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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.

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.

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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Sigiriya Gardens
If You Do Three Things
1
Climb Sigiriya

Explore Sigiriya, or 'Lion Rock', one of the most recognisable spots in Sri Lanka, with a knowledgeable guide who can share stories of the historical and archaeological significance of this 660 foot high ancient rock fortress. Start by walking through the landscaped gardens (some of the oldest in the world) before making your way up the 1,200 steps to the top to enjoy spectacular views.

Sri Lanka Train
If You Do Three Things
2
Travel by Train

Enjoy a train ride from Kandy to the tea hills, one of the most scenic stretches of railway across Sri Lanka. We'd suggest travelling second class as there are open windows (with bars not glass) which are brilliant for photography. Teetering on the top of tea-clad mountains, the daily scheduled trains weave their way through some of Sri Lanka's finest landscapes, offering breathtaking views that you'd miss travelling by road.

Sri Lanka Egg Hopper
If You Do Three Things
3
Sample Sri Lankan Cuisine

Sri Lanka is definitely a destination for foodies, whether you're enjoying the cuisine in local restaurants, on a cooking class or street food tour, it's rare to have a bad meal here. Chefs are generally good at tailoring dishes to western palates or giving you the full spice explosion if you'd rather. Our favourite dishes include egg hoppers with coconut sambol and sour fish curry (nicer than it sounds!).

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Where to go
When to go
Where to stay
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When to go
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Colombo
East Coast Beaches
Galle & the Southern Beaches
Cultural Triangle & Tea Plantations
Yala, Wilpattu & Gal Oya National Parks
Colombo
East Coast Beaches
Galle & the Southern Beaches
Cultural Triangle & Tea Plantations
Yala, Wilpattu & Gal Oya National Parks
Best time
Low season
Off season
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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.

Itinerary Suggestions

South Coast Sri Lanka

12 Days

From £2,450pp

An Active Adventure in Sri Lanka

15 Days

From £6,540pp