Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as the finest island of its size in the world (and he had done his share of travelling!). From the tropical rainforest in the south, through the tea plantations and gentle rolling slopes of the Hill Country to the wilderness peaks of the Knuckles Range, few areas of this size can match the variety and beauty of Sri Lanka’s scenery. Here’s how your family can get the best out of a trip to the island:
The hill country east of Kandy remains an untamed area of rugged uplands which still preserves much of its forest cover. This wilderness area offers breathtaking scenery and top class trekking without the crowds. Shorter walks will suit those carrying toddlers or babies while the wide range of more challenging routes will keep older kids busy.
Covering most of the southern and western portion of the island this tropical rainforest gives memorable opportunities for scenic cycling. Highlights include giant Buddhas perched on top of jungle hills, secluded temples overlooking rice paddies, and riding through plantations of cinnamon, rubber, cashew nuts and bananas.
Located at the southwestern edge of the hill country, the soaring summit of Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike. The ascent of Adam’s Peak is traditionally made by night with the steps up the mountainside illuminated and stalls and teashops open through the night to cater to the throngs of pilgrims. Reaching the top in time for dawn offers the best odds of seeing the extraordinary views free from cloud as well as a chance a glimpsing the peak’s enigmatic shadow.
The perfect way to relax with the whole family. Sleep under canvas surrounded by the sounds of the unspoilt forest. Kids of all ages will love to wake in the morning listening to amazing variety of birdlife. Reconnect with nature in the Knuckles Mountains Campsite.
The whole island is full of wildlife ranging from monkeys and mongooses to monitor lizards, wild elephants and even the occasional leopard. Sri Lanka is also home to over 450 species of birds. The best ways to get up close to the local wildlife are on foot or on a bike.
If the other reasons sound too energetic, refresh afterwards with cup of local tea and a plate of Sri Lanka’s famous rice and curry. Parents can also try a local Lion Lager or even a shot of Arrack – Sri Lanka’s own coconut rum.