We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
AU
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

A teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean offers a compelling mix of tropical sights and cultural experiences: see elephants and leopards, meet spice traders and gem polishers, and ride a scenic train on a journey to Sri Lanka

Head to the Indian Ocean for tropical island adventures. Start in the fort town of Galle for tales of the spice trade before stretching out on the beaches of the south. Leopards, elephants and sloth bears await in Yala National Park, while the Hill Country brings tea plantations, rickety train rides and temple traditions

@amandacanning PHOTOGRAPHS MATT MUNRO

SRILANKA

Tea-pickers at work in the hills around Nuwara Eliya, in central Sri Lanka

Plan your trip

1 Start your trip in the easygoing town of Galle, its streets home to spice boutiques, gem traders and a myriad of stories (p54).

2 Trundle down the unspoilt south coast to fnd sandy beaches, whales, nesting turtles – and the country’s last stilt fshermen (p56).

3 Continue east to Yala National Park in search of elusive leopards, and meet elephants, sloth bears and tiny bee-eaters too (p58).

4 Climb up into the vivid green tea plantations of central Sri Lanka’s Hill Country to experience a surreal slice of English life in the tropics (p60).

5 Take an unforgettable train journey back into the plains to Kandy to witness ancient ceremonies, from mask-carving to dances (p62).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLLE. PHOTOGRAPHS: AIR CEYLON – FLY THE SAPPHIRE SERVICE TO CEYLON/HOLLAND 1958/ARTIST DUTCHMAN MART KEMPERS/FROM THE STICK NO BILLS™ ‘VINTAGE TRAVEL POSTERS OF CEYLON’ SERIES, BENJAMIN BALFOUR/ALAMY, MATT MUNRO

HOW TO GET THERE

SriLankan Airlines flies from London to Colombo in just under 11 hours (from £460; srilankan.com). There are plenty of flights that involve a stopover for about the same price, such as Emirates, Etihad, Jet Airways, Oman Air and Qatar Airways. Apply for your visa online before you fly; you normally get approval on the same day (30 days with double entry £20; eta.gov.lk/slvisa).

HOW TO GET AROUND

Public transport is cheap, and the infrastructure is in good condition. Plus, you can experience some of the world’s best rail journeys simply getting from A to B. First-class tickets get you a reserved seat in an air-conditioned carriage; second- and third-class mean no air-conditioning (but the windows open) and you find your own seat (railway.gov.lk). Buses run frequently. Note that many drivers have an aversion to the brake pedal. Visitors new to the country may prefer to hire a car with a driver, rather than drive the roads themselves. Ask for a driver at your hotel. Negotiate a fee, including petrol and any extras, such as meals, before you set off. In general, expect to pay around £50 per day. For short, local journeys, jump in an auto rickshaw.

HOW LONG TO SPEND

You could tackle our itinerary in around nine days but a more relaxing break would last two weeks, with more time along the coast and in the hill country. There isn't tons to do in Colombo, but you may want to begin and end with a night there, to recover from or prepare for your flight. A fine option is the Uga Residence Colombo, a quiet, colonial house with a pool (from £145; ugaescapes.com/residence).

WHAT TO BUDGET

It's easy to travel on a low budget; on around £25 a day, you'll have your own room in family b&bs, eat top food in local restaurants and travel on buses and trains. On about £80–£100 a day, accommodation options broaden, with more boutique-style guesthouses for around £35–£50 a night. You can also make use of the odd car and driver. If money is no object, some spectacular hotels, such as colonial mansions, beach houses and former tea factories, open their doors, and you can hire the same car and driver for your entire trip.

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) - September 2015
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - September 2015
$7.99
Or 799 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.00 per issue
SAVE
50%
$17.99
Or 1799 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.75 per issue
SAVE
37%
$44.99
Or 4499 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.49 per issue
SAVE
25%
$4.49
Or 449 points

View Issues

About Lonely Planet Traveller (UK)

The September issue of Lonely Planet is now live

Other Articles in this Issue


Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points