January 14, 2019
With the new year upon us it’s time to think about where to travel in 2019 and what are the best places to visit in 2019 on your holidays.
Sri Lanka is still a relatively new travel destination for many and has been voted by some travel groups as the number one destination to visit in 2019. And we couldn’t agree more!!
Sri Lanka’s compact size makes it easy to visit over two weeks – perfect for a school holiday trip – and an ideal amount of time for a first visit as an introduction to this amazing tropical island.
With wildlife safaris; abundant coastlines and beaches; tea plantations; world heritage sites; accommodation ranging from boutique to ultra luxurious to family friendly and everything in between; delicious cuisine and warm and welcoming locals – Sri Lanka beacons.
So what is there to see and do in Sri Lanka?
Here are our recommendations for the best places to visit in Sri Lanka and the top experiences to have during a tour of Sri Lanka this year. (There’s actually 11, not 10! )
# Sri Lanka’s must see place in 2019:
Madukelle – a place that’s not on the radar of many, this has been one of favourite places to visit and stay in Sri Lanka for a long time – and we believe it should be on your list of places to see this year. Offering great trekking/walking opportunities in the Knuckles Mountain Range with its beautiful scenery, combined with the experience of discovering Sri Lanka’s tea plantation country at the same time. Stay at Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge – with its inviting infinity pool overlooking the ranges, its tea tours and activities and individual freestanding bungalows. As you can see in this picture – the view and the pool is rather spectacular! A visit to Madukelle features in our Secret Sri Lanka suggested itinerary.
# Sri Lanka’s best new hotel/villa to stay at in 2019:
The latest property by Taru Villas in Yala is one of the new hotels in Sri Lanka that has gathered our attention. Expect to see it featured in our custom made tours of Sri Lanka this year. Some of the things we love about this hotel is its location – away from the main stretch of hotels near Yala but close enough to the park still – the great food and service we expect and love from Taru properties, the privacy and the wildlife experience which is boosted by the expertise of the in-house naturalist. If you are looking for the best places to take a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka then this is a great option in terms of accommodation near Yala National Park.
# Best family activity in Sri Lanka:
Given our own experience and expertise with family travel in Sri Lanka and India, we are always seeking good, interesting family activities to do with children when we travel. A couple of activities for children in Sri Lanka that make our list this year include:
1) Take a tuk-tuk ride in the village of Dunagaha – where you can take in everyday village life of the area including the traditional cottage industries such as brick making, pineapple farming, weaving and coir making.
2) The thimble workshop at Villa Hundira where children can try their hand at painting, sewing and other crafts with the ladies from fishing families.
# Best hotels for families in Sri Lanka:
Finding the right hotels for family travel in Sri Lanka can be hard and options also limited, especially if you are looking for one family room. Here are some of the best hotels in Sri Lanka we like for family holidays in Sri Lanka:
1) Villa Hundira – as we mentioned above they have a cottage craft workshop here run by the women from local fishing families. Guests and families can join at any time for craft classes and experiences.
2) Ellerton Bungalow
3) Jim’s Farm Villas
4) Kulu Safaris, Yala
5) Taru Villas, Yala
# Top place to explore in Sri Lanka:
Jaffna in the far north of the country is still the place to go if you want to get away from the tourists and visit a part of Sri Lanka that is still relatively untouched by tourism. Cut of from the rest of the country for several decades, Jaffna is a place where it feels as if time stood still. A visit to Jaffna will give you the sense of exploring, rather than touring. Expect to discover a culture that is different to the rest of Sri Lanka, unique cuisine, history and archaeology. You can visit Jaffna and northern Sri Lanka on our Backroads of Sri Lanka private tour.
# Best travel experience for female travellers:
For a range of reasons, we are seeing more and more women travelling by themselves or with female friends. One of the best places for females travelling in Sri Lanka is Galle with its lovely boutique hotels, its pleasant atmosphere and cobbled streets. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes in Galle, inviting boutiques and artisan workshops and galleries for shopping. It’s safe, and easily accessible from Colombo.
For ladies travelling in Sri Lanka looking for a group tour of Sri Lanka for women – our Sri Lankan Discovery small group tour departs in July and has been designed especially for female travellers wanting a group tour in Sri Lanka.
What are the best things to see and do in Sri Lanka in 2019? This is a guide to travel in Sri Lanka in 2019 as compiled by our senior Sri Lanka tour planners.
# Best walking tour:
A guided city walk is the best way to discover a city’s true heart – it will reveal to you much more than you can see and experience from a bus window. Our expert resident guide will reveal to you Colombo – not what you will find in guidebooks – but the insiders Colombo where you can have the chance to meet and learn from an interesting local personality, see a different side of the city and taste some local street snacks. Ask us to include a walking tour of Colombo in your tour this year.
# Top dining experience:
There’s a lot of buzz around the newest dining experience in Colombo – Culinary Ceylon. Expect a seven-course, curated fine dining experience focused entirely on Sri Lankan cuisine and food closer to the heart of Sri Lankans. A must do for foodies in Sri Lanka.
# Best beach to stay at in Sri Lanka
This year our focus will be on the Mawella beach stretch closer to Tangalle on the south coast of Sri Lanka for top beaches of Sri Lanka to stay at. This part of the coastline is still quiet without many tourists and offers some great villa options for accommodation. We also like Kalkudah on the east coast – where you will find great resorts like UGA Beach. Choosing the best beach in Sri Lanka for your holiday and when to go (given the seasonal factors such as monsoon weather) is important. Our Sri Lankan beach stay blog will give you some tips on the best beach for your holiday.
# Best location to celebrate a big birthday or wedding anniversary:
Do you need ideas for places and experiences in Sri Lanka to celebrate your 70th birthday? Perhaps it’s your 40th wedding anniversary and you are looking for ideas to make the occasion truly memorable. Here are some of our suggestions for a special birthday or celebration in Sri Lanka:
1) Savour a special dinner served at a picturesque location near Sigiriya with views of the surrounding countryside. Served upon a rock, start with sunset drinks and watch the sunset over Sigiriya, before a BBQ dinner at your stone carved table.
2) A private dinner served on the vast grounds at the luxury eco-resort Ulagalla.
3) An elegant special dinner outside by the pool at Amangalla in Galle. (A stay at Amangalla features in Splendour in Sri Lanka – a hosted small group tour of Sri Lanka by our Remarkable East brand.)
# Best wildlife experience:
If are a wildlife enthusiast or have a passing interest in nature and animals – Sri Lanka is home to a number of national parks, with its most famous resident of some parks being the leopard. We recommend visiting Wilpattu National Park – of all the parks in Sri Lanka, Wilpattu is less crowded, its vast and has a good road network. The park boasts a range of wildlife and different eco systems and the sightings can be more natural as the animals aren’t used to the big crowds of other parks. You can find more tips on the best national parks in Sri Lanka to visit here.
We hope you find our list of top places to see in Sri Lanka in 2019 and the best activities to include in your holiday in Sri Lanka interesting and useful. We can incorporate any or all of these into a custom made private tour of Sri Lanka for you. If you are not sure where to start planning a holiday in Sri Lanka – take a look at two of our suggested itineraries: Classic Sri Lanka and Quintessential Sri Lanka.
You may also like to read our other travel blog: 16 Things About Sri Lanka You Should Know