Explore Sri Lanka
Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavorful food make Sri Lanka irresistible.
Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt.
Few places in the world can offer the traveler such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometers lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometers of coastline – much of it pristine beach – 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years.
This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serenade, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. Discover refreshingly Sri Lanka!
The Undiscovered Country
You might say Sri Lanka has been hiding in plain sight. Countless scores of travelers have passed overhead on their way to someplace else, but years of uncertainty kept Sri Lanka off many itineraries. Now, however, all that has changed. The country is moving forward quickly as more and more people discover its myriad charms. Lying between the more trodden parts of India and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka’s history, culture and natural beauty are undeniably alluring. It’s the place you haven’t been to yet, that you should.
So Much in So Little
Few places have as many Unesco World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area. Sri Lanka’s 2000-plus years of culture can be discovered at ancient sites where legendary temples boast beautiful details even as they shelter in caves or perch on prominent peaks. More recent are evocative colonial fortresses, from Galle to Trincomalee.Across the island, that thing that goes bump in the night might be an elephant heading to a favorite waterhole. Safari tours of Sri Lanka’s pleasantly relaxed national parks encounter leopards, water buffaloes, all manner of birds and a passel of primates.
It’s So Easy
Distances are short: see the sacred home of the world’s oldest living human-planted tree in the morning (Anuradhapura) and stand awestruck by the sight of hundreds of elephants gathering in the afternoon (Minneriya). Discover a favorite beach, meditate in a 2000-year-old temple, exchange smiles while strolling a mellow village, marvel at birds and wildflowers, try to keep count of the little dishes that come with your rice and curry. Wander past colonial gems in Colombo, then hit some epic surf.Sri Lanka is spectacular, affordable and still often uncrowned. Now is the best time to discover it.
Rainforests & Beaches
When you’re ready to escape the tropical climate of the coast and lowlands, head for the hills, with their temperate, achingly green charms. Verdant tea plantations and rain forested peaks beckon walkers, trekkers and those who just want to see them from a spectacular train ride. And then there are the beaches. Dazzlingly white and often untraded, they ring the island so that no matter where you go, you’ll be near a sandy gem. Should you beat the inevitable languor, you can surf and dive world-class sites without world-class crowds. And you’re always just a short hop from something utterly new.
The Ideal Time to Visit Sri Lanka
November to March
The principal tourist season in Sri Lanka is during November to March when it is the dry season for the South Western and Southern coastal areas and the Central Highlands. November through to March are also the months when most foreign tourists visit the island, the majority of them escaping the European winter. During Christmas up to the New Year which is one of the main holiday seasons, accommodation rates in most tourist hotels hit the highest levels all over the island in view of the sharp upsurge of inward traffic of tourists into the island. Advance bookings of hotel rooms during this period are highly recommended.
April to September
The secondary tourist season that spans from April to September are the ideal months to tour the ancient cities of the North Central Plains and the Eastern Coast.
July to August
July / August are the time of the Kandy Esala Perahera, the 10-day festival held in homage to the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, and also the time of the Kataragama Festival in the South. In both towns, accommodation just before, during and immediately after the festivals is very difficult to come by. Rates could shoot up to double or still higher. The tourists who wish to arrive in Sri Lanka during this period are advised to make bookings of hotel rooms well in advance.