About Sri Lanka

Map and key information on Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a tiny tropical Indian Ocean island north of the Equator – and just over three times the size of the whole Kruger National Park!
compass Size
  • Length 270 miles.
  • 25,332 square miles (65,610 sq.km)
Temperature Weather & Temperature
  • Average: 27°- 29° Celsius
  • Central Highland mountains:15°-19°Celsius
  • Night frost possible in the Central Highlands (Nuwara Eliya) during Dec -Jan
rainYour holiday route depends on the Monsoon seasons
  • May – July (South-West Monsoon)
  • October – January (North-East Monsoon)
  • October & November and March & April (inter-monsoon rains across the island)
hot Hottest month
  • April – mid 30° Celsius

Why visit this four season destination?

Tracing the island’s 2500 year Heritage

Sigiriya Lion Rock Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Above is the view from the 5th century AD Lion Rock – Sigiriya, often referred to as Sigariya, it is one of the most visited historical sites in Sri Lanka.
3rd century BC Sacred City of Anuradhapura polonnaruwa
In 5th century BC Prince Vijaya arrived in Sri Lanka from India and established a small village called Anuradhapura. (Roman Rule ended in Britian) In the 3rd century BC, with the arrival of Buddhism Anuradhapura became the first Capital of Sri Lanka. From the 3rd century BC to 12th century AD Anuradhapura was one of the world’s grandest monastic cities with 3 great bell-shaped dagobas (stupa) almost rivaling the great Pyramids in size. It is home to the sacred Bo-tree – a sapling of the same tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
1st century BC Art and Cave Temple Dambulla dambulla1st cent. BC – The Cave Temples are masterpieces of Buddhist Art and have been monastic dwellings for 22 centuries continuously (including at the time of Julius Ceaser’s Roman Empire).
5th century AD Sigiriya Rock Fortress – the Lion Rock sigiriyaThe 600 foot rock was the fortress of a fugitive King. ‘Sigiriya’s glories include the ‘Mirror Wall’, paintings of be-jewelled maidens, the lion carved onto the rock face and the foundations of the palace complex atop the 15,000 sq.mt rock summit – a tad over the size of the Lord’s Cricket Grounds.
12th century AD Polonnaruwa anuradhapuraPolonnaruwa was established as the Capital after Anuradhapura was abandoned.  This was during the the time the Duke of Normandy returned from the first crusade and invaded England to take the throne from his sibling Henry I.  The most beautiful granite statues of the Buddha are found in Polonnaruwa which was once considered a great urban centre of South Asia. It is also home to the site in which Disney Nature filmed the acclaimed movie, Monkey Kingdom.
Kandy The last Royal Kingdom kandy
The Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha is enshrined in the beautiful Palace in Kandy called the Temple of the Tooth. Each July or August the stunning annual Kandy Esala Perahera honours the Relic, with a Procession of over a 100 elephants, even more dancers, drummers, whip-crackers, fire-dancers and chieftains in traditional garb, – believed to be the world’s oldest Procession. The last King of Sri Lanka was dethroned by the British in 1815 and Kandy became Lord Mountbatten’s Headquarters (the house, now a boutique Hotel).
Colombo Arab Traders to British Clock Towers colombo-fortThe most cosmopolitan city in the island has a certainold-world charm, where the Arab, Portugese Dutch and British have imprinted their influence on the city’s life, commerce & architecture. A must do is a Colombo City Walk to see ‘Fort’ (old Colombo quarters), heritage Hotels, vibrant food and entertainment options and a pot-pourrie of cultures.
17th century AD Galle Dutch Fort galle_fortThe romantic old-world town and sea-side resort was once a famous trade Port in the 14th cent. The Portugese built the Fort in 1588 and was later fortified by the Dutch in the 17th cent. The Fort is now beautifully restored with boutique hotels, restaurants shopping arcades and quaint B&Bs run by the descendants of original inhabitants.
Central Highlands of Sri Lanka treks in srilanka View from Adams Peak[/caption]The Highlands which include the sub montane and montane forests of the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest have high swathes of endemism and threatened species and leopards are infrequently spotted. Some of the best treks around Sri Lanka can be found here.

Wildlife and Nature

wildlife safari in srilanka - minneriya national park
Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations for wildlife outside Africa in terms of diversity and is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. During the peak wildlife seasons,  the island is one of the world’s best places to see the largest land and marine mammal – the Elephant and Blue Whale, pods of Dolphins, the Sri Lankan Leopard, Sloth Bear, hundreds of species of endemic and migrant birds and primates in a two week tour.
Blue Whales and Dolphins – Super-pods of Sperm Whales, Beaked Whales & Dolphins can be spotted in Sri Lanka all year, although the peak is from December to August.
Asian Elephants – Sri Lanka is an all year destination to spot wild elephants that abound across several national parks and animal corridors. Witness ‘the gathering’ of wild Elephants from July to August in Minneriya National Park
Leopard – All year. Sri Lanka is billed as one of the world’s top places to see Leopard.
Sloth Bear – All year. Sri Lanka is one world’s top spots to photograph the Sloth Bear. This elusive animal is more easily spotted during the peak fruiting season from June to early September.
33 Endemic Birds – All year.  Sri Lanka is a great destination for Twitchers. With 33 endemic species and hundreds more migrants during the Bird Migration season from December to March, the island boasts over 400+ species.
One of the World’s 35 Biodiversity Hotspots – Sri Lanka is ranked 15 in the world for species per kilometre among amphibians, mammals, birds, flowering plants and reptiles.
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Year round Beaches

Year round beaches and the warm Indian Ocean waters make Sri Lanka a great water sport destination
With a 432 Km long coastline, Sri Lanka is a great beach destination. Depending on the two monsoon seasons, one side of the island’s coastline is bathed in brilliant sunshine at any given time of year.
  • December – April – Pick your beach holiday along the Southern and North Western coast of Sri Lanka. Best beaches to visit: Bentota, Ahungalla, Mirissa, Galle, Kalpitiya, Mannar
  • May – September- Pick your beach holiday along the East coast of Sri Lanka. Best beaches to visit: Paasikudah, Trincomalee

Sri Lanka Accommodation Guide

The accommodation that we select for each tailor made tour includes atmospheric hotels, coconut plantations, tree huts,luxurious chalets to wildlife lodges and are some of the top places stay in Sri Lanka. Our guests love the diversity of accommodation we offer. Email us for details and special offers in Sri Lanka;
  • Luxurious and intimate Boutique Villas
  • Small Luxury Hotels
  • Boutique Hotels and Spa Resorts (5* to 5*+)
  • Affordable luxury (4* to 5*)
  • Eco friendly Lodges, Tree Houses, Jungle Cottages-Unique luxury with an earthy guise!
  • Mud Huts in Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka Tented Safari Camps, Mobile Tented camping, Luxury Tented camping
  • Semi-Luxury Mobile Tented Campsites inside National Parks or Luxury Tented Campsites almost on the borders -The ultimate wildlife experience.
  • Sri Lanka budget accommodation – comfort and value accommodation

Where do you want to put your feet up?

Some of the best places to stay in Sri Lanka may not be in your Guide Book! In our travels across the island we have come across some truly special places. But if you have a clear idea of where you want to stay, just tell us. We have the connections to get to know their seasonal special offers too. Our guests tell us they love how we guide them to the right kind of accommodation.  
    • Eco friendly Lodges, Tree Houses, Jungle Cottages, Mud Huts in Sri Lanka
Be lazy. Or take a long bushwalk. Your tea is made. The staff can’t spoil you enough. Food is served just the way you like it. Your own private space to unwind. There’s a certain barefoot sophistication in this signature collection. Unique luxury with an earthy guise! Great food. Great staff. It’s totally Sri Lanka off the beaten track! If you need air conditioning, a pool, or freak out about a few bugs then this is not for you. But we love the warm, almost open-to-the-skies architecture, the unique locations & have experienced them all, first-hand. Secluded lodges and huts. Set so close to nature reserves that wildlife visits you.Beautifully furnished and elegantly appointed Some are just simple wattle and daub mud huts in some unique locations in Sri Lanka. Owned and managed by people who, love to keep the ‘wild’ side of the wilderness. Muted solar powered lighting or lanterns that blend with the darkness of the jungles. Mosquito nets and fans. Cosy open-plan dining spaces that let the outdoors in. Shower spaces and toilets that are modern and creative. Unpretentious and vernacular architecture. Some, with open sleeping decks that keep the spirit of adventure alive, even at night. Such an authentic touch of local finesse. Great alternatives to hotels and boutique resorts and perfect for a city-detox, live like a local experience or for a wildlife honeymoon in Sri Lanka. You’ll forget the clutter of the world outside  
    • Luxurious and intimate Boutique Villas , Small Luxury Hotels, Spa Resorts (5* to 5*+) or affordable luxury (4* to 5*)
It’s all about total pampering at the end of the day at these 5* to 5* plus living spaces. Unique dining options and even more unique sleeping options, eclectic menus, personal butler service and every imaginable luxury you could conjure up. All set against the surreal landscapes of one of the world’s Biodiversity Hotspots with the charm of Sri Lankan architecture and discreet, personalized service. Or, if affordable luxury is more your thing, we can also offer the best deals on the 4*to 5* range of great Hotels that have a lovely ambience.
    • Sri Lanka Tented Safari Camps, Mobile Tented camping, Luxury Tented camping
The ultimate wildlife experience (not for the fainthearted) is where the campsite is located inside the best camping locations within National Parks with no boundaries between you and the wildlife. These Semi-Luxury Mobile Tented Campsites are set up just for you, with spacious ‘stand-up’ tents equipped with comfortable raised beds, mattresses, linen and separate tents for chemical flush toilets and showers. When you leave, the campsite leaves. The wilderness remains untouched. The Luxury Tented Campsites are permanent campsite bordering a remote location and close to buffer zones. These are remote wilderness experiences with just the right modern comforts – equipped with pipe-borne water, attached toilet with water flush WC, washbasin & shower. At all campsites, fresh meals are prepared on site by a chef and dining under the stars (or sometimes by a river) is the perfect signoff to a wildlife safari holiday in Sri Lanka.  
    • Sri Lanka Budget Accommodation
When you want to spend more on your experiences than on luxury, then this is our lead-in selection for comfort and Value. Not really in the extreme scale of budget backpacker accommodation but more towards affordable and great value 3-4 * Hotels, Cottages and Home-stays – some with no-frills but hand-picked for their great local hospitality & cleanliness.

All images used on this website are the properties of Sherry Otts (ottsworld.com), Janith Samarasinghe and Ayu in the Wild Holidays. Unauthorized use prohibited.

Inner you... Outdoor Sri Lanka

Bespoke experiential holidays that make the inner you connect with outdoor Sri Lanka.