Explore Sri Lanka’s sights in UK summertime
Arrive in Sri Lanka and be swiftly transferred to your hotel. Just 15 minutes from the airport, Wallawwa feels like a cool, calm greeting and marks the start of your two-week holiday. A traditional colonial hotel with terracotta tiled roofs and an airy colonnaded reception, Wallawwa also has a lush garden with a jade-green pool, ideal for acclimatising to the country’s tropical climate.
Relax at the hotel and recuperate from the journey with a welcome fruit platter, complimentary tea and biscuits or head to the spa for a rejuvenating treatment to blast away any jet lag. You may prefer to start exploring immediately. If so, the busy hubs of either beachside Negombo or the capital city of Colombo area short drive away.
The Wilds of Wilpattu
With an early morning transfer that will ensure you arrive for lunch, travel with your private car and driver north to one of Sri Lanka’s most notable and oldest wildlife havens – Wilpattu National Park. After a refuelling lunch, head out on your first game drive into Wilpattu’s 130,000-hectares. Characterised by sand-rimmed lakes, archaeological ruins and untamed jungle, Wilpattu is where rare wildlife hide out. With a guide to take you to the right spots, get up close to elephant, langurs and sloth bear and maybe even the shy and retiring leopard.
Stay at Leopard Trails camp in a spacious tent with air-con, bathroom and outdoor shower. Spend evenings listening to the wildlife calls while enjoying a delicious Sri Lankan curry feast with numerous dishes, many vegetarian, and all of them unforgettably tasty.
Spend the last morning in Wilpattu on a morning’s game drive, looking out for the last few wild animal spots whether it’s the splash of an elephant, the flash of a kingfisher or the rustle of a python. From here you will leave Wilpattu and travel down to Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, so named because of the wealth of revered ruins, relics and sights in one area. Basing yourself here for a few days, spend time in the intriguing painted cave temples of Dambulla, climb high onto Sigiriya rock to discover the ruins of an ancient fortress and be rewarded with a mesmerising view, or discover a Buddhist temple, deep in the forest.
After busy day’s exploring, enjoy your tranquil setting at Water Gardens, encased by channels of water, making it a magnet for wildlife. Some villas come with plunge pools and the hotel also has a large pool. There’s plenty to do onsite from cycling the grounds, cookery classes, archery or a game of croquet.
After all this exploring, feel justified in spending your last five nights on the beach. Sri Lanka’s east coast has beautifully calm waters from June to September and some spots have the perfect conditions for surfing too. Base yourself at Pasikuda, an exquisite stretch of white sand, dotted with palm tress and lapped by the warm Indian Ocean. Here, we recommend Uga Bay hotel, a modern hotel clasped in the shade of hundreds of coconut trees, which opens out onto a large pool area which leads directly onto the beach. It’s a lovely spot to relax and is a great place to try freshly caught seafood such as spicy devilled prawns, grilled lobster and fish curry.
On your way back to the airport, instead of driving directly there, we can arrange your itinerary to include another stop, for example you could explore the city of Kandy, famed for the incense-filled Temple of the Tooth and its botanical gardens. Or you could stay in Tea Country at a peaceful tea estate, taking a tea tour and soaking up the myriad greens of this fertile region, another joyful snapshot to add to your rolodex of Sri Lankan memories.