Sri Lanka serves up secluded sandy beaches and exotic jungle wilderness – with vibrant cities in between. As well as the scenery and activities, the friendly Sri Lankan people will make you feel welcome.
- The capital Colombo is a real 21st-century city with galleries, museums and theatre on offer.
- Pinnewela is famous for its elephant orphanage, where abandoned baby elephants are cared for.
- The Rekawa natural reserve is a protected area right on the beach that is dedicated to the preservation of turtles.
- The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is an ancient Buddhist temple that was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Bogawantalawa Valley is the setting for the world-famous Ceylon tea plantations.
When to go
Almost any time.
The months of November to April offer the best weather in the south of Sri Lanka while May to September is driest on the east coast. Throughout the country, temperatures rarely vary by more than 10ºC (18°F) from winter to summer.
Need to know
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
Visa needed?: Yes. All British nationals are required to have short-stay visas that you can obtain through an online application process.
Main languages: Sinhala, Tamil
- Greetings are usually very hushed, even between close friends. A raised eyebrow or broad smile is a common way of acknowledging others.
- It is customary to tip in Sri Lanka – for instance, your driver, porter or city guide.
- Beach wear is not acceptable at any religious sites.
Main airports: Colombo, Mattala
Travelling in Sri Lanka
In the cities, taxis and tuk tuks are plentiful and available 24/7. Private cars with drivers are available for a reasonable price and most drivers speak English.
Since roads in the countryside can be poor, renting a car in Sri Lanka is not recommended. Public buses are available but crowded and slow. Trains criss-cross the country, and there are sleeper cars for longer trips.