Travel Guide for Sri Lanka

Travel Guide for Sri Lanka

Personalized for these inputs:

  • Destination: Sri Lanka
  • Trip length: 5 days
  • Trip dates: None
  • Travel style: family friendly
  • Budget: $$
  • Accommodation: hotel, villa, homestay
  • Activities: arts and culture, festivals and events, gastronomy, sightseeing and tours
Picture of Sri Lanka

Key Facts

  • location: South Asia
  • currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
  • religion: Buddhism
  • population: 21,803,000
  • language: Sinhala, Tamil, English
  • electricity: 230V/50Hz, Type D, Type G?
  • time zone: Indian/Colombo (UTC+5.5)
  • country code: +94
  • internet access: Widespread access with varying speeds and costs
  • climate: Tropical, with distinct monsoon seasons

Useful Phrases

Language: Sinhala
    hello
    ආයුබෝවන් (a-yu-bo-wan)
    goodbye
    ගිහින් එනම් (gi-hin en-nam)
    yes
    ඔය (o-ya)
    no
    නෑ (na-ha)
    how much
    මොකක්ද කියන්නා (mo-ka-kda ki-yan-na)
    please
    කරුණකර (ka-ru-na-ka-ra)
    thank you
    බොහෝම ස්තූති (bo-ho-ma sthu-thi)
    excuse me
    ක්ෂමා කරන් (ksha-ma ka-ran)

Introduction

Welcome to Sri Lanka, a tropical paradise in South Asia known for its rich heritage, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes. From ancient ruins and sacred temples to lush tea plantations and pristine beaches, this island nation offers an unforgettable experience for families on a budget. Explore the historical sites of Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa, take a scenic train ride through the hills of Ella, or unwind on the golden shores of Bentota. Indulge in flavorful local cuisine, shop for handcrafted souvenirs, and immerse yourself in the warmth of Sri Lankan hospitality.

With its affordability, diverse attractions, and friendly locals, Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for an enriching family adventure.

Getting There

Traveling to Sri Lanka is most convenient by air. Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo is the main gateway, with airlines offering direct flights from major cities worldwide. For a more budget-friendly option, consider connecting flights via regional hubs like Dubai or Singapore.

Once in Sri Lanka, getting around is relatively easy. Trains are a picturesque way to travel between major cities, offering stunning views along the journey. Buses are a more cost-effective option, connecting various parts of the island. Tuk-tuks and taxis are also popular for shorter distances and exploring local areas. Weather-wise, monsoon seasons (May to September and December to February) can impact travel, so plan accordingly.

Climate and Best Time to Visit

Sri Lanka has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The southwest monsoon brings rainfall from May to September, while the northeast monsoon affects the island from November to February.

The best time to visit is from December to March when most regions are dry and sunny, ideal for beach holidays and exploring cultural sites. It's recommended to avoid the monsoon seasons if you prefer to minimize the chances of rain disrupting your plans and to enjoy a more comfortable travel experience.

Itinerary

Day 1

Explore the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka by visiting ancient temples, museums, and historical sites.

  • Visit Temple of the Tooth

    Discover the sacred Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, home to the revered relic of the tooth of Buddha. Experience traditional rituals and learn about the rich cultural significance of this site.
  • Explore Sigiriya Rock Fortress

    Climb the ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering stunning views and insights into Sri Lanka's history. Marvel at the impressive frescoes and the remains of the royal palace at the summit.
  • Visit Polonnaruwa Ancient City

    Immerse yourself in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, known for its well-preserved ruins of palaces, temples, and statues. Explore the archaeological treasures and imagine life in this historical capital.













Day 2

Experience the vibrant festivals and events of Sri Lanka, immersing in the local customs and traditions.

  • Attend the Kandy Esala Perahera

    Witness the spectacular Kandy Esala Perahera, one of the grandest and most significant Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka. Experience the vibrant processions of dancers, musicians, and beautifully adorned elephants parading through the streets of Kandy.
  • Taste Authentic Sri Lankan Street Food

    Indulge in the flavors of Sri Lanka by trying authentic street food delicacies. Explore local markets to sample favorites like kottu roti, hoppers, and spicy curries. Immerse yourself in the culinary traditions of the island nation.
  • Visit Galle Fort

    Explore the historic Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its charming cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and scenic ocean views. Discover boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes within the fort's walls.













Day 3

Indulge in a culinary journey through Sri Lanka, tasting local delicacies and experiencing the diverse flavors of the country.

  • Explore Spice Gardens in Matale

    Embark on a sensory adventure at the Spice Gardens in Matale. Learn about Sri Lanka's spice trade history, discover a variety of aromatic spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves, and enjoy a guided tour with tasting sessions.
  • Cooking Class with Local Chefs

    Participate in a hands-on cooking class with local chefs to learn traditional Sri Lankan recipes. Get insights into authentic cooking techniques, ingredients, and flavors, and savor the delicious dishes you create.
  • Tea Tasting Experience in Nuwara Eliya

    Immerse yourself in the world of Ceylon tea with a tea tasting experience in Nuwara Eliya. Visit a tea plantation, learn about the tea production process, and savor different varieties of high-quality Sri Lankan tea.













Day 4

Embark on exciting sightseeing and tours in Sri Lanka, exploring stunning landscapes, beaches, and landmarks.

  • Visit Yala National Park

    Embark on a thrilling safari adventure at Yala National Park, known for its diverse wildlife including leopards, elephants, and exotic bird species. Explore the picturesque landscapes and natural beauty of this renowned conservation area.
  • Relax at Unawatuna Beach

    Unwind and soak up the sun at Unawatuna Beach, a tropical paradise with golden sands and clear blue waters. Enjoy water activities like swimming, snorkeling, and beach strolls, and indulge in fresh seafood at seaside restaurants.
  • Explore Horton Plains National Park

    Discover the breathtaking beauty of Horton Plains National Park, home to scenic walking trails, dramatic cliffs, and the iconic













Day 5

Spend a relaxing day enjoying leisure activities with your family, making lasting memories and cherishing the moments together.

  • Visit Turtle Hatchery in Balapitiya

    Experience a heartwarming visit to a Turtle Hatchery in Balapitiya, where you can learn about turtle conservation efforts and witness adorable baby turtles being released into the sea. Enjoy educational tours and interact with these fascinating creatures.
  • Explore Madu River Safari

    Embark on a scenic boat safari on the Madu River, surrounded by lush mangroves and abundant wildlife. Discover the tranquil beauty of the river, spot exotic birds and animals, and visit small islands with temples and cinnamon plantations.
  • Enjoy Water Sports at Bentota Beach

    Indulge in a thrilling day of water sports at Bentota Beach, known for its clear waters and sandy shores. Try activities like jet skiing, banana boat rides, and parasailing with experienced instructors for a fun and adventurous family outing.













Accommodations

For a family-friendly trip on an average budget in Sri Lanka, consider staying in the coastal town of Unawatuna. There are various affordable villas and homestays near the beach, offering a comfortable stay with easy access to the ocean. Booking platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com feature a range of options in this area, suitable for families.

Alternatively, Kandy, situated in the central region of Sri Lanka, is known for its scenic beauty and cultural attractions. You can find charming guesthouses and budget-friendly hotels in and around the city, providing a convenient base for exploring the historic sites and lush landscapes of the region.

Food and Drink

Sri Lankan cuisine is known for its flavorful curries, rice and curry dishes, hoppers, and spicy sambols. Don't miss trying traditional dishes like "kottu roti," "string hoppers," and "masi bath."

For a family-friendly dining experience, consider popular spots like "Upali's by Nawaloka" in Colombo for authentic Sri Lankan fare. In Galle, "A Minute by Tuk Tuk" offers a relaxed atmosphere and delicious fusion dishes. When dining out, it's customary to leave a 10% tip.

Vegetarian and vegan options are widely available. Be mindful of spice levels if you're sensitive to heat. Embrace the local custom of eating with your right hand. Street food vendors offer tasty snacks worth trying. Enjoy the local tea culture by visiting tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya.

Rice and Curry

Rice and Curry

Rice and Curry is the staple and most beloved dish in Sri Lanka. It typically consists of a fragrant, spiced rice accompanied by an array of curries, such as fish, chicken, or vegetable, prepared with coconut milk, spices, and local herbs. Each region may have its own unique variation, but the essence of comforting flavors and aromatic spices remains consistent across the country.

Kottu Roti

Kottu Roti

Kottu Roti is a popular street food dish made from shredded godhamba roti (flatbread), stir-fried with a blend of spices, vegetables, and a choice of protein like chicken, beef, or egg. Known for its sizzling sound and enticing aroma, this dish is a must-try for anyone visiting Sri Lanka.

Hoppers

Hoppers

Hoppers, also known as Appa, are bowl-shaped pancakes made from rice flour and coconut milk. They can be enjoyed plain or with an egg cooked inside, and are often served with a side of sambol (spicy relish) or a creamy coconut milk gravy. Hoppers are a delightful breakfast staple with a unique texture and flavor.

Lamprais

Lamprais

Lamprais is a flavorful rice dish influenced by Dutch Burgher cuisine. It consists of rice, accompanied by a mix of curries, seeni sambol (caramelized onion relish), and a boiled egg, all wrapped in a banana leaf and baked to perfection. This fusion of flavors and textures makes Lamprais a delightful and fulfilling meal.

String Hoppers

String Hoppers

String Hoppers, or Idiyappam, are delicate, steamed rice noodles formed into flat, circular discs. They are often enjoyed with coconut sambol and a variety of curries. The light, airy texture and subtle taste of the noodles make them a versatile and classic Sri Lankan dish.

Attractions and Activities

Sri Lanka offers a rich cultural experience with ancient sites like Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Don't miss the vibrant festivals such as the Esala Perahera and the Kandy Perahera.

Indulge in the flavorful local cuisine, including rice and curry, hoppers, and kottu. Explore the tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya and take a scenic train ride through the picturesque countryside.

Sri Lanka's diverse arts and crafts scene is captivating with batik textiles, wood carvings, and traditional dance performances.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

Discover the hidden rock fortress of Sigiriya, known as the 'Lion Rock,' offering stunning views and intriguing history. Explore the mysterious caves of Dambulla, filled with ancient rock paintings and statues. Embark on a train journey through the picturesque tea plantations of Ella for a unique perspective of Sri Lanka's lush landscapes.