Underestimated and in many ways undiscovered, Sri Lanka is one of the world’s most intriguing, complex and beautiful countries.
The wider world remains largely unenlightened as to the true extent of Sri Lanka’s beguiling charm. Offering a stunning blend of history, culture and wildlife, with spectacular landscapes, lush jungles and cool hill stations, the jewel in the crown is its sheer diversity. Where else can you visit a 300BC city in the morning and take a leopard safari in the afternoon.
This small island with its big personality is almost unfairly blessed with emerald tea plantations, ancient capitals, seductive beaches and wilderness areas that are so unique and considered to be of global importance, that the country is home to an astonishing 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Tear yourself away from the idyllic palm fringed beaches and you will be rewarded with impossibly scenic train rides, cascading waterfalls, mouth-watering food and incredibly warm and friendly people.
Ancient Civilisation in the Cultural Triangle
Steeped in a 3000 year-old history with several UNESCO Heritage Sites Anuradhapura, Dambulla & Polonaruwa form the Cultural Triangle. Traverse ancient civilisations to explore the beginnings of Buddhism and the great Sinhalese kingdoms.
Perched on the northern tip of Sri Lanka and a bastion of Hindu tradition, art and culture. This intriguing city is slightly off the beaten path with old school charm is a thoroughly rewarding place to discover Sri Lankan Tamil Culture.
The Royal City of Kandy is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka and is home to the magnificent Sacred Temple of Tooth. A bustling town cradled between majestic hills and acres of tea in the central highlands. Kandy affords a nostalgic elegance and beauty of untouched Singhalese culture and architecture.
One of the oldest cities in Asia with one of the world’s best natural harbours. Expect long beaches as far as the eye can see, sweeping white sands and sightseeing opportunities that provide a glimpse into an ancient civilization and well documented mythological tales.
Mist-shrouded mountains, rolling tea plantations and cascading waterfalls are just some of the island’s central heart-land that rises to over 2500 metres.
The world famous Yala National Park is a wild and unspoilt area whose varied terrain supports a diverse array of wildlife including the highest density of the iconic leopard. Embark on scenic safaris for the ultimate wildlife immersion.
With its legendary 17th century Dutch Fort and surrounded by charming narrow streets that are lined with colonial villas from a bygone era. Discover the ancient ramparts in this old and culturally harmonious town that is often described as French Riviera of Asia.
Stunning blue waters with untouched palm fringed beaches. Discover turtle farms and excellent surfing and snorkelling. Also well known for being the island’s premier whale watching destination.
CLIMATES & SEASONS
With year-round warmth, Sri Lanka enjoys a tropical climate without extreme temperatures. Averaging approximately 30 degrees but cooling to as low as 16 degrees in the higher elevations in the hill country. With two monsoons, Yala and Maha where Sri Lanka experiences heavy rainfall it’s best to avoid visiting in May and October.
Whale watching seasons are December to June.
DEMOGRAPHY, LANGUAGE & RELIGION
Sri Lanka’s population is 21 million and comprises a spectrum of different people, namely Sinhalese (74%), Indigenous and Tamils (12.6% and 5%), Moors and Malays (9%) and Burghers (0.4%). Main languages are Sinhala and Tamil.
Sri Lanka is a multi and deeply religious country and highly tolerant of all faiths. It’s not unusual to see a Buddhist Temple, Hindu Kovil, Muslim Mosque and Christian Church all within close proximity of each other. Buddhists make up the largest majority with Hindus, Muslims and Christians comprising the rest.
Education is highly prized in Sri Lanka and standards are high with over 90% national literacy levels.
USEFUL VISITOR INFORMATION
GMT + 5.5 hours
Sri Lankan Rupee
10.5 hours direct from UK
Sri Lanka has 21 National Parks.
Sri Lanka’s National Sport is Volleyball although Cricket is the most famous.
Sri Lanka’s National Animal is the Sri Lankan Junglefowl.
Rivers & Waterfalls – Sri Lanka has the largest number of waterfalls in comparison to its size of any given country and has 103 rivers with Mahaweli, the longest stretching to 333km.
Ayurveda (literally Science of Life) is an ancient healing system widely practiced in Sri Lanka for over 3000 years. Ayurveda uses natural medicines.
Sri Lanka has the highest density of leopards in the whole of Asia and is the only place where you can see the largest land and sea mammal within a few hours of each other.
Sri Lanka is one of the largest sources of some of the finest gemstones with world fame for its Blue Sapphire. Two thirds of all-natural sapphires are mined in Sri Lanka and the most well-known Sri Lankan sapphire is the 12-carat oval sapphire that was Princess Diana’s engagement ring. The sapphire is the signature Royal Blue of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Bespoke’s symbol is based on the National Flower – the Blue Water Lily