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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > December 2018 > TOP 10 COUNTRIES

TOP 10 COUNTRIES

Find out the greatest destinations to add to your wishlist in 2019 – then turn to p56 to read our feature on the winning country: Sri Lanka

1 SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka is having its moment in the sun, and change is coming swiftly. With its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, rich and accessible wildlife, growing surfing scene and its people, who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived. The north and east, including areas previously off limits, deliver new discoveries – turn to p56 for our feature on this glorious region.

In 2014, renovated rails carried train services to Jaffna in the north for the first time since 1990, while brand-new controlled-access expressways have drastically reduced travel times to the south as far as Matara (with more routes to come). Scheduled and charter flights now speed travellers between most major cities. Destinations that once required determination and endurance to reach are now a comfortable ride away. An increasing number of quality hotels, sustainable tour operators and diverse experiences are meeting rising needs. Chances for expanded exploration abound: water sports, surfing and whale watching; jungle hikes, safaris and nature-based experiences; cooking lessons and village homestays; and yoga retreats and Ayurveda centres.

UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCES

* National park wildlife highlights include Minneriya’s annual gathering of 300-plus elephants (July to October), the elusive leopards of Yala and the birds of Udawalawe.

* The Hill Country’s horizon-filling tea plantations are best appreciated on a scenic train trip.

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About Lonely Planet Traveller (UK)

In the December issue… find out which countries, cities, regions and individual attractions made it onto Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2019 list; read more in depth on some of the winning destinations, including the northern regions of Sri Lanka far from the tourist trail, Copenhagen with its ongoing dining revolution, and the North Coast 500 road around some of the wildest corners of the Scottish Highlands; add in a short break to Estonia's winter-perfect capital Tallinn; and much more