Ceylon’s first capital
An important Buddhist site, Anuradhapura is famous for its shrines, dagobas and most importantly, the sacred Bodhi tree, grown from a branch of the tree under which Buddha found enlightenment. It is Sri Lanka's first capital and dates back to the fourth century.
Hiking in the hill country
To experience the true hill country Explore Tailormade recommend a walk on Horton Plains to World’s End, passing Baker Falls along the way. If you travel between December and April we recommend a trek to Adam's Peak. Here you will join pilgrims on their ascent to the top where a depression in the ground is said be Buddha's footprint, arriving in time for sunrise and hopefully spectacular views.
Scenic train journeys
Travelling on a Tailormade holiday to Sri Lanka means you get to choose how you travel, and we highly recommend at least one train journey in your itinerary. One of the most scenic journeys you can take is from Nuwara Eliya to Ella, weaving around mountains, through tunnels, passing tea plantations, forests, waterfalls and small villages.
On Sri Lanka’s northernmost tip, Jaffa was off-limits for years; now back on the map you can explore the markets, fort and temples. Arrive on the Queen of Jaffa train to fully immerse yourself in the local culture.
Puja in Kandy
We’ll time your visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth to include evening puja, when devout Buddhists lay offerings of flowers in front of the tooth chamber while prayers and music fill the air.
Sophie Newbold, Regional Specialist for Sri Lanka
"Sri Lanka is the perfect mix of wildlife, beautiful Buddhist temples, fantastic food and long stretches of pristine beaches. The island is small so it’s easy to fit plenty in to a relatively short holiday. Exploring the cultural triangle of Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa takes you through the country’s history from 500BC to the 12th century giving you a chance to learn how the country embraced Buddhism. Travel through the central region, passing rolling tea plantations and stopping in Nuwara Eliya to easily imagine yourself in colonial times. A highlight for many is the wildlife, kingfishers appearing almost every few minutes, flying foxes hanging from the trees in Kandy’s botanical gardens and herds of elephants in Minneriya and Udawalwe National Parks."
Tailormake a holiday to Sri Lanka to see the best wildlife the country has to offer. On the south coast near Unawatuna and Galle between December and April, you can take a boat ride from Mirissa in search of humpback and sperm whales. Visit Trincomalee, on the east coast between May and October to see blue and sperm whales, as well as dolphins.
Green, leatherback, hawksbill, loggerhead and olive ridley sea turtles all nest on the beaches of Sri Lanka. There are many turtle projects throughout the country, Explore recommends a visit to Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery where we know the turtles are well-looked after.
Wilpattu National Park, on the north-west coast, is less visited than other parks in the country, allowing a more authentic safari experience. The park has dry jungle and around 60 lakes, and is home to water birds, leopard, elephant and sambar deer. Minneriya National Park in Sri Lanka is famous for the 'elephant gathering' around the reservoir, the greatest concentration of Asian elephants in the world, while Gal Oya National Park it is possible to head out on foot, boat or bike in the park.
Udawalawe National Park in the south is home to sloth bear, mongoose and crocodile, while here Explore Tailormade suggest a visit to the Elephant Transit House, just outside the park, where we will plan your visit to coincide with feeding time of the orphaned elephant calves. Located in the south of the Sri Lanka, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Bundala National Park and Kumana National Park are all great for bird watching, as is Wasgamuwa National Park in central Sri Lanka.
Although probably not considered a wildlife destination by some, Sri Lanka has an abundance of wildlife and birdlife, it is certainly one of Explore Tailormade's favourite wildlife hotspots.