A great way to enjoy the very best family holidays in Sri Lanka is by combining a stay at a fairly simple yet very comfortable guest house offering a bunch of interesting activities, with a tea experience followed by wildlife viewing at Yala, and finally ending at a gorgeous beach along the southern coast.
A number of wonderful guest houses are available, often owner managed nature retreats set along small reservoirs. Offering tastefully decorated rooms, they’re a great place for families as there is something for everyone. Parents can take part in a yoga lesson while the children can go on nature trails, cycle within the estate, or kayak on the reservoir. The food is local and mouthwatering, and it indeed makes you feel as though you’re at a home away from home.
Continue down south to the spectacular tea country. The Ceylon Tea Trails may well be the most entrancing place I have ever stayed. A collection of colonial-style bungalows built for British tea estate managers in the days of the Raj enjoy spectacular views overlooking the rolling green of Sri Lanka’s hill country. It’s an incredible journey – especially for families – when you board the old steam train at Kandy for the delightful journey to Hatton. Enjoy the best family holidays in Sri Lanka by taking this thrilling ride through the undulating hills before being greeted by your cheerful driver from where it will be a short drive to your stunning planter’s bungalow.
Days can be spent walking from one bungalow to another, or on a tour of one of the factories nestling either side of the valley followed by a tea tasting. For the more adventurous, rafting on the nearby river can also be arranged. The bungalows come with staff and the food and service are exceptional. Enjoy one of the best high teas around while the children do justice to the gorgeous swimming pool surrounded by lush green gardens.
Travel further south to the Yala National Park, where you can camp near the pristine forest. The camp set up by one of the finest mobile camping companies would offer a tent with a double bed and en suite facilities. A delicious lunch will be arranged either by the river offering plenty of bird watching opportunities, or a candlelit dinner under a humungous banyan tree while the children enjoy the millions of stars glittering.
Yala National Park is mostly open parkland, making the wildlife easier to see, particularly in the December-March dry season. Yala West is one of the few places in Sri Lanka where it is relatively easy to see a leopard, either strolling beside the track or, with luck, draped elegantly in a tree. There are estimated to be around 35 leopards and 400 wild elephants, as well as wild buffalo, musk deer, mongoose, pangolins, sloth bears, macaques, jackals, and numerous species of bird.
After a bit of adventure at Yala, drive along the southern coastline to arrive at a lovely beach villa. There are several dotted around the coast between Tangalle and Bentota. These luxury villas offer spacious bedrooms with seaside gardens. Many of these offer a few unique and exclusive palacial suites designed on Indo – Colonial lines. Some of these properties boast a vast sandy beachfront, huge lily ponds, and a fabulous spa. It is intimate, beautiful, and a great way to end wonderful family holidays in Sri Lanka.