Holidays to Sri Lanka are perfect for those who like their beach-lazing with a side order of dazzling culture. Hanging like a teardrop off the Southeast coast of India, this compact country packs in an incredible array of sights - not least its footprint-free sands, backed by slender palms and washed by bath-warm sapphire seas.
Sri Lanka is blessed with a 1,330km coastline comprised of white sandy beaches, rocky bays and lined with coconut palms. The tranquil, sapphire-blue waters (non-monsoon period) of the Indian Ocean have a perfect average temperature of 27 degrees. Diving and snorkelling are popular as coral reefs encircle the island.
Sri Lanka contains an astonishing seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within its compact shores. The most intriguing and popular World Heritage site is Sigiriya dubbed "the eighth wonder of the world". The rock face was covered with sensual frescoes of celestial maidens, described as the worlds largest picture galleries. A World Heritage Site of a different era is the Dutch Fort of Galle, considered the best preserved fort in South Asia. With 14 massive bastons, a grid system of streets and some original Dutch bungalows, the fort bustles with life as it did when Galle was the main passenger port. It is one of the most unique attractions in Sri Lanka.
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Time to Visit
November - April
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Yala National Park Safari
Sri Lanka’s most known national park is popular for Elephant, Leopard, Bear, Crocodile and Wild Boar. More than three times larger than Undawelewe at 97,800 hectares, this is the second largest of Sri Lanka’s national parks. Its open undulating terrain made it famous for elephants for many years, but recently the park has also received much fame through publicity by National Geographic and the Discovery TV channels, which focused on a leopard research/conservation and identification project. Claims have subsequently been made that Yala National Park has the world’s highest concentration of leopard per square kilometre. This park is primarily shrub jungle with several salt and freshwater lagoons.
You will be met early by your naturalist guide for a day of whale spotting. You will set out across the azure sea with the clear and crisp early morning breeze to keep you cool. The naturalist on board will be a fount of incredible facts about local marine life making the expedition an intense ‘Marine Nature Watch’, experience. Continue out to sea and hopefully encounter the mighty giants of the sea, the Blue Whales, Sperm Whales, Killer Whales and several species of dolphins between 20 – 40 nautical miles from the coast. Sightings of other species of whales and dolphins are not uncommon and will be a special treat.
A mighty 600 ft high rock-fortress of a 5th century King is famous for its entrancingly beautiful frescoes which are found in a sheltered pocket of the rock. One cannot fail to marvel at the masterful execution of the sinuous forms of these women (originally 500, of which only 19 remain today). The old stairway to the top led through the mouth of a huge crouching lion, carved from the rock- today only the paws remain. Remains of the handsome royal citadel are on the summit.