5* Sri Lankan experiences

You’ve hit the beach, haggled at the markets and maybe even taken a train trip or two. But what does Sri Lanka have to offer in the way of luxury travel experiences? 

As it happens, a lot. Here are some of our favourites:

Hire a yacht

Yachting with Sail Lanka

Yachting with Sail Lanka

Grab your swimsuits and sunglasses, and head to the open seas. Charter a yacht for a day, and relax as they serve up breakfast and lunch while you cruise, leaving you to sit back and enjoy views of the island’s stunning coastline. Snorkelling, swimming and stand-up paddle boarding are all on offer too, and if you’re lucky you may spot a pod of whales. Sail Lanka start their cruises from varying points on the island, each offering individual experiences. They also offer private sailing lessons, for a more hands on way of navigating the waters. 

Take a seaplane

Flying above the Sri Lankan coastline

Flying above the Sri Lankan coastline

Initially an air taxi service that was set up as an alternative to road travel, Cinnamon Air now offer luxury private charter flights on request. Imagine swooping down to just 500 feet above sea level, or flying (not-so-high) above Sri Lanka’s famous sites such as Sigiriya Rock or Galle Fort, both of which are UNESCO world heritage sites. In fact, Sri Lanka has eight world heritage sights, and flying by seaplane you may be able to tick off more than you imagined, all with a very unique birds eye view perspective. 
 

Helicopter ride

Helicopter tour

Helicopter tour

Another truly unique way to see Sri Lanka’s sights from above, if a little more noisy. Helitours can arrange personalised flights over the island. So, pull out that map, plot your must-see places, don your ‘copter headset, and take to the skies.
 

Whale watching

Whale watching

Whale watching

Sri Lanka is often cited as having the best whale watching opportunities in the world. It’s home to many species of whale and dolphin, including the world’s largest, the elusive Blue Whale. In fact, in season, your chances of spotting a blue whale are high thanks to varying environmental factors that make the coast of Sri Lanka ever popular with this huge mammal. And huge it is - nothing will quite prepare you for your first sighting. Book an early-morning trip really experience something special before breakfast. 

Sunrise hot air balloon

A Sunrise Ballooning hot air ballon tour

A Sunrise Ballooning hot air ballon tour

There’s always something stirring about a sunrise, but even more so when you’re floating gently across the skies, staring down at lush green forests, mountain peaks and if you’re lucky, herds of elephants out for their morning bathe. Sunrise Ballooning take flight from Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, meaning you’ll also peer down on to many historical sights as you glide. Be sure to pack your camera. 

Spa treatments

Relaxing spa

Relaxing spa

We all know that, at times, the general hustle and bustle of Sri Lanka can prove tiring. And it’s times like this that there’s only one thing for it - to book in for some calm and tranquility. Galle Fort Spa is just the place with a team of local, highly-trained therapists ready to cater for all your personal pampering needs. From indulgent massage treatments, to facials, pedicures and more, the spa uses local natural produce, combined with Ayurvedic and holistic therapies to really revive and energise your senses. 

Gem shopping

Shopping for gems

Shopping for gems

Once known as Ratna-Dweepa meaning Gem Island, Sri Lanka has long been known for it’s quantity, quality and variety of precious stones. In fact, Marco Polo is believed to have once said the the island had the best ‘sapphires, topazes, amethysts, and other gems in the world’. Now that’s something. So, if you feel like adding another jewel to your collection, you’re in the right place. Ratnapura is the source of many of the island’s best, but you can peruse them all over. On the south coast, MM Ibrahim and Laksana are respected and reputable places to purchase. 
Contact: MM Ibrahim: Tel: +94 912 234 253 / Laksana: Tel: +94 77 790 0170

 - By Katie Silcox

This article was first written for Eden Villas in Sri Lanka

Discover more fun things to do in Sri Lanka :

- Sri Lanka; 2019 destination of the year

- 16 places you should visit in Sri Lanka

- 24 hours in Colombo

- Insider’s Guide to Colombo

- Insider’s Guide to Galle

- Sri Lanka’s south coast with children

- Sri Lankan food, explained

- Sri Lankan drinks: A local taste