How to Tour the South of Sri Lanka – In Style, Of Course

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Jessica Stein Elephant Sri Lanka
Photo: Courtesy of @TuulaVintage

It’s hard to define what makes the south of Sri Lanka so enchanting. Of course, there’s the lush landscapes and tropical seas, the fiery curries on pillowy beds of steamed rice, and the golden buddhist shrines everywhere you turn. But that alone doesn’t seem to quite capture the magic of this exuberant escape, which is only a four-hour flight from Dubai. Read on to discover where to stay and what to do to make the most of a stylish sojourn to the south of Sri Lanka.

Where to Stay

Cape Weligama

Perched on a postcard-perfect cliffside is Cape Weligama, a beach resort perched 1,250 meters over Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea region. From the property’s crescent-shaped pool to the variety of water activities on offer – including surfing, whale watching, and scuba diving – there are limitless options for splashing your way through a stay at this luxurious yet laid-back haven. Read a full review of Cape Weligama, here.

Abimanagama Road, Weligama
(+94) 41 2 253 000
www.resplendentceylon.com

Tri Lanka

You may have seen the world’s most influential globetrotters – including @OhhCouture and @TuulaVintage – posting pictures from the infinity pool at Tri Lanka, a recently opened eco-resort on Sri Lanka’s Koggala Lake. For a full review of the property, click here.

Koggala Lake, Galle
(+94) 777 708 177
www.trilanka.com

What to Do

Explore Yala National Park

About two hours from Tri Lanka and Cape Weligama is a natural paradise filled with elephants, monkeys, and leopards. One of the most popular parks in the country (rivaled only by Wilpattu National Park in the north west and Udawalawe National Park in the south), Yala National Park offers plenty of luxury safari experiences in the form of half- and full-day tours. If you decide to stay the night, Jetwing Yala is an upscale resort near Yala National Park with beach access and a premiere spa.

Visit the City of Galle

About 45 minutes from Cape Weligama and Tri Lanka is the charming city of Galle. Go for the beautiful Dutch colonial architecture and quaint gift shops, perfect for picking up sentimental travel trinkets like the region’s famous tea varieties. The historic Galle Fort is small, so you can walk it in about fifteen minutes, making it an idyllic backdrop for a leisurely afternoon of eating and shopping.

Be sure to stop by Poonie’s Kitchen, a quirky courtyard cafe with a koi fish pond that serves hearty plates of spicy noodles, for lunch. Wash down lunch with a side of the eatery’s signature fresh ginger tea. As for retail therapy, Exotic Roots – a boho boutique filled with Sri Lankan arts and crafts – is our go-to spot.

Go Whale Watching in Mirissa

Mirissa sits on the opposite side of Weligama Bay, and this is where some of the country’s best whale-watching excursions happen. Here, you’ll find dolphins, humpback and blue whales, and sea turtles gliding through the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Cape Weligama offers a luxurious experience aboard a gorgeous catamaran For AED 470/SAR 479, which includes a freshly prepared breakfast, a morning of whale watching, and the opportunity to swim as the catamaran anchors near Taprobane Island.

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