As interest in long haul destinations continues to grow, a recent survey also showed that nine in ten people (90%) said they enjoyed experiencing new and exciting excursions whilst on holiday. Thomson holidays to Sri Lanka offer visitors the chance to truly explore with hotel stays at the 5T Riu Sri Lanka which is exclusively offered by Thomson holidays. There are also options to stay in hotels from Thomson’s Scene, Platinum and Small and Friendly collections giving customers vast variety in this emerging destination. The choices offer the perfect introduction with so much to see and do from visiting World Heritage sites, to seeing elephants in the wild or tasting the finest tea amongst vast green hills, Sri Lanka is everything you could want from a holiday. Here is the Thomson guide to must visit attractions:
BEACHES AND STILT FISHING
Sri Lanka enjoys warm temperatures all year round, but January to April is when the island off India sees the best weather. Negomba is the ideal base for a beach holiday, with a huge stretch of sand and willowing palm trees. The area of Bentota also boasts beautiful beaches with many resorts lined along this coastline. Hikkaduwa beach is also a hit for holiday makers as it is famed for its snorkelling and surfing at the right times of the year.
Along the coast of Galle, undoubtedly a must see in Sri Lanka are the stilt fisherman perched effortlessly on the thin wooden structures catching fish – a method of fishing unique to Sri Lanka for around 70 years. It’s a job passed down by the generations as a well-respected traditional way of fishing. Holiday makers flock to Galle to see the stilt fisherman as the art is a dying tradition but an awe-inspiring thing to witness.
ELEPHANTS AND MORE WILDLIFE
Sri Lanka is one of the best places in the world for animal spotting. Elephants can be seen almost all year round in the national parks with over 6,000 of them calling the island home. Minneriya National Park sees hundreds of elephants migrate in a parade-like fashion to the shores of a reservoir there. To catch sight of the big four, Yala National park is home to the leopard, elephant, sloth bear and buffalo and holidaymakers can get around the park by jeep and also witness crocodiles in their lagoons and monkeys hanging from the trees.
GARDENS AND GREENERY
The best thing about monsoon season is the rain keeps the landscape lush and green. So, the perfect time to visit the botanical gardens, rainforests and tea plantations is right after monsoon season. Sinharaja, Sri Lanka’s only rainforest is beautiful between February and April to explore flora, fauna and 147 species of birds and butterflies.
THE WONDERS OF TEA MAKING
It’s no surprise that a tea plantation is a must see in Sri Lanka. The country is known for its tea production and was once the country’s main source of foreign exchange and remains hugely important to its economy. The birthplace of Ceylon tea is Kandy and is perfect for the finest cup as it’s surrounded by hills and highly elevated at 6,200 foot above sea level– perfect for ultimate tea growing.
ADVENTURE AND CULTURE
Sigiriya Rock Fortress is arguably Sri Lanka’s number one attraction. The 600-foot-high summit boasts an UNESCO World Heritage awarded ancient palace, and offers some of the best views in the country. Sri Lanka is famed for its beautiful drawings and here is no exception. Halfway up the rock the walls along the rock are adorned with beautiful murals.
A trip to Sri Lanka is also not complete unless you have visited Sri Lankan temples during your stay. Dambulla cave temple known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla is another one of Sri Lanka’s World Heritage sites. It is said prehistoric Sri Lankans would have set up home in the caves before the arrival of Buddhism. Kandy is also home to the magnificent Temple of the Tooth where you can see the gold casket said to contain the tooth of Buddha.
SRI LANKAN CITIES
Galle, Colombo and Kandy are all big unmissable cities in Sri Lanka. Galle is endlessly exotic, bursting with culture and charm, with its wonderful collection of Dutch-colonial buildings, it’s a town of great beauty and home to a 36-hectare Fort boasting little boutique shops, jewellers, cafes and hotel- earning Unesco World Heritage Site status.
Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city is often referred to as ‘the garden city of the East’ and continues to emerge as a must-see when visiting the country. The cities colonial roots are still evident in the architecture as you explore the bustling streets however Colombo is emerging as a stylish cosmopolitan stop for people wanting to experience city life after the relaxation and nature of the rest of Sri Lanka. Stylish eateries, cafes, galleries and museums make Colombo a truly diverse city bounded in history and character.