Family Summer in Sri Lanka
Teardrop-shaped Sri Lanka, with its fascinating Buddhist culture, wide beaches backed by coconut trees and vibrant jungle peppered with wildlife makes an ideal destination for adventurous families looking for a holiday with a difference. We created an itinerary that shows the best of this special island – where kids under twelve will be immersed in Sri Lankan culture and pick up new skills.
Arrive in Sri Lanka and be immediately transferred to Leopard Trails in Wilpattu National Park for three nights. Settle into your spacious luxury tent and enjoy the jungle surroundings. For the next few days, relish outdoor living in Sri Lanka’s oldest national park. Explore its 130,000 acres on a game drive, looking out for sloth bear and of course the elusive leopard. You will see the unusual natural lakes known as ‘villus’ which are sand rimmed and a beacon for wildlife. If you have little wildlife lovers, you may want to enrol them in the Junior Ranger program. Here children can learn the art of animal tracking, walky-talky etiquette and bush walking.
Leaving behind this jungle wilderness, you will travel to the heart of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. On your way, visit the intriguing Dambulla cave temples. Inside, you’ll find a shrine with its walls daubed with shimmering paintings and over 100 reclining Buddhas carved from the rock face. Spend three nights at Water Garden Sigiriya, where your luxurious villa has a plunge pool. Rise early to beat the crowds to see the natural wonder and World Heritage Site Sigiriya -a huge monolith fortress that rises from the scrub which reveals a ruined temple atop it, built by King Kashapa (473-491 AD). Back at the hotel, spend a restful day by the pool; there is also archery, cycling and croquet for active kids. The following day take a jeep-safari to view an elephant gathering at either Minneriya or Kaudulla National Parks. On your last morning visit the huge reclining Buddha at Polonnaruwa, an ancient capital and another UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its remains of royal palaces, temples and stupas.
Spend the next five days on the lesser-developed eastern coast of Sri Lanka, staying in stylish thatched cabins at tropical hideaway Uga Jungle Beach. Relax on the mangrove-backed beach or by the swimming pool surrounded by leafy foliage. Be sure to make time for a tour of the historical harbour city of Trincomalee, plus Koneswaram temple, Lover’s Leap rock, colonial Dutch-built Fort Fredrick, and natural hot springs that offer mineral-rich bathing. Spend the day on Pigeon Island, snorkelling or diving; you may spot dolphin, blue and sperm whale. Take a glimpse of rural life in the Eastern Province on a gentle cycle ride to Maduwakulam Tank via the saltpan and marvel at the sheer variety of Sri Lanka’s abundant birdlife including wild peacocks, parakeets and hornbills.
Fly back to Colombo and spend your last night at the beautifully restored Wallawwa, a colonial mansion house that’s close to the airport, but worlds away from your average transfer hotel. Spend a peaceful afternoon, in 200-year-old tropical gardens relaxing by the pool reminiscing on your Sri Lankan adventure, enjoying a spot of croquet on the lawn and relishing your last Sri Lankan afternoon tea, until next time.