Sri Lanka

“Local fishermen balance precariously on stilts, caught up in a friendly contest to see whose catch will end up in your private chef’s delicate fish curry.”

  • On the train, Sri Lanka
  • Fishermen in canoes in Sri Lanka
  • Surfing on the Sri Lankan Beaches
  • Dusty lake at dawn in Sri Lanka
  • Child flying a kite in the sunset, Sri Lanka
  • Traditional Sri Lankan dancers

Discover Sri Lanka

Set like a pendant off the southeastern coast of India, Sri Lanka is “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean” – a small island nation that combines areas of exquisite natural beauty with a rich cultural heritage and a spiritual legacy weaving together Buddhist and Hindu traditions. What’s more, with superb boutique hotels and a well-earned reputation for gracious hospitality, it’s the perfect place to plan a bespoke luxury vacation.

Previously known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka has also had its share of political troubles. Today, though, the recurring waves of civil conflict – arising from tensions between ethnic Tamils and the Sinhalese majority – appear to have subsided. Besides, visitors from abroad have always been treated with the utmost respect (unless you happen to be an English cricketer, in which case prepare to be thrashed). 

From Colombo, the nation’s bustling capital, we’ll arrange to have a seaplane whisk you along a coastline renowned for its golden-sand beaches and elegant villa retreats. After a day of swimming, snorkelling or walking the shore, you can pamper yourself with a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage. 

Heading into the interior, you’ll find sleepy hilltop villages and mist-clad mountains with cascading waterfalls, not to mention countless Buddhist temples. And then there are the vast tea plantations for which Sri Lanka is renowned, along with those growing cinnamon and coffee. In the serene lakeside town of Kandy, once a royal capital, discover the magnificent Temple of the Tooth with a Buddhist expert. Nearby is the Pinnawela elephant orphanage, where each day more than 50 of these noble animals troop down to the river for their bath.

Further north, Anuradhapura and Polunnauruwa boast superb archaeological and cultural sites. And you won’t regret climbing the steep and rather rickety steps to the 5th-century city of Sigiriya, built atop a massive granite peak with extraordinary views. Or take the more sedate option: drifting over the treetops in a hot-air balloon, spotting wildlife and taking in vistas of the surrounding lakes.

Wherever you explore in Sri Lanka, we’ll ensure you’re joined by gifted cultural ambassadors, whether it’s a historian to walk you through the 17th-century colonial fort at Galle – one of many UNESCO World Heritage sites – or a religious leader who can explain the nuances of Sri Lankan Buddhism. They’ll show you that “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean” is indeed as precious and remarkable as its name implies.

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