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Sri Lanka

The ultimate blend of culture & coast

Sri Lanka tailor-made holidays

Introduction

Sri Lanka is one of the gems of the Indian Ocean. A small teardrop that falls from the great Indian subcontinent, it's a colourful, chaotic, diverse and devoted country where Buddhism and an infatuation with the national cricket team take centre stage. The 'Island of Serendipity' – as Sri Lanka is known – has been on the tourist trail for some time. And yet, the bounteous enthusiasm of its inhabitants and the immensity of its cultural and historical treasures make even the most luxurious Sri Lankan holiday feel like a genuine adventure.

From bustling cities to UNESCO treasures

Sri Lanka's cultural attractions are numerous and varied. On the west coast, the country's largest city and capital, Colombo, serves as a vibrant gateway to the rest of the country, while also playing host to its own collection of historic sites and seaside communities which dot the nearby coastline. Inland, to the south, steeply terraced tea plantations rise up into the highlands which serve as a a verdant backdrop to the lakeside city of Kandy and its fascinating Temple of the Tooth.

Then, in the southwest, the UNESCO World Heritage old town of Galle is home to bustling markets and a famous seafront fort, whose history charts the country's colonial heritage, from the Portuguese, who laid the first foundations inn 1588 to the Dutch who arrived to add their own fortifications some 50 years later. Of course, a holiday in Sri Lanka wouldn't be complete without a tour of the north-central region where you'll visit the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree at Anuradhapura, explore cave temples at Dambulla and summit the mighty rock fortress at Sigiriya – all World Heritage sites.


The mountain-top fort of Sigiriya

Sri Lanka's wild side

While Sri Lanka fascinates with its history, the country's natural world is equally alluring. The central highlands around Kandy can be explored on rambling hikes and train rides, while the rainforest at Sinharaja Forest Reserve is home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies. Perhaps the jewel in Sri Lanka's natural crown, however, is Yala National Park, where herds of elephants and rare leopards roam amid a landscape that ranges from wild coastal sand dunes to scrubby bush, lakes and monsoon forests inland.

There's also plenty of wildlide encounters to be enjoyed on the coast, where gorgeous beaches set the scene for turtle spotting and whale watching trips, while world-class scuba diving in the likes of Trincomalee and Unawatuna offers the chance to explore a vibrant underwater ecosystem and maybe even swim in the company of whale sharks.


Leopard in Sri Lanka's Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sri Lanka's beaches

Once you've had your fill of Sri Lanka's wildlife and World Heritage sites, be sure to head to one of the country's beaches for a well-earned spot of relaxation. Right around the coast, from Bentota to Mirissa to Pasikuda and Trincomalee, you'll find delightful stretches of sand, shaded by palms and lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. And, even if topping up the tan isn't your thing, there's still plenty to keep you occupied, with excellent surf breaks, snorkelling, scuba diving and the wildlife watching tours mentioned above. What's more, you'll enjoy it all while staying in some truly delightful accommodation, with a range of stylish boutique resorts available offering everything from excellent dining – the seafood is spectacular – to relaxing Ayurvedic spas.


Sri Lankan beach

For a relatively small island Sri Lanka certainly packs a lot in. But take in some of its many charms and you're sure to have an unforgettable Sri Lanka holiday.


 

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At a glance

Flying time from UK
11 hours

Time zone
GMT +5½

Currency
Sri Lanka rupee (Rp) = 100 cents

Language
Sinhala, Tamil, English

Travel advice
Check the FCDO for visa & travel advice

See Sri Lanka travel guide

Top itineraries in Sri Lanka

Local fishermen at Unawatuna, near Galle

Sri Lanka’s West Coast Highlights

10-day tailor-made holiday from £3,390 pp incl. flights

In the company of your own driver-guide, you’ll explore the Dutch-colonial gems and stunning Indian Ocean beaches of Sri Lanka’s southwest corner, taking in Colombo, Galle and Bentota.

View of a deserted beach on Sri Lanka's East Coast

Sri Lanka's Ancient Kingdoms & East Coast Beaches

13-day tailor-made holiday from £3,910 pp incl. flights

Visit Sri Lanka's most impressive ancient monuments and beautiful beaches in utter luxury, enjoying the services of a private driver throughout and staying in only the finest hotels. Think beach villas and palatial country manors.

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Best of Sri Lanka

15-day tailor-made holiday from £5,260 pp incl. flights

From sweeping tea plantations to UNESCO-listed treasures and the wildlife of Yala National Park, spend two memorable weeks exploring the history, culture and beaches of this Indian Ocean gem.

Elephants in Minneriya National Park, Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Wildlife and Whales

9-day tailor-made holiday from £3,175 pp incl. flights

Experience the best of Sri Lanka's natural world as you explore the Sinharaja Rainforest, Yala National Park, and go whale and dolphin watching off the palm-fringed south coast.

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What our clients say about our Sri Lanka holidays

  • Our trip was incredibly well organised and the choice of hotels and attractions was perfect for us. Our Wexas guide Neil, was absolutely fantastic. He was exceptionally knowledgable and always helpful, he had a wonderful sense of humour but was also incredibly receptive to our needs driving in silence when we were tired.

    The vehicle was always immaculate despite our occasionally irreverent mistreatment of it during some of the long day trips. Neil was also an excellent driver making us feel safe and allowing us to relax during some very long and difficult drives. During visits to the various tourist attractions he always made sure that we had the best of experiences. He was a quite outstanding guide and a real credit to the travel team at Wexas.

    Thank you for providing such an excellent all round service - I look forward to using you again.

    Juliana J

Top places to stay in Sri Lanka

Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

Historic hotel

Galle Face Hotel is an iconic historic hotel that's situated in the heart of Colombo, on a beautiful seafront. The property is a historic 19th century building that was built in 1864 and has hosted royalty and celebrities. The Classic Wing is currently undergoing restoration.

Gardens & Pool, The Wallawwa, Colombo

The Wallawwa Hotel, Negombo

Historic hotel

Wallawwa Hotel near Negombo is located in a beautiful colonial manor house, in three acres of manicured gardens

Room, Kandy House, Kandy, Sri Lanka

The Kandy House

Historic hotel

An award winning designer boutique and historic property that offers excellent personal service, set in an ancestral manor house that was built in 1804. A lovely small and intimate hotel, it can be booked as a whole for celebrations with friends.

Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton

Small & intimate lodge

There is something truly special about Ceylon Tea Trails. Tucked away in the interior of Sri Lanka amid the spectacular Golden Valley of Tea, Bogawantalawa Valley, it feels as if you are escaping the world in Sri Lanka's first and only Relais and Chateaux property.

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Where to go in Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo

Colombo is Sri Lanka's boisterous commercial capital. The country's largest city is a dusty modern metropolis that sways chaotically to the rhythms and routines of Sri Lanka's rich cultural traditions.

Nilaveli beach in Trincomalee

Sri Lanka's Beaches

The island of Sri Lanka has more than 800 miles of coastline, along which stretch some of Asia's most beautiful beaches. Golden sands, gin-clear seas, a cooling breeze and the reaching shade of a tall palm tree come as standard.

Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle & the South Coast

Sri Lanka's south coast is lined with some stunning bays and beaches. The sweeps of sand are punctuated here and there with picturesque fishing villages, making this a perfect beach holiday destination.

Hatton, Nuwara Eliya

Tea Plantations

There's something as restorative about the sight of tea plantations in Sri Lanka as the drink itself. Perhaps it's the serenity of the scene - lush stretches of gentle green, broken only by the vivid colours of the saris worn by the pickers, a glimpse of gold here, amethyst there.

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When to go to Sri Lanka

Average temperature (℃)
Average rainfall (mm)
  • 40
  • 30
  • 20
  • 10
  • 0
  • 360
  • 240
  • 120
  • 0

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Max temp Min temp Rainfall

Sri Lanka is tropical and has two very distinct seasons, though confusingly, because of a double monsoon, these take place at different times in the north and south. Monsoons occur between May and August in the southwest and October and January in the northeast. It's wettest in the south, with up to 4,000mm of rain falling each year.  Sri Lanka is warm all year round, with temperatures averaging around the mid-to-high 20s. It can be very humid in the low-lying regions during the wet seasons, but Kandy and the higher plateaus of the central province offer some temperate relief.

See regional weather

Sri Lanka articles

  • Mirissa, Sri Lanka

    Trip Report: Sri Lanka

    Wexas Asia specialist Debbie Mayger reports back from the ancient wonders, golden beaches and wildlife-rich national parks of Sri Lanka.

  • Common Brown Lemur, Andasibe National Park, Madagascar

    Top 10 alternative wildlife experiences

    Ever felt overwhelmed by crowds when spotting wildlife at a popular destination? For many it leaves them longing for a more authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience. So, while the world's famous wildlife spots are popular for a reason, there are plenty of alternatives waiting to be discovered.

  • Romantic hotels around the world

    With love in the air, what better time to take a look at some truly romantic hotels from around the world? Whether you're searching for a romantic escape, honeymoon paradise, once-in-a-lifetime getaway or simply some quality time with that special someone, these properties are guaranteed to impress.

  • Lonely Planet's best street food

    Lonely Planet's The World's Best Street Food shows you where to find and how to make some of the world's most authentic and popular dishes.

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Meet our Sri Lanka experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0620

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0620 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

Visit us in our London office

Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 50 years
  • Tailor a holiday to your precise requirements
  • Personalised quotes and documentation

Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected