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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a tantalising teardrop of an island where leopards and wild elephants sit beside ancient Buddhist temples and green hilled tea plantations, a place where soft golden sands melt into tranquil waters. This remarkable and rewarding island has no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is an intriguing destination for travellers who want to dip their toes into both the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and an extraordinarily rich culture.

On any given day you could find yourself meeting elephants at Pinnawala Orphanage, tracking the elusive leopard through Yala National Park or searching for sperm whales, pods of dolphins and mighty blue whales off the coast of Mirissa. Budding ornithologists can also try to spot the 400 plus bird species that reside on this beautiful island. If you’re more interested in a good cuppa, head for the hills and the tea growing region of Nuwara Eliya, where spectacular plantations rise up out of the mist.  

But Sri Lanka is not all tea, wildlife and beaches. Its dominant religion is Buddhism, and the meditative culture is apparent everywhere you go, with holy sites including Kandy’s Temple
of the Tooth Relic, the fascinating Dambulla Cave Temple and the giant reclining Buddha statue at Polonnaruwa. The food is a big draw too, from the ever-present curry and rice to Tamil specialities like Odiyal Kool, a creamy, soup-like dish with seafood and vegetables. 

 

Getting There

Flying time from the UK is approximately 11 hours 30 minutes direct,12 hours via Doha, Qatar, 13 hours via Malé, Maldives and 13 hours 25 minutes via Dubai. 

Sri Lankan Airlines Departures from Heathrow daily direct.

Qatar Airways Departures from Heathrow and Manchester daily via Doha. 

British Airways Departures from Gatwick 3 times a week via Malé until 31 March 2015.

Emirates Departures from Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester,Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow daily via Dubai.

Note: All our inclusive holiday prices are based on Sri Lankan Airlines Economy flights. Prices with British Airways, Qatar Airways and Emirates are also available on request.

Language

Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages. English is widely spoken.

Time Difference

5 hours 30 minutes ahead of GMT.

Currency

Sri Lankan rupee. Major credit cards are also accepted at all hotels.

Useful Information

An Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) visa is required for all trips to Sri Lanka. British Nationals travelling from 1 January 2012 onwards will be subject to an ETA visa fee of approximately US$25 per person - applications and payments are to be made via www.eta.gov.lk prior to travel and a printed copy of the approval must be shown to immigration on arrival. A visa on arrival will be subject to an approximate cost of US$30 per person. Please be aware that there will only be 2 counters for processing ETA's on arrival and this is likely to cause delays. We therefore strongly recommend you obtain an ETA prior to arrival. Children under 12 yrs are free of charge, but must still obtain an ETA as described above. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the end of your intended stay. 

See the island

Sigiriya

Rising majestically over the surrounding plains, there are so many stories as to the purpose of this splendid rock monument that we recommend you come to your own conclusions. Climb to The Lion Gate where two giant paws mark the entrance to the final part of your journey, before emerging on the summit for magnificent views.

Temple of the Tooth Relic

The revered relic of the tooth of Buddha is housed in an impressive temple in the heart of Kandy, and Sri Lankans flock here every evening to catch a glimpse of it. A fascinating, but brief look into the sacred room housing the tooth is a must, and provides a great insight into the strong presence of Buddhism in modern day Sri Lanka.

Matale's Spice Gardens

Take a highly enjoyable guided tour around a spice garden and learn about the healing uses of some common spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. See the process of how they’re grown, appreciate the wonderful aromas, and try the freshly made local products. 

Polonnaruwa

Visit the fascinating 11th Century ruins of the country's former capital and marvel at the remains of this once great garden city. Now a World Heritage Site, discover striking rock cut Buddhas and serene palaces and temples.

When to go... Kandy Esala Perahera

This festival takes places in July/August and is a celebration of Buddha’s famous tooth relic. The streets of Kandy are filled with whirling dancers, powerful music, brilliant fire jugglers and torch bearers, and the most spectacular part is the 100 elaborately decorated elephants.

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"Relax on bean bags at the stylish UMBar, a great place to take it easy while sipping cocktails and admiring the view over the infinity pool."

"Luxury doesn’t have to break the bank with great savings of up to 40% plus complimentary half board between 11 January–26 December."

"The PlayPen encompasses an 800 sq metre split level living space, with a New York loft meets Maldivian luxury style, private beachfront with access into the reef, combined master bedroom and bathroom with sauna and steam room, lounge room with cocktail bar and 60 sq metre private infinity pool, perfect for a honeymoon or special birthday."

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0207751 0660

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