WE’RE a family of four with two children aged six and four. I have wanted to travel to Sri Lanka for as long as I can remember and I was wondering if you consider Sri Lanka a family-friendly destination. I know the kids will enjoy the beaches and the wildlife in the national parks, but what else does Sri Lanka have to offer a family?
Doc: I think Sri Lanka is a great family destination; it has a mix of lovely beaches, wildlife, dramatic scenery, fabulous food plus culture.
There are plenty of activities for all ages, such as exploring caves, cycling, rock climbing, cooking classes, markets, ruins and fortresses.
Sri Lanka does get rocked by monsoons though, and the driest time to visit is between December and March for the west, south and Hill Country, and April to September for the rest of the country.
The temperature in Kandy, for example, hovers around 20C.
If you’re looking to join a small group tour, Insider Journeys offers a comprehensive selection, plus the company can also tailor an individual trip for you and your family.
If you opt to tailor your own itinerary, be sure to include the Hunas Falls Hotel in the hills above Kandy, for stunning views, walkways, a lake, waterfall and an interesting golf course.
Kandy is surrounded by tea plantations and rich rainforest, along with Buddhist sacred sites, temples and shrines.
You must also visit Sigiriya, the ruins of an ancient palace built on top of a 200m-high rock in the fifth century. It’s in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla and is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site, due to its reflection of advanced architectural and construction skills.
The king who built this palace covered the rock walls with frescoes and also built an enormous gateway halfway up in the form of a lion. The gardens are among the oldest landscaped in the world.
One of the amazing features of this site is the Mirror Wall, rock polished so well that the king could see his reflection. Evidence of tourists visiting this monument as long ago as the eighth century appear on this mirror in the way of poems and inscriptions.
Other interesting archaeological sites are the Polonnaruwa ruins and the Dambulla cave temples. The Golden Temple complex showcases colourful images and shapes of Buddha, with rock paintings dating back 2000 years.
Good examples of colonial buildings can be found at the township of Nuwara Eliya, along with panoramic views of the valleys and mountains.
Hop on the train from here to Ella and Badulla for a rickety ride through very scenic countryside. It takes about an hour and the kids will love it.