Sri Lanka also known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” is an island rich in natural treasures and offers a vast range of landscapes and cultures. The experiences are truly unique as you marvel at the unlimited beauty this jewel of the Indian Ocean has to offer.
Regardless of what your interests are, Sri Lanka has it covered! Sri Lanka has an abundance of history to offer including its native history dating back 2500 years as well as the Dutch, Portuguese and British settlements. The remarkable architecture and remains of palaces and monumental buildings still pay tribute to the extensive history of this magical island.
If wildlife is your thing, then don’t miss an exciting wildlife safari or marvel at rare blue whales and dolphins. Sri Lanka truly has an abundance of exotic wildlife which exists in the numerous National Parks throughout the country. It is home to many rare birds, marine and land mammals.
Nuwara Eliya situated in the Hill Country was developed by the British settlers as a replica of home and is world renowned for its Sri Lankan tea. The cooler climate of the Hill Country is in direct contrast to the rest of tropical Sri Lanka and attracts many tea enthusiasts. Enjoy the breathtaking sceneries and cascading waterfalls as you sip on some of the world’s most flavoursome tea. Experience this picturesque Hill Country and be greeted by people with warm hearts.
For those who prefer a holiday full of adventure and activities, then Sri Lanka is the destination! A wide range of both land and water adventure sports are available such as white water rafting, windsurfing, water ski, cycling, trekking, hot air ballooning to name a few.
Sri Lanka is home to many beautiful golden sandy beaches and picture perfect sweeping palm trees. All you need to do is grab a cocktail and be part of the splendour and relaxation this little paradise has to offer!
Why not stay in some of the luxurious hotels and pamper yourself! In recent years there has been a lift in the number of luxurious boutique style accommodation and of course there are a plenty of 5 star accommodation throughout the country. The most recent being a proposal for a 7 star hotel in the heart of Colombo.
In line with its culture, Sri Lanka offers peace and tranquillity to its visitors. A wide range of luxurious hotels and spas are available to indulge yourself. The recognition of Ayurveda and its powers to heal and bring an equilibrium balance into life is evident through the wide range of Ayurvedic spas and treatments that are offered.
The latest trend, Arugam Bay is recognised as one of the world’s top ten surf beaches! Arugam Bay has also hosted many international surf competitions and offers a wide range of water sports for the adventure seeker.
The Sri Lankan people’s passion for food is translated through the mouth watering and tantalising cuisines on offer. The wide range of cuisines that are available ensures that all taste buds are catered for – vegetarians, meat lovers and seafood lovers. Along with the traditional and authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, one can also choose from many Western and Asian inspired restaurants. There are also ample modern take away outlets to cater for all budgets.
Come explore Sri Lanka, an island full of culture, history, natural beauty and people with warm hearts!
Anuradhapura Ancient KingdomAnuradhapura was the first ancient kingdom and Capital of Sri Lanka. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. Whilst in Anuradhapura, you can visit the magnificent 13 metre high statue of Lord Buddha carved out of solid granite, the most renowned relic of the Bodhi Tree (grown from a branch transported from India) under which Buddha was believed to have attained enlightenment. In addition to above, there are many other important shrines and monuments that give Anuradhapura its significant status as the first kingdom.
Sigiriya Rock FortressOne of Sri Lanka’s major attractions, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress was built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD) for the purpose of protecting him from his rivals. An UNSECO World Heritage listed site, also known as the “Fortress in the Sky”. The climb up to the top of the fortress doesn’t only offer the reward of breathtaking view but there is so much to discover during your climb to the top. Highlights of the climb include water gardens, artistic frescoes, mirror wall and the lion gate.
Polonnaruwa Ancient KingdomPolonnaruwa was founded in the 11th Century AD and was governed by many Kings. King Parakrambahu I’s reign was considered the most significant for this ancient kingdom. During his reign (12th Century AD) this second Kingdom of Sri Lanka (after Anuradhapura) was known as the golden Age of Polonnaruwa, as Parakrambabu ruled during an era where trade and agriculture was at its peak.
Dambulla Cave TempleDambulla cave temple is part of the Golden Triangle of Sri Lanka and is encrusted into a magnificently large rock. It sits more than 160m above the surrounding land and spans for more than 1.5 km around the base. Also known as the “Golden Temple” it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. This ancient complex was initially established in 3rd Century BC and is truly a wonder as it is the largest and best preserved cave temples in Sri Lanka. The cave temples are home to numerous religious and cultural paintings and sculptures.
Hiriwadunna TrekTrekking through the Hiriwadunna is an adventure that gets every nature lover excited! Ride a Bullock cart which is Sri Lanka’s oldest form of transportation on an unpaved trail. Then set off on a nature walk through a scrub jungle. If you come across a stream, you’ll have to wade through it knee deep and later cross a wider tributary on a farmer’s catamaran. He’ll take you to inspect the Chena Cultivation (Slash and burn agriculture). Immerse yourself in an archetypal Sri Lankan village, spend time with a farmer harvesting crops, or watch the children play or enjoy the sight of the village folk as they go about their early morning tasks of fishing or washing clothes at the lake. Wind down to a scrumptious home cooked meal in the heart of the village.
Minneriya National ParkThe extent of the Minneriya National Park is approximately 8,889 hectares. Dry zone plant and animal species are common. The elephants are a highlight of the Park. Approximately 160 species of birds, 9 amphibians, 25 reptile species, 26 fish species and more than 78 butterfly species can also be found here. There are also rare bamboo trees in this park which is unique to Minneriya National Park. During the months of August to October the famous Elephant gathering takes place at the Minneriya National Park. Large herds (Around 300) of Elephants can be witnessed at a given time.
KANDY & SURROUNDINGS
Temple of ToothThe Temple of Tooth Relic (“Dalada Maligawa” as known to the locals) is located in Kandy. This sacred temple is also home to the palm-leaf transcripts and its history dates back to 1687. This stunning piece of architecture is instantly recognised by its octagonal shape and golden roof. Although you are not able to view the actual tooth itself, the casket within which it is held is displayed twice a day.
Peradeniya Botanical GardensThis beautiful garden is located 6km from Kandy. It was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British. It covers approximately 147 acres and is a stroller’s paradise with extensive well kept lawns, pavilions, an octagon conservatory, fernery, a giant Javan fig tree and numerous flower beds. The best attraction is the orchid House where you can discover more than 1000 plants.
Kandy PeraheraThe Kandy Perahera is one of the most magnificent festivals in Sri Lanka. It is the biggest Buddhist celebration which goes on for 10 days ending with the Grand Perahera which falls on the full moon day of Esala. During this religious ceremony, devotees pray for good rain to cultivate their crops. A replica of the casket carrying the sacred Tooth of the Buddha is also taken from the temple of the Tooth and paraded through the streets. This colourful procession of dancers, drummers, caparisoned elephants and Kandy chieftains in medical court dress should not be missed.
Horton Plains National ParkLocated approximately 32 km from Nuwara Eliya, Horton Plains is Sri Lanka’s highest plateau at an elevation of 7,200 ft. Horton Plains became a Nature Reserve in 1969 and was upgraded as a National Park in 1988, due to its unique watershed and bio-diversity features. Its flora has high level of endemism. The hills are covered with diverse wet low evergreen forest with even large trees flattened to the ground on the higher windswept slopes. The two escarpments “Little World’s End” and “World’s End” falling from the Horton Plains 1000 feet and 4000 feet respectively to the land below and the Baker’s Falls, are recommended places to visit. The central mountain is known as the “Cloud Forest”.
Scenic Train RideA ride in the observation carriage gives you an unparalleled view and penetrating glimpse both of the scenic beauty and culture of the hill country as you travel along. There are a few different legs of the train trip you may experience. Most clients opt for the Nanu Oya to Ella trip which is a shorter 2.5-hour ride. Another option is the Peradeniya to Nano Oya ride which is around 4 hours. Whichever ride you decide to take, it will be an experience to remember.
Knuckles Range TrekThe Knuckles Mountain Range known in Sinhalese as “Dumbara Kanduvetiya”, meaning "Misty Mountains" is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The site has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Conservation Area. It is called the Knuckles Range because it resembles a set of knuckles in a closed fist. Sprawling over 155sq km, the region contains five major forest formations with breathtaking vistas. For those who love to hike or mountain bike, visiting the Knuckles Range provides an unspoilt habitat and vegetation through its numerous trails that journey across rivers, dense forests or past flowing waterfalls, in the midst of lush plantations.
Tea Factory VisitObserve the process of manufacturing tea. You will also learn about how tea is graded and taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory. Opportunity to purchase some of the finest teas will also be available (at own cost).
Hakgala Botanical GardensFour miles south east of Nuwara Eliya is another prominent peak, Hakgala. At its foot lies the Hakgala Botanical Gardens, and above it is the Hakgala Strict Nature Reserve. Opened as an experimental Cinchona plantation for the production of the malaria antidote quinine in 1860, the pride of the gardens is now roses and tree ferns.
Tour of GalleGalle, recognised as the Southern Capital (116 km from Colombo) and is home to the popular Fort called “Santa Cruz”, which is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Fort which was initially built by the Portuguese in 1619 has been expanded and further developed by the Dutch and the British. Galle was the main seaport of Sri Lanka before Colombo and still handles shipping and cruising yachts to present. During the tour of Galle, you will have the opportunity to visit Galle Fort, Old Dutch Church and Walk along the Rampart.
Cooking Class at Sonja’s Restaurant (Conducted by Karuna)Experience Sri Lankan culinary by attending an authentic cooking class. During the class you will participate in the preparation of 5-6 authentic Sri Lankan dishes. Karuna will take you to the Galle Market to purchase the ingredients that would be required for the cooking class. Learn about common spices and techniques as you create your tantalising feast. At the end of the class sit back and enjoy the mouth-watering dishes just prepared.
Weligama Stilt FishermenEnjoy the sites of local fishermen going about their daily routines. In chest-deep water just few meters off-shore, you will find the stilt fishermen, perched on a cross bar off a single pole planted into the sea-bed. This a common method of fishing amongst the locals in the Southern part of Sri Lanka.
Yala National Park Wildlife SafariEmbark on an adventure of a lifetime with a Wildlife Jeep Safari at the Yala National Park! Yala National Park is the largest National Park in Sri Lanka. It is located approximately 24km Northeast of Tissamaharama. Yala is the best location to sight and photograph the rare and remarkable leopards. Other highlights of Yala include the herd of wild elephants, bears, wild boars, buffaloes, deer, crocodiles and many species of birds. The vegetation ranges from open parkland to dense jungle. There is also an abundance of water supply for animals and birds ranging from waterholes, streams, small lakes to lagoons.
Whale Watching in MirissaSri Lanka is one of the best places in the world to see blue whales. Blue whales are sighted mostly during January to April as they migrate. Experience the whales up close and personal in their natural habitat.
Bundala National Park Wildlife SafariThe park which once was a sanctuary, today is a famous wintering ground for over 200 species of migratory birds. Bundala has a fascinating maze of waterways, lagoons and dunes that glitter like gold, in the evening sun. This wonderland is also one of the few places in Sri Lanka where the land, sea and wetlands meet.
White Water Rafting in KitulgalaFor adventure seekers coming to Sri Lanka, white water rafting in Kitulgala would be heaven. It is an exhilarating water sport and contrary to a popular misconception, it does not require much physical strength, just some good dose of audacity! Kitulgala where white water rafting originated in Sri Lanka, is a small town perched on the hills that slope down to the gushing waters of the Kelani River.
Elephant Transit Home (Uda Walawe)The Elephant Transit Home helps to care for injured elephants from all over Sri Lanka. Supported by the Born Free Foundation, the complex is a halfway house for orphaned elephants. After rehabilitation, the elephants are released back into the wild, many into the Uda Walawe National Park.
Sinharaja RainforestThis is Sri Lanka's only remaining primeval rain forest. The vegetation is many layered as in the Amazon or Congo. Rare orchid’s blossom and cicadas chirp. The only other sound is that of rain: 200 inches fall annually. There is numerous endemic wildlife, especially birds but the reserve is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many insects, reptiles and rare amphibians.
Uda Walawe National Park Wildlife SafariSpanning over 30,821 hectares, the national park is located in the center of Udawalawe reservoir fed by the Walawe River. The Park is known as one of the ideal spots to view elephants at close range. You will also have the opportunity to witness other wildlife such as Sambar deer, wild Buffalo, Mongoose, Bandicoots, Fox, water Monitor Lizards, Crocodiles, Sloth bears and the occasional leopard. There are also around 30 varieties of snakes and an abundance of bird life.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage“Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage” is situated approximately 90 km from Colombo. The orphanage was originally founded in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation. It is aimed at providing care and protection for many of the orphaned baby wild elephants found wondering in the forests of Sri Lanka. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage also places an emphasis on breeding and ongoing research for these gentle giants.
Millennium Elephant FoundationVisitors to the Millennium Elephant Foundation have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the gentle giants and have great photo opportunities. The foundation is involved in a range of projects and volunteer programs in order to raise awareness and education that promotes the welfare of Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka. Some of the memorable experiences include bathing the elephants, having an elephant shower, bare back elephant rides, feeding the elephants and visiting the museum.
COLOMBO & NEGOMBO
Gallery CafeParadise Road Galleries -the Gallery Café opened in 1998 in a structure which was the former office of world renowned Sri Lankan Architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa. The art gallery features regularly changing exhibitions that are for sale, by established and emerging local artists. Gallery Cafe is a popular choice by locals and travellers for meals, site seeing, coffee, cake, shopping and the complimentary wi-fi available to its patrons. The Gallery Cafe’s owner Fernando prides himself on offering a delicious menu. It is particularly known for its cocktails and desserts.
Colombo City Walking Tour (By Mark Forbes)A walking tour through the city of Colombo will allow you to experience the amazing architecture that the Dutch/English had left behind, whilst learning and experiencing what being "Sri Lankan" is all about. Walks are generally 3 - 4 hours and are conducted in the evening allowing the body to battle the humidity levels and experience the wind-down time of island culture. And most of all, to give that photographer in your midst the opportunity to create a masterpiece of Colombo City. This walk will engage all your senses and set it all a-buzz as you see/touch the monumental sites and experience the local food and beverages, all amongst the friendly and welcoming locals.
Tour of NegomboNegombo is well known classic fishing town that is located 37km North of Colombo. Its wide sandy beaches, lush tall coconut palm trees and gourmet seafood will send any visitor into instant tropical paradise! During your tour of Negombo, highlights include The Old Dutch Fort, the Dutch Cemetery with a large Banyan tree and the many churches built by the Portuguese and Dutch. If time permits, be sure to visit the fish market where you won’t be stuck for choice with the freshest seafood. It is also a great photo opportunity for visitors to see in abundance the most popular outrigger canoes also known as “oruwa” that are dug out from a large log, floating along the Negombo lagoon.
Lunuganga EstateLunuganga Estate was the country home of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. As he went on to become Sri Lanka's and one of Asia's most prolific and influential architects, the garden at the Lunuganga estate remained his first muse and experimental laboratory for new ideas. He continued to change and experiment with its spaces and structures throughout his life until his final illness in 1998. Left to the Lunuganga Trust in 2003, the gardens are now open to the public and the buildings on the estate are run as a country house hotel. Lunch is also served here (additional cost).
Turtle Hatchery KosgodaThe small town of Kosgoda on the southern strip is famous for its turtle hatchery which is operated by the Wild Life Protection Society of Sri Lanka. At the hatchery, fishermen are paid for rescuing the vulnerable eggs which they collect at night, along the sandy beach. Visitors can witness the exceptional sight of them hatching or even see tanks filled with new born hatchlings. After being fed, the baby turtles are returned back to the sea where they are released when they are 2-4 days old. Once placed on the beach, most baby sea turtles start moving towards the water, flapping their tiny flippers. Children in particular love to visit the hatchery and watch the turtles being released back into their natural habitat.
NORTH & NORTH WEST
Tour of JaffnaJaffna which is originally known as Yaalpaanam in Tamil and in Sinhalese it is called as Yapanaya, was ruled by Indian Tamil kings and was also once Portuguese colony, a Dutch colony and later a British colony. Therefore, the colonial influences are still recognisable through European monuments like churches, colleges and forts. Highlights of Jaffna include the culture, farming system, agricultural system, churches and beaches. During the tour you will visit Jaffna fort, Nallur Kovil and Naga Pooshani Ambal Kovil (in Nagadeepa).
Wilpattu National ParkWilpattu was declared a National Park in 1938 and spans 131,694 hectares. It is home to many wildlife and bird species who often flock to the large number of Villus (Lakes) in the park. Many species that can be seen include Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Wild Buffalo, sloth Bear, Mongoose, Crocodile and Peacocks. A true highlight of Wilpattu National Park are the leopards and wild elephants.
Pigeon Island Boat RideThe island is named after the endemic inhabitant – the blue rock Pigeon that call this island their home. The boat ride to pigeon island takes approximately 10 mins and is an ideal location for snorkeling amongst the coral reef and marine life. The Island was also once used by the British army for shooting practice.
Do I need a visa to visit Sri Lanka?
If you are an Australian, New Zealand OR a British passport holder, you can complete the online “Entry Authority Form” via the official website https://www.eta.gov.lk before you arrive in Sri Lanka. You will receive an initial email upon completion of the application. Entry authority is generally granted within 24 hours of submitting the application, however it may take longer. Once the entry authority has been granted, you will receive an email from Sri Lanka immigration.
The cost for an individual is USD35 per person. Children below 12 years (At the time of travel) do not need to pay the fee however will need to be included in the application.
You can only apply for Entry Authority within 3 months of travel.
Entry authority is valid for 30 days from the date you arrive in Sri Lanka for a double entry (You can enter the country twice under the same VISA).
Please note there are third party websites that offer the service however the cost is higher. Also please be aware there are fraudulent websites hence the best option is to apply via the government approved website we have highlighted above.
Above information was current at the time of posting. For all updated details, please refer to the official government website.
When is the best time to visit?
Sri Lanka is a tropical country blessed with great weather throughout the year.
Anytime is a good time to travel, however for more specific requirements you may use below information as a guideline.
If you plan to stay on the coast and enjoy the beach weather, South Coast/South West coast beaches are best between the months of Late November to March.
For East Coast beaches, weather is ideal between May and September.
Also speak to our friendly consultants who can guide you and offer expert advice when planning your holiday to Sri Lanka.
How long should I spend in Sri Lanka?
If you are looking to explore the key attractions of Sri Lanka, you can cover them between 10 and 12 days. It also depends on your travel style, pace of travel, your specific requirements and your interest. Based on your available time, budget and interests, we can design an itinerary to match your requirements.
Is Sri Lanka family friendly?
Sri Lanka is a family friendly destination to travel. It offers family friendly attraction and activities that will keep everyone entertained. One of the most important aspects of travelling with children is having the right chauffeur guide. We have a list of quality chauffeur guides that are ready to assure you a great time while traveling in Sri Lanka. In addition, Sri Lanka offers a great range of accommodation (Including family rooms, interconnecting rooms, Villas) to cater for the families travelling with children. People in Sri Lanka is very hospitable and family oriented, hence it is an ideal country to travel with children.
What are the common airlines that fly from Australia?
One of the best options is to fly Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines flies from major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with a transit in Singapore. Total travel time is around 15 hours (Please note total travel time can differ based on your transit time).
Other options are as below:
Qantas (Fly with Qantas to Singapore and then code share with Sri Lankan airlines to Colombo).
Malaysian Airlines with a transit in KL
Emirates with a transit in Singapore (Fly Emirates to Singapore. From Singapore Emirates will code share with Sri Lankan airlines)
Thai Airways with a transit in Bangkok.
Cathay Pacific with a transit in Hong Kong OR in Singapore.
If you are wanting to fly direct to Sri Lanka, you can fly from Melbourne OR Sydney, with the national carrier Sri Lankan airlines. These are the only direct options to fly from Australia to Sri Lanka.
How to exchange currency?
You can take AUD and exchange a small sum upon arrival at the airport to Sri Lankan Rupees. The exchange rate outside the airport usually is slightly better hence you may decide to exchange rest whilst on tour (Your chauffeur guide can assist you).
There are ATMs in major cities to withdraw cash however transaction fees will apply. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels however it is best to use cash when purchasing from small shops and outlets.
What is the electricity voltage?
Sri Lanka operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
For Sri Lanka there are 2 associated plug types, types D and G. Type D is the plug which has three round pins in a triangular patterned. Plug type G has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern.
Below are a few options you may consider when travelling to Sri Lanka.
Please take a multi-way adopter that works with these plug types.
Another easy and a cheaper option is to buy an adopter when you are in Sri Lanka. Your guide can assist you with this.
Nowadays some hotels have built in connectors where you can plug your appliance directly. Hotels also generally hold a few adopters where you may borrow one (However this will be based on the availability).