Things to do in the Cultural Triangle
Anuradhapura by Bike
Discover the ancient city of Anuradhapura by bike, exploring the ruins with a guide who can share stories of the city and its past inhabitants. The city dates back to the fourth century BC and was once dotted with monasteries housing over 10,000 monks. Start in the paddy fields and cycle past local villages and ruins that are slowly being enveloped by the jungle.
Polonnaruwa with a Primate Researcher
Meet the primate population who live in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa while being guided by researchers from the Smithsonian Primate Research Centre. Expect to see torque macaques and grey langurs as well as purple-faced langurs higher up in the trees. Observe the monkeys' social interactions and behaviours as you wander around and learn about the challenges of monkey conservation.
Tea Tasting Overlooking Ella Gap
Hike through the Uva Highlands where tea, cinnamon and lemongrass are grown and explore a working tea plantation, stopping off at the stunning Ravana-Ella waterfall. The estate supports local educational, economic and environmental initiatives and its teas, coffees and preserves are stocked in places such as Fortnum and Mason. Then enjoy four of their signature hand-made teas while learning about its production and admiring the views of Ella Gap.
Things to do on the East Coast Beaches
Crab Cooking Class
Enjoy a cooking class with a chef at a local guest house, creating dishes such as coconut sambol and crab curry. And for those with a more sensitive palate, don't worry, spice levels can be tailored to suit. The crabs will be caught in the local lagoon and the curry leaves picked straight from the restaurant's garden, so this really is as local as ingredients get.
Try your luck at spotting blue and sperm whales on a boat trip off the coast around Jungle Beach, just north of Trincomalee. Visit between May and October for the best chance of seeing these magnificent mammals in this part of the country. The waters around here are also feeding grounds for spinner dolphins, who often swim alongside boats and leap into the air showing off their acrobatic skills.
Birdwatching Boat Cruise at Kokkilai
Sri Lanka is something of a birder's paradise, and the Kokkilai Bird Sanctuary is a definite highlight. Located along the Kokkilai Lagoon, surrounded by mangrove swamps and sea grass beds, the sanctuary is home to a variety of exotic migratory, resident and endemic bird species. These include cormorants, flamingos, pelicans and the rare and endangered black-necked stork. You may also be lucky enough to spot elephants nearby.
Things to do in Galle & the Southern Beaches
Explore Galle by Boat and Bike
Take in southern Sri Lanka's beautiful countryside and experience local life, beginning on the water travelling along the river banks around Galle, passing by local villages and cinnamon plantations. Then head back to dry land and hop on a bike, cycling through paddy fields, villages and markets. Finish up at a traditional mud hut to enjoy a cup of herbal tea and some Sri Lankan hoppers fresh from the fire.
Enjoy a surf lesson in a secluded part of the popular Weligama Bay. Whether you're a beginner or seasoned pro, your instructor can teach you everything from the very basics to more technical elements of surfing. They will be in the water with you, giving you tips on how to improve with each wave. From the water you can also watch local fishermen preparing their nets for the day's catch.
Catamaran Charter for Whale Watching
Whale watching season in this part of the country is between November and April, when the chances of seeing a blue whale are as good as 90%. Sail through the waters on a fully crewed catamaran, looking out for both whales and dolphins swimming around the boat. When sailing back in towards Weligama Bay, jump into the water to enjoy some snorkelling and paddle boarding.
Things to do in Yala, Wilpattu & Gal Oya National Parks
Game Drive in Search of Leopards
Yala National Park is home to the highest concentration of leopards in the world, with sightings here all but guaranteed because the leopards here are known for being less elusive than in other parts of the world. While this does mean the inevitable presence of other vehicles, we'd say this is a small price to pay for the chance to see one of the most magnificent of the big cats.
Summer Safari in Wilpattu
Enjoy a summer safari in Wilpattu National Park, which is prime time to visit this part of the country, while staying in a comfortable tented safari camp. Enjoy all the modern day amenities while staying under canvas and soaking up all the sights and sounds of the wilderness. Even during peak season visitor numbers remain low here, and staying in a tented camp will make you feel even more remote.
Forest Walk with a Vedda Elder
The Vedda are an indigenous group of people who have lived in the forests of Sri Lanka for hundreds of years, and one of their last remaining communities live in Gal Oya National Park. We can arrange for you to go on a walk through the forest with a village chief as he explains how the tribe use medicinal plants and where their ancient hunting grounds and cave dwellings are.
The Best of Sri Lanka
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.
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.
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!).