Stunning Sri Lanka has reopened after months of restrictions – so book a trip and enter a world of rock fortresses, rainforests and palm-fringed beaches
- Sri Lanka was on the UK government’s “do not visit” list due to the pandemic and political unrest
- Now it has been removed – and its history, culture, wildlife and landscape beckons once again
- Go on exciting game drives in search of elephants on Abercrombie & Kent’s private tour
- Cox & Kings offers a tour where you can climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya – “the eighth wonder of the world”.
Each week, our holiday hero, Neil Simpson, delves into a brilliant holiday topic and does all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: The holidays return to Sri Lanka.
It’s the dream destination that promises the “fabulous four” of history, culture, wildlife and scenery. And Sri Lanka has now been removed from the UK government’s “do not visit” list after months of restrictions due to the pandemic and most recently political unrest.
Book a trip and enter a world of historic tea plantations, ancient rock forts, rainforests, paddy fields, elephants, leopards and perfect palm-fringed beaches.
Wonders: Climb Sri Lanka’s rock fortress of Sigiriya (pictured) on Cox & Kings’ 12-day Enchanted Island tour
“We are very pleased to be able to offer Sri Lanka again to our customers and I can’t wait to go back as I have loved my previous holidays there,” said Kerry Golds of luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent.
Just one of the holidays to consider is the company’s 15-night Luxury Sri Lanka private tour. Flights, hotels, domestic travel and guides are all included so guests don’t miss a single sight.
The itinerary sees guests staying at places like the Uga Ulagalla Resort, one of the island’s many five-star hotels, where eco-friendly chalets have private plunge pools and overlook rice fields.
Itineraries include a botanical guide at Sri Lanka’s Royal Botanical Gardens and a stay at the home of tea maker Sir Thomas Lipton.
There is an invitation to a Buddhist pooja ceremony at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, as well as game drives in search of elephant and leopard.
Abercrombie & Kent’s 15-night tour of Sri Lanka takes in sights like the Royal Botanical Gardens (pictured)
The Abercrombie & Kent tour includes the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy as well as game drives in search of Sri Lanka’s elephants and leopards
It costs from £5,510 per person including flights (abercrombiekent.co.uk).
Afternoon tea at your hotel (brewed from local leaves) is a stylish start to a shorter 12-day Enchanted Island tour with Cox & Kings. Travel as part of a small group or book the trip as a private getaway for family or friends. The tour traverses the country allowing you to see shrines like the colorful statue of the Reclining Buddha, climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya (also known as the eighth wonder of the world), enter cave temples, and visit hill stations built by the British, tea plantations, and more.
The vacation includes a stop at the mountainside Heritance Tea Factory, where an original train car houses a chic restaurant. Tours end on the beach at the five-star Heritage Ahungalla Hotel. From £1,895 per person including flights (coxandkings.co.uk).
The Cox & Kings itinerary includes a visit to the Reclining Buddha Statue at the top of Anuradhapura’s Isurumuniya Temple
A variety of other tour companies also offer small group tours and tailor made Sri Lanka holidays. A top Kuoni vacation template is the Hill County, Yala & Beach tour, which takes in the island’s cooler mountains, wildlife-packed national parks and sunny coastline. Here, fishermen on stilts show their balance and patience while waiting for a catch – and where evenings can end with seared tuna served at a chic beachside restaurant.
Transfers are arranged in private cars with English speaking drivers. All public holidays are priced independently (kuoni.co.uk).
With Trailfinders, Sri Lanka vacations for the winter and beyond offer small group tours for solo travelers, yoga and wellness retreats, and vacations for cyclists, water sports and diving enthusiasts. Week-long holidays cost from £1,166 per person plus flights (trailfinders.com).
If you’d rather stay at a single resort, check out Tui, which offers seven-night stays at hotels including the family-friendly Rui Sri Lanka or the low-key Ekho Surf Bentota.
Both flank sandy beaches and offer numerous excursions to the island’s major attractions. It costs from £1,253 per person (tui.co.uk).
For the latest UK Government advice on traveling to Sri Lanka – or anywhere else in the world – visit gov.uk and click on Foreign Travel Advice.
Tui is offering a seven-night stay at the Ekho Surf Bentota Hotel, which is adjacent to a sandy beach in the resort of Bentota (pictured)