This island country tucked into the southwest of the Indian Ocean is a pure delight and waiting to be rediscovered. Once called Ceylon, it has a fascinating history spanning more than 3,000 years. With a rich cultural heritage, its geographic location and deep harbours made it an essential strategic position from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road.
Today, it awaits travellers, with brand new 5 star resorts, classic family-run tropical bungalows and beachside restaurants. Modern bars and cafes have popped up more recently, as Sri Lanka has quickly grown in popularity. Action and adventure are plentiful, with hiking, excellent surfing, diving, beautiful beaches, followed by relaxing Ayurvedic massage and spas. Step out of your resort onto the white sand as colourful fishing boats return with daily fresh catch. Lush forests in misty hillsides and unique wildlife share space with centuries-old in tea plantations. The towns are lively and colourful, and the locals are always welcoming.
For hikers, head to the hills. There is so much to see including the village of Ella or trekking the wild grasslands of Horton Plains National Park to the famous 40000 foot vertiginous cliffs at World's End.
Uda Walawe National Park, home to hundreds of elephants, is another location well visited as is Sinharaja, considered Sri Lanka's archetypal rainforest and botanical treasure trove. The train journey from Ella to Kandy, Sri Lanka's second-largest city and cultural capital, passes through outstanding scenery.
Festivals are a significant way of life in Sri Lanka as the country unites to indulge, embrace and honour everything from food to dance and tradition. Few places can boast as many Unesco World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area. On a safari tour, you may encounter leopards, water buffaloes, a variety of birds and a few primates. Sri Lanka is an intriguing, spectacular and affordable country to visit with immense diversity. Enjoy!
With distinctive Wet and Dry seasons, Sri Lanka's weather is a little more complicated as it's affected by two different weather patterns, including monsoons. Dry is the most popular time to visit.
Being close to the Equator, temperatures generally range from 26–30°C all though temps in the mid-'30s are often recorded along the coast and in the lowlands. An overnight adventure into the hills can mean facing zero or below. Nuwara Eliya is the highest part of the island and averages 14–17°C.
Along the coast humidity often builds quickly in the Wet season. The best time to visit the west and southwest of Sri Lanka, including the hill country, is December to March. If you visit the eastern side of the island, you'll get the best conditions from around April or May to September.