Sri Lanka holidays are usually associated with plush beach resorts set along the palm-tree dotted sands leading to the Indian Ocean, but that’s just the start of the magic of a Sri Lankan holiday. Whether you are seeking out wildlife or an authentic Sri Lankan tea plantation experience, Sri Lanka is a small country that packs a lot of punch. Be on the lookout for elephants, leopards, water buffalos and crocodiles on safari at one of Sri Lanka’s wildlife reserves, including Udawalawe National Park or the Yala National Park. Venture into the Dambulla cave temple, known as the Golden Temple, to discover the unique Buddhist temples built into natural caves. The Sri Dalada Maligawa ‘Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic’ in Kandy is another important pilgrim site in Buddhism. Further afield and closer to the beaches is the Galle Dutch Fort, which has been described as an incredible urban ensemble of European architecture and south Asian tradition. Sri Lanka promises visitors an exotic holiday with lasting memories.
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Where to stay in Sri Lanka
Where to stay in Sri Lanka
The island offers a good selection of accommodation to suit every budget, from glitzy resorts and upscale hotels to guest houses and affordable stays. Here are our top picks:
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Named among one of the top 25 resorts in Asia in 2021, Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Yala offers the best of the jungle and the beach with a large dose of luxury. Just picture it: luxury tented suites, sparkling plunge pools and four-poster beds. As an all-inclusive option, there’s no need to lift a finger during your stay, with sightseeing made easy at the Yala National Park, only four kilometres away.
Enjoy the beach on your doorstep at Kumu Beach in Balapitiya. This modern hotel offers 10 secluded suites and personalised service without breaking the bank. There’s also a fabulous on-site spa, restaurant and infinity swimming pool. Sea views come standard!
Sigiriya King’s Resort has a prime location on the shores of Lake Halmilla in Sigiriya and is set in a nature reserve. Each luxurious unit is elevated on stilts, giving it that whimsical treehouse vibe. Being higher up not only brings you closer to nature and the stars, but also offers views of Sigiriya Rock (read about this fortress further on).
If you’re on a budget and looking to explore Sri Lanka’s West Coast, stay at This Is It Guest House and Restaurant in the beach town of Negombo. Offering comfy rooms and friendly service, it also has a convenient location — everything’s within walking distance, including the Indian Ocean.
Try all the different lentil curries, they're so amazing. Sri Lankan restaurants can be hard to come by in some cities so make the most of all of them - you can even try a cooking class or two! We made an entire curry out of garlic it was insane. Honestly, just eat eat eat.
Frequently asked questions
Sri Lanka is an incredibly diverse country, and visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to experiences in this beautiful southeast Asian country. Visit cosmopolitan Colombo, cultural Kandy, sandy Galle and Bentota or the tea fragrant flats of Nuwara Eliya. We recommend a few stops on your Sri Lankan holiday to get the most out of your trip.
Sri Lanka is a relatively safe country to travel in. If you adopt common-sense precautions to personal safety when travelling anywhere new you are unlikely to come into trouble.
The best time to visit Sri Lanka is from December to mid-April.
Hit the beaches, wander around the Galle Fort, go on safari in the Yala and the Udawalawe National Parks, and visit tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya.
To get the most out of your Sri Lankan holiday, aim to spend at least two or three weeks in Sri Lanka.
Light, loose clothing, comfortable shoes, a rain jacket and insect repellent are essential items for travel to Sri Lanka.
Start in Colombo and then head towards the southern coastline at Galle to take in the beaches and the Yala National Park. Visit Nuwara Eliya and find yourself among the tea plantations and villages, then onward to Kandy and Dambulla for a religious experience at the famed Buddhist temples located there.