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Family holidays in Sri Lanka

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Family tour ideas in Sri Lanka

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Start planning your family tour in Sri Lanka

Being a safe destination offering endless outdoor activities for kids and teenagers, Sri Lanka is a timeless classic of family travel. It has long been hailed as the perfect destination for honeymoons but its prowess as a family destination has always been there. Action-loving families will never be bored on a tour in Sri Lanka; snorkelling, learning to surf, white water rafting, or getting to know native animals as you visit them in a sanctuary. With so much fascinating history to explore, why not delve into the authentic culture by visiting local communities? The locals will be leading the narrative and help visitors to understand the history and the current reality of the place they are visiting. Meeting and engaging with locals is an authentic travel experience which will be cherished by both sides.  

Best things to see and do in Sri Lanka with kids

Sri Lanka offers the opportunity for family travellers to create some incredible memories together, whether you’re helping to release baby sea turtles on the beach or visiting an elephant sanctuary. The best region for families to stay in Sri Lanka is Sigiriya near Habarana, because as well as boasting many child-friendly accommodation options, it is a convenient location for safaris, whale-watching tours from the pristine beaches of Mirissa or Kalpitiya, canyoning, or rafting in Kitulgala (if your children are 6+). Climbing up the ancient Sigiriya Rock to see the view from the top is an adventure in itself, and no family tour of Sri Lanka would be complete without a train ride through the lush countryside of Ella, praised as being one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Once you arrive in Nuwara Eliya, you and your family can stop off at a tea plantation to try some of the local tea and learn about how it's produced.

Beaches for relaxing are best along the west coast of the country, with many child-friendly beaches and resorts to choose from. For surfing and snorkelling, the beaches along the east coast are the best choice for adventurous, active families. For young children, Unawatuna Beach is great, since it is surrounded by coral reef, meaning it is calm, sheltered and ideal for young swimmers. Sri Lanka is home to so many National Parks, that families looking to see stunning Sri Lankan nature will be spoilt for choice. Minneriya and Pigeon Island National Parks are two excellent choices that won’t disappoint. Yala National Park is also a highly popular option for families, where you can see the world's biggest population of leopards! Historical sites are dotted around Sri Lanka and you’ll be able to visit colonial forts, such as the Fort of Galle, which offer fun exploration opportunities to families interested in Sri Lanka’s history. As well as being home to the largest land mammal, the elephant, Sri Lanka is also one of the best places in the world to see blue whales, which can be seen closer to the shore here than nearly anywhere else. Tea plantations, archaeological ruins, ancient cities, colonial buildings, fascinating creatures and an incredibly welcoming country; Sri Lanka is simply an unbeatable family destination.

Best time to visit Sri Lanka as a family

Due to the fact that Sri Lanka is hit each year by not one, but two Monsoon seasons, it can be difficult to work out when to plan your visit. Monsoon season here is a serious affair with sudden and dramatic downpour quite often causing flash flooding and general uproar. If you plan on visiting the West, South or Hill Country, try to schedule your trip anytime between December and March. The East coast, however, is best visited between April and September to avoid being hit by any unwelcome downpours. Since Sri Lanka is fairly close to the equator, its temperature remains constant throughout the year with the only real changes caused by rise in altitude which makes for cooler and fresher weather. Humidity is fairly high no matter where you choose to go and it is fairly inescapable, especially during the hottest months. The most popular and subsequently, the most expensive, time to visit is during the Christmas and New Year period where sites are crowded and accommodation prices rise dramatically.

Family holiday tips for travelling to Sri Lanka

With a little research and knowledge you can ensure that you are as prepared as possible for your family trip to Sri Lanka, here a few tips and tricks to ensure that everything runs smoothly on your holiday.

  • Try to avoid the mistake of trying to squeeze too many activities into a shorter space of time. Take your time and appreciate this wonderful country by planning a few extra days to relax, even if this means cutting down on some activities. You’ll thank us in the end.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas where pickpockets are rife. Keep cash and any important documents in a safe a hidden place.
  • As with any visit to a foreign country, check with your GP before leaving whether there are any vaccinations or medicines that you need to get. Bring along plenty of mosquito spray too, to avoid the annoyance of itchy bug bites throughout your trip.
  • Make the most of the cheap prices here to sign up to some unforgettable family activities.
  • Young children, especially those with blonde hair and blue eyes, will feel like little celebrities, with locals asking to take photos and selfies with them. This is meant in good will but if it bothers you, you can simply politely but firmly say no.
  • Try to avoid the tap water where possible, since this can lead to stomach bugs which can quickly ruin the perfect family holiday.
  • Learn a few key phrases. Learning some choice words and phrases can be extremely handy should you find yourself in a situation where no one speaks English. Learning a new language can also be a great new challenger for your children. If nothing else, it always goes down well to greet locals in their own language.

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