Luxtripper Travel Editor
Sri Lanka was a truly unforgettable experience and if it's not on your travel bucket list, here's why it should be...
Sri Lanka's beauty is never-ending; this destination allows you to explore the luscious green rolling fields of tea plantations, wander along golden-sand beaches, come face-to-face with nature's largest living land animal and feast on a mouthwatering cuisine.
There really is something for everyone here - from toddlers to grandparents and beach lovers to adrenaline junkies - Sri Lanka caters to everyone's needs equally. Whether you want to experience a tropical beach getaway, a cultural journey or an immersive safari (or combine all three!), Sri Lanka offers a wealth of experiences, despite being only a small island. If you’re thinking of taking a trip across the Indian Ocean, you really wouldn't want to miss out on visiting this unforgettable country; it also makes for a great stopover on your way to The Maldives!
Okay, so you've made it to Sri Lanka! What's next? Once you’ve landed in Colombo - Sri Lanka's capital city - you'll be greeted by our wonderful representatives who will meet you at Colombo airport with open arms and take you to your private car, filled with refreshing drinks, snacks and cold towels - simply perfect after your flight! You'll then be driven in style to your hotel, where you can unpack and properly relax.
My first stop in Sri Lanka was the start of the Cultural Triangle, an incredible route where I was able to visit some of the country's top historic centres. Whilst here, I explored five of the eight unforgettable UNESCO World Heritage sites, visited cave temples and saw views that I know I'll remember for a lifetime. I highly recommend the short 20-minute sunrise hike up Pidurangula Rock followed by breakfast with a view of Sigirya Rock and its surroundings - it's truly magical and something that will definitely stay with me forever!
For me, Heritance Kandalama was the perfect place to stay to recover from my jet lag and get ready for my Sri Lankan adventure. Set within Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle and overlooking the iconic Sigiriya Rock, it was ideally situated for me to be able to explore the local area with ease. The architecture of the hotel is simply stunning; covered in lush, tropical vegetation, it seamlessly blends in with the surrounding nature, the tranquil atmosphere allowing you to fully absorb the wonderful wilderness. I particularly liked how all three swimming pools gave me a different view of the hotel’s surroundings.
Next, it was time to visit the Tea Country, and the sights only got better! Once I arrived at the city of Kandy, which is centered around a glistening lake, I spent my evening exploring the city's vibrant food markets; I personally recommend you try Kottu, a popular Sri Lankan dish made with godhamba roti, vegetables, meat and a whole array of spices! For those interested in Sri Lanka’s culture, whilst in Kandy you simply must visit the Temple of the Tooth, a sacred Buddhist temple which hosts the relic of the tooth of Buddha!
After exploring Kandy, I embarked on the most picturesque train journey I've ever been on; definitely do not forget to take your camera on this one! My driver took my bags and drove them on to my next hotel so that I was completely carefree whilst enjoying the magical landscapes! I sat back and relaxed whilst slowly making my way past waterfalls, endless evergreen hills, and quaint, local neighbourhoods.
Overlooking the winding Mahaweli River, Jetwing Kandy Gallery is an oasis of calm, its lush surroundings bringing you ever closer to Sri Lanka's world-famous Tea Country. With all rooms featuring panoramic views across the varying landscapes, I really felt immersed in the natural surroundings throughout my stay - I simply loved waking up and being able to take in the breathtaking views of the lush hills. As well as this, the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool is simply fabulous – talk about swimming with a view! I was very happy to float under the sun after a day spent exploring the hills.
Welcome to Ella! Although my train ride may have come to an end, the views certainly didn’t end there! Surrounded by impressive landscapes coated in a blanket of tropical greenery, including the beautiful Little Adam's Peak and the Rawana Falls, this really is nature at its finest.
Whilst in Ella, I'd recommend visiting a working Tea Plantation, which is something I really enjoyed during my trip. You will get to follow the process from picking the tea leaf yourself all the way through to having your very own cuppa! Visiting the plantation gave me a real insight into a working tea plantation, allowing me to meet the 'Boss' and get a true understanding of the whole tea production process. After all the tea tasting was complete, I was lucky enough to be invited to have a traditional Sri Lankan lunch with a local family, allowing me to feel really immersed in the culture and have a truly authentic experience that I know I’ll be talking about for years to come!
Dreamcliff Mountain Resort really blew me away! With only 7 beautiful, luxury chalets featuring individual balconies and panoramic views, this resort is perfect for if you’re looking for somewhere that extra bit special on a honeymoon. During my stay, the endless views just didn’t stop; from waking up to eating breakfast and even taking a dip in the hotel’s swimming pool, I was constantly surrounded by a different angle of beauty. The food at the hotel was also divine – the Sri Lankan cuisine definitely won’t disappoint you!
After drinking more tea than you can imagine, it was now time for me to say goodbye to the Tea Country and hello to Sri Lanka's majestic wildlife in the Yala National Park. As I left Ella, I stopped at the 9-arch railway bridge, something I’d really recommend, as it’s not only perfect for a great Instagram opportunity but the architecture is simply stunning and certainly not to be missed!
As I arrived in Yala National Park and settled into my hotel, I made sure to get a good night's sleep as the next morning I needed to rise early to embark on a sunrise safari! As I watched the golden sunrise whilst sat in the back of my safari jeep, I made sure to keep my eyes alert for some of 'Sri Lanka's Big 5', the country's most iconic and much-loved wildlife. With what's considered to be the best safari outside of Africa, you really must not miss this opportunity to see elephants, leopards, sloth bears, and much, much more!
Chena Huts by Uga Escapes should be top of your list - it definitely was one of my most favourite places to stay! An African safari-style luxury lodge, during my stay I had the opportunity to go on sunrise and sunset safaris, as well as experience immersive nature walks. A bucket-list location with only 14 individual cabins, I really enjoyed having my own private pool, fully stocked mini-fridge and outdoor shower! After a day of safaris, it was really nice to enjoy a luxurious sundowner cocktail overlooking the beach and feel the refreshing ocean breeze run through my hair.
You can't go to Sri Lanka without visiting the beach! After exploring the Cultural Triangle and experiencing the wildlife in Yala National Park, I was definitely ready to hit the beaches of Tangalle and really make the most of Sri Lanka’s tropical climate. This was the time for relaxation on my holiday, the time to slow down the pace and spend some time to myself, dipping my toes in the cool sea whilst listening to the soothing sounds of the crashing waves and wandering across Tangalle’s golden sand beaches.
Whilst staying at Amanwella, I was also fortunate enough to experience a safari in Udawalawe National Park. This really stood out for me, as not only was the safari really exclusive and secluded, but I enjoyed my own private lunch overlooking the rugged wilderness!
The Aman hotels are renowned for their understated luxury and exclusivity, and Amanwella certainly didn’t disappoint. With a strong focus on relaxation, I really felt like a VIP staying in a Garden Pool Suite – having your own private pool really is incredible! I even had a glimpse of the waves, which made everything feel even more tropical! A minimalistic hotel, this is your time to really feel rejuvenated and revitalised. I highly recommend you try yoga by the beach or enjoy a signature cocktail at the bar during your stay.
As I departed Tangalle, I followed the scenic coastline to Galle, a historical city with so much to offer. Along the way, I made sure to stop off in Mirissa to have a picture at the iconic Coconut Hill! Don't forget, if you see the perfect beachfront lunch spot along the way to Galle, you can inform your driver who will be more than happy to stop and tailor-make your journey.
A World Heritage Site, I made sure to visit the iconic Galle Dutch Fort whilst in the city, as well as take some pictures of the Galle Fort Lighthouse, surrounded by swaying palm trees. A colonial-era city, Galle boasts some really unique architecture – it literally felt like I was stepping back in time! You should definitely visit some of the city’s quirky shops and coffee houses.
A historical hotel located in the heart of the UNESCO site of Galle Fort, Amangalla is perfectly located if you’re looking to indulge in history or hit the beach so that you can combine the city and the coast. The five treatment rooms and two hydrotherapy suites in the spa are not to be missed - make sure you book into these upon check-in! I particularly enjoyed having my own standalone bathtub; an afternoon soak in the tub was much needed after a day spent wandering around the city!
The last stop on my trip was soon approaching; a night in the city of Colombo before flying home!
Colombo, although usually overlooked, was a great way to end my trip in Sri Lanka; I spent my time there sipping classic cocktails on a rooftop bar, watching local children fly their kites along the beach and getting some street food. To soak up that final bit of culture, I also made sure to visit the Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, with its striking architecture and vivid colours!
Jetwing Colombo Seven is the perfect place to say your farewells to Sri Lanka. A modern and stylish hotel, I really felt that I was in a cosmopolitan hub whilst staying in the city. Located in the heart of the capital, this beautiful high-rise hotel makes for a great way to say 'cheers' to the end of your trip with a drink at the rooftop bar. I felt especially luxurious having a swim in the rooftop infinity pool, watching the radiant sunset as it coated Colombo in a warm, orange glow.
If you're feeling inspired to head to Sri Lanka for your next holiday, contact one of our Luxury Travel Specialists today who will be able to organise your perfect holiday!