Introducing Sri Lanka
Boats on the water © ~anuradha
Sri Lanka Travel Guide
Often referred to as the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean', Sri Lanka is a stunningly beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, with an interior of dense tropical jungles framed by sandy golden beaches.
The teardrop-shaped island is made up of a mountainous landscape with more than a hundred picturesque waterfalls and innumerable hiking trails leading to breathtaking vistas like the famous World's End. Sri Lanka is also home to diverse wildlife, including leopards, monkeys, crocodiles, and many species of birds; it is most famous for its elephant population however, and tourists flock to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage to get an up-close-and-personal experience with the majestic creatures.
The ancient culture of Sri Lanka is just as fascinating as its natural attractions, and sacred Buddhist cities like Anuradhapura and Panduwasnuwara give visitors the opportunity to visit temples and other sacred sites dating back thousands of years.
A holiday in Sri Lanka isn't for travellers looking for gleaming cities and sophisticated nightlife, but cities like Colombo and Kandy offer plenty of shopping and dining opportunities, as well as excellent museums that give unique insight into the captivating culture of Sri Lanka. While the island is often overlooked for more popular destinations like Thailand and Indonesia, a holiday in Sri Lanka is an enticing adventure for travellers willing to go off the beaten path.
Best time to visit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's dry season lasts from November to April on the west coast, and May to September on the east coast; so the best time to visit Sri Lanka depends on where you want to go. Read more on Sri Lanka's Climate and Weather.
What to see in Sri Lanka
-See the remains of an ancient royal fortress at Sigiriya.
What to do in Sri Lanka
-Visit baby elephants at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.
-Spot monkeys, leopards, crocodiles, elephants and other wildlife in Yala National Park.
-Go on a pilgrimage to the summit of Adam's Peak.
-Hike to World's End in Horton Plains National Park.
Getting to Sri Lanka
Getting to Sri Lanka from the UK is fairly simple, as several airlines offer direct cheap flights to Sri Lanka from London; the flight duration from London to Sri Lanka is about 13 hours. There are no direct flights to Sri Lanka from the US, however there are flights from several major cities with layovers in London, Paris or Bahrain. Get more information on Sri Lanka Airports.
Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje and Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje.
Virindu Watch The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Flying Fish (2011).
Faluda, a mixed cold drink with syrup, ice cream, jelly pieces and basil seeds.
Sri Lankan curry and rice.
What to buy
Gold and silver jewellery and gemstones, brass and lacquerware.
What to pack
It's best to bring to Sri Lanka all medications and toiletries you'll need, as the selection there is very small.
What's on in Sri Lanka
The National Festival of Kites sees the skies above Mount Lavinia Beach full of colour. Traditional forms of Sri Lankan art and dance are on display in Colombo on Navam Perahera National Day. More information on Sri Lanka Events.
Did you know?
-Sri Lanka is the world's largest tea exporter, although the plant was only introduced in 1867.
-Sri Lanka was the first country to have a democratically-elected female president.
A final word
Breathtaking natural beauty and ancient culture make Sri Lanka the undiscovered pearl of the Indian Ocean.
Become our Sri Lanka Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Sri Lanka travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Sri Lanka or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.
Intrepid Travel is one of the world's leading suppliers of small group adventures focused on getting off the beaten track and having real life experiences in Sri Lanka.