Sri Lanka with Kids: Family Destination Guide

Everything you need to know about travelling to Sri Lanka with your family

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Sri Lanka with Kids: A guide to Sri Lanka for families

Sri Lanka: Why You’ll Love It 

Image of Apa Villas nr Galle, Sri Lanka with Kids

Sri Lanka has long been a globetotting favourite for families. Here you’ll find sun-drenched beaches, crystalline waters, water sports galore and laid-back coastal towns. Top of our list is the historic town of Galle that charms visitors young and old. First built by the Portuguese in 1588 the fort has been carefully preserved (it is now a UNESCO world heritage site) and today houses stunning architecture, art galleries, museums, churches, mosques and an increasing number of boutique hotels.

But it’s not all buttery beaches and turquoise seas in Sri Lanka, this little island is wonderfully diverse offering visitors breathtaking landscapes, dramatic scenery and a multitude of high-octane activities. Kandy is the laidback capital of the hill country and a drive into the highlands reveals quaint towns and emerald green hills blanketed with tea plantations. One of the highlights – literally – is Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada) a sacred mountain best climbed at night to witness the magnificent sunrise from the summit.

 

Sri Lanka: Why The Kids Will Love It

Image of boy holding turtle, Sri Lanka with Kids

Sri Lanka is the perfect place for families with children of all ages. Little kids will love the palm-fringed beaches and calm, swimmable waters, and will delight at the numerous turtle sanctuaries found near Bentota. Visit at the right time and you may be able to help release baby turtles back into the ocean. For big kids and teens Sri Lanka is activity heaven. From water skiing and surfing to banana boat rides and snorkelling, you’ll find most water sports available. You can even take a boat ride from the island’s southern tip and search of dolphins and whales.

Kandy and the Hill Country are wonderful destinations for older children who can take advantage of all the activities on offer including canoeing, mountain biking, trekking and white water rafting. Another hit with kids (of all ages) is the Pinnewala elephant orphanage; a project that protects the island’s abandoned or orphaned wild Asian elephants. The train ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya is enchanting and another must for families. Pack a picnic and grab a seat in the Observation carriage for stunning mountain views.

 Sri Lanka: When To Go

Image of tea fields, Sri Lanka with Kids

The coast: The most popular time of year to visit Sri Lanka is from December to April. During these months the days are sunny and the sea serene. From May onwards the humidity rises and the rain begins to fall in stormy bursts until June. A second monsoon passes through from October to November, although the rainfall is unpredictable and showers never last for long. Visit at this time of year and make the most of discounted hotel rates. The best months for whale watching are December to April.  

Kandy & Hill Country: Kandy’s location means that its climate is wetter and cooler than much of the rest of the country. The dry season runs from December to April and the monsoon rains fall from May through to July. The average temperature is 20C although January can be cooler. Nuwara Eliya sees an average temperature of 16C and can drop to as low as 3C, particularly during the winter months.

Sri Lanka’s high season runs from December to March; book well in advance if you plan to visit over the Christmas period. Adam’s Peak can only be climbed between December and April. The 10-day Kandy Esala Perahera festival is held in July/August.

 

 Sri Lanka with Kids: FAQ

Image of auto rickshaw, Sri Lanka with Kids

Capital: The political capital is Sri Jayawadenapura Kotte, just east of the former capital, Colombo.

Time: GMT + 05:30 Language: Sri Lanka has two official languages . Sinhala and Tamil – with English as a link language. Most people have some knowledge of English, and signboards are often in English.

Voltage: 230 . 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. If you travel with a laptop computer bring a stabiliser.

Visas: Visas are required and can be obtained online via the Electronic Travel Authority. Your passport must also be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of exit from Sri Lanka.

Health & Vaccinations: Visitors need to take special precautions against illnesses not normally encountered at home such as amoebic dysentery, malaria and dengue fever. Contact your doctor well in advance of your departure date to ensure that you receive all the necessary vaccinations. No vaccinations are compulsory unless you are coming from a yellow fever or cholera area. Country specific information and advice is published by nathnac.org. Bring any medication with you in its original, labelled container. A signed prescription note from your doctor is useful to have. Pharmacies are wide spread and stock the basic essentials. Private medical care is available in most major cities whereas facilities in remote areas can be very limited. Recommended hospitals and doctors can be found on the British High Commission website. http://ukinindia.fco.gov.uk

Getting There: Sri Lanka has one international airport, Bandaranaike International Airport, located 35km north of Colombo and 6km south of Negombo.

Money: The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents. ATMs are found in most towns and cities and credit cards are accepted in most shops, restaurants and hotels. Cash can be exchanged from major currencies such as US dollars, UK pounds and Euros.

Safety: Please consult your own government’s travel advisory for safety advice such as fco.gov.uk

Dress: Cool cottons, sunhats and swimming garb is useful all year with light jumpers for the hills and waterproofs for monsoon season. Adults (including teenage girls) are advised to dress conservatively when off the beach and especially when visiting religious sites. As a general rule of thumb cover your shoulders, chest and knees.

 

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Windamere Hotel: 27.045835, 88.267819
Oberoi Amarvillas: 27.167907, 78.048912
Raas Haveli: 26.297646, 73.022527
Itmenaan Estate: 29.518200, 79.832897
Hotel Diggi Palace: 26.910280, 75.812508
Mosaics Guesthouse: 26.966788, 75.920459
Udai Bilas Palace: 23.841943, 73.714678
Samode Haveli: 27.000408, 74.992676
Mongolia With Kids: A Guide to Mongolia for Families: 46.862496, 103.846656
Burma: 21.913965, 95.956223
Family Holidays in India: 20.593684, 78.962880
Family Holidays in Vietnam: 14.058324, 108.277199
Family Holidays in Thailand: 15.921715, 100.788574
Family Holidays in Sri Lanka: 7.873054, 80.771797
Family Holidays in Borneo: 1.068237, 114.233536
Family Holidays in Cambodia: 12.565679, 104.990963
Family Holidays in Nepal: 28.394857, 84.124008
Amazing Angkor Wat, Cambodia: 13.423016, 103.936844
A Taste of Tunisia: 33.886917, 9.537499
A Panama Jungle Adventure: 8.674027, -81.298485
Magical Mongolia: 47.920000, 106.920000
The Pushkar Camel Fair: 26.489749, 74.551086
Srinagar to Leh by Jeep: 34.152586, 77.577053
Sri Lanka: 6.053519, 80.220977
Holi Family Holiday: 26.912434, 75.787271
The Mountains of Ifugao, The Philippines: 16.883403, 120.969086
10 Things to do with Kids in Sri Lanka: 6.500000, 80.771797
5 Things to do with Kids Around Manila: 14.599512, 120.984219
10 Things to do with Kids in India: 15.000000, 79.000000
Jaipur with Kids: 26.500000, 75.805954
Jims Jungle Retreat: 29.535701, 78.924974
Traditional Homes Swotha: 27.674428, 85.325779
The Hyatt Regency Kathmandu: 27.722117, 85.356978
Pauline\'s Guesthouse, Nr Kathmandu, Nepal: 27.772882, 85.333351
Illuketia, Nr Galle: 6.035268, 80.266791
The Wallawwa: 7.131947, 79.927913
Apa Villa, Nr Galle: 6.030486, 80.240915
The Bayleaf Hotel, Manila: 14.589969, 120.977878
Haadson Resort: 8.739592, 98.244386
Villa Ban Haad Sai, Koh Samui: 9.571675, 100.063103
JW Marriott, Phuket: 8.166198, 98.294973
Villa Sai Taan, Phuket: 7.994743, 98.300971
Gili Eco Villas: -8.339901, 116.032570
Lombok B&B: -8.504688, 116.054106
Family House Lombok: -8.891092, 116.275837
Club Paradise, Dimakya Island: 12.234233, 120.088892
Fateh Garh, Udaipur: 24.568566, 73.640348
Lebanon: 33.901197, 35.660934
Glenburn: 27.083155, 88.336072
Club Villa: 6.426232, 79.995232
Atali Ganga: 30.068860, 78.457750
Snowboarding in Gulmarg, Kashmir: 34.059486, 74.311523
RIFF: 26.297836, 73.018447
Phuket: 7.981046, 98.363883
Nepal: 28.598709, 83.822390
Kerala: 9.498067, 76.338848
Costa Rica: 9.748917, -83.753428
Sherlock: 11.197936, 76.745682
The Dune: 12.049141, 79.875163
The Beach Hut: 6.005545, 80.256500
Epic American Road trip: 35.216834, -101.814725
Devi Bhawan: 26.238947, 73.024309
Morocco MFA: 31.791702, -7.092620
Whale Watching Panama: 8.665203, -79.208679
Maya Mexico: 20.211419, -87.465350
MFA Tokyo: 35.689487, 139.691706
Jaypee Palace: 27.153876, 78.071165
Anda Lanta: 7.488091, 99.083462
Ratan Vilas: 26.273913, 73.030063
Khem Vilas: 26.064852, 76.438331
Villa Baan Chao Lay: 9.559606, 100.036228
Highlands Park: 34.052833, 74.384700
Khyber: 34.042840, 74.386346
Dar es Salam: 34.113766, 74.836167
Ranjits SVAASA: 31.642821, 74.862291
Yab Yum: 15.646221, 73.717183
Olaulim Backyards: 15.570627, 73.870387
Vivenda dos Palhacos: 15.314925, 73.912164
Sur La Mer: 15.642397, 73.723037
Joets: 15.370926, 73.832758
Grand Hyatt: 15.451140, 73.851595
Amarya Shamiyana: 15.646737, 73.716856
The Farm: 26.873023, 75.613542
Jas Vilas: 26.930462, 75.788064
Royal Heritage Haveli: 26.925231, 75.745491
Indrashan Homestay: 26.270218, 73.030876
Alila Diwa: 15.306901, 73.911334
Kumarakom Lake Resort: 9.612555, 76.431248
Emerald Isle: 9.492137, 76.326071
Marari Beach Resort: 9.595008, 76.301175
Marari Villas: 9.583107, 76.302272
Philipkutty\'s Farm: 9.662806, 76.409535
Casa Susegad: 15.330995, 73.980346
Park Hyatt Goa: 15.327473, 73.897707
Coconut Creek: 15.372996, 73.833220
Fishermans Cove Philippines: 13.503281, 120.944008
Shahar Palace: 26.909963, 75.785703
Costa Pacifica: 15.760657, 121.569018
Hotel Eagles Nest: 32.261658, 76.306800
Patan Mahal: 27.801557, 75.976059
Tea Bungalow: 9.962806, 76.245846
The Secret Garden: 9.931238, 76.267315
Dreamz: 9.967115, 76.242319
Old Harbour Hotel: 9.967199, 76.242447
Raintree Lodge: 9.966505, 76.243054
Brunton Boatyard: 9.968819, 76.245611
Tikli Bottom: 28.331856, 77.008482
Kipling Camp: 22.310358, 80.496547
: 13.706898, 120.875911
Aashyana Lakhanpal: 15.525650, 73.762132
Dwarikas: 27.704885, 85.342298
10 Things to do in Gulmarg: 34.041603, 74.370477
Video: 10 Things to Do in Gulmarg, With Kids: 34.093610, 74.371948
whale watching panama: 8.627420, -79.037667
Jaipur Video: 26.846128, 75.953979
Bohol: 9.849991, 124.143543
Gamboa Rainforest Retreat: 9.121111, -79.692562
Casa Mariposa: 8.603634, -80.128217
Los Quetzales: 8.869582, -82.566899
Yandup: 9.317597, -78.227778
MFA Singapore Swing: 1.352083, 103.819836
MFA Bohol philippines: 9.849991, 124.143543
New Zealand campervan: -43.532054, 172.636225
Video: Campervan Adventure New Zealand: -42.526243, 172.828825
Casa Tota Mexico: 23.450711, -110.222610
El Diablo y La Sandia B&B: 17.062192, -96.719449
Posada Margherita Tulum: 20.226895, -87.433628
Casa Amarilla: 8.643964, -79.707608
JetWing Beach: 7.243444, 79.841595
Namo Buddha Resort: 27.580712, 85.590484
Why House: 6.007137, 80.266471
River House: 6.269323, 80.037350
Villa Las Estrellas: 20.153443, -87.456997
Meson de Leyendas: 19.198173, -100.130026
La Chevrerie Resort & Spa: 13.732900, 120.887474
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa: 9.158530, 123.242483
The Bungalows: 22.883578, -109.918383
St Joseph Resthouse: 17.085148, 120.901012
Oberoi Udaivilas: 24.576800, 73.672155
10 Things Borneo: 1.068237, 114.233536
10 Things to do with kids in Delhi: 28.613939, 77.209021
Shangri-La Oman: 23.551335, 58.659198
Alphabeto: 7.790297, 98.316714
Riverside Inn Boquete: 8.798225, -82.427238
MFA Tulum: 20.211419, -87.465350
MFA Grand Canyon: 36.106965, -112.112997
Shangri-La Boracay: 11.988269, 121.906216
Coqui Coqui: 20.494404, -87.730531
10 Things to do in Boracay: 11.948647, 121.936569
Dubai : 25.204849, 55.270783
Phuket: 7.951933, 98.338088
MFA Crete: 35.240117, 24.809269
Diphlu River Lodge: 26.578553, 93.255047
Amorita Resort: 9.549948, 123.776424
Los Cabos: 23.079870, -109.712404
Granada Nicaragua: 11.933333, -85.950000
Sol y luna: -13.296530, -72.129460
Tierra Viva Machu Picchu: -13.154402, -72.526342
Tierra Viva Saphi: -13.512817, -71.983037
The Garden House: -13.535587, -71.904965
MFA Peru: -13.163141, -72.544963
MFA Hawaii: 19.542915, -155.665857
The oberoi grand, kolkata: 22.561786, 88.351213
MFA Bali Gili: -8.371399, 116.045580
Chincheros: -13.391999, -72.049284
Museo Inkariy: -13.317499, -71.992301
Bounce Below: 53.004581, -3.942279
Moray & Maras: -13.329857, -72.197144
Ollantaytambo: -13.258369, -72.264268
Pisac: -13.424167, -71.857778
MFA Sigiriya: 7.955154, 80.759803
Tomb of Columbus: 37.385748, -5.993751
Boats of Columbus: 37.211454, -6.928175
La rabida Columbus: 37.207646, -6.926167
Machu Picchu with kids: -13.161062, -72.559204
MFA Bangladesh: 21.439464, 92.007732
Crete top 10: 35.277016, 24.348450
MFA San Blas: 9.507126, -78.803740
Bavarian Forest: 49.126635, 13.120151
Flytographer: 48.428421, -123.365644
Tofino: 49.152984, -125.906618
Xochimilco: 19.257231, -99.102966
Fairmont Hotel: 49.283793, -123.120989
L\'Hermitage: 49.280470, -123.116989
Lodging Ovations: 50.095389, -122.989441
Delta Victoria Ocean: 48.426969, -123.375084
The Wickaninnish Inn: 49.123773, -125.899807
Shangri La Makati: 14.553639, 121.024576
Nobu: 14.523867, 120.992770
Discovery Primea: 14.553381, 121.026953
Day of Dead Part 1: 19.432608, -99.133208
Day of Dead Part 2: 19.414792, -99.081573
Tbex Florida: 26.122439, -80.137317
Best hotels Manila: 14.599512, 120.984219
Tofino 10 things: 49.152984, -125.906618
Sacred Valley: -13.303898, -72.111557
Art in Island: 14.622794, 121.058114
Walks El Valle: 8.609784, -80.131693
10 Things El Valle: 8.601983, -80.119987
Sea to Sky Gondola: 49.701634, -123.155812
Casa Guardia: 8.366792, -80.121831
Awesome Hotel: 16.678999, 120.336555
LivItaly Florence: 43.769560, 11.255814
: 12.001300, 120.193760
Peru for Families: -7.972198, -76.113281
Panama for Families: 9.600750, -79.958496
Cuba for families: 22.796439, -80.914307
Mexico For Families: 22.593726, -103.359375
The Philippines for Families: 11.953349, 119.091797
Canada for Families: 54.367759, -114.609375