With travel resuming, it’s time to think about where to travel and what are the best places and experiences for your 2022 holidays.
Sri Lanka is still a relatively new travel destination for many and has been voted by some travel groups as one of the best destination to visit. And we couldn’t agree more!!
As always, to help you make your travel plans, we’ve come up with our top fifteen places to visit in Sri Lanka in 2021/2022. These are the places which we think are “must visit destinations” next year and are based on current travel experiences (and the more than two decades we have spent living, working and travelling in southeast Asia with particular focus on India and Sri Lanka). This list though, we have complied after our most recent research trips, group tours and personal travel in 2019. These are some of our favourite places to visit, places we think are lesser-visited but are worthy of travellers’ attention, might feature a standout new place to stay that is reason enough to visit there or we’ve discovered new activities and met interesting local people we’d like to share with you.
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?
Sri Lanka’s must see places in 2022:
Here are our recommendations for the best places to visit in Sri Lanka and top experiences to have during a tour of Sri Lanka.
Best hotels in Sri Lanka:
Splurge on an all-inclusive stay
Three gourmet meals a day, a butler serving bed tea, an open bar and leisurely afternoons in elegant surroundings, afternoon teas served in manicured gardens…..have we got your attention now? Across Sri Lanka there are a number of luxury all-inclusive stays from tea plantation stays to bespoke wildlife lodges in Sri Lanka to new boutique hotels in Sri Lanka’s tea country. All offering you all-inclusive stays with incredible service, some of the best meals we have savoured in Sri Lanka, and nothing to worry about (or pay for!) once you arrive. For the ultimate in holidays splurges we love to include one of these stays in your private tour itinerary in Sri Lanka. Some of our favourites include Leopard Trails, Chena Huts by UGA Escapes and Nine Skies in the tea country. Contact us directly to find out more about our new itinerary Boutique Sri Lanka itinerary which includes an all-inclusive stay.
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:
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.
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:
- 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.
- The thimble workshop at Villa Hundira where children can try their hand at painting, sewing and other crafts with the ladies from fishing families.
Top places to explore in Sri Lanka when travel resumes:
Jaffna: 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.
A few days in Galle: While we are along the south coast, time and time again we love to encourage our travellers to visit Galle Fort. This charming, world-heritage listed city is one of our favourite places in Sri Lanka. We love to spend a few days staying at one of the boutique hotels in Galle, meandering along its cobbled streets and exploring its contemporary boutiques and inviting cafes. There are a range of wonderful upmarket luxury hotels in Galle including the elegant Amangalla by Aman and Rampart St by Taru Villas. You can easily spend a few days in Galle and it’s a great place to end a private tour of Sri Lanka. Galle features in our Quintessential Sri Lanka private tour and you can read more about shopping in Sri Lanka here.
Kandy: Known world over for its UNESCO world heritage-listed Buddhist temple, the much-revered Temple of the Sacred Tooth, the hill town of Kandy draws visitors from across Sri Lanka and the globe who come to pay homage and see the temple. However, beyond the temple, there’s much for you to see and explore in Kandy, from unique street eats and local markets to churches, historic buildings and botanic gardens. Kandy makes our list of must visit places in Sri Lanka in 2020. You can find out more about things to see and do in Kandy here.
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 unique dining experiences in Colombo including curated fine dining experiences. Experiencing any of these dining experiences are a must for foodies.
Best beaches to stay in Sri Lanka:
The best beaches along the south and west coast of Sri Lanka
With seemingly endless coastline and beaches to choose from, we’ve recently revisited and fallen in love again with the coast and beaches in the west and south of Sri Lanka. Our recent travel has included an extensive exploration of Sri Lanka’s coast from Colombo all the way to Tangalle. What we discovered is a beach stay in Sri Lanka to suit everyone – private villas in Sri Lanka for personal stays, contemporary boutique properties, five star resorts, great surfing and swimming spots and some seriously interesting upmarket dining coming up along the coast. What does this mean for you? In 2020 we recommend a beach stay in Sri Lanka for everyone and we’ve got just the right place to suit you! For more details about the beaches of Sri Lanka – visit our latest travel blog with detailed travel tips about some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
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:
- 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.
- A private dinner served on the vast grounds at the luxury eco-resort Ulagalla.
- 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.
Sri Lanka’s lesser-known national parks
While Sri Lanka’s leopards are its best-known animal inhabitant and arguably its top drawcard for visitors to Sri Lanka’s national parks, there’s more to the country’s natural beauty and wildlife than leopards in the popular parks such as Yala. The country is home to a range of wildlife from sloth bears to elephants, as well as a vast range of birdlife and flora. We strongly recommend spending time in its lesser-visited parks where the focus is on the all round natural beauty of the park and not just its large mammals. Our 20-day suggested itinerary Wild Sri Lanka showcases Sri Lanka’s best national parks, with unique wildlife experiences and accommodation. Add it to your travel wish list for 2020.
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.
Sri Lanka Unbound crafts tailor-made itineraries for private touring in Sri Lanka which features these and many more remarkable places, people and experiences.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about visiting Sri Lanka in 2021/2022
You may also like to read our other travel blog: 16 Things About Sri Lanka You Should Know