Sri Lanka Tours & Holidays
Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Holidays
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Since antiquity, Sri Lanka has long captivated the hearts and minds of visitors to its shores. Marco Polo declared it the finest island in the world and during its turbulent history it has been known by many names; Serendib, Ceylon, The Resplendent Isle and the Pearl of the Orient. But its most poignant epithet must surely be that of the Teardrop of India. For years it has sat in the shadow of its giant neighbour, but, warmed by the equatorial sun and watered by the monsoon rains, this fertile ...
Since antiquity, Sri Lanka has long captivated the hearts and minds of visitors to its shores. Marco Polo declared it the finest island in the world and during its turbulent history it has been known by many names; Serendib, Ceylon, The Resplendent Isle and the Pearl of the Orient. But its most poignant epithet must surely be that of the Teardrop of India. For years it has sat in the shadow of its giant neighbour, but, warmed by the equatorial sun and watered by the monsoon rains, this fertile land has an identity all of its own. A cultural melting pot of Indian, Portuguese, Dutch and British influences, Sri Lanka is a real treat for the senses. Sandwiched between lush mountain greenery and palm-fringed sands, its ancient cities share the landscape with charming colonial architecture, quiet beaches and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. From the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura, to the Buddhist caves and tea plantations of the central highlands, the country is a treasure trove of natural and cultural highlights. Home to no fewer than six UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the sacred city of Kandy and the ancient fortress of Sigiriya, its national parks are home to wild elephants, sloth bears and over 400 different species of birds. Little wonder then that this idyllic paradise gave birth to the word, serendipity.
Start your journey
Travel to Sri Lanka with like-minded people on one of our small group tours (usually max size 12), featuring knowledgeable local guides and an expert tour leader.
Whether you want to travel on one of our award-winning itineraries or build your own journey from scratch, our expert consultants will help create the perfect tour for your tastes and budget. Below are a few suggestions of the kind of trips we can offer, all of which can be tailored to you.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SRI LANKA
Visit a tea plantationImmerse yourself in the lush green tea plantations of this stunning region and peek inside the factories to see the process behind producing the world-famous 'Ceylon Tea'. Later, explore the historical landmarks and colonial heritage of Nuwara Eliya.
Climb an ancient rock fortressAscend the imposing Lion Rock, built on a 180-metre-high square of granite to reach the ruins of this fortress, declared a World Heritage Site in 1982. Make it to the top and you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
Tour Galle Fort at sunsetThis UNESCO Site is the best-preserved colonial sea fortress in all of Asia, with Portuguese, Dutch and British influences. Explore as the sun sets when the fort begins to slip into a centuries-old lethargy and the ghosts of the past come to life.
Take a Botanical Gardens tourTake a stroll around the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy, one of the best of its kind in Asia containing more than 5000 species of flora, and you can see fruit bats hanging from the trees. It was also the Headquarters of Lord Mountbatten during the Second World War.
Visit the Primate CentreVisit the oldest primate centre in the world at Polonnaruwa, where the monkeys roam freely under the protection of the Smithsonian Primate Research Center. Professional biologists carry out crucial scientific research here and also offer educational programs.
Discover Colombo's architectureSet off on foot and take in the myriad of buildings that date from the 17th century up to the 90’s, many of which were first erected during the Dutch & British rule. Include a visit to Pettah Market place, even older than the buildings you'll see.
Cycle around AnuradhapuraThe best way to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Anuradhapura is by bicycle! Cycle through the world’s largest archaeological excavation site and learn about the history behind the once spiritual and secular capital of the island.
Carve yourself a traditional maskLearn about the tradition of Kolam mask carving in a workshop run by an artisan craftsman who will take you through the history and the process from start to finish, guiding you through your own mask carving using traditional tools.
TOP PLACES TO VISIT
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY
WHEN TO GO
Health and Vaccinations
Travellers from countries with risk of yellow fever or polio transmission must have an up to date yellow fever or polio vaccination. There are no other mandatory immunisations for travellers to Sri Lanka though you should be up to date with Diphtheria, TB, Japanese B Encephalitis, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Rabies and Tetanus. Dengue fever is common throughout Sri Lanka. There is no vaccine, and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites. Sri Lanka is a low risk area for Malaria, but we recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments.
In Sri Lanka the official unit of currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee. To check out the latest exchange rate for the places that you are visiting you can go to www.oanda.com.
Informal Western dress is suitable except when visiting Buddhist temples, where modest clothing should be worn with no bare legs and upper arms. Visitors should be decently clothed when visiting any place of worship, and shoes and hats must be removed. Some temples will provide sarongs but it is best to bring your own in case they run out and to avoid queuing.
On our tours we frequently interact with local people, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. We therefore ask you to be considerate and to treat them with respect. Your guides will be able to advise you accordingly.
Language & Religion
Sinhala and Tamil are official languages in Sri Lanka. Sinhala, a language of Indo-Aryan origin is the language of the majority. English is widely spoken and understood. Place names and signs on buses and trains are usually in all three languages.
Buddhism is the main religion of Sri Lanka, where it was officially introduced in the 3rd century B.C. during the reign of King Devanam Piyatissa by Venerable Mahinda, who was the son of Emperor Asoka of India.
Sri Lanka is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT.
A useful website to check the time zone differences is www.worldtimezone.com.
Food and drink
Sri Lankan cuisine is hot and spicy. The staple food of Sri Lankans is rice, which is prepared with curry both veg, and fish based. All the dishes are cooked on the base of coconut milk and flavoured by liberal use of spices. Like all the people of coastal regions, the Sri Lankans are expert in preparing fish dishes. Mallung, Sambol, Lamprais, Buriyani and Polos Pehi are some popular dishes of Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans also like several juicy sweetmeats like Kavum, Halape, Thalaguli and Wattalapam. It is probably one of the oldest representations of vegetarian food in the world and is traditionally served on a banana leaf.