20 September 2018
Are you planning a holiday in Sri Lanka? Why should Sri Lanka be the next place you visit for a holiday?
Sri Lanka as a destination is now on the radar of many Australian travellers, but because it’s a relatively new holiday spot for most – a lot of other travel planners don’t know much about the country and travel in Sri Lanka. (In fact, you will find many haven’t even visited.)
We’ve been travelling in and exploring Sri Lanka for the best part of a decade and creating custom made holidays to Sri Lanka for families, couples, groups, and parties of friends holidaying together.
There’s so much to love about Sri Lanka and the revival of tourism in the country means it’s more welcoming and accessible than ever, but things are also changing and developing quickly.
Here are a few facts about Sri Lanka we thought might be useful if you are planning to travel in Sri Lanka.
#1 When is the best time to travel in Sri Lanka?
Getting your head around the weather in Sri Lanka is tricky! Sri Lanka is small tropical island with many regional climatic variations, and basically it can rain at any time. But the only time of year when you can expect extended rain across the country is October and November. Nearly all other times of the year are good for travel. (We will always take account of the weather when we plan a custom made itinerary in Sri Lanka.) May, June and July are quiet and make for a perfect Australian winter break – a great alternative to Europe or Canada.
#2 Direct flights to Sri Lanka
Getting to Sri Lanka from Australia is now even easier with the new direct flight from Melbourne to Colombo on SriLankan Airlines. We’ve already taken this flight ourselves a few times and love the convenience of it. We have also noticed some quite competitive airfares too – especially if you book in advance.
#3 How big is Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is approximately the size of Tasmania. In a 10 day holiday in Sri Lanka you can cover the highlights; in two weeks you can delve in a bit deeper, and in three weeks you can really explore Sri Lanka in depth. This makes it perfect for travellers with just two weeks or those that want to travel in Sri Lanka for longer.
# 4 Family travel in Sri Lanka
Easy going people, great food and a long coastline make Sri Lanka an ideal destination for families, groups of families and multi-generational families. There are private villas in Sri Lanka to die for, at reasonable rates, and we know the best of them (just avoid Christmas/New Year if you can!). Our first-hand experience and expertise in travelling with children in Sri Lanka gives us real insights into family travel in Sri Lanka that we can apply to your family holiday.
If you are considering a family holiday in Sri Lanka – check out our two suggested itineraries designed especially for families;
Family Holiday Sri Lankan and Sri Lankan Family Adventure
#5 Sri Lanka has something for everyone
There are such a wonderful variety of places to visit in Sri Lanka. There is truly something for all travellers – beach resorts where you can flop and drop and enjoy and extended beach holiday in Sri Lanka, cultural touring, World Heritage sites, special interests activities such as wildlife and food, and locations and activities for active and adventurous travellers. Any traveller who is looking for a new destination or something a bit different will find Sri Lanka interesting.
#6 Wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka
Safaris are popular but which park is best for a leopard safari in Sri Lanka? Yala has the highest density of leopards and therefore the highest density of human visitors too. We love Wilpattu – it’s the oldest and largest park, but has fewer accommodation options (which helps keep the crowds away!). Previously little-visited parks such as Gal Oya and Udawalawe are also worthwhile for wildlife enthusiasts who aren’t only interested in leopards in Sri Lanka. Wildlife of Sri Lanka is a 17-day suggested itinerary for wildlife lovers looking to experience the best of Sri Lanka’s national parks and wildlife.
#7 Should you include Tea Trails Sri Lanka in your holiday?
Yes! In a nutshell, it’s a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll never forget. Ceylon Tea Trails is a Relais & Chateaux all-inclusive luxury tea plantation experience. Definitely one for bucketlist.
#8 Cinnamon Air domestic flights in Sri Lanka
Fly across the country with Cinnamon Air and cut out long drives. Ideal for travellers who are time poor or want to cover the breadth of the country comfortably. Many people don’t know they can take a reasonably priced charter flight (great for groups of friends and families) or connect with scheduled flights across the country.
#9 Can I take a train trip in Sri Lanka?
A highlight for many people is a train journey through Sri Lanka’s tea country and central highlands. There are many stops on this route so we can book a journey to suit – anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours. Trains are quaint, comfortable and really enjoyable.
#10 Things to see and do in Colombo
Colombo boasts great hotels from UGA Residence for boutique experiences to the iconic heritage hotel – Galle Face Hotel. It also has some wonderful contemporary dining and bars, and is one of the best places to shop when you visit Sri Lanka. We also offer some interesting walking tours in Colombo. Being the political and commercial capital, a stop here also sets the scene for the rest of the country. Read our recent travel blog which will give you some ideas about things to see and do in Colombo.
Some of the great luxury hotels in Colombo we like to include in our itineraries include Galle Face Hotel and UGA Residence.
#11 Just what is rice and curry?
Rice and curry is the staple meal of Sri Lanka. It’s lunch or dinner – eat it at a roadside place (our drivers know the best and most hygienic local ones), at a homestay or at a 5-star resort. It’s usually 5 or 6 vegetable curries and 1 or 2 meat or seafood dishes. A quintessential Sri Lankan experience and we challenge you to find a better tasting meal anywhere in the world!
#12 Arriving late into Colombo airport
The airport is about an hour from Colombo city. As many flights arrive late night (including the new direct Melbourne Colombo service on SriLankan Airlines) most itineraries begin with either a night near the airport, or two nights in Colombo. There is no point including a Colombo city hotel for a 1-night stay. If you are planning to start your tour of Sri Lanka heading to say the cultural triangle (Sigiriya, Dambulla, Anuradhapura etc) then stay near the airport when you arrive and head off in the morning. If you are starting your holiday in Sri Lanka with sightseeing in Colombo – then head into the city and stay for a few nights.
#13 What are the best places for high tea in Sri Lanka?
Do you like high tea? We can recommend some of the best in Sri Lanka – Colombo, Galle, Kandy and the tea country are places we can add a high tea into your tour or Sri Lanka. There’s always time for tea and scones (and maybe a cheeky glass of sparkling wine) when on holidays…
#14 Do I need a visa to travel in Sri Lanka?
Yes, most travellers do. Sri Lanka offers an e-visa and pre-approval before you travel. It’s easy to complete the application online and approved quite quickly in most cases. You need to print your approval letter and carry it with you upon arrival in Colombo. Your passport is then stamped with the visa on arrival – fast and painless.
#15 Go sooner rather than later
We’ve noticed rapid changes in Sri Lanka in the last five years. The pace of change is only going to increase as more people discover this tropical paradise. Go now while the country is still genuinely warm and enthusiastic about visitors!
#16 Unique Sri Lankan accommodation
Excellent boutique hotels with real Sri Lankan character, smaller B&B’s for true hospitality, wildlife lodges and tented camps for some peace & quiet, conventional beach resorts to finish touring, grand historic hotels, plantation stays . . . we know the best places to stay in Sri Lanka and trying a bit of everything is the way to go. Sri Lanka has a range of accommodation for all budgets and a unique accommodation style all of its own.
If you’d like to receive a custom made tour of Sri Lanka, contact us today at email@example.com and we can design your ideal holiday. Alternatively, make an appointment to come to our Melbourne office and talk to one of our expert travel planners about visiting Sri Lanka.