A teardrop-shaped island cast adrift in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is filled with cultural and natural treasures. Indians, Portuguese, Dutch and British have all left their marks here, making for a delightful mix of ancient cities, monuments and atmospheric colonial architecture.
Things To do
- Spy on Sri Lanka’s abundant wildlife (much of which is found nowhere else on earth) in the country’s various sanctuaries and national parks. Bird watching is superb, and as well as the famous elephants there are also leopards, deer, bears, wild boar, porcupines and monkeys to see.
- Ride an elephant; it’ll make you feel like Asian royalty rolling from side to side and looking down on the passing scenery. Wild elephants can be seen in sizeable numbers in several national parks, and there is a well-known elephant orphanage at Pinnawela.
- Go diving or snorkelling to glimpse the country’s thriving coral reefs and their myriad multi-hued inhabitants. Colourful diving spots include Bentota and Hikkaduwa, which also have underwater caves and shipwrecks to explore.
- Go hiking through diverse landscapes, especially the rainforest and cloudforest of the hilly interior.
- Immerse yourselfin one of Sri Lanka’s manycolourful festivals. Most involve huge processions of glittering elephants, dancers and drummers.The best-knownis Esala Perahera in Kandy; Vel Festival in Colombo is also spectacular.
- Trail your morning tea to its source in Sri Lanka’s highlands: inhale the delicious aromas of Victorian-era tea factories, drink their finest and roam the lush tea plantations. The Nuwara Eliya hill station is a popular destination.
- Head to the village of Kitulgala, tucked away amid ravines in the hill country, to enjoy both beginners-standard and high-adrenaline white-water rafting.