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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.


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

Time Difference

5 hours 30 minutes ahead of GMT.


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 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


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. 



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.



The first capital of ancient Ceylon, Anuradhapura boasts impressive stupas and is best known as the site of the ‘tree of enlightenment’, said to have grown from a cutting of the Bo-Tree where Buddha attained enlightenment. Today it is still a very spiritual place and well worth a visit.


Minneriya National Park

Famed for its elephants, with viewing at close quarters made possible by the wide open scrublands that are typical here, this is a great place to see one of Sri Lanka’s most wellknown residents. It’s best in the dry season, between May–September, as the elephants come from the forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee areas to feed. There can be anywhere between 150 to 700 elephants in the park at any one time, so it offers a great opportunity for photos of these magnificent beasts in their natural environment.


Dambulla Cave Temple

Built in the 1st Century BC, this complex of five caves contains over 150 images of Buddha, so is one of the largest areas of cave paintings in the world.



Once Sri Lanka’s main port, here you’ll find the best preserved sea fort in South Asia. Explore the defensive walls erected by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th Centuries, then head to Galle old town, like stepping back in time, to explore its maze of twisting streets.


Yala National Park

Sri Lanka is one of the best places in the world to see leopard, and not only does Yala offer sightings of these elusive cats, it is prime territory for bird watchers, with large flocks of migratory and indigenous birds found here, as well as elephants, deer, crocodiles and even sloth bears (May–June).


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"A consistent favourite amongst Caribtours clients and staff, East Winds offers the ultimate in old world Caribbean charm but with all the modern conveniences you would expect."

"We love the swim-up pool bar at East Winds - it’s self service and a recipe book is provided so that guests can mix their own cocktails."

"The outstanding and constantly changing dinner menus will be one of the highlights of your stay here, and the accompanying wines are always excellent."

"East Winds’ many repeat clients will appreciate the enhancements made over the last couple of years - these include a pre-arrival concierge service, social events and a selection of exclusive local tours."

"Join in the fun at the Beach Party every Friday, complete with a Land and Sea BBQ."

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020 7751 0660

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