Sri Lanka Travel Guide
You’ll fly into Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. This multicultural hub is the island’s most urban area, and worth pausing in if you enjoy good food, interesting architecture and Sri Lanka’s best shopping.
Where to travel in Sri Lanka
From Colombo, you can head north to an area known as the ‘Cultural Triangle’, which contains five of the island's seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. Its sixth is en route — the sacred city of Kandy, founded in the 14th century and still thriving in its beautiful mountain setting. The seventh site, Galle, is on the south coast. This bustling coastal fortress is the place to stay in historic boutique hotels, and possibly catch a game of cricket at Galle International Stadium (even if you are just peeking down from the historic city walls!).
Between the Cultural Triangle and Galle, the area known as 'Tea Country' is a high-altitude region of lush plantations and stately planters’ houses, many now restored as elegant accommodation for visitors.
The rest of the island is packed with national parks, nature reserves and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Yala NP is famous for its leopard population, and Uda Walawe is considered to be the premier place to observe Asian elephants on the Asian subcontinent.
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Population: – 20.5 million
Capital: – Colombo
Currency: – Sri Lankan Rupee
Language: – Sinhalese, Tamil
Religion: – Buddhism
Perfect straight ‘off the peg’ or as a source of inspiration allowing us to start with blank canvas. You decide.
Explore Sri Lanka's highlights
Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu is the largest of Sri Lanka’s National Parks, and protects a healthy leopard population, as well as elephants, sloth bears, crocs, cobra, pythons and turtles, alongside many bird species including spoonbills and the elegant large white egret. Receiving a fraction of the visitor numbers seen at the more famous Yala, it's a great choice for wildlife enthusiasts looking to avoid the unsightly jostling for position (and potential harmful behavior) when leopard is spotted.
One of Sri Lanka’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Galle often tops many a visitor's ‘travel wish list’ and rightly so. Old Galle and its 17th century fort are charming and delightful to explore and rich in its heritage and culture. Home to some of Sri Lanka's most innovative restaurants (without the accompanying glitz of many of the eateries in Colombo), Galle makes an excellent base from which to explore Sri Lanka’s south and west coast.