|12 hrs 50 mins
|When to go
|Year round (November to April is ideal)
Seeing the breathtaking views: lake-studded countryside stretching for miles in every direction from the top of Sigiriya (Lion’s Rock)
Trekking at sunrise up Adam’s Peak for stunning views over tea country
Spotting leopards and Asian elephants in Yala National Park
Chauffered by your own driver throughout, this adventure begins with three nights at the Cultural Triangle. Hole up at the sun-drenched Vil Uyana in a private, thatched bungalow on stilts floating above paddy fields. By day,
visit some of Sri Lanka’s oldest historic monuments (think ancient wall paintings, climbing immense historical rocks, and rebuilding history in a UNESCO world heritage site) and unwind in your private plunge pool to catch some essential holiday sun. With a wine cellar made from reclaimed railway ties and a lagoon with its own resident crocodile, you’ll be completely immersed in the authentic beauty of this Sri Lankan gem.
Next, take an elephant safari in Minneriya, see the ancient Buddhist caves or the city of Polonnaruawa (which you may recognise from Duran Duran’s Save a Prayer video if you’re a fan) before heading off for a brief stop in Kandy. Spend the day visiting Buddha’s tooth (yes, really) or exploring the stunning botanical gardens, where Giant Java trees have branches so wide they need stilts to stay up. Then, relax by the pool at the romantic Kandy House bungalow sipping locally grown tea: quaint, colonial comfort at its best.
No trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to tea country. Take a train (still run on British colonial equipment) through rolling fields of tea leaves and learn how tea is processed, before sampling the freshest cuppa of your life.
Looking for something more heart-pumping? Brave the white water rafting here before hitting the sack at Tea Trails: four old planter’s bungalows now converted into a small boutique hotel. Enjoy evening jazz cocktail hours, discuss the next day’s personalised menu with the chef, and sleep under a mosquito net in your colonial style room. Pastoral perfection.
Now for some coastline fun. Head to Galle: an amazing fortified town filled with red-tiled rooftops over the eclectic mix of art galleries, cafes and boutique hotels. Stroll along the shore, kite-surf, wakeboard, or simply indulge in the amazing Amangalla hotel. Visit the local markets with the chef during a cookery lesson, and create the dish of your choice (gotukola sambol, anyone?), or try some of the delicious ‘wade’ (street snacks) with the hotel’s signature ‘Arrack sour’ made with fermented coconut sap. Unwind in Sri Lanka’s most incredible spa before watching the sunset over the fort from Amangalla’s top floor lounge. Bliss.
Spend your final night at the Reef Villa relaxing in your suite complete with an oversized stone bath and huge four poster bed. Dine at the poolside restaurant overlooking golden sand beaches, perfect for reflecting on your Sri Lankan adventure. The next morning you’ll head to the airport for your flight home.
Now is the time to visit this little known country, before everyone else hears about what they’re missing.