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Sun shining across tea fields in Sri Lanka

Experiences

Sri Lanka’s Wildlife and Cultural Wonders

The thrilling island nation of Sri Lanka boasts eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, thriving national parks with fascinating biodiversity, luscious tea plantations, and white sandy beaches. Evidence of its rich history is noticed through Buddhist temples, Dutch forts, and colonial buildings which aid the wonderful allure of this beautiful destination.

When to go:
December – April

Your journey begins in the north-central area of Sri Lanka, home to the glorious Cultural Triangle; an undoubted treasure trove teeming with rocky outcrops, religious sites and local wildlife. This is the best location to explore and understand the country’s culture and heritage through uncovering wonderful archaeological remnants of the past. In a hot air balloon, ascend peacefully into the calm sky to witness the sun rising over the mountains. Picture the blanket of coconut trees and rice paddies below with abundant wildlife and waving children. Rising several thousand feet into the air, witness the majesty of the region before landing with a welcome greeting from friendly villagers. Accompanied by a guide, climb up Sigiriya rock, once the royal palace of an ancient Sri Lankan king. During your climb, observe cave shelters, mirror walls and the summit’s ruins before savouring the spectacular views across the surrounding jungle. Take a catamaran boat ride along the Kandalama River for your unique, up-close encounter with domesticated Sri Lankan elephants. Join local mahouts in washing the elephants using coconut husks, listen to commands made and come to understand the close relationship of trust between man and animal in this humbling wildlife experience.

Journey to the beautiful city of Kandy, wander around its unmissable lake and visit the iconic Temple of the Sacred Tooth within the royal palace complex. This cultural experience opens your eyes to where the monks still worship and provide an intriguing insight into the Buddhist religion. From Kandy embark on a Sri Lankan train journey to Ella, renowned for their scenic splendour, this route is the finest of them all. Travelling this route takes you past dramatic highlands, tea plantations and fantastic waterfalls – with everchanging scenery, your eyes won’t want to leave the windows.

Venture to Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, a vital conservation area and home to a large amount of endemic biodiversity and one of Sri Lanka’s most famous natural landmarks. Take a heli to the striking Adam’s Peak, witness the breath-taking views before landing near Aberdeen Falls. Spend time canyoning, abseiling waterfalls and exploring the jungle. To challenge yourself, climb the mountain in the dark, learn from your guide the religious history of this fascinating formation and observe the dawn when the rising sun triggers the ‘shadow of the peak.’

Take a scenic helicopter flight to Udawalawe National Park for an unforgettable safari experience. This is an excellent location for elephant watching with huge herds to be spotted. Travel through the park in 4WD vehicles with private guides, gain an insight into the wildlife and habitats, and delight in a picnic inspired by the mountains and jungle that surround. Visit Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage at the end of the day to witness the magical sight of feeding and bathing time for these adorable calves.

Your journey will end on the superb southern coastline which best represents Sri Lanka as the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean.’ From the small town of Mirissa and accompanied by a marine biologist, head out on a tender in search of whales and dolphin pods. Labelled the best place in the world to observe these creatures, you may encounter up to 10 different species. Follow the pods as they feed on the plentiful krill in the deep blue and if your guide deems it safe, grab the exciting opportunity to swim with the whales for a world-class experience.

Enjoy your heavenly coastal days by relaxing on the picturesque shore, go swimming in the turquoise waters or try your hand at surfing the waves. With user-friendly breaks, Sri Lanka’s southern coast is an excellent spot for surfers to practice and improve your skills. Our expert surf partners will take you to the most secret and secluded spots to implement a world-renowned personalised coaching programme which can be tailored to all levels and preferences.

Explore Galle, a historic city colonised by the Dutch and English and now the cultural capital of the south. Stroll down charming paved streets brimming with boutique shops, vintage cars, and colonial buildings before a special access visit to Galle Fort with a private archaeologist guide. From the grand fort walls, delight in a fantastic dinner and marvel at the glorious sunset. For an exclusive wildlife experience, visit Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery and learn about the conservation of these sea creatures from an expert naturalist. After sundowners on the beach, feel pleasantly rewarded as you actively release turtle hatchlings into the ocean.