“Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometres lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometres of coastline – much of it pristine beach – 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years.” Sri Lanka Tourism Board
Whilst, perhaps, not a destination that comes to mind immediately when planning a family vacation, Sri Lanka has lots to offer the vacationing family. It takes some planning to sort out the logistics, but between fascinating historical sites, wildlife aplenty and beautiful beaches, Sri Lanka could well be the backdrop of your next family vacation. Did we mention too that Sri Lankans’ have a genuine warmth for children too?
Sri Lanka with kids? Definitely! Browse our collection of stories, contributed by real mums and dads, on travelling to Sri Lanka with kids for more inspiration. We will just highlight a few here for you…
Go for a safari adventure! Yes, here in Sri Lanka, the African-style safari adventure had taken off and you have a choice of bush-camping, luxe lodge stays or day-tripping in your 4×4 jeeps into several popular national parks. The elusive leopard sits on top of the food chain at Yala National Park, wild Asian elephants are the stars at UdaWalawee National Park. Some other popular parks are Bundala, Wilputta, and the Hortons Plains.
Bum at the beach. Sri Lanka is an island, and shared the same sea as the famed Maldives. In the South Coast, beautiful beach resorts abound. Mirissa offers cruises out to view the elusive Blue Whales; at Bentato, you can ride an elephant by the beach, or go visit a turtle hatchery. Unawatuna is famous for it’s fine sandy beaches.
The Elephant Orphanage at Pinnewala must be one of the top attractions when visiting Sri Lanka with kids. Usually suggested as a pitstop for families on their way to Kandy town, this is one of the largest elephant orphanages where elephants that were lost to their herds by human-elephant conflict are helped. The elephants are fed at the orphanage and bathed in the nearby river twice a day, an activity the family can partake in.
4. Trains Rides
One of the most beautiful train journey in the Sri Lanka of runs deep into the hills, traveling via Kandy and Nuwara Eliya before terminating in Badulla. Expect spectacular hill-country views as the train winds its way past tea plantations over the landscape.
|Area:||65,610 square kilometres|
|Currency:||Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)|
|Tipping:||In general, service staff that you will likely come across, from drivers and guides to hotel bell boys, expect to be tipped. Bell boys and porters should be tipped around 100 Sri Lankan Rupees per luggage. If staying in a fully serviced villa, you can arrange to leave a lump sum with the resident manager, to be split amongst the staff (which might include, drivers, cooks, butlers, waiters etc). In a mid-level hotel, around 2,000 - 3,000 LKR would be sufficient. http://www.whototip.net/tipping-in-sri-lanka has relevant, up to date information on the tipping culture in Sri Lanka.|
|Languages:||The two official languages are Sinhala and Tamil. English is also fluently spoken by about 10% of the population, mostly in the urban centers.|
|Climate:||Sri Lanka has four distinct seasons. The two monsoon seasons, from May to July, and from December to February, brings rain to the Southwestern and Northeastern regions of the country, respectively. In the Southeast region, it is the inter-monsoon season of March - April that brings thunderstorm-type rain. Temperature varies according to altitude - cool in the highlands (average of 15C), warm and humid throughout the year especially near the coast.
Best time to visit? It depends on where you'd be visiting! Sri Lanka's Department of Meteorology offers up-to-date, regional updates and forecast so bookmark the page for updates for your trip.
|Useful numbers:||Tourism Hotline 1912 (within Sri Lanka)
Tourist Police 011 242 1052
Police Emergency Hotline 119 /118
Ambulance / Fire & Rescue 110
Accident Service (Colombo) 011 2691111
|Getting around:||Top tip from our community – plan on hiring a driver (who will most probably double as a guide) and a private mini van to move the family around. Roads vary in quality, and country roads are especially bumpy. In addition, Sri Lankan drivers are known for their gung-ho driving style, so it’s best to leave the drive to a professional who knows how to deal with the unexpected!
Sri Lanka is served by an extensive rail system. If the thought of lugging kids and bags on and off trains and stations does not deter, the rail is an enjoyable way to see the country too.
|Food and Drinks:||Tap water is not portable, and should not be drunk even when boiled. Use mineral water when brushing teeth and as an extra precaution, for washing and rinsing kids’ faces. Likewise, use mineral water to rinse kids’ utensil and baby bottles, and any fruits or vegetables if consuming raw.
When travelling with young children, it pays to be careful so choose to eat at established, reputable restaurants. Curry and rice buffets are readily available, as are common western dishes.