Liz Edwards, Associate Editor of the Sunday Times Travel Magazine and AITO travel writer of the year, went to Sri Lanka en famille with Experience Travel Group. We helped her with arrangements, incorporating the highlights with a twist and organising explorations off-the-beaten-path. From whizzing along characterful backstreets in a tuk tuk, to meeting monkeys that call grand Buddhist temples their home, to spotting elephants on safari, here she shares her top 5 experiences she’d recommend to other families.
A challenging question to answer, but here we provide a brief guide. Ultimately, it all depends on exactly where you are and how much you want to spend.
In order to help you prepare for your holiday in Sri Lanka our travel experts have compiled the latest advice on safety.
Travel expert Sara recently went on her own personal holiday to Sri Lanka with 12 members of her family. As an avid wildlife enthusiast, her father suggested an early morning whale watching experience. He made the arrangements himself during our holiday but the experience was less than dreamy. Here Sara reports back on how NOT to do whale watching.
If you look at a map of Sri Lanka (earth view) you’ll see the number of beaches it has is pretty spectacular. But, then again, just one hour away by plane is The Maldives – with picture-perfect white-sand shores. You’ve got a dilemma: which one should you experience? Here, I weigh up all your options, and discover that it really depends on what you want from your relaxation time.
There is a strong tipping culture in Sri Lanka; wages are low so it’s an important additional way of making money. Of course, tips should be earned for good service rather than simply expected. Here are our guidelines for good tipping practise.
Some people may be surprised to discover that one of the most famous films of all time, The Bridge On the River Kwai was filmed almost entirely in Sri Lanka, and not in the bridge’s actual location in Thailand. And now, with the opening of the Sir David Lean Bungalow (named after the Director of the film) by the boutique hotel group, Elephant Stables, it’s possible to stay in one of the beautiful spots that feature in this classic film.
Its stunning UNESCO heritage sites, golden-sand beaches and beautiful tea plantations make Sri Lanka a fantastic destination for a holiday with a difference. Not to mention the herds of wild elephants, mouth-watering curries and colonial history. Tempted to visit this magical isle? While you might already be dreaming of discovering its delights for the first time yourself, what are the practical aspects to consider? Here’s some information on 10 things you might want to think about:
Planning a family holiday to Sri Lanka can seem challenging, certainly for those wanting to make sure they get the best value for money. Here, travel expert Becky shares her top tips for keeping the costs down and getting ‘bang for your buck’.
ETG travellers Hilary and Paul recently visited the north of Sri Lanka on a small group tour. Here is an account of the best experiences they had, fantastic inspiration for your next adventure.
Javana, owner of one of our most popular boutique hotels in Sri Lanka, Horathapola kindly shares his insider insights into his property.
Founder of Gal Oya Lodge, Sangjay, shares his tips for travelling like an ‘insider’ in Gal Oya National Park – home to herds of elephants, crocodiles and various bird life. From joining local naturalists on wildlife research missions, to walking with Vedha chiefs through ancient forests, to enjoying boat safaris spotting elephants – he details how to make the best of your visit.
Eleanor represents some of Sri Lanka’s best boutique hotels; full of character, history and beautiful antiques. She is now based in the country, popping over to the UK to promote the destination and her wonderful properties. Here she shares her top insider tips for any travel enthusiast wanting to visit the country.
Kevin, owner of Jim’s Farm, between Dambulla and Kandy shares stories about his life on the property. From the annual cultivation and harvest of coconuts, spices, pepper, cinnamon and mangoes, to the welcoming of calves and chicks, staying here lets you get an unprecedented insight into a rural way of life.
Sri Lanka has so many things to experience that it can be a challenge to work out what is actually worth doing. To help you decide, I’ve listed my favourite activities, any of which can be incorporated into a trip. From sipping delicious tea in the lush tea plantations of the hill country, to meandering through old colonial cities, from admiring the sun set over thousand year-old forests and ancient ruins to close encounters with majestic wildlife, I hope you’ll be inspired.
Jane recently went to Sri Lanka for her summer holiday with Experience Travel Group. A first foray ‘en famille’ to this exotic destination, we asked after her thoughts on this adventurous trip.
Sri Lanka has a very laid back way of life, with some idiosyncrasies that are helpful to know before visiting. Here are our top things to bear in mind before travelling to the island.
“It’s sad she doesn’t worry about her own experience…” sighed one of our consultants, after talking with a mother panicking about her family holiday. The problem was, she could “only enjoy the holiday, if all the rest of them do!” Another Mum was putting her own needs last on the priority list, thinking that if she can just fulfill everyone else’ wishes, the family could hit that magical balance of fun, excitement, novelty and relaxation that makes for the perfect trip. Maybe after then, she could slip in one or two experiences for herself; a shame for the chief family organiser!
So what then are the perfect ingredients?
We asked the resident chef of Jungle Beach on Sri Lanka’s east coast to share his favourite recipe with us. He chose Trincomalee crab curry, a delicious dish best served with a beautiful view over the sea and a cold drink.
Learning about our ancestors can help us to get to the bottom of our identity; what has our family done, where have they lived and how does that influence ourselves and our relatives today?
Exploring your family tree can be a fascinating and exciting trip through history, but with such a wealth of information out there on the Internet – and so many different resources to take it from – where do you start?
Once you start looking into practical details of your Sri Lanka trip, you’ll notice two potential dilemmas.
1) How are you going to get around the country? – It’s quite difficult to reach all the major sights using public transport and taxis won’t be willing to go the distances you need.
2) How are you going to delve beneath the surface of the culture? – You may be wondering how you’re going to meet the locals in authentic ways to get an understanding of the country.
Here I’m going to explain why hiring a chauffeur guide solves both problems and creates a brilliant holiday experience.
Cat and family went on a summer holiday adventure with us to Sri Lanka and we asked her to share her top 5 favourite experiences. From swimming races with her brothers, to absorbing the stunning hill country scenery by train, to canoeing in the great outdoors, here she shares her thoughts:
Organising a trip to Sri Lanka can seem complicated, but with a little expert advice, it quickly becomes more straightforward. The key is to remember that with all the preparation in the world, there’ll always be an element of spontaneity to your visit. Go with a plan, but a relaxed one at that, and you’ll be sure to have a fantastic time.
Having travelled both independently and with Experience Travel Group throughout Sri Lanka, we asked travel expert Toni to explain what the differences were and advantages/ disadvantages for each. Over to Toni:
As passionate promoters of small boutique hotels, which generally encompass the character and traditions of the country you are visiting, I’m very please to present my top 5 luxury hotels in Sri Lanka that are great for families.
Judy’s Sri Lanka story is truly remarkable. Growing up in Ceylon, here she talks about her holiday with us to the country, revisiting her childhood haunts, the smells, the images, the food, the people. With an incredible insight into the country’s history and changes over the years, here she reflects on what makes her visits there so special
Teardrop hotels feature some of our most popular boutique properties in Sri Lanka, including the stunning boutique heritage villa the Wallawwa. We’re incredibly excited about the recently opened Fort Bazaar, lovingly restored by the group. Here, we invited Henry (Managing Director) to talk a little bit about his interested in Sri Lanka and the process behind restoring this heritage property. Over to Henry:
The Galle Literary Festival is a 5 day event starting from 11th January that allows visitors the opportunity to appreciate the works of Sri Lankan and international authors, take part in literary discussions and enjoy a variety of activities.
Travel specialist Toni gives her insights into the best foodie experiences in Sri Lanka following from her research trip. From fragrant coconut curries, to pancake hoppers, to mellow rotis, she shares the best of the best. Over to her: