This 'pearl of the Indian Ocean,' Sri Lanka is almost a must-do when you travel to the sub-continent. It has seduced many, including the famous sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke to never leave. In a culture that is over 2000 years old with Portugese, Dutch, British, Tamil influences, there is much to discover, starting with Colombo, that charming port city where the ancient jostles with the modern, the quaintly traditional with the eclectic and luxurious modern. From there move easily to golden beach resorts to heritage sites and tea and spice plantations, from wildlife reserves to temples and sanctuaries. Then, on the beaches and perhaps to Anuradhapura, to see Sigirya Rock, to Kandy and to Nuwara Eliya, to Yala and Udawalawe. The names are exotic, the places even more so. You will take away memories but don't leave without gemstones, spices and textile.
An endless coastline with endless sparkling beaches. The water is a crazy blue, the sands are a wizard white and you may even come back just for the exotic cocktails and amazing seafood. Did we tell you that Sri Lankan cuisine is a celebrated experience? This could be your Do-Nothing retreat, your spa-and-soul break, your nature communion, your romantic tryst – or a romp with friends and family. The quiet rejuvenation is enhanced by blissful spa massages, meditation, and the warmth of its people. There is also scuba diving and water sports and exploring underwater treasure if that's what will make you happy. Bentota, Beruwala, Hikkaduwa, Tangalle… the beaches beckon.
In a country so quintessentially and quietly in tune with nature, a trip to the wildlife parks seems befitting once you are done with Colombo or your beach resort, of course! Think Sri Lanka and think Elephants – you'll see many of these beloved creatures at the Udawalawe National Park. Around Yala are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries with a variety of ecosystems, over 200 bird species and 44 mammals. You're more than likely to spot a leopard at Yala than anywhere else in the world. The Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve is a lesser-known treasure trove where you should go bird spotting – there is an amazing diversity and density of amphibian life to be found. And have you heard about whale watching at Mirissa from Dondra Point? It's a treat.
Do what the Sahibs did when they had had enough of sun and sea. They'd make for beautiful hills of Sri Lanka. A visit to tea country is strongly recommended. The views are breathtaking. The scenic plantations cover the sloping hillsides in colourful shades of jade to emerald. The tea-pluckers complete the charming picture. The weather is cool and misty. And yes, you get some of the best and most fragrant tea in the world. We'll point you to Nuwara Eliya with its British country village feel and it many attractions. This is definitely a memorable experience. Ditto for the spice gardens in Matale.