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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the gems of the Indian Ocean. A small teardrop that falls from the great Indian subcontinent, it's a colourful and chaotic, diverse and devoted country - where Buddhism and an infatuation with the national cricket team take precedent. The ‘Island of Serendipity' - as Sri Lanka is known - has been on the tourist trail for some time. And yet the bounteous enthusiasm of its local communities and the immensity of its cultural and historical treasures make even luxury Sri Lankan holidays feel like real exploration. [See Sri Lanka itinerary ideas]

Sri Lanka's attractions are numerous and varied. There are lush and steeply terraced tea plantations, one of the clearest legacies of old Ceylon. Splendid beaches, too, some frequented by surfers, others empty and untamed. The energy of the country's largest city, Colombo, and its abundant historical sites are other highlights of Sri Lanka travel. The latter include the fortified old town of Galle, on the southwest coast, sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree at Anuradhapura, the cave temples at Dambulla and the mighty rock fortress at Sigiriya.

Sri Lanka's natural scenery is just as stunning, whether you decide to visit the central highlands around Kandy - home to the Temple of the Tooth - or the rainforest at Sinharaja Forest Reserve, which is home to leopards and plentiful birds. For a relatively small island Sri Lanka certainly packs a lot in. But take in some of its many charms and you're sure to have an unforgettable Sri Lanka holiday.

WEXAS Travel brochure for Sri Lanka

WEXAS Top 50 Worldwide Journeys

Our in depth guide packed with background information, sample itineraries designed by our experts and hand-picked suggestions for what to see and do, where to stay and when best to go.


When to go

Sri Lanka is tropical and has two very distinct seasons, though confusingly, because of a double monsoon, these take place at different times in the north and south. Monsoons occur between May and August in the southwest and October and January in the northeast. It's wettest in the south, with up to 4,000mm of rain falling each year. 

Sri Lanka is warm all year round, with temperatures averaging around the mid-to-high 20s. It can be very humid in the low-lying regions during the wet seasons, but Kandy and the higher plateaus of the central province offer some temperate relief.

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER
 BEST TIME
 GOOD TIME
 SOME LIMITATIONS

Practical Information

Capital - Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (administrative), Colombo (commercial)

Size - 65,610 sq km

Language - Sinhala, Tamil, English

Population - 21,675,650

Religion - Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian  

Currency - Sri Lankan rupee

Time zone - GMT+5.5

Flight time from the UK - 10.5 hours

Festivals

January- Duruthu Poya, Buddhist festival

February - National Day

February/March - Maha Sivarathri, the night when Siva danced his dance of destruction

April - Sinhala Tamil New Year

May - Vesak Full Moon Poya

June - Poson Full Moon Poya

July - Esala Full Moon Poya

August - Esala Perahera, Buddist festival of the tooth  

September - Binara Full Moon Poya

October - Deepavali, Hindu Festival of Lights

November - Il Full Moon Poya

Visas

Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.

Passport requirements

Passports must be valid for the full duration of your stay and for at least six months beyond your arrival date.

Money

The Sri Lankan rupee (Rs) is the official currency. Coins come in denominations 50 cents, Rs1, Rs2, Rs5, Rs10; notes in denominations of Rs10, Rs20, Rs50. Rs100, Rs500, Rs1000, Rs2000, Rs5000.

ATMs are available in many urban centres, though much rarer in rural areas. Be wary of using credit cards as fraud has been reported and is on the rise. Always withdraw money from a national bank. 

There will likely be a small charge for foreign transactions, but exchange rates at ATMs are generally as good as you'll find anywhere else. Be sure to notify your bank of your travels to avoid them from blocking your card when an international transaction is made.

Regions [6]

Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Sri Lanka, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.


Itinerary ideas [6]

The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Sri Lanka. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.

Places to stay [4]

The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Sri Lanka. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Sri Lanka, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0613.

The Fortress, Sri Lanka

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

?
x

WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

Beach Relaxation Spa

The Fortress in Galle, Sri Lanka, is a luxury hotel - part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World - styled, unsurprisingly, like a fortress

AVANI Kalutara Resort Sri Lanka

Superior

What does Superior mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

?
x

WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

Beach Relaxation History & culture

Set on a peninsula with the Indian Ocean on side and the mighty Kalu Ganga River on the other, the AVANI Kalutara Resort seamlessly blends authentic Sri Lankan …

Saman Villas, Bentota, Sri Lanka

Look out from the cliff-edge infinity pool and you have the Indian Ocean on three sides. This beautiful boutique hotel is set on a headland between two …

Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka

There is something truly special about Ceylon Tea Trails. Tucked away in the interior of Sri Lanka amid the spectacular Golden Valley of Tea, Bogawantalawa …

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