Take a trip to Sri Lanka
In the south-east of India, Sri Lanka, the remote island of the spice route, welcomes you in an exotic environment. From Colombo, its capital, set off on unforgettable excursions: trekking for a few hours or a few days on the backs of venerable elephants near the kingdom of Kandy or a safari in the heart of the Yala West Park. In the center of the country is “The Cultural Center” regrouping around three sites, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Anuradhapura, the monasteries and ruins of the old dynasties that populated the territory. In the south, vast tea plantations cover the hills. You will visit the Newburgh estate in Ella or Dambatenne in Haputale, founded by the famous Scotsman Thomas Lipton at the end of the 19th century. To relax and have a good time, there is of course the coastline with its golden sandy beaches. Instead of the busy resorts of Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, prefer the quiet Mirissa on the south coast and maybe you can watch whales.
Tour guides in Sri Lanka
Five ideas for guided tours in Sri Lanka
Uda Walawe National Park
The Uda Walawe Park is located 180 kilometers from Colombo. It is an expanse of scrubby and almost arid jungle where a large reservoir has been built to allow wildlife to come and drink. There are many species of animals: crocodiles, chameleons, coyotes, buffaloes, monkeys, leopards and more than 200 species of birds, but it is above all the kingdom of nearly 800 elephants. You will travel through the park by jeep. The tour will take about four hours and we recommend you to go very early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is setting. One option is to visit the orphaned elephant sanctuary at the end of the tour, where they are cared for and fed before being released back into the savannah.
Horton Plains National Park
The park is accessible in the southern part of the island in the heart of the Highlands. The nearest town is Nuwara Eliya. The majority of the scenery is composed of mountains, water sources, grasslands and cloud forests, those types of high-altitude rainforests that are also known as cloud forests. The only hiking trail in Horton Plains National Park takes about three to four hours to complete. Each stop is well marked, allowing you to stop and admire. The most important are Baker’s Falls and World’s End, and the panoramic views are outstanding. You will cross meadows where a considerable number of birds, deer, wild boars and monkeys live. The loop hike is easily accessible to families and all levels of fitness.
The Ella region and its tea plantations
Come and enjoy the beautiful views near the town of Ella. The small town is located in the southern mountainous region of the country. To reach it by train from Kandy is an enchantment. The drive takes about six hours. Don’t worry, you won’t get bored for a second while admiring along the 140 kilometers its luxuriant landscapes like a movie screen that scrolls in front of you. For more tranquility, choose to withdraw a little from the center of Ella sometimes a little too crowded. There are plenty of excursions in the area. Start with Little Adam’s Peak. It should be done early in the morning to get the best views. On the way down the hill, the Nine Arch Bridge appears. This old bridge is 30 meters high and connects two mountains above the jungle. Other trekking options to get lost in the many tea plantations are Ella Lipton Seat, Nayabedde or Haputale.
One of the most beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka is located on its southeast coast, exactly opposite Colombo. Arugam Bay is a famous spot for surfers of all categories, Whisky Point being reserved for the pros, as the waves are the highest there. Privileged starting point before or after wandering in the parks and reserves, the place has kept its wild aspect. Here, there is not much to do but rest at the seaside, on the fine sand. Outside the high season, from May to October, the area is almost tourist-free. Early in the morning, you can see the fishermen coming back on board their colorful boats and, in the evening, you can go, 15 minutes by tuk-tuk, in the middle of the swamps to the place called Elephant Rock where you can observe a splendid sunset.
Former capital of the kingdom of Ceylon, Kandy has always been the cultural city par excellence. It is located in the center near an artificial lake. The city is considered as a sacred site by the presence of the Temple of the Tooth (Dâlada Maligawa) which would contain neither more nor less than a part of the dentition of Buddha. The city has a world turned towards modernity and has managed to preserve Sinhalese traditions. Take advantage of your stay to go for a walk in its market, a jovial atmosphere is guaranteed. Then go to the great garden of Peradeniya, one of the most beautiful botanical parks in the world. You will discover thousands of plants from all over the world. Head out of town to the Udawattakal Reserve, also known as the Royal Forest. This tropical jungle sanctuary is a sanctuary for flora and fauna, with monkeys and a variety of birds, and is only a 15-minute walk away.