The open landscapes and watering holes of Yala National Park are the perfect places for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, birds and so much more. Safari with an experienced guide and discover a relatively untouched landscape. Wonder at the elephants in the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, a breeding ground where you can see the little ones being bottle fed by their mahouts.
Drive to the hill stations of central Sri Lanka and step into the picturesque landscape of the Nuwara Eliya. Watch the skilful fingers of the ladies in the tea plantation, plucking the youngest shoots, for you to enjoy Ceylon’s finest cup of tea.
The East Coast
The lesser known East coast may surprise you. Whale watching, surfing, fishing and much more encompass the perfect tour off the beaten track. Less developed than the west coast, here you will find peace and quiet and untouched sands.
Sigiriya Rock, built on a 200 metre rock, is just one of Sri Lanka’s World Heritage Sites, with the astonishing remains of a palace, surrounded by lush gardens, pools and fountains. You can enjoy the peace, serenity and view from the top and the spectacular ancient paintings. The cultural capital of Sri Lanka is Kandy. A land of temples, Kandy holds the ‘Temple of Tooth’ the country’s most sacred of of them all, where a tooth of Buddha is being kept. Head to the bustling maket town to buy local arts and crafts and immerse yourself in the towns colours, smells and diversity.
Miles of palm fringed beaches are waiting to welcome you on this exquisite island, from the sleepy village of Negombo to the beautiful lagoons of Bentota. Scuba diving on pristine reefs and deep sea fishing in the warm Indian Ocean will relax you in an instant.
When to go
Temperature Range: 20°C – 34°C
Most popular: December – March
Best value: May – December on the West coast and December – April on the East coast.
Best weather: December – March on the West and April – September on the East coast.
Direct flights: Sri Lankan Airlines
Indirect flights: Emirates and Qatar Airways
Visa information: Required for all tourists
Health information: No specific vaccinations required
Time Difference: GMT +5.5 hours
To avoid the highest prices of December to March, stick to before and after the high season. There will be fewer crowds and you could get that same stunning scenery for a bargain price. The weather is fairly unpredictable with rain showers common throughout the year, but some never lasting very long and often a welcome break from the strong sunshine.
Best Time to Go
The west and south coasts differs to the east, but for the west the driest season is from December to March and the east coast from April to September. This means it is always the perfect beach season somewhere on the island.
Most people choose to visit Sri Lanka from December to March with many visitors escaping the cold winter months of the UK.
Sri Lanka’s temperature on the coastal regions average at approximately 27°C year round.
The driest season in Sri Lanka tends to be from December to March for the west coast, the south coast and the Hill Country and from April to September for the ancient cities area and the east coast. This makes Sri Lanka the perfect beach destination all year round. The Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the north and east. There is an inter monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island.
There are a number of carriers to offering flights to Sri Lanka from the UK.
Sri Lanka Airlines offers the only direct service to Colombo with up to eight service per week from London Heathrow.
Emirates & Qatar Airways offer indirect services to Sri Lanka.
There is no departure tax currently in Sri Lanka.
Fastest Flight Time
10hrs 45 mins (London Heathrow – Colombo)
All visitors to Sri Lanka, even those transiting, will need to purchase a travel visa. Applications can be made advance on-line (US$20, increasing to US$30 in January 2013) or on arrival (US$25, increasing to US$35 in January 2013). Please contact your local embassy for up-to-date information.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Sri Lanka. Please contact the Sri Lanka Embassy for up to date country and visa information on 0207 262 1841.