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Sri Lanka Holidays

A tear-shaped island of enchanting tropical beaches, gleaming Buddhist temples, misty tea plantations and old colonial hill stations, this golden isle, positioned to the south-east of India and enveloped by the warm seas of the Indian Ocean, is a tapestry of unparalleled beauty and culture.

To the north of capital Colombo lies Sri Lanka’s famed cultural triangle, a collection of exquisite UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are amongst the finest in the subcontinent, ranging from the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura and the towering rock fortress of Sigiriya, to the cave monastery at Dambulla and the religious sites of Aukana, Ritigala, Sasseruwa and Dimbulagala. To the north the city of Jaffna naturally lead east towards the towns and beaches of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Passikudah which can also be visited.

In central Sri Lanka the beautiful lake-side town of Kandy, a significant cultural and religious centre, is home to both the famous Temple of the Tooth and the superb Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. The town is also the gateway to the tea plantations of the Central Highlands where rolling green hills, historic tea bungalows and charming accommodation can be reached by road or, more spectacularly, by train.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Sri Lanka has a number of exceptional national parks including Yala, with its high concentration of leopards, Uda Walawe and its elephants, picturesque Gal Oya, the UNESCO protected Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Sri Lanka’s oldest national park, little-visited Wilpattu. The southern coast with its pristine beaches and first-rate resorts centred on the 16th century port of Galle, also offers excellent whale and dolphin spotting whilst the idyllic palm-fringed islands of the Maldives are but a short flight away.

Popular Tailor-Made Itineraries

Wild Sri Lanka

15 days from £3400 per person

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Your Holiday In Sri Lanka

Your Holiday In Sri Lanka

Our holidays to Sri Lanka are completely tailor-made with all arrangements made to fit your exact requirements and interests. Pettitts Travel have organised bespoke tours to Sri Lanka for over 30 years so, whether a first time visitor or a return traveller, you can be assured that we can design an itinerary unique to you that can cover all four corners of the island. All of our itineraries, whether those featured on our website or quoted following an enquiry, include hotels and transport, guided sightseeing and entrance fees. When travelling in Sri Lanka you will have a private car with driver-guide at your disposal throughout your holiday. In Sri Lanka your driver is also your guide so they will accompany you on all sightseeing visits. In most national parks and wildlife reserves you will have the additional services of a naturalist. Whilst you are on holiday you will also have round the clock support and assistance from our both from our partners in Sri Lanka and our UK office.

Most clients use the tours featured on our website as inspiration – a starting point for discussion or a series of ideas to be adapted to meet specific requirements, adding or removing days, including places of interest or adjusting the accommodation. Sri Lanka: A Tropical Jewel is ideal for the first time visitor to Sri Lanka with a focus on the cultural triangle, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya before ending with a few days of relaxation beside the beach in Bentota. A Journey through Ceylon builds on this journey with extra time spent in and around the cultural triangle as well as two days in historic Galle. Sri Lanka is also a fabulous summer family destination with the itinerary Sri Lanka: A Summer Family Adventure mixing both adventure and wildlife with relaxation and snorkelling. Wild Sri Lanka is a comprehensive itinerary featuring the island’s premier national parks and wildlife reserves whilst Hidden Treasures of Sri Lanka showcases the underexplored northern and eastern coasts. For those looking for culture followed by pure relaxation, our two-centre journey linking Sri Lanka with the Maldives is the perfect combination.

Places to visit in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an alluring blend of ancient sites, tropical rainforest, tea plantations and a beautiful coastline. Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, has been a gateway to the island for over two millennia and colonial influences can still be seen in the architecture of the city. Buddhism is also fundamental to the island and the ‘cultural triangle’ is the best place to learn about this heritage with key locations being the world heritage sites of Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Dambulla. Sri Lanka’s biodiversity is unrivalled and wildlife enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice with excellent national parks including Wilpattu, Udawalawe and Gal Oya as well as Yala National Park with its healthy leopard population. Those looking for scenery and history can combine Kandy in central Sri Lanka and the hill country with its old British charm or the fortified city of Galle which serves as a gateway to the beaches of the south coast.

When to Visit sri-lanka

Sri Lanka is blessed with a climate that differs across the island, meaning a holiday to Sri Lanka is great all year round. When the monsoon season starts in the north between October and January, it is dry and warm in the south-west. As the rain starts in the south during May and September, the north gets a hot summer season. Although the climate remains warm most of the year and it rarely rains all through the day, heavy rain can cause localised flooding at times. It will be very humid in Sri Lanka, with an average of around 80% at any given time. Dress for sticky, hot conditions and take steps to keep cool. The average temperature is around 27°C, but this can hit 31°C (88°F) during particularly hot weather.

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Best Times
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This is a general overview suggesting when to travel in the country. Please note that this may not directly apply to any specific itinerary or region.

Essential Information

Capital: Colombo

Main Language: Sinhala / English

Time Zone: GMT + 5.5

Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)

Ancient Sites of Sri Lanka

Ancient Sites of Sri Lanka

Despite its diminutive size, Sri Lanka is blessed with an astonishing number of cultural and historic treasures so there is plenty to see and do wherever you are on the island. Highlights include the 1,500 year-old cliff-top fortress at Sigiriya with its colourful frescoes and spectacular views, the Dambulla Cave Temple complex which has been a place of worship since the 1st century BC and the UNESCO protected ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura – the former famed for its mammoth standing and reclining Buddhas, the latter for its well-preserved ruins including the towering terracotta stupa of Abhayagiri vihara. The bustling hill capital of Kandy is the home of the Temple of the Tooth. Located in the Royal Palace complex, the heart of the temple houses one of the most important relics in the country, the Buddha’s tooth. This temple, as well as the mountain-top shrine of Mihintale and the spectacular standing Buddha at Aukana, are significant pilgrimage sites and draw devotees from far and wide.

Wildlife in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka harbours an incredible diversity of flora and fauna and offers some of the finest wildlife viewing in Asia. Yala, a substantial reserve in the south-east of the island, is Sri Lanka’s best known national park. Although elusive, Yala is believed to have the world’s highest concentration of leopards, whilst its range of habitats supports a range of animals from deer and monkey to bear and crocodile. The national parks of Udawalawe, Minneriya and Gal Oya are all associated with elephant – Udawalawe and Minneriya have significant populations whilst Gal Oya, which is centred on Senanayake Samudraya Lake, has the unique spectacle of ‘swimming’ elephants. Wilpattu, the country’s largest reserve, remains little-visited due to its inaccessibility and, consequently offers a truly wild wildlife experience. Wilpattu is home to leopard, crocodile and deer and has excellent birdwatching. For something completely different, the primary rainforest of the UNESCO protected biosphere reserve of Sinharaja not only has fine birdwatching but is also the best place on the island to see butterflies, insects, amphibians and reptiles.

Wildlife in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Holiday Review

It all went extremely smoothly. I'd like to thank you and all of your colleagues for making the trip possible at all given the difficult circumstances...we're already thinking about India next December when things will hopefully be easier!

NW, CC & AC - Sri Lanka - December 2021

Accommodation in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has plenty of accommodation options to suit every visitor. There is a vast range of accommodation available throughout the island from luxurious small hotels, contemporary properties and one-off boutique accommodation to atmospheric wildlife lodges and charming colonial tea planter’s bungalows. The majority of Sri Lanka’s beach resorts predominately hug the north-east and south-west coastlines with a plethora of different options including everything from larger modern hotels to small independent properties – some with only a handful of rooms. Although heritage hotels can be found throughout the country, the majority are located in and around Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and adjoining tea plantations and the historic fort at Galle.

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