A rising star in the Indian Ocean’s sky, Sri Lanka is fast becoming one of the most whispered about island vacation hotspots to escape to. We’ve had our eye on this emerald, tear-drop shaped gem for ages so it’s about time we let you into our little secret…
At a glance
Nestled just off the tip of India’s most south easterly point, Sri Lanka’s turbulent past has long since simmered down to a serene calm and today, the only commotion to be found is when the nation’s beloved cricket team is in action. Encircled by utterly perfect golden sand beaches and shimmering seas, the island’s interior is cloaked in lush tea plantations and elephant speckled grasslands, pinnacled by mountains marking its centre-most point. Sri Lanka’s ancient and colonial pasts are both still etched upon the landscape with crumbling temples, wall paintings and sacred carved rocks sprinkled amongst the UNESCO World Heritage listed sites and ex-British colonial forts and rail tracks. Sri Lanka is the perfect marriage between a luxurious beach holiday spot and a wonderful safari destination for those who want to escape to somewhere a little off the beaten track, but with the beach still very much in reach.
What to see
Now this could take a while, but we reckon a world-class cuppa is always a good place to start. Visiting Sri Lanka’s inner Hill Country, carpeted in rich tea plantations, is one of the unmissable things to do on the island, with its strange sense of home in the aged bungalows and croquet lawns left from the country’s Colonial era. More remnants of Sri Lanka’s patchwork past can be found in the southerly fortress town of Galle, which with its red roofs, European and North African charm, is the perfect spot to set up camp for a few days; right next to a gloriously gilded, palm fringed beach, of course.
Sweet-sounding Kandy lives up to its name, deep in the heart of the island and in perfect proximity to explore Adam’s Peak, which is known by a multitude of different names and brings together four separate strands of religious beliefs. It’s well worth the climb to explore its green slopes and holy summit. Taking a 4×4 through Jungle Book-esque Yara National Park, home to herds of elephant and a sprinkling of leopards, is another Sri Lankan treat not to miss out on for a generous slice of safari adventure.
Why we love it
Sri Lanka has not yet been marred by mass-tourism, which thankfully means there’s all the more untouched, secluded beauty for the rest of us to feast upon. Plus, the island’s sumptuous hotels are capsules of understated glamour where going barefooted is the only way to be as you pad through the lush, flower-fringed grass and sugary white sand. Make sure to leave your laptop at home because Sri Lanka will have you and your mind escaping a million miles away from the worries of daily life.