 

SIGIRIYA LION ROCK

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Ascend the 200m ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya with your knowledgeable host
  • One of the first locations in Sri Lanka to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1982)
  • Learn the historical and archaeological significance of the 5th century citadel

Includes: Host, sarongs, socks, water
Times: 6+ years
Children: Conservative dress/flip flops
Wear/bring: 2.5 hours, 8:00am - 10:30am

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

From lavish lower gardens to fresco-ed walls and countless steps, explore this celebrated pillar of rock which rises above the soul-soothing surrounding scenery.

Formerly King Kasyapa's capital and palace, Sigiriya is a fine example of ancient urban planning. Hear mysteries of the fortress and its impressive construction. Stroll in some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world and past unique features like the mirror wall. So highly polished was this, the king could see himself as he walked by. Over the centuries graffiti became commonplace – some, quite entertaining. Find small examples of colorful frescoes which once covered the western side of Sigiriya, or “Lion Rock”, derived from a plateau where once a huge stone lion sat, guarding the gateway to the top. See the remnants as you climb!

Hosted by Kandyan

Your host has lived in Kandy his whole life, growing up and studying here before starting his own family. He has seen the city change much over the years and has an excellent grasp of local culture and Sri Lankan history. His easy-going style lends itself well to guiding others around his country and in 2014 he obtained his guiding license specializing in personalized travel and Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle.

 

TREKKING IN KNUCKLES

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • A rewarding trek through rural villages and rugged terrain
  • Escape into nature in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country
  • Bring your swimwear for a dip in a secluded waterfall

Includes: Refreshments, guide, porter, lunch
Times: 6.00am – 2.30pm or 4.30/6.30pm
Children: Suitable for intrepid children
Wear/bring: Trainers/hiking boots, coat

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Named after the range’s resemblance to the knuckles of a hand, an adventure on foot here, is an invigorating way to explore the tranquillity of Hill Country.

Hiking in the Knuckles with our trekker, an outdoors enthusiast and knowledgeable naturalist, you are unlikely to see another soul along the way. This part of Sri Lanka is valued by scientists and anthropologists alike for its biodiversity and native people. The rugged and often mist shrouded area is home to 40 hidden villages and a plethora of endemic wildlife. The best months are March – April and June – August and there is the choice of a half day (8km) or full day (18km) trek. This is one of those mystical regions of the island, still off-the-beaten track, with views and remote scenery that make a hike extremely rewarding.

 

POLONNARUWA PRIMATES

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Meet the ancient city’s primate populations in Polonnaruwa
  • Study the inhabitants of “Monkey Kingdom” with a primate researcher
  • Observe the behaviour of purple-faced leaf monkeys, toque macaques and grey langurs.

Includes: Walk and entry to Polonnaruwa
Times: 6:30am – 8:30am.
Children:Yes, those that love wildlife
Wear/bring: Cool clothing, hat, passport

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

An early morning arrival at the entrance to ancient Polonnaruwa for a meeting with its clusters of curious primates and their devoted researchers.

Medieval Polonnaruwa is home to thriving populations of torque macaques, grey langurs and if you cast your gaze upwards, higher-dwelling purple-faced leaf eaters. Their numbers have not always been so prolific and like many other countries, reduction of habitat meant monkey numbers were in decline. Luckily, in stepped the Smithsonian Research Center, whose field researchers will guide you around the set of Disney’s Monkey Kingdom. Observe social interactions and behaviours of local troops as you stroll around a small part of this area, learning of the challenges of monkey conservation. Continue to explore the ruins before it gets too hot!

Hosted by Researcher

Your hosts are researchers from the Smithsonian Primate Research Center, affectionately known as “Monkey Camp” and champions of scientific conservation of primate diversity and population for 47 years. The field station has a global educational reach, teaching and inspiring others to protect primates and other wildlife, not only in Sri Lanka but worldwide. Their work features in notable TV documentaries and recently a Disney movie.

 

ART AND PHILOSOPHY

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Kandy has been a hub for artists for centuries
  • Spend time at the home of two of the island's most distinguished artists
  • View your hosts' private collection of work

Includes: Refreshments
Times: 5.00pm (1 - 2 hours)
Children:Yes
Wear/bring: Camera (take photos of art)

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Whilst you are in Kandy, the artistic heart of Sri Lanka, visit two of the island's best and most captivating artists in the region's countryside.

Well-known for dancing and artwork including religious frescos, Kandy has fascinated and produced a marvellous group of artisans. For hundreds of years, some of the best national art originates from the emerald Kandyan hills. You will be welcomed with a glass of juice and serene views from your hosts’ veranda before exploring the house and gaining privileged access to this father and daughter’s celebrated artwork. This is a private experience at your hosts’ own home and their inspiring studio, settled in the leafy hills of central Sri Lanka. Spend the evening drinking tea on the veranda, chatting about philosophy, music and of course art.

Hosted by Artists

Your hosts are a father and daughter duo with outstanding artistic talent. Feel under no pressure to purchase any pieces, this experience was crafted to invite you to have private access into their enchanting home and life in the idyllic hills that inspire their work. If you wish to hear a little Indian music your host, also a passionate musician will gladly oblige.

 

THE ART OF DRUMMING

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Learn to play traditional drums with experienced teacher
  • Try on elaborate traditional head gear

Includes: Drumming lesson & tea
Times: 2 hours, 9 am & 3 pm
Children:Suitable for all ages
Wear/bring: Camera

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Learn the vibrant art of traditional drums with a professional drum teacher and understand how they influence Sri Lankan culture

Traditional drums have been the cornerstone of the Sri Lankan’s way of life for more than 2000 years. It is played on occasions of cultural significance and at all stages in the circle of life. Get lessons from a traditional teacher who descends from a long line of professional drummers, in his home 20 mins from Kandy town. Go at your own pace, depending on your speed and mastery. Allow the teacher to enthral you with the distinct colour and history of traditional drum types and uses, over a cup of Ceylon tea. You could ask questions through the provided interpreter. Understand in depth, the importance of music and drums at a traditional value. End the intimate experience with a short harmonisation of percussions with the teacher, after which he would introduce you to an elaborate headdress wound from a very long cloth that you and your family could try on. The teacher is obliging and open, so children would find the experience very enjoyable and educational.

 

TEA LUNCH AND WATERFALLS

HIGHLIGHTS & FEATURES

  • Savour a light farmhouse lunch in the estate grounds where amazing views are a promise
  • Embark on a guided walk to the hidden Ravana-Ella Waterfall
  • Learn about the artisanal teas that are produced here and sold around the world

Includes: Lunch, guide and tasting
Times: 4 hours, 9:00am - 1:00pm or 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Children:Will enjoy exploring
Wear/bring: Swimmers, cap & sunscreen

THE FULL EXPERIENCE

Hike to a stunning waterfall and explore a working organic farm located in the Uva Highlands. Indulge in a home-produced lunch and signature tea tasting.

With a past rooted in cultivation, the estate supports local educational, economic and environmental initiatives, whilst its teas, coffees and preserves are stocked by the likes of Fortnum and Mason in London. After lunch, walk with your guide through fields where tea, cinnamon and lemongrass are expertly cultivated and across a hidden rope bridge to the incredible Ravana-Ella Falls and its secret pools. Back at the farm learn the secrets of artisanal production here before your experience culminates with a tasting of 4 signature hand-made teas at a picturesque point overlooking Ella Gap. This experience is not available on Sundays and public holidays.

Shangri-La's Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa

7 Nights HB From £699/pp

Sri Lanka
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