Cycling the Sites
Cycle through the ancient city of Polonnaruwa in the Cultural Triangle.
A holiday to Sri Lanka and the Maldives is a great combination and offers the perfect solution for anyone torn between an indulgent relaxing holiday and the desire to explore. Both destinations suit families and couples alike.
Cycle through the ancient city of Polonnaruwa in the Cultural Triangle.
Take a walking tour through Ellerton Tea Estate to learn about tea production.
Stay at one of Galle Fort’s stylish boutique hotels amidst the cafes and shops.
Spend a week on an easily accessible island, such as Baros, home to colourful reefs and white sand beaches.
The promise of adventure and mystique in Sri Lanka and the serenity and calm of the Maldives is a winning combination. Also, consider visiting these two countries all year round, and benefit from significantly lower rates for the Maldives during the summer months – a time when manta rays and whale sharks congregate, particularly the western side of the Indian Ocean archipelago.
The historical Buddhist UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa in the Cultural Triangle offers ancient stupas and stone carvings. Often busy, the best time to view the popular sites is shortly after sunrise in the morning, avoid any crowds and be among the first few to visit that day. An entire morning is required to explore Polonnaruwa, the ancient second capital of Sri Lanka.
Discover the cultural and vibrant town of Galle, with its chic boho accommodation and arty eclectic shops and restaurants. The real draw of this UNESCO World Heritage site is the beautiful colonial houses, so many now lovingly renovated and opened as boutique hotels. Originally built by the Portuguese, the Dutch renovated all the house in between 1640-42 using traditional local building methods.
A short flight from Colombo takes you to Male, the capital of the Maldives. The airport is home to a fleet of seaplanes and sleek speedboats, ready to whisk guests to their respective tropical island paradises. Here, at your chosen island resort there is nothing more to focus on than the snorkelling, fresh seafood BBQ’s and choosing from the spa menu – total bliss.
Set out early for a full-day of dolphin or whale shark watching, take off on a fishing expedition, or bask in the Baros sunset on a romantic cruise. The Maldivan dhoni, Nooma, gets you out on the water in the traditional way. Or the luxury motor yacht, Serenity, is ideal for a daylong adventure. Reef snorkelling adventures, sunset sailing or romantic dinner cruises for two, this is the perfect vessel for an authentic local experience. Featuring a sundeck, a private saloon lounge and an air-conditioned double bedroom – everything at your fingertips for a jaunt across the waves.
Whale sharks are year-round residents, tending to favour the western side of the Indian Ocean archipelago from May to December, then heading to the east until April. The South Ari Atoll is a Marine Protected Area. The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme is a charity that carries out whale shark research and spearheads conservation initiatives in the Maldives. Snorkelling with Whale sharks is an unforgettable experience. There are a number of hotels that work alongside these respected charities and offer hands-on experience during your stay. We love the work that takes place at both Vakkaru Maldives, and Six Senses Laamu.
Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.
Six Senses Laamu is stylish, yet an understated collection of over-water and land villas constructed from sustainable materials around the palm-fringed beach. It is the only resort within the atoll, therefore allowing peace and seclusion with access to some of the best snorkelling and diving in the Maldives. With a selection of six bars and restaurants, Laamu serves dishes prepared by experienced chefs with some ingredients grown on the islands own garden.
Baros Maldives is an exotic Maldives luxury resort on a coral-fringed bijou island in the heart of the crystal clear waters of the Maldives. Spacious retreats amidst lush jungle surroundings, a wide array of innovative cuisine and a host of modern amenities and facilities are offered at this Maldives resort to ensure guests have a relaxed and pleasurable holiday.
Vakkaru Maldives is a brand new, lush, green tropical island resort offering a fresh holistic approach to unassuming luxury with superb eco-credentials. Famous for its manta rays, the diving here is exceptional, and the beach and water villas offer incredible space and ocean views.
The Fort Bazaar is a stunning boutique spa hotel in the heart of colonial Galle, with original coral walls and an atmospheric central thoroughfare. This handsome merchant’s home-turned-boutique hotel with 18 stylish guestrooms and fresh, contemporary interiors is located on Church Street within Galle Fort. The Fort Bazaar Galle offers peace and quiet, high-end service and gourmet modern dining.
Amangalla, a favourite with Steppes Travel, is the perfect home from which to explore the fort and town of Galle. It is within the walls of the fort and some of the buildings have an interesting history. Having once been used as headquarters for the Dutch commander and his officers and later as a billet for British soldiers, some date back 400 years.
Surrounded by paddy fields and forest, Vil Uyana has 25 individual villas on stilts. Connected by wooden walkways and decked with wooden floors, each villa has a pitched rattan and bamboo ceiling and a sloping thatch roof made of coconut palms. In-villa dining is available here, while a small spa offers a range of treatments.
Kate Hitchen's help in organising this trip was excellent. She was very knowledgable and tailor-made our trip to suit our three teenage children.
Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.
Sri Lanka benefits from generally good weather all year round and experiences a tropical climate with the best and most popular to visit being during our winter months, from January to April.
Visit the Southern and Western coast of Sri Lanka to experience the hot and humid climate in coastal areas or visit the mountainous regions for cooler temperatures with less humidity.
In Northern and Central Sri Lanka, temperatures will start to rise, and these regions will become more humid with March being generally a dry month for Sri Lanka.
Overall, April is a very good time to visit Sri Lanka, with most of the island experiencing high temperatures and lots of sunshine, all before the first monsoon rains of the year begin in the South.
From May to August, the country experiences the first of its two annual monsoon seasons in Southwest Sri Lanka. Therefore, during these months it is best to visit Northeast Sri Lanka including Batticaloa and Passekudah.
Rainfall with continue in the South during the monsoon season whereas in Northern Sri Lanka, June is one of the best times to visit this area with a warm climate and high temperatures throughout.
In Northern Sri Lanka, the months of June and July are particularly good times to travel to the area, with minimal rainfall, particularly high temperatures and long days of sunshine.
Throughout the country, you can expect excellent climate conditions. August is ideal month for those wanting to experience both the Northeast and Southwest regions of the island, typically quite unusual due to Sri Lanka’s monsoon seasons.
September will start to see the end of the monsoon season in the Southwest and whilst rainfall and thunderstorms are less frequent, are still likely across the region.
Prior to the monsoon season, rainfall is likely throughout the country and can sometimes be unpredictable, meaning disruptions in travel are likely.
From November to February, Northeast Sri Lanka will experience one of two annual monsoon seasons. Whilst most days will experience rainfall, it is a great time to travel to experience the lush, green countryside.
Due to the monsoon in the Northeast, it is best to visit the southwest coast of Sri Lanka prior to the second monsoon reaching this area in May. Experience high levels of sunshine, perfect for Sri Lanka’s beaches.
Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.
Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.
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