Sri Lanka has only started seriously taking off as a tourist destination in fairly recent years. It’s often overlooked in favor of more prominent choices further to the east; and yet you’ll find just as much charm, character and natural beauty here as in Thailand or Malaysia.
Lush green tea fields nestled beneath mountains, beaches bathed in year-round sunshine, UNESCO World Heritage sites preserving thousands of years of culture, and some of the world’s most spectacular nature-spotting opportunities… the list of wonders offered up by this beguiling country just goes on and on. There is a sparklingly diverse array of experiences to be had here, from taking the road less traveled in northern Tamil country to strolling around Kandy’s scenic lake or diving the warm waters off the southwest coast.
Come face to face with the largest creature on the planet as you swim with blue whales in the south
Wander the Dambulla Buddha Caves, adorned with intricate paintings and opulent Buddha statues
Ride the staggeringly beautiful Ella to Kandy train route through verdant countryside and across narrow mountain bridges
Spot elephants, buffalo and giant squirrels in Uda Walawe National Park
Chill out around Tangalle, the gateway to some of Sri Lanka’s most gorgeous beaches
Rosyth Estate House is infused with just as much elegant colonial-era character as its name implies. This boutique hotel in Kegalle was once the home of a tea planter, and the rolling hills that surround it are still covered with regimented rows of tea. The trails here are beautiful, and chilled-out activities including cookery classes and massages offer guaranteed post-walk relaxation.
One of the most talked-about restaurants in the whole country is the chic Ministry of Crab in the capital, Colombo. Its quirky name might be responsible for some of that attention, but it’s the monster-sized crabs in spicy sauces that have truly earned this place its reputation.
Look down on water buffalo roaming a landscape scattered with rice paddies, tea fields and ancient ruins as you take a helicopter ride across the southwest of the country.