This amazing island, off the southern tip of India has evidence of civilisations over 2000 years old. It is a country of contrasts, with beautiful beaches, mountains, rain forests, culture and archaeology. There are 100 metre high temples, statues of Buddha, and irrigation systems, which would be remarkable feats of engineering if they were built today. Their age makes them doubly remarkable.
This is a land where elephants are still used to load timber onto trucks, and where snake charmers can still be seen in the streets performing their art. In the centre of Sri Lanka there is a mountain range - the lower slopes are used to grow the numerous spices, and the upper slopes produce the famous Ceylon Tea. Sri Lanka's colonial history has influenced the style of many of the buildings, and Nuwari Eliya one of the towns in the heart of the mountains is sometimes referred to as 'little England'.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful island just off the south-eastern tip of India, about 600 miles north of the equator and only about nine and a half hours flying time from the UK. Its scenery is varied, offering a vast array of tropical vegetation, paddy fields, coconut estates, and dense forest. At higher altitudes are the spice growing regions and the tea estates, Sri Lanka’s most famous commodity. Throughout Sri Lanka there are vast natural and man made lakes, fast flowing rivers and ancient irrigation systems, some created over two thousand years ago. This is possibly why Sri Lanka has such a wide variety of delicious vegetables and fruits. The central mountain range peaks at around 2500 metres, near the town of Nuwara Eliya.
As Sri Lanka is a fairly developed tourism destination we have aimed to find hotels off the beaten track, which offer a friendly and professional level of service. We have chosen hotels in each of Sri Lanka’s areas of interest, allowing us to tailor a holiday to your budget and taste. Generally, the standard of service, food and drink is very good; this is helped considerably by the very reasonable prices in Sri Lanka.
For individual tourists or small groups one of the best ways to see Sri Lanka is for us to organise a private car/minibus with your own driver. This is no more expensive than hiring your own car, and he will be able to show you some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. Due to the narrow, and sometimes bad roads, it can take a long time to drive from place to place, and signs are often poor or non-existent. Having your own driver is the best way to relax and enjoy the holiday. When planning a round trip it is important to know the journey time between each place in order to ensure that you are not on the road for too long. If you tell us the areas that you are most interested in visiting, we will do the rest.
One of the best combinations for a holiday in Sri Lanka is to have a sightseeing trip and a period to relax on one of Sri Lanka’s wonderful beaches. Due to Air Lanka’s and British Airways regular scheduled services between London and Colombo the duration of holidays can normally be tailored to your personal requirements, though at certain times of the year hotel space is limited. Sri Lanka can be split into four very different regions all offering a wide choice of unusual places to visit, both natural and man made. The Cultural Triangle, includes Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya, the three most ancient cities of Sri Lanka’s colourful history. This region is in the centre of the island, and slightly north of the central mountain range. It offers some spectacular ancient ruins, vast ‘tanks’ (man made lakes) and beautiful natural scenery.
Kandy is a fascinating city built in the lower mountains.This is an area of mountains, streams, rivers and spectacular waterfalls.The countryside around Kandy is deeply forested with a multitude of spice gardens.The town houses the famous Temple of the Tooth, which is the most sacred Buddhist site in Sri Lanka. It is also famous for its jewellery and wood carvers, many of whom can copy a favourite Chippendale chair from a photograph. Here too is the famous Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.
Nuwara Eliya is the highest town in Sri Lanka and over 2000 metres above sea level. It is the cool area of the island and grows some of the best tea in the world. Historically this is where the British would come during the hot weather. There is a popular golf course, interesting English Church, some typically old British houses and a number of colonial style hotels.
The southern coastal plains are some of the least developed areas of Sri Lanka.The road from the central mountain region to the south is spectacular, dropping 2000 metres in only a few kilometres and passing huge waterfalls, precipices and breathtaking views to the valleys below. In this region are two of Sri Lanka’s national parks, Uda Walawa and Yala, both famous for wild elephants and other endemic wildlife, including a wide variety of birds. Accommodation here is fairly basic although we have identified one or two good places to stay.
Galle to Columbo (The west coast); is the area that has seen the most development in tourism. Galle is an old historical town with the remains of a fine Dutch fort. The coastline north of Galle has a number of very good palm clad beaches offering the ideal surrounding for a relaxing beach holiday. The hotels vary between large luxury beach resorts and small comfortable boutique hotels and guesthouses. Inland is the famous gem mining area of Sri Lanka around the town of Ratnapura.