Galle Fort is the old part of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved colonial sea fortress in Asia.2/37
Pointe de Galle Light is an onshore lighthouse in Galle and is Sri Lanka's oldest light station.3/37
Sri Lanka is home to some of the best wildlife in Asia. Here you will witness enchanting birdlife, elephants, monkeys, peacocks, crocodiles, buffalo, deer, bears and the world's highest density of the elusive leopard4/37
Wind your way through Sri Lanka's verdant Tea Country by train to reach charming colonial-style hill stations.6/37
Stay within Bogawantalwa Valley's mist-shrouded tea plantations.7/37
Overlook the mesmerising Castlereagh lake from up high at Dunkeld Bungalow, the latest addition to the Ceylon Tea Trails.9/37
Venture into the wickedly named Knuckles Mountains! These thick forested mountains are perfect for those who love to hike, mountain bike or explore local villages and discover waterfalls. The flora and fauna is impressive and there are many species of mammals found amongst these forests including elephants, giant squirrels and leopards.11/37
Base yourself at the Amanwella in Tangalle, a super slick, James Bond-esque beach resort located in the fishing village of Tangalle.12/37
Head to Yala National Park to witness enchanting birdlife, elephants, monkeys, peacocks, crocodiles, buffalo, deer, bears and the highest density in the world of the elusive leopard14/37
Join wandering elephants at Heritance Kandalama, an architectural marvel of a hotel enveloped in vegetation and the centrepiece of the Geoffrey Bawa pilgrimage route.15/37
We highly recommend the luxury eco-resort of Ulagalla, which is within easy reach of the attractions of the Cultural Triangle.18/37
Enter another world at the wildly atmospheric Dambulla Caves, Sri Lanka's most extraordinary cave temple complex.19/37
The extraordinary ancient city of Polonnaruwa was the island's medieval capital between the 11th and 13th century.20/37
Visit the extraordinary ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which was the island's medieval capital between the 11th and 13th century.21/37
Kahanda Kanda near Galle is one of Sri Lanka's chicest addresses and a wonderfully stylish spot for an arak sour at the living room bar25/37
Take in the exhilarating views from the top of Sigiriya Rock27/37
Make friends with smiley local school kids playing at Dambulla cave temple28/37
Soak up the sights, smells and smiles at Tangalle food market which takes place once a week29/37
Castlereagh Lake in Sri Lanka's central Tea Country, a stone's throw from one of her chicest boutique bungalows, Castlereagh, which is part of the Ceylon Tea Trails.30/37
The Amanwella’s ultra sexy 45-metre infinity pool is back by an elegant restaurant and looks out over a gorgeous coconut grove and the sea beyond.32/37
Set on a former coconut plantation a stone's throw from a dazzling beach is one of Sri Lanka's most sophisticated boutique hotels: the Villa Bentota33/37
The Amangalla's Zaal is the grandest living room in Sri Lanka and the perfect location for a glamorous party - New Year's Eve celebrations here are incredible!34/37
Sri Lanka: Best time to go
Sri Lanka is a year-round holiday destination. With a similar tropical climate to South India, the heat of the lowlands is modified by coastal breezes and the hill country can be much cooler due to its altitude, but generally, the temperature variance is not so vast throughout the year. However, the country’s two monsoon seasons can be complicated and affect different regions at different times of year - a particularly important aspect to note when scheduling in some down time on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches.
December to April is considered peak season for most destinations in Asia, and Sri Lanka is no exception. Floating in the Indian Ocean, when the northeast monsoon hits at this time of year, the best weather can be found on the southern coast, with temperatures hitting highs of 30°C, the palm framed beaches of Weligama and Tangalle make for a golden beach escape and a surfer’s haven. The calm and stable weather of the south coast also means that whale spotting in Mirissa is greater than any other time of year. Heading into the colonial town of Galle, the mornings are at a comfortable temperature to explore this historic town by foot, finishing the day watching the glorious sunset over the western shores.
Further along the west coast towards the city of Colombo, the sleepy resort destination of Bentota and seaside town of Negombo, the average temperature from December to April rarely drops below 30°C. Come May though, the humidity can reach up to 90% as the southwest monsoon sets in across the south west until September. This is when Sri Lanka’s east coast comes into a life of its own, and from April to September there is a positive movement of locals and returning holidaymakers enjoying some of Sri Lanka’s less developed coastal towns, such as Trincomalee and Arugam Bay. With an array of luxury hotels opening up, pristine stretches of beach and temperatures between 25-35°C, the east coast is becoming more popular to visit before its own monsoon whistles in from October to January.
When one coast is experiencing rainfall and the other quite the opposite, pockets of the island’s Tea Country can be influenced by both monsoons. Southern hillside towns such as Ella, Nuwara Eliya, Haputale and Hatton sit up to approximately 2,000 metres above sea level. For much of the year this region is cooler with lows of 17°C and reduced humidity, it’s the perfect weather to take on Adam’s Peak and other challenging hikes.
Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle (Dambulla, Anuradhapura and Sigiriya) is located in the dry zone. Apart from some rainfall in November and December, and strong heat during June and July, conditions remain placid throughout the rest of the year, so you can always fit in some UNESCO visits during your bespoke tour.
N.B. All information given here is to the best of our knowledge, however, changes do occur, sometimes at short notice. Ampersand cannot be held liable for such happenings. Of course, if you have any tips that you feel would benefit other travellers, please pass them onto us and we will add them.
There are direct flights to Colombo from the UK and most major European cities, as well as from Delhi, Cochin, Chennai and many other Indian cities. If you are considering a holiday to Sri Lanka then it works very well as a two-centre holiday with the Maldives or with destinations in India.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate visa(s) for your trip.
All passport holders must apply for a visa before travelling to Sri Lanka. The cost for this is $35 for 30 days. Applications are made online through www.eta.gov.lk. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your return from Sri Lanka and have at least 2 blank pages.
If you would like to use a visa service to process your visa on your behalf, we recommend CIBT Visas. They have expert knowledge in visa requirements, and are dedicated to ensuring that obtaining your visas is as efficient and hassle-free as possible.
CIBT provide various levels of visa service, including detailed information about which visas and documentation you and your party require, clear and user-friendly application forms, and a full concierge service to manage your application from start to finish. There is a team of experts on hand to offer advice, and liaise with embassies on your behalf.
Ampersand can personally endorse the services CIBT provides, and our partnership secures a 20% discount on all CIBT services fees for our clients. We would highly recommend speaking to a specialist at CIBT to determine which service would best suit your needs.
You can begin the process of finding out which visas you require and how to apply by following this link. This will log you in to the Ampersand CIBT account, securing your dedicated discount. For more information, please contact the CIBT visa team on 020 7593 6100 or email@example.com, or discuss with your Ampersand consultant.
It is essential to visit your GP as soon as possible to check if you need any vaccinations prior to travel. Risk for vaccine preventable diseases can change at any time. MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad) can supply a quick and easy online Travel Health Brief. This includes easy to understand vaccination advice for single or multi-country trips. Their website is www.masta-travel-health.com
London - Colombo: 10 hours 45 minutes
We highly recommend you reconfirm your onward and return international flights at least 72 hours prior to departure.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Anonymous, India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Jaime Benitez, South India