20 February 2019
INSIDE SRI LANKA .
The treasured pearl of Asia
Our Destination spotlight this month is Sri Lanka. A place we visited in January 2019 and completely and utterly fell in love with. The tragic events that happened soon after are unforgivable and we feel it our duty as industry experts to urge visitors to return to this beautiful and remarkable country. They need you now more than ever and here are just five of the many, many reasons not to miss out:
We have travelled all over the world but few places have felt as immediately warm and welcoming as Sri Lanka. Almost every person who crossed our path acknowledged us with the brightest of smiles. All along the way we were invited into local homes for cups of tea and welcomed to participate in a religious ceremony with no judgement or boundaries. Come with your family and loved ones or come alone and you will be greeted with nothing but warmth and genuine kindness.
THE TEA PLANTATIONS
Standing at a viewpoint in the centre of one of the country’s Tea Estates as the sun rises over the hazy valley is unforgettable. For as far as the eye can see blue, misty mountains slowly change their hue as the sun makes its ascent and then finally pierces the jagged horizon. Watching tea workers pick the delicate leaves of these shrubby bushes will remind you, years after you have returned home that each cup of tea you drink is precious.
ANURADHAPURA, SIGIRIYA and DAMBULA
Just three of the countless ancient monuments that are jaw-dropping in scale and intricacy. It’s true that you have to wade through the crowds at many of them but, as with many of the world’s finest sites, the crowds don’t matter once you’re there - the spiritual nature of these beautiful places will override everything and leave you feeling amazed and inspired.
There are miles upon miles of soft golden sand and warm Indian Ocean to discover in Sri Lanka and most of it wild and remote and all to yourselves. Lined with palms and pristine rainforests, days can be spent in tropical surroundings listening to the sounds of the jungle or down by the ocean watching waves curl and tumble on the soft sand.
There is no shortage of truly special places to stay in Sri Lanka from charming owner-run hotels to stylish private houses. Unlike India where there is a cavernous divide between five-star and the next thing down, Sri Lanka’s charming hotels and houses are extremely stylish, in keeping with local culture and very good value. Every place we work with puts a priority on sustainable tourism such as banning single-use water bottles and treating their staff and local communities like family.
Insider dish: Kottu Rotti
Insider stay: Kahanda Kanda
Insider experience: The Galle Literary Festival