Sri Lanka

Though offering spectacular tropical beaches, the magic of Sri Lanka reaches far beyond its shoreline. With a rich history, superb cuisine, fascinating culture & wonderful national parks, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean is also home to some of the most abundant biodiversity anywhere in the world.

                                                         

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activities & experiences

Ahhh, Sri Lanka. Time ebbs to a sedate crawl on this spectacular teardrop-shaped island, allowing you to relax, unwind and enjoy all it has to offer at your own pace. Surrounded by white-sand beaches gently trickling into clear, blue water, a tropical escape is just one reason for visiting. Sri Lanka is one of the oldest civilisations on the planet, its written history alone dating back some 2,500 years, and a more recent strengthening of its conservation and safari options has made it a superb destination for animal lovers as well.

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This combination of wildlife, culture, history and coastline provides a vast array of entertainment for visitors. Preconceptions are invariably rapidly erased when travellers begin to explore the diversity of Sri Lanka’s attractions and landscapes, and whatever you might be searching for, you will find it in abundance, and so much more.

  • Go on safari in search of leopards, sloth bears, elephants & much more
  • Explore the 500-year-old Galle Fort
  • Take the Blue Train through Sri Lanka’s mountainous interior
  • Take a whale & dolphin-watching excursion
  • Sample fresh tea at Nuwara Eliya plantation
  • Cool off with panoramic views at Diyaluma Falls
  • Delve into the spiritual side of Sri Lanka at the Aluvihara Cave Temple
  • Take an authentic Sinhalese Cooking class
Sri Lanka 290801045
Sri Lanka

destinations

Diversity abounds in Sri Lanka. You can hike through rainforests, explore historic ruins, take arguably the best safari outside of Africa or enjoy the bohemian coastal lifestyle. About half the size of New York state, it is easy to discover the numerous facets of this island nation during your vacation, or even several on a single day.

Yala National Park


With over 20 national parks scattered across the island, it can be tricky to know which one to visit, but Yala is the most famous and popular for good reason. This is the land of the leopard, and sightings are all but guaranteed. The vast park has different regions, each with its own attractions, but with an expert guide you will avoid the crowds and find precisely the safari experience you are searching for.

Sigiriya Rock


Also sometimes referred to as Lion Rock, Sigiriya is a feat of ancient architecture steeped in history. Built over 1,500 years ago by King Kashyapa, it takes its name from the impressive lion that forms the gateway to this mountaintop citadel. Sri Lanka’s answer to Machu Picchu was abandoned after the king’s death, but was adopted as a monastery by Buddhist monks. Today, the UNESCO World Heritage site is very popular, but well worth enduring the crowds for, with ornamental ponds and waterways, immaculate frescos and the well-preserved ruins of the spectacular palace.

Udawalawe National Park


Where Yala is known for its leopards, it is at Udawalawe that you will find Sri Lanka’s most abundant elephant population. Though a smaller park and a little parse in other mammals, Udawalawe is a captivating destination to visit, with family herds of elephant wandering the forests and lowlands, and an abundance of birdlife adding a vibrant splash of colour everywhere you turn.

Adam’s Peak


A favourite destination of avid hikers, Adam’s Peak takes you on a lofty climb from the forest floor to its summit 7,360 feet (2,243 m) above sea level. Taking between two and four hours to ascend, you will be rewarded with spectacular views. A Buddhist monastery at its summit houses the reason for its name: a footprint indentation into the rock that some believe to have been made by the first man, Adam, while others, including the resident monks, hold that it was Buddha who made the imprint.

Galle Fort


Though the ancient fort at Galle is its primary attraction, the town itself, formerly a key port for spice traders, is a fascinating step back in time. Surrounded by beaches on three sides, it exudes its 17th-Century colonial history. Its full name of Galle Fort is a little misleading, and rather than the conventional understanding of a castle-like structure, it is actually a walled town, its small streets filled with boutique hotels and restaurants that sensitively assimilate with the World Heritage-listed site.

accommodations

Though Sri Lanka has its share of budget homestays and small cabins, it also has a wealth of premier luxury accommodations. Some of the more major areas such as Galle offer contemporary comfort and service in listed colonial hotels, while others are modern residences with nuances of the more traditional aspects of Sinhalese architecture.

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Venturing away from the more established areas, the interior has numerous lodges and intimate resorts that rest harmoniously within nature. Sumptuous interiors are cocooned in natural materials, expansive windows allowing natural light and the breathtaking scenery to flood in. This level of excellence is matched in the calibre of service and, like its big sister of India, you will invariably be treated like royalty wherever you stay.

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SRI LANKA ESSENTIALS

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BEST TIME: Dec-Apr

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CLIMATE: 72–92°F (22–33°C) year-round

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SEASONS: Varied (see FAQs)

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BEST FOR:
History & culture seekers, gastronomists, nature enthusiasts

International flights will transfer through some European, Middle Eastern and Asian airports and visas are required for most visitors. While visas are available on arrival, this can be a time-consuming process and it is highly recommended to apply for your visa at least four weeks before travelling.

Some inoculations are suggested and, though not essential, we recommend consulting your medical travel specialist for advice.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW LONG SHOULD I SPEND IN SRI LANKA?

While Sri Lanka can segue very nicely with a more extensive itinerary, we suggest taking at least seven days to truly make the most of the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. With such history and diversity, anything less will leave you feeling frustrated and unfulfilled. Ideally, two weeks is advised to make the most of your Sri Lanka adventure.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?

Sri Lanka’s location near the equator makes it a year-round destination; however, this is complicated by two separate monsoon seasons. From mid-May to mid-September the Southwest monsoon drenches the West, the Southwest coast and the hinterland.

The Northeast monsoon hits the East Coast between mid-November to mid-February. Temperatures remain consistently warm all year, averaging 79–86°F (26–30°C) during the daytime. The higher altitudes are considerably cooler with averages around 57–62°F (14–17°C). Night temperatures can get close to freezing at altitude. In the lowlands and the coast, humidity can be very high year-round. Our expert travel designers will advise you of the best itinerary and locations based on your travel availability.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM ACCOMMODATION IN SRI LANKA?

Though some of the major hotel chains do offer exceptional accommodation, we recommend instead staying at independent lodges and small resorts. Quieter and more personal, these will give you a greater connection to the landscapes and people of Sri Lanka without forgoing luxury and comfort.

Many of the properties you will visit have been more recently established, giving you contemporary convenience balanced with creative design. At all accommodations, service is of an excellent standard, as is the cuisine.

OTHER DETAILS:

Sri Lanka has something for everyone and is equally suited to honeymooners as it is families and the more adventurous traveller. Nature abounds, and safaris present an array of wonderful creatures and sights. Watersports are also popular on this small island nation, and children are adequately entertained throughout the country. Taking time to discuss your objectives, needs and group dynamic with your travel designer will enable them to craft a perfect itinerary to suit everyone.

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

Wow, wow, wow!! We are back in LA now, recovering from jet lag and still in shock and awe regarding our experience. From the moment we landed in South Africa to the moment we touched down in LA, our experience was seamless and amazing. 

- Amy Lundberg

We were thrilled with the trip. It was as good as or better than described at every turn. The prep, attention to detail, willingness to make changes and ensure we were ready and prepared was outstanding. Our Travel Designer was awesome! 

- Betsy Robertson

Choosing a safari expert is never easy given the choice and lists upon lists of "top suppliers"....but we made the BEST choice for us....why....because above all, Rothschild listened ....really listened to what we wanted to experience.

- Dawn Jacobs

It was a well organized trip. It was easy to get around since we were guided through all of our itinerary. Everyone was pleasant and very helpful. This is an excellent way to travel. Rothschild Safari did very well and brought a fantastic African experience to us.

- George Kowalski

My trip was beyond AMAZING! I truly enjoyed every moment. The itinerary allowed me to experience a variety of different activities all of which I enjoyed! When I originally thought of going to Africa I was just thinking of safaris. This trip opened my eyes (and my family/friend's) to so much more Africa has to offer.

- Jackie Smith

Trip was PERFECT!! Every single detail was planned out and the accommodations and people were wonderful. This trip exceeded all of our wildest expectations. Every place we stayed was just lovely and each each camp had a different vibe, which was really neat. Everyone we worked with was outstanding. 

Jamie Scarlett

On behalf of the Moravec’s and the Stone’s……thank you for arranging a trip of a lifetime. Every detail was accounted for and all the recommendations were perfect. It honestly could not have gone any better.

Joe Moravec

Meggan Woody and Kim Killick were extraordinary at crafting THE PERFECT safari for our family of 8. They both listened (actually 'read' my email) to EXACTLY what we wanted, within the budget that we needed, and miraculously pulled off miracles in obtaining the properties that we wanted! 

Kim Mather

Every aspect of my trip went according to plan and the plan Rothschild's help me to orchestrate was magnificent! I loved every lodge that I was blessed to be in! They were all very different yet all high end and very accommodating.

Lisa Anderson

It was the most exciting, scenic, inspiring trip we've ever taken. To say it was a trip of a lifetime doesn't begin to capture our experience. Pam Langhoff and the Rothschild team did an outstanding job of helping us plan this trip.

Mary & Rob Johannigman (& family)