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Sri Lanka Travel Guide

A real pocket rocket. From stunning tropical beaches and bright green tea fields, to mesmerising ruins and lively towns, Sri Lanka means plunging into a vibrant culture and mixing it up between adventure and chill out time. Explore incredible national parks, wander through pretty colonial streets, discover beautiful temples and perhaps best of all, dine on amazing local cuisine. After something different for your next trip? Let Sri Lanka win you over.
languages icon LANGUAGES
Most Sri Lankans speak Sinhalese,
with another large proportion
speaking Tamil. Many locals can
effectively communicate in English.
currency icon CURRENCY
Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
time zone icon TIME ZONE
Sri Lanka Standard Time
(GMT+05:30)
Same time zone as India

 

Top places to visit in Sri Lanka

Colombo

Colombo

The main port of entry and exit in Sri Lanka, the island's capital city is situated on the west coast and is bursting with culture, awesome food and a burgeoning bar scene. Explore the beautiful Gangaramaya Buddhist temple (pictured), and watch the sun set over the Laccadive Sea at Galle Face Green with a plate of delicous street food... or just head north to Negombo beach to chill.
Ella tea lady

Kandy and the Hill Country

Head into Sri Lanka's lush highlands and find some serious zen. Here, you can explore the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, hike the 7000+ steps to the top of Adam's Peak and journey through sky-high tea plantations and colourful villages to find your happy place in the adorable town of Ella. 
Sigiriya rock

Sigiriya and the cultural triangle

A short journey north from Kandy you'll the ginormous temple complexes of Anuradhapura, impressive Buddhist caves in Dambulla, and the awe-inspiring Sigiriya rock. Climb to the top, keep your eyes peeled, and you might just seen wild elephants grazing in the rich jungle below. Yep, like many of Asia's great travel hotspots, Sri Lanka has its own 'cultural triangle'. And getting around it by public bus is smooth sailing, too. 
Sri Lanka beach

Sri Lanka's beaches

Partying in Hikkaduwa. Surfing on Arugam Bay. Whale watching on Marissa, turtle spotting around Tangalle and Rekawa, and straight up chilling on Uppuveli... Sri Lanka offers tropical bliss and salty sunsets aplenty. There's a beach for everyone here. 

Sri Lanka tour deals

tropical palm treed lined up on a Sri Lankan island

Sailing Sri Lanka

Discover the culture and wild, natural beauty of Sri Lanka on a seven-day sailing with the perfect mix of chill-out time and exploration. Sail along the southern coast of Sri Lanka, stopping along the way at the old trading fort of Galle, remote beach towns, and the fishing village of Kudawella.
7 days
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fisherman on an island at sunset

Pure Sri Lanka

Say Ayubowan to Contiki's newest hot spot, Sri Lanka. This adventure is going to take you all over, from national parks to beaches to the world-famous tea country, we've squeezed in all the highlights to create the perfect 10-day trip. Imagine hand-picked inclusions and free time add-ons that deliver the best Sri Lanka has to offer.
10 days
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FAQ - Travel in Sri Lanka

When is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka?

Average temperatures in Sri Lanka are in the high twenties on the coast and high teens in the hills. In typical tropical fashion, the monsoon rears its head in Sri Lanka every year. Despite the small size of the island, its patterns vary depending on your location. The south of Sri Lanka (think the beaches of Hikkaduwa and Marissa, the hill country where Ella and Adam's Peak are nestled, and Udawalwe Nartinal Park) experience rains from May to August, meaning hiking or wildlife spotting during this period might get a bit soggy. The best time to visit the south and west coast of the island is from January to April.

Further north, around Sigiriya, the Cultural Triangle, Trincomalee and Jaffna, it's dry and hot from May to September. It gets rainy in these parts from October to February. Confused yet? Yep, it took us a while to get our head around it too. The most important thing to remember is that Sri Lanka is an amazing travel experience at any time of year, and places are rarely completely off limits.

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