Luxury Holidays To Sri Lanka: An Overview

Sitting pretty at the southern tip of India, the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka is a small country with a big combination of attractions - culture, beaches and nature - that make this the perfect destination for a luxury holiday.

Miranda, Katie and Rosie are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Yala National Park on the south east coast; the pristine jungle plays host to both man and beast, who live good naturedly side-by-side.
  • The ancient site of Sigiriya, built on the fresco-adorned 'Lion Rock' that towers 200 metres above beautiful surrounding gardens, is spectacular.
  • Sri Lanka is home to an abundance of exotic species of wildlife, making the country's national parks a flora and fauna haven.

Sri Lanka Luxury Holidays: The Detail

Long a favourite Original Travel destination, Sri Lanka has no fewer than seven World Heritage Sites, including ancient cities, temples and nature reserves. No wonder the country is known as the 'island of serendipity' by those fortunate enough to stumble upon it. To be sure, Sri Lanka is being stumbled upon on a more regular basis now, but the country's appearance on the luxury holiday radar merely means more and better boutique hotels and improved logisitics.

Now for some context. Sri Lanka was once of huge importance to European powers with an eye on spice markets and trade routes, and fascinating vestiges of the colonial control wielded by first the Portuguese and Dutch and latterly the British can be seen around the country.

Did you know

  • Before 1972, Sri Lanka was known as 'Ceylon'
  • Spicy curry is Sri Lanka's most common dish, served with rice and vegetables
  • Sri Lanka is also called the 'Teardrop of India' because of its teardrop shape and, you guessed it, its proximity to India
  • The elephant is the symbol of Sri Lanka
  • Every year Sri Lanka serves as a venue for an elephant pageant

But in our opinion it's the Ceylonese cultural heritage that marks Sri Lanka out as a truly extraordinary luxury holiday destination. The Cultural Triangle in the northern centre of the country, comprising the tongue-twisting cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, as well as Dambulla and the island's crowning glory - the rock fortress of Sigiriya - together making this an astonishing heritage heartland. Heading south the leafy holy city of Kandy and Sri Lanka's tea plantations are also highlights. Finally, Yala and Wilpattu National Parks might not have the tigers that make India's reserves so popular, but they are both beautiful and home to populations of leopards.

And then there are the beaches. Palm-fringed and stretching for mile upon mile, Sri Lanka's beaches are some of the least spoiled in Asia. The south coast is home to some of the very best, with an ever growing number of charming boutique hotels looking straight out onto the ocean. The centre of the south coast action is the wonderful walled city of Galle, like a Lankan Lucca and potentially worth a day or two's exploration before the lure of the beach overwhelms all your other luxury holiday plans.

The Original Travel team have been to Sri Lanka on a number of occasions over the past few years and have watched with satisfaction as the island bounces back from the trauma of the civil war years. We are passionate about the destination and know the country in detail, so when planning your luxury holiday we can suggest everything from the finest beach chic boutique hotels to stay in to the finest tea to take home as a souvenir.


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Original Highlight

Walking through the beautifully manicured, vivid green tea plantations, stopping for afternoon tea - complete with cucumber sandwiches and a choice of local teas - and then finally settling in with a G&T by the fire. Colonial bliss!

Rosie, Original Traveller

A note on price

Sri Lanka is good value, and you can do a fantastic luxury holiday that includes beach, culture and the tea plantations for around £1,500 per person (excluding flights) if you’re staying in simple but charming boutique hotels. Those who want to splash out can expect to spend around £5,000 - £6,000. Direct flights to Colombo cost from around £600 per person, though stop-overs save money. Learn more about our pricing

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 27°C / 80°F
  • Rainfall — 7cm / 2.9 inches
  • Water Temp. — 28°C / 82°F
Language

Sinhala, Sinhalese

Currency

Sri Lanka Rupee

Visa Requirements

Required

Religion

Buddhism

Food & Drink

Coconut milk Rice with Juggery or chillie paste Lampries rice and curry baked inside a banana leaf , Coconut Roti, King coconut water, Watalappan, Buffalo milk curd with treacle (derived from a syrup tree)

What to pack

light clothes and a cotton cloth to refresh yourself on trips due to heat and humidity

Flight from London

10:30 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +6 hrs


Client Reviews

100%

of our Sri Lanka clients give our holidays a positive rating

Read client reviews

Top picks for Sri Lanka

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Sri Lanka

Stay in a luxury hotel in Galle Fort and combine the city's culture with some of the best beach destinations in the world.

Where to go

The pool at Amanwella, luxury hotel in Sri Lanka

Amanwella

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Situated in a mature coconut grove above a tropical beach on the southern tip of the country's Indian Ocean coastline, this is coastal luxury at its most chic.

Where to stay

The Fortress

The Fortress

Galle & the Southern Beaches

The Fortress is a boutique resort on one of the south coast's most expansive sandy beaches, Koggala Beach. Only 10 miles from the historic city of Galle the building design and interior furnishings successfully blend traditional Dutch, Portuguese and Sri Lankan architecture with contemporary design.

Where to stay

Uga Residence

Uga Residence

Colombo

Sitting in the heart of bustling Colombo, the Uga Residence is an oasis of calm nestled between leafy Park Street and the Buddhist shrine of Gangarama. The Residence was built in the 19th century by Sheikh Salehboy Moosajee, a wealthy barrister, and throughout the years, the Residence has seen Indian Maharaja’s, European nobility, and British governors grace its halls.

Where to stay

Cultural Triangle & Tea Plantations

Cultural Triangle & Tea Plantations

Sri Lanka

The heartland of Sri Lanka contains several World Heritage listed sites, and because they are close together, these can easily be combined in one superb cultural tour.

Where to go

Yala, Wilpattu & Gal Oya National Parks

Yala, Wilpattu & Gal Oya National Parks

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's national parks are yet another attraction in a wonderful country.

Where to go

Jungle Beach

Jungle Beach

East Coast Beaches

Located on the east coast of Sri Lanka, Jungle Beach is true to its name, surrounded by two of the country’s major draw cards - beaches and jungle. The hotel design incorporates the trees growing around the site, to give a Romantic treehouse style to guestrooms.

Where to stay

Casa Heliconia

Casa Heliconia

Colombo

Jungle clad Casa Heliconia is an intimate hideaway, set on a three-acre fruit and vegetable estate in the rural village of Kaleliya in Pasyala, Western Sri Lanka. Tucked away within easy reach of the international airport, and the main Colombo – Kandy highway, the hotel makes an ideal first stop in Sri Lanka, to relax and refresh after international arrivals.

Where to stay

Fort Bazaar Courtyard

Fort Bazaar

Galle & the Southern Beaches

Opened in January 2016, Fort Bazaar is one of the newest and slickest additions to the booming boutique hotel scene in Sri Lanka. The hotel is set within a sensitively restored 17th century town house right in the heart of Galle Fort, once the home of spice, tea and gem traders, and offers plenty of charm and an ideal location. 

Where to stay

Uga Bay

Uga Bay

East Coast Beaches

Overlooking the sands of what is arguably one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful beaches, Uga Bay is a luxurious resort set in the centre of the bay of Passekudah.

Where to stay

Colombo

Colombo

Sri Lanka

For a slice of multicultural Sri Lankan life, a bit of buzz, and some interesting colonial architecture, Colombo is a worthy stopover, for a full exploration of this fascinating country.

Where to go

Living Heritage Koslanda courtyard

Living Heritage Koslanda

Cultural Triangle & Tea Plantations

Set in the Eastern Hills of Sri Lanka, Living Heritage Koslanda is a divine four suite getaway for those seeking serenity.

Where to stay

We were particularly impressed by the level of contact from you. We have fairly intense jobs and the fact that you were so communicative and helpful made organisation so easy.

Lucy

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