Imagine long sandy beaches, plodding elephants and colourfully dressed women, picking tea while sharing the day’s gossip; Sri Lanka is exactly how you pictured it.  From it’s ancient name, Serendib, comes our word serendipity, meaning ‘happy and unexpected discovery’ and there’s no better way to describe it.

Beaches: The south coast has Sri Lanka’s finest beaches, with Beruwela being a real favourite.  Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Mirissa are also popular. Bentota is regarded as the best on the west coast, offering turquoise waters and white sand lined with coconut palms.

Sports: With more than 130 rivers, you can canoe, kayak and whitewater raft to your heart’s content. Arugam Bay on the east coast is one of the world’s top 10 surf points and the west coast’s unexpected reefs are a great find for divers. The country’s terrain is ideal for mountaineering, cycling and trekking.

Cuisine:  The food in Sri Lanka is best appreciated by eating with your fingers. Curry is a local favourite, made from meat, fish or vegetables. Seafood is also popular, included pickled and dried varieties. Try malling, shredded leaves mixed with grated coconut, red onions and lime juice and, for desert, kevin, deep fried cake made with rice flour and treacle. For instant refreshment, try drinks of the orange coloured King Coconut or thambili.

Nightlife:  The evening entertainment is all about relaxation and very l0w-key.  The capital, Colombo, offer a few ‘Irish’ pubs, live music bars and hotel based nightclubs and casinos. Many resort hotels have cultural shows and live bands. Head to Bentota for an evening of traditional dance at it’s open air theatre or try arrack, the local firewater made from coconut sap, in Kalutara.

Getting There:  Direct flights from the UK to include Sri Lankan & British Airways take about 11 hours.  Non direct flight times, such as Emirates, Qatar & Etihad will vary.

When To Go: Sri Lanka is a year round destination with December to March being a particularly popular time.

GMT: + 5.5 hours.

Language: Sinhala, Tamil and English.

Currency:  Sri Lankan Rupee.

Dates For The Diary:  National Day 4th February; celebrating independence from Great Britain.

Tourist / Visa / Health Information: Worth checking before departing.

Best Buys: You’ll find handicrafts for sale everywhere, including linen, cotton and beautiful silk clothing. Carved masks, coconut shell art works, batik, leather, jewellery, gems, traditional tea and spices and Ayurvedic potions are great buys.

Great Experience: You can’t go to Sri Lanka without climbing the Sigiriya Rock Fortress; the views from the rock top palace are worth waiting for. Visit the fascinating elephant orphanage of Pinnwela. See the view over Anuradhapura’s great dagobas, Buddist shrines, from the holy hill of Mihintale and cycle around Polonnaruwa’s stone ruins under the watchful eye of the Buddha of Gal Vihara.

Select Representation offers Sri Lanka, via its superb dmc partner Tour East. A popular holiday combination for Sri Lanka are the Maldives, which Tour East can also assist with. For further information, please contact us on: info@select-rep.com