"Sri Lanka is sometimes described as India’s little brother, but this enchanting island is a top notch destination in its own right, tempting travellers with a winning combination of culture, beaches and wildlife."

Touring in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is sometimes described as India’s little brother, but this enchanting island is a top notch destination in its own right, tempting travellers with a winning combination of culture, beaches and wildlife. An escorted tour is the ideal way to experience everything that Sri Lanka has to offer, and there are some lovely boutique hotels and lodges scattered around the country.

Sri Lanka’s ‘Cultural Triangle’ is a remarkable concentration of Buddhist temples, ancient fortresses and holy cities, and forms the centrepiece to most tours of the island. The highlands offer the chance to cool off at a verdant tea plantation, while the coast is fringed with golden beaches. It’s no secret that Sri Lanka’s recent history has been wracked by conflict, but the end of the civil war in 2009 has seen previously off-limits areas in the north and east of the island opening up, offering a more rustic alternative to the beach resorts on the south west coast. Wildlife is another big draw in Sri Lanka, from the majestic elephants that adorn so many postcards to the leopards that stalk the jungles of Yala National Park. For a small island, Sri Lanka really does pack a lot in.

 

Touring Highlights of Sri Lanka

  • Wander amongst the ruined palaces, temples and stupas of Sri Lanka’s ancient former capital, Polonnaruwa, and imagine what life must have been like during this great city’s 11th century heyday.
  • The holy city of Kandy is home to the famous Temple of the Tooth, where one of the Buddha’s teeth is said to rest, and also plays host to the colourful Kandy Esala Perahera festival every summer.
  • Anuradhapura was one of the great early capitals of Sri Lanka, and this striking UNESCO World Heritage Site is notable for its dagobas, huge brick stupas that loom over the city’s ruins.
  • The quaint colonial architecture and temperate climate of Nuwara Eliya, at the centre of Sri Lanka’s tea growing region, are more than a little reminiscent of the green hills of England.
  • Dambulla’s remarkable cave temple is one of Sri Lanka’s best known tourist attractions, a cavernous space filled with glittering Buddhas.
  • The walled old town of Galle is one of the highlights of Sri Lanka’s south coast, with a fascinating history as an important trading post on the old spice route.
  • Much of Sri Lanka’s north and east was out of bounds until recently, but since the end of the civil war tourists have slowly been returning to the Tamil city of Jaffna and the stunning beaches of the east coast.
  • The dramatic ‘Lion Rock’ of Sigiriya is Sri Lanka’s most spectacular sight, a fortified rocky outcrop some 200 metres tall that dominates the landscape.
  • Yala National Park is Sri Lanka’s premier wildlife destination, home to elephants, monkeys and crocodiles, and it’s one of the best places in the world to see leopards in the wild.
  • Sri Lanka has a thriving street food scene, particularly in the capital, Colombo. Dishes to try include the ubiquitous pancakes known as ‘hoppers’, which are usually filled with curry, sambal and a baked egg.

Tour Types in Sri Lanka


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