Travel Doctor: Sri Lanka

Travel brings with it a horde of questions. “How do I make the most of my time? What do I pack? Where are the essential spots to visit/avoid? The list goes on…

There isn’t a day goes by that we don’t receive a whole host of questions about any given destination. Thankfully our travel experts are never short of answers, whether that’s a packing dilemma, local culture enquiry or simple help with route planning. After 10 years of answering these questions behind the scenes, we’ve decided to publish some of our most helpful responses to the frequently asked questions that come through to our travel team. This month we’re looking at Sri Lanka and we’ve been quizzing our Travel Expert James with some of our client’s questions.


With only one week to travel, what’s the best route to see as much of Sri Lanka as possible?

If you want to pack it in and see as much as possible (as I would want to!), the best place to head first is the Cultural Triangle. Here you can see some stunning sights, from ancient Buddhist temples to giant rock fortresses. There’s also some stunning wildlife in the area, and a chance to see one of the largest elephant migrations on the planet, nicknamed suitably ‘The Gathering’.

From here head south to the beautiful rolling hills of Sri Lanka’s famous tea country, taking the chugging toy train en route to admire the area in all its glory. After sipping tea and kayaking on the beautiful reservoirs in the area, make your way to Sri Lanka’s stunning southern coastline and the beautiful colonial fort of Galle. Enjoy your last days shopping in Galle, sipping cocktails and surfing on the famous breaks near Weligama, not a bad way to polish off a week’s exploring.

I’m never sure what to pack when I travel. Do you have a list of essentials for Sri Lanka?

Just yourself; some summer clothes and a good camera is enough to keep you happy in Sri Lanka. It’s a fairly simple place, and traveling with us is completely hassle free so you don’t need to think about packing light or carrying all your hotel reservations with you – everything will be taken care of. Something to cover your legs and shoulders is always handy to carry around, as many temples will require you to be covered as a sign of respect.

We’re looking to spend our honeymoon in Sri Lanka but don’t want to follow the same-old newly-wed route. How can we make sure we’re not surrounded by other honeymooners during our trip?

Sri Lanka is still fairly under travelled, so you will actually rarely feel like you’re on the standard ‘tourist track’. However, to get away from the crowds there are plenty of areas you can visit. One of my favourites is the little known Gal Oya National Park, where you can enjoy a private safari miles from any other tourists. Here you can watch elephants swim to and from little islands on the lake, as you enjoy a cup of famous Ceylon Tea from your safari boat – a simply magical experience at dunk. If it’s some R & R you’re after, Koggala Lake has a brilliant new eco luxury hotel perched on it. Tri offers wellness packages and amazing experiences from a very unique setting, and will be sure to leave you feeling refreshed and apart from the rest.

How does a safari experience in Sri Lanka differ from a traditional safari?

It generally depends on the park you visit. As I mentioned earlier, the Elephant gathering is one of the largest in the world and this can be enjoyed in several places on the island. Most people come to Sri Lanka for a chance to spot the elusive Leopard, and the brilliant thing about some of the parks is that there are no strict times and paths to follow, so in Wilpattu National Park you can spend the entire day tracking a family of Leopards, (hopefully!) culminating in that hard earned sighting at the end.