Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavourful food describe Sri Lanka.

So Much in So Little

Few places have as many Unesco World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area. Sri Lanka’s 2000-plus years of culture can be discovered at ancient sites where legendary temples boast beautiful details.

Across the island, that thing that goes bump in the night might be an elephant heading to a favourite waterhole. Safari tours of Sri Lanka’s pleasantly relaxed national parks encounter leopards, water buffaloes, all manner of birds and a passel of primates.

Rainforests & Beaches

When you’re ready to escape the tropical climate of the coast and lowlands, head for the hills, with their temperate, achingly green charms. Verdant tea plantations and rainforested peaks beckon walkers, trekkers and those who just want to see it on a spectacular train ride.

And then there are the beaches. Dazzlingly white and often untrod, they ring the island so that no matter where you go, you’ll be near a sandy gem. Should you beat the inevitable languor, you can surf and dive world-class sites without world-class crowds.

It’s So Easy

Distances are short: see the sacred home of the world’s oldest living tree in the morning (Anuradhapura) and stand awestruck by the sight of hundreds of elephants gathering in the afternoon (Minneriya). Discover a favourite beach, meditate in a 2000-year-old temple, exchange smiles while strolling a mellow village, marvel at birds and wildflowers, try to keep count of the little dishes that come with your rice and curry. Stroll past colonial gems in Colombo, then hit some epic surf.

Sri Lanka is spectacular, it’s affordable and it’s still often uncrowded. Now is the best time to discover it.

The Undiscovered Country

You might say Sri Lanka has been hiding in plain sight. Countless scores of travellers have passed overhead on their way to someplace else, but years of war and challenges such as tsunamis have kept Sri Lanka off many itineraries.

But now Sri Lanka has found its place on the itineraries of ever more travellers. Several years after the war ended, the country is moving forward quickly even as questions about the war continue to spark debate. Lying between the more trodden parts of India and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka’s myriad appeals are undeniably alluring.

Why I Love Sri Lanka

By Ryan Ver Berkmoes, Writer

My fascination with Sri Lanka began when I read Paul Theroux’s The Great Railway Bazaar as a child. His wonderment at the island’s endless contradictions stayed with me. In 2004 I was in the west and south in the weeks after the tsunami. I was struck by the stories of the survivors and deeply moved by their efforts to rebuild. In the years since I have been endlessly amazed by the Sri Lankans’ ability to overcome disaster, war and myriad other challenges as they work tirelessly to make their country match its potential, while remaining some of the most charming people on the planet.

Source: Lonelyplanet

Itinerary Details

Day 1- Arrival Transfer Airport / Colombo

Warm welcome by our tour representative at the airport. Transfer to Colombo. Check in at the hotel. Proceed for an afternoon city tour of Colombo. Return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 2- Colombo / Polomnaruma / Sigiriyra

After breakfast, leave for Sigiriya. On the way, pass by Polonnaruwa, the second capital of Sri Lanka in the 11th and 12th centuries and the Lankatilleke, Thuparama and Gal Vihare. Also visit the remains of the Royal Palace and Parakrama Samudra, a huge man made water reservoir. Arrive at Sigiriya, Check in at the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 3- Sigiriya / Dambulla / Kandy

Breakfast at the hotel will be followed by a visit to Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Having climbed the rock, you will encounter the remains of the Palace and its surroundings. En route to Kandy, visit the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple and a Spice Garden Matale. Check in at the hotel before an afternoon visit to the Temple of the Tooth and a Kandyan cultural dance performance. At the end of the day, return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4- Kandy / Nuwara Eliya

After breakfast at the hotel, take the Upper Lake Drive and visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya and a Tea Plantation where one can see workers plucking the 'Green Gold' tea leaves. Upon arrival at Nuwara Eliya, take a late afternoon tour of Little England before dinner and check in at the hotel.

Day 5- Nuwara Eliya / Udawalawe

Depart for Yala after breakfast. Proceed an afternoon visit to Udawalawe National Park by jeep. You will see a vast array of animals including deer, peacock, elephant, wild buffalo and the lucky visitors may get to see a leopard or bear. At the end of the tour, check in at the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 6- Udawalawe / Ratnapura / Colombo

After breakfast proceed to Colombo, stopping by the Athathurusevana (Elephant Transit Home). Here, abandoned baby elephants are raised until they can be released back to the forest. If there is enough time, stop and visit the Gem Mine at Ratnapura before you are dropped off at the airport or your city hotel in Colombo.