2015 Apr 28
1. Wander Galle Fort’s atmospheric streets
A perfectly preserved colonial time capsule, the quiet streets of Galle Fort ooze old-world atmosphere, with characterful Dutch-era mansions encircled by a venerable chain of ramparts and bastions, and the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean breaking just beyond.
2. See traditional dance in romantic Kandy
The cultural capital of Sri Lanka has a vibrant traditional arts scene, a superb array of Buddhist temples and palaces, and a beautiful location amidst the island’s precipitous central hills.
3. Get up close to elephants at Pinnawela
Touristy but undeniably enjoyable, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is home to the world’s largest troupe of captive pachyderms, from majestic old tuskers to the cutest of newborns.
4. Admire Buddhist art at Polonnaruwa
This is where you’ll find Sri Lanka’s finest collection of ancient Buddhist art and architecture, from the magnificent rock-carved statues of the Gal Vihara to the exquisitely decorated temples of the Quadrangle.
5. Seek leopards in Yala National Park
Sri Lanka’s foremost wildlife destination is home to the world’s highest concentration of leopards, alongside elephants aplenty, fabulous birdlife and skittish monkeys – plus a wonderful landscape of unspoilt jungle and salty lagoons.
6. Climb to the top of Sigiriya
The unforgettable rock-fortress of Sigiriya towers high over the surrounding plains, one of Sri Lanka’s most dramatic natural sights, and brimful of historical interest too.
7. Tuck into rice and curry
For the true flavour of Sri Lanka, tuck into an authentic Sri Lankan rice and curry, a miniature banquet of contrasting ingredients and flavours – with a fair bit of spice thrown in.
8. Be amazed by Anuradhapura’s ruins
Capital of Sri Lanka for over 1,000 years, its enormous dagobas and jungle-swathed ruins are among the island’s most magnificent, and atmospheric, ancient remains.
9. Admire the view from World’s End
The hill country at its most dramatic: the sheer cliffs of World’s End fall away beneath one’s feet for the best part of a kilometre, offering heart-stopping views over the distant plains below.
10. Go whale-watching
Southern Sri Lanka offers arguably the best place in the world to see both blue and sperm whales together, along with lots of dolphins.