An Expert’s Guide to Sri Lanka
“Three elements come together to make Sri Lanka particularly wonderful: friendly people, the glorious green landscape and how easy it is to experience everything”
Tom Grapes has been in the travel industry for seven years. He believes there’s no more relaxing way to spend a morning than indulging in freshly cooked hoppers (Sri Lankan crêpes) while enjoying a view of the country’s lush tea plantations. Here are his tips on how best to make the most of your Sri Lanka holiday:
Fly direct with SriLankan Airlines
Departing from London Heathrow, it offers an excellent service. You can also stopover in Dubai with Emirates. British Airways flies via Malé and Etihad via Abu Dhabi. A direct flight takes just over 10 hours, while other routes take around 13 hours.
Hire a driver
The easiest and most cost-effective way of seeing more of the country is to hire a driver (included on our Discover Sri Lanka Journey). Having your own driver makes it easy to get around at your own pace, as well as ensuring you see all the best spots comfortably, quickly and safely.
Time your trip right
The best time to visit is between December and May, though it’s enjoyable all year round. June to September is wet season, and the entire island is prone to thunderstorms in October and November. The relative humidity means that while there are beautiful blue skies, there will often be rain, too – it’s what makes Sri Lanka so green and lush.
Look out for leopards
The country’s wildlife makes it extra special, and a visit to Yala National Park is a must for animal lovers. Enjoy a stay in the park for a few nights and go on safari to try to spot an elusive leopard.
Eat the curry
Sri Lankan curry is great! You can often get thali-style dishes, where you enjoy a variety of pickles and sides with your main. Fish curries are popular too, and the seafood is some of the best you’ll ever taste.
Sort your currency in advance
Exchange some cash at the airport, as ATMs can be hard to find when you’re off the beaten track.
Discover the tea
The tea plantations around Nuwara Eliya are the ultimate Sri Lankan experience – the hills look positively manicured. And for a really magical morning, walk to the top of Ella Rock with a local guide to see the sunrise.
Our Discover Sri Lanka Journey will engage all your senses. Stop by the Matale spice gardens, where the scent of pepper, cloves and cardamom fills the air, then head to the Nuwara Eliya tea plantations and sip the finest brews. Marvel at Sri Lanka’s most famous sights, including Sigiriya, the fifth-century rock fortress that rewards all who climb to the top with impressive views across the jungle canopy. And take in the wonderful wildlife in Yala National Park, before relaxing on the sands of Bentota. 12 days from £1,735pp.