30 July, 2019
Where can you go with kids in Sri Lanka during a family holiday?
Are you looking for a destination for your next family holiday? How does tropical weather, beaches, wildlife safaris, exotic cuisine, train rides through the tea plantations, excellent service and beautiful hotels sound? If you’ve said yes then a family holiday in Sri Lanka should be on your list.
Sri Lanka is definitely a great place for family holidays. We say that from experience – with our team of senior Sri Lanka travel planners having both lived and travelled extensively in Sri Lanka with children over the past decade. But what are the best places to visit with kids in Sri Lanka and what are some of the things you can do (and enjoy) with children? We’ve put together a list of some of the activities we think work with children when travelling in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan government has announced free Sri Lanka travel visas for 46 countries including Australia from August 1; so taking a family holiday in Sri Lanka has gotten even easier. For families living in Melbourne, the direct flight on SriLankan Airlines is a convenient way to reach Colombo from Melbourne in about 13 hours without having to change planes. The flight timings are good and even if you are not living in Melbourne, there’s still good interconnection from other capital cities in Australia.
On top of this, on the ground in Sri Lanka you’ll find a range of good family accommodation options at different price points; there are growing number of activities for families and the list keeps improving from what see; there are lots of outdoor activities that are appealing to children as well as adults and number of those that you can do together; and while we love Sri Lankan food – many hotels also offer Western selections too which is handy if you have very small ones or picky eaters.
Here are six travel tips to help you plan a family holiday in Sri Lanka. If you are looking for more detailed ideas, our newest suggested itinerary – Sri Lankan Family Explorer – might provide some more travel inspiration to you.
#1 What is the best beach in Sri Lanka?
Whether you plan to spend two weeks in Sri Lanka sightseeing and touring, or you are looking for a place to just flop and drop and relax with your family – we recommended a beach stay in Sri Lanka during your trip. We love the beaches in Sri Lanka and a stay, perhaps even an extended stay, at the beach is an absolute must. We recommend it at the end of the journey so that all the activities are done, Mum and Dad can relax too while the kids (younger or older) can enjoy the warm sun and the salty waters.
Sri Lanka is an island, so beaches are all around. However, choosing the right beach and the right season matters in Sri Lanka. As the tidal waves are seasonal so is what you can do in these beaches. The Southern Coast (Tangalle, Weligama, Mirissa, Ahangama, Galle, Kalpitiya to name a few places in the Southern coastal belt) is at its best from November to April annually and the Eastern Coast (Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Arugumbay, Passikudah, Kalkudah are some of the places in the east) is best from April to November.
For larger families or families travelling together, there are a number of beachside villas that can be hired which is a great way to end your trip. (For more information about booking a villa in Sri Lanka – visit the villa section on our website here.)
#2 Water sports and activities such as surfing in Sri Lanka
For families there are number of safe activities you can engage in, from scuba diving in Hikkaduwa to surfing in Weligama and Arugumbay. However, if you are looking for less challenging activities or one that you can enjoy with younger children, whale watching is one of the best choices. Sri Lanka is blessed in having year around sightings of these majestic mammals including Blue whales. We recommend opting for a smaller private boat or the option of aerial whale watching along the south coast as a wonderful option to enjoy as a family.
Tip: The season for whale watching by boat along the south coast of Sri Lanka is November to April. The season for whale watching in Trincomalee (east coast) is April to November.
#3 Explore the walking trails
Sri Lanka offers many interesting walking trails from better-known ones like Horton Plains trail to lesser-known ones as in the Knuckles Mountain Ranges. These are ideal for families with kids over and above 10 years. There are many choices that you can pick from soft to medium level of difficulty – the softer trails would last less than three hours. If your family is like ours and likes to explore a country through walking, do let us know and we can include some walks/hikes in a custom made tour of Sri Lanka for you. We can recommend options that are best suited for you and your family with the option to have a naturalists/ guide who will assist you and enrich your experience. We recommend short trails in Knuckles Mountain Range, Belihuloya, Ella, Horton Plains, and Sinharaja Rainforest for especially for wildlife lovers. Some boutique accommodations offer their own range of short trails as part of your stay.
#4 Cycling and bike riding in Sri Lanka
Cycling is quite interesting in the rural parts of Sri Lanka. One reason is that it is possibly the best way of just embracing the beautiful landscapes, the fresh air and the smiles of the local people. Pedal with your family and enjoy the street food from little local cafes or quench your thirst with a king coconut. Our tip is a cycling tour in the cultural triangle that we can include in our suggested itineraries such as Family Holiday in Sri Lanka or Classic Sri Lanka.
#5 Sightseeing in the Cultural Triangle
This is a must do activity in Sri Lanka. However, amongst an array of sightseeing opportunities we would recommend that you pick a few favourites. Years of our travel experience tell us that Sigiriya Rock Fortress is still high on the list. It is not only a world wonder but suitable for children of most ages as the climb can be done at your own pace. We also love Pidurangala Rock climb adjacent to Sigiriya. The last bit of the climb is a bit challenging as there are no carved-out steps (so better suited for older children), but you will be mesmerized by the view on the summit once you reach the top.
Our kids also loved Anuradhapura and Kandy: If your legs ache and you need a bit of vibrancy use a Tuk Tuk for sightseeing.
#6 Wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka
Not to be missed out are wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka’s national parks. Sri Lanka is a wildlife haven with a large variety of mammals, birds, butterflies etc. It is famous for the Big 5 – elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sperm whale and blue whale. When it comes to land-based safaris – searching for elephants, leopards and sloth bears have become firm favourites. However, we must not forget it is the home for many endemic birds and other animals that would awe kids and parents alike. You can pick from one the popular national parks like Yala, Wilpattu, Udawalawe to lesser-visited ones such as Gal Oya. All these locations firmly fit into your round tour itinerary offering lots of adventure fun and educational experience for the entire family. For more tips and suggestions on what is the best national park in Sri Lanka to visit – read our other wildlife travel blogs – The ultimate guide to the best wildlife experiences in Sri Lanka and What is the best national park in Sri Lanka to go on safari?
These are just some of our tips on things you can do in Sri Lanka with children. We can design an itinerary for private tour of Sri Lanka with other activities such as a treasure hunt in Galle, a cooking class suitable for families, a villa stay in Sri Lanka and more active hiking for older children, based on the needs and interest of your family.
You might like to read our other travel blogs:
Top places to visit in Sri Lanka in 2019
Here’s why you should include a cooking class in your tour of Sri Lanka
Here’s 16 things about Sri Lanka you should know
You can also find these suggested itineraries on our website:
Family Holiday Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Family Adventure
I Need a Tropical Holiday
Surf Sri Lanka
If you’d like to know more about travelling with your children and family in Sri Lanka, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Melbourne, Australia office toll free on 1300 449 709.