Why travel to Sri Lanka?
If you’re looking for a holiday that combines beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, tropical rainforests and Buddhist charm, you’ll find it on the island of Sri Lanka. This charming destination offers the perfect introduction to the Indian subcontinent. It’s a microcosm of India, offering what India has in spades – plenty of colour, exquisite landscapes, friendly people, stunning food, gorgeous beaches and many unique attractions.
Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka promises a wide selection of delightful experiences. Its history, which includes British, Dutch and Portuguese influences, makes it a most fascinating place to visit. Cricket is the sport of choice in this enchanting country, and Ceylon tea is what it’s most famous for. But that’s not all… Sri Lanka offers beautiful beach holidays, safari encounters in national parks full of leopards, elephants and other wildlife, ancient ruins and Buddhist temples.
Why we love holidays in Sri Lanka
- It’s a great introduction to India, just on a smaller scale.
- The rainforests are magnificent, especially Sinharaja where you can go trekking and swim under the waterfalls.
- It’s a paradise for surfers, and lovers of yoga, too.
- The food is as tasty and colourful as anything you will taste in India.
- It boasts 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
- English is widely spoken, so you’ll be easily understood.
- It’s still a best-kept secret… but not for long!
Book a Sri Lanka holiday package for an effortlessly exotic honeymoon, or travel to the island for the solo adventure of a lifetime. It’s also an excellent destination for families holidays and groups of friends, so be sure to call us right away.
What to do in Sri Lanka
There is so much to do in Sri Lanka; it’s hard to decide what type of holiday to enjoy. The island is ideal for those who love the beach life, with plenty of water sports, especially surfing, and welcoming seaside resorts. Sri Lanka is also an excellent destination for art and culture, with many exciting attractions just waiting to be discovered, including ancient ruins and enchanting temples. You can go on safari to see wild animals in their natural habitat, visit the ruins of the country’s 2,000-year-old capital, Anuradhapura, and see how Ceylon tea is grown.
Explore Sri Lanka’s fascinating cities like Colombo and the mountain resort of Kandy, step back in time to the Colonial area in Hill Country, sunbathe on white-sand beaches in Trincomalee and Waskaduwa and experience the country’s cultural heritage in a choice of World Heritage Sites.
Things to do in Sri Lanka
- Go surfing at Hikkaduwa on the island’s south coast.
- Explore some of the island’s traditional produce markets and sample some of their wares.
- Climb Sigiriya Rock, with its fortress at the top.
- Hike through a tea plantation in Hill Country.
- Visit Sri Lanka’s most sacred site, Adam’s Peak believed to be the site where Adam stepped foot on earth for the first time.
- View leopards on safari in Yara National Park.
- See the well-preserved ancient ruins at Anuradhapura.
- Explore the Royal Palace in Kandy.
- Discover the magic of bustling Colombo.
- Spend time soaking up the sun in one of the country’s most popular beach resorts, Bentota.
Sri Lanka will charm you, delight you and beg you to return. This enchanting country offers all sorts of experiences for every type of traveller. Let Thompsons Holidays Sri Lanka packages take you there, on an adventure of a lifetime.
Know before you go...
- Sri Lanka has distinctive wet and dry seasons: dry (April to October) and wet (October to January).
- The best months to visit Sri Lanka are December to March.
- Average temperatures are between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius.
- Flight duration from South Africa to Sri Lanka: 9 hours.
- South African passport holders do require a visa to enter Sri Lanka. These visas are electronic. No documents are processed. The electronic visa is mailed to you.
- Visas are valid for a stay of up to 30 days.
- Sri Lanka is 3 hours & 30 minutes ahead of South Africa.
- The official currency in Sri Lanka and the only currency accepted is the Rupee (LKR).
- The Sri Lankan government has tight control over this national currency. There are strict limits – you can only bring a certain amount of money into the country.
- Credit cards are widely accepted.
- Tipping is an accepted custom in Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lanka’s official languages are Tamil and Sinhala.
- English is widely spoken – almost a quarter of the population is fluent in English.
- In Sri Lanka, there are 4 main religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam.
- It’s preferable to drink bottled water in Sri Lanka. Bottled water is available everywhere.
- Check with your travel clinic about recommended vaccinations.
What must I pack?
- Depending on when you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warmer layers for winter.
- Lightweight rain jacket.
- Dress modestly when visiting sacred sites.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Support the local economy.
- Be mindful of your environmental impact.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs.
- Always have a map and know your route, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables.
What do I do in an emergency?
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Sri Lanka - Sightseeing [2.3 MB]
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