The island of Sri Lanka is often referred to as the jewel of the Indian Ocean and rightly so. Its palm-fringed sandy beaches, clear tropical waters, diverse cultural history and friendly people make it an excellent choice of holiday destinations. Its small size makes it easy to get around, and there is a wealth of cultural, sightseeing and activity-based option available to allow many varied and interesting itineraries.
Sri Lanka is a primarily Buddhist country, and wherever you travel you will find imposing large statues and beautiful temples. The cave temples at Dambulla and nearby rock fortress of Sigiriya are particularly impressive. There are also some huge seated and reclining Buddha statues throughout the country and it is well worth a slight detour to visit one or more of these.
Other cultural highlights include the ancient capitals of Pollonaruwa and Anuradhapura, both World Heritage Sites. Situated in the north of the country, they are full of ruined palaces, temples and other historic buildings and are easy to combine with Sigirya and time in the central hill country. Also close to Pollonaruwa is Minneriya National Park. During the dry season of June to September, the huge central tank (artificial lake) built in the 3rd century, is a fabulous place to observe elephants coming to bathe and graze, as well as huge flocks of birds.
The capital of Sri Lanka's hill country is Kandy, which is also an important religious centre for the Sinhalese and home to the Temple of the Tooth which holds a relic of the Lord Buddha. A scenic city, Kandy is well connected with Colombo and is a good stop en-route further north, or into the hill-country. This central region of the country is home to beautiful rolling hills and countryside and most of Sri Lanka's famous tea estates are found here. There are some fabulous accommodation options in these estates, and you can travel through the region on a spectacular train journey that snakes through the hills from Kandy to Ella. You can break this journey to see the colonial town of Nuwara Eliya, climb the pilgrimage mountain of Adam's Peak, and walk to World's End, a sheer precipice in the Horton Plains National Park.
The south of the country holds several other wildlife viewing opportunities, including Yalla and Wallawe National Parks where you can take jeep safaris to view wild elephants, crocodiles, myriad birdlife and if you're lucky, spot a leopard. Sri Lanka is a great place for elephant lovers, and at Pinnewalla Elephant Orphanage, and the Millenium Elephant Foundation on the road between Colombo and Kandy, you can get very close to the animals, ride on them, and even bathe with them.
The southern coasts hold some of Sri Lanka's most beautiful beaches, with a wide range of accommodation options from lovely small boutique properties to modern hotels. Snorkelling and scuba-diving is good, though some months of the year the waters get rather cloudy. You may also see turtles while you're swimming, and can visit several hatcheries where young turtles are returned to the wild.
Also in the south is the old colonial city of Galle, held by the Dutch, Portugese and British over the years. Galle still has some Dutch buildings, and an impressive fort, now a World Heritage Site.
Our tailor-made tours seek to create a personalised experience – one that is completely exclusive to you. By taking all your interests and requests into consideration, we design an itinerary that ticks off your specific boxes. If you are after adventurous exploration, cultural immersion, a relaxing escape or a balanced blend of everything, we can make it happen.
A highlight of our tailor-made tours is that the itinerary is flexible and incorporates plenty of free time – so you can do some exploring on your own. Our local, friendly guides, experts in their country’s history and culture, will be happy to adjust the activities or your schedule as you travel.
If you are a group of friends, a large family or a company, our tailor-made tours are an ideal, stress-free option. You can even select your own hotels or make use of our recommended accommodation. We have a varied selection of sample holiday itineraries to choose from, either as they stand or as a base for inspiration.
Encounters Travel did such a superb job in organizing this tour. I had never heard of them before going on the Maldives Magic tour, however now I will recommend them to friends/family and use them for my future planned trips.
Our tour is what made the trip that much more memorable. Rather than being plopped at a westernized resort, we were able to get a taste of how the locals live, eat and entertain themselves. We stayed in quaint guesthouses on the islands amongst the locals, ate authentic Maldivian cuisine (one day even with a Maldivian family who made us breakfast), and viewed a traditional dance/singing performance which was absolutely delightful. This was a trip of a lifetime that I will never forget.
This is our first travel through Encounters Travel and so far the arrangement is working very well. Our travel is not until April 2017 so I am more than hopeful all will continue to run as smoothly as it has so far.
I thought it was very good we didn't have to worry about anything everything was in order and kept with the schedule as planned, unless we wanted to deviated from it to do somethingelse. The trip really a trip of a life time.
There was a time many years ago that I wanted to travel to Egypt and didn't because of the cost. This trip was, to me, very affordable. I think everyone should experience this trip. The tour guide was alos excellent, Sherif Mohammad.
Trip booked through Groupon at a Great offer price - Encounters was nothing but professional from the start. I even purchased insurance - extra days and got the best flights from my local airport- Great experience
Took care of every single detail from prior to our arrival in Cario until we we're dropped of at the airport a week later.
Our hotels, tours, meals, and tour group we're all wonderful.
Our tour guide was wonderful!
The price was great and the people wonderful!
Our video features aim to bring our adventure tours to life in a way that no photo can, giving you a great taste of the destination.
Need some travel inspiration or looking for some handy travel tips? Our blog provides excellent insight into our travel destinations - from tour updates to country guides, packing lists to little known things to do, you'll find it all in our travel blog.