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Travel in Sri Lanka

An introduction

Martin, tailor-made travel specialist

'How can you not love this country?! A holiday in Sri Lanka delivers on so many levels'

Martin - Sri Lanka tailor-made specialist

Perfectly self-contained

Sri Lanka is a delight for tailor-made travel - it's one of those places where 'something for everyone' means quality for everyone, too. A global biodiversity hotspot, the island has outstanding National Parks that are home to hundreds of noteworthy species. 

Sri Lanka's diversity is as impressive underwater as it is on land, with impeccable diving and snorkelling just off shores that are lined with beautiful beaches. Beyond the parks and sand, you'll find intriguing cultural regions dense with sacred sanctuaries and ancient settlements, and temperate mountain plantations within easy reach of bustling historic ports.

Where to travel in Sri Lanka

You’ll fly into Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. This multi-cultural hub is the island’s most urban area, and worth pausing in to enjoy good food, interesting architecture and Sri Lanka’s best shopping. From here, most first-time visitors head north, to an area known as Sri Lanka’s ‘Cultural Triangle’, which contains five of the island's seven UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Its sixth is on the way there - the sacred city of Kandy, founded in the 14th century and still thriving in its beautiful temperate mountain setting. The seventh is far to the south - Galle, a bustling coastal fortress where you can stay in boutique hotels that date from Colonial times. In between lies Tea Country, 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 sub-continent.

Reasons to love Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lankan wildlife is fantastic! With so many National Parks protecting vital habitats, Sri Lanka’s animal, bird and reptile kingdoms are thriving.
  • Year-round sunshine - there’s always somewhere sunny on Sri Lanka, thanks to its unusual dual weather system - with hundreds of miles of simply gorgeous beaches.
  • It’s a UNESCO-fest! You can witness the island’s ancient history with your own eyes, thanks to its well-preserved selection of impressive cultural sites.
Population:
20.5 million
Capital:
Colombo
Currency:
Sri Lankan Rupee
Language:
Sinhalese, Tamil
Religion:
Buddhism

The Veddah

Sri Lanka’s dwindling Veddah population are directly descended from the Neolithic humans who arrived in the area as early as 18,000 BC - in other words, as indigenous as it gets. You can spend a fascinating few hours with them, making bows, harvesting wild honey, and witnessing genuinely ancient hunter-gatherer rituals. Most remaining Veddah live in Maduru Oya National Park - we visit them on journeys between Sri Lanka’s east coast and Kandy or Tea Country. For a more immersive stopover, you can camp overnight in a luxurious safari tent, surrounded by Maduru Oya’s wildlife and only minutes from the nearby Veddah village.

Find out a little more about Sri Lanka

Ways to explore Sri Lanka

Ways to explore Sri Lanka

See our recommended Sri Lanka holidays
Highlights in Sri Lanka

Highlights in Sri Lanka

Read our Sri Lanka travel guides