The pandemic has been brutal on the lives and economy of the wonderful island nation of Sri Lanka, which is heavily dependent on tourism.
Renowned for its beautiful and friendly people, their infectious smiles have been hidden by masks since March 2020 but today, with over 86% of its adult population aged 20+ fully vaccinated, the smiles have returned, and the people of the country are welcoming tourists again after 18 long months.
Hotels and domestic transportation have embraced safety protocols, making the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ a perfect destination for winter sun and family adventure, with its endless beaches, lush landscapes, fascinating culture and exquisite cuisine.
Sri Lanka has a tropical climate with temperatures averaging 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, although highland areas can be cooler and receive more rain than the lowland regions.
The people are warm and friendly with the two greatest values in society being family and education, and English is widely spoken.
Rice and curry are staple foods, with each ethnic group having contributed dishes to the country’s overall cuisine.
Sri Lanka is a haven for landscapes and architectural wonders. Decorative, carved facades, statuettes and devotional items are a source of inspiration to contemporary architects and artists.
The dramatic arts are widely celebrated with theatre and dance closely related and frequently promoting traditional values with elaborate, brightly coloured costumes and graceful hand, foot and body motions integral to performances.
Post-pandemic travel will undoubtedly see an increase in the new wave of tourism with a focus on truly authentic, private cultural and lifestyle-based experiences.
Going beyond typical tourism and introducing excursions relating to local lifestyles, elements of Sri Lankan culture and engagement with local people is something that hugely appeals to us at Abbotts, and we love to hand-craft adventures for those who want to engage.
Inspirational experiences include those such as a private visit to the charming Kandyan Dancing Academy, to meet with the renowned teacher and take part in drumming lessons and learn some of the techniques for dancing, in a remote, quaint village a short distance from the city of Kandy.
Arranging a private visit to a local rural school and understanding the local education system, how the children walk miles from their homes to get to school and how they can be supported by donations of stationery and books.
Lunuganga is the former residence of the world-renowned Sri Lankan architect - the late Geoffrey Bawa - a man dubbed as 'the father of Asian architecture'. The garden was once a 25-acre rubber estate which he designed into a garden paradise after decades of creative planning.
The property reflects Bawa’s dedication to his craft and is an inspiring place to visit with astonishing views and beautiful interiors, with original artwork and blueprints on the walls. A stay in one of the six fine suites is guaranteed to be a highlight of any holiday, with guests also able to dine at the edge of the tranquil Dedduwa Lake.
The 5th-century rock citadel of King Kasyapa and World Heritage Site Sigiriya is a flagship of ancient Sri Lankan engineering and urban planning supremacy and one of the country’s finest monuments. Step through the gigantic 'Lion Pals' overlooking the symmetrical royal gardens below to comprehend its full magnificence.
Located just 6km away from the majestic rock fortress, in extensive grounds, flanked by winding tributaries and hidden by lush flora, the Water Garden Sigiriya is a stunning resort consisting of 30 wonderful private villas partially on water.
A great base to explore Sri Lanka's cultural triangle, it features an infinity pool with a picturesque view of Sigiriya, one of the finest restaurants in the area and a host of recreational activities such as cycling, an archery field, a croquet lawn, a billiard/ pool table and a large amount of wildlife within the property.
Udawalawe National Park could also be on the agenda. A true sanctuary for the big footed and tusked, the park was marked by relatively large herds of elephants, and proves to be one of the best places to observe them in their natural habitat. Head into the park in a safari jeep, where you could spot not just elephants, but deer, sambur, water buffalo and jackal.
Aside from tradition, culture and wildlife, Sri Lanka is also known for being one of the world’s top surfing destinations, as well as a hotspot for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Sri Lanka is a perfect destination for families seeking a little adventure, a sample of local culture, as well as a holiday brimming with beach days and relaxation.
For more information or to discuss the different types of trips available and create the perfect itinerary, get in touch.