There’s never been a better time for a luxury holiday, family adventure, or honeymoon in Sri Lanka: a captivating book of fairytales with beautiful beaches, fascinating history, warm people, and some of the most varied wildlife in the world. What’s more, Sri Lanka is now even easier to get around, which – combined with the new collection of boutique hotels, and unspoilt regions recently opened up to tourism – allows you to enjoy so much more than just a beach escape.

Classic Sri Lanka holidays will often start in the fascinating Cultural Triangle: real Indiana Jones territory that’s home to five UNESCO heritage sites including the staggering rock citadel of Sigiriya and the enchanting Dambulla cave complex.

Next you’ll want to experience Sri Lanka at its most colourful in the vibrant yet gentle city of Kandy, where ornamented elephants star in the world’s largest festival, and a kaleidoscope of colourfully robed monks gravitate towards the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth.

Finally, for a snapshot of Sri Lanka’s colonial past, and to learn the role that tea and spices played in its history, head to the Dutch colonial peninsula of Galle where you can take sunset walks through the ramparts of the 17th century fort, or head up into the lush tea plantations where you can live as the original tea planters did in the exquisite Ceylon Tea Trails.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF SRI LANKA

Festivals. It’s claimed that Sri Lanka has the most festivals in the world, and if you’re lucky enough to visit during  one of these ‘peraheras’ (including the famous Buddhist Festival of the Tooth in Kandy) you’ll be treated to a vibrant parade of ornamented elephants, drummers, and fire dancers.

 

Colonial history. We love soaking up the faded colonial grandeur in Galle: the Dutch colonial peninsula which has a 17th-century fort at its heart, and has seen multiple occupations over the years from the Persians, Arabs, Chinese, Malays, South Indians, Portuguese, Dutch and English.

 

Ancient architecture. Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is real Indiana Jones territory, boasting the 5th century Sigiriya Rock Fortress, and four other UNESCO world heritage sites.

 

Beaches. From the family friendly beaches of the west, to the unspoilt Robinson Crusoe enclaves of the north, there’s nothing nicer than lying back on Sri Lanka’s idyllic shores whilst watching locals play cricket in the surf.

 

Tea. Green and refreshing, Sri Lanka’s hilly tea country offers a tranquil blend of colonial history, beautiful views, and the chance to trek the tea trails past colourfully sari-d tea pickers.

 

Wildlife. You’ll be amazed at the diversity of wildlife in Sri Lanka's National Parks, with the world’s largest population of leopard in Yala National Park, the legendary elephant gathering at Minneriya, and whales to be spotted off the Kalpitya and Mirissa coasts.

 

Food. Sri Lanka’s delicious cuisine is often compared to that of southern India, with plenty of fresh seafood, deliciously spiced veggie offerings – and of course, the eponymous king coconut to wash it all down with.

HOLIDAYS IN SRI LANKA HANDPICKED BY EXSUS

PLACES TO STAY IN SRI LANKA HANDPICKED BY EXSUS

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