Why Sri Lanka is the perfect getaway for sun, sea and wildlife lovers

Sunshine, beaches, temples, elephants... Marie Claire's travel editor offers some tips on visiting this exotic tropical island

Tri Sri Lanka

Sunshine, beaches, temples and elephants - this exotic tropical island has something for everyone

Why go? Sri Lanka ticks all our holiday boxes... It's warm and friendly with charming boutique hotels, delicious food and a great variety of things to do. It's not as hard work as India, and there's a great deal more to enjoy besides flopping on a beach.

You can visit any time but the island experiences two monsoons so you need to pick the right part to avoid the rains. Peak season is from December to March, when the south and west coasts are dry and the winter sun-seekers flock in.

If you want to visit between May and September, head for the east coast which will be dry and has terrific beaches.

It's always warm in Sri Lanka, but temperatures drop as you climb into the central mountains so pack accordingly.

Key events this summer include the Poson Poya Full Moon Festival (8 July) in Anuradhapura, the Esala Perahera Festival (11–21 August) in Kandy, and the annual Elephant Gathering in Minneriya National Park (July to September).

Stay at...

Tri Sri Lanka

Upon arrival at sustainable, luxury hotel Tri, you'll notice it's unlike any hotel you've ever stayed at before. For one, it basically is its own compound, spaced out so well that you'll almost feel like you own the place when you reach your villa or room. Secondly, there's no front desk, just a Nokia phone in your room that you can use to constantly connect to any of the staff, whether in the hotel grounds or out and about. And, lastly, there's no TV in your room, your source of entertainment is instead one of the most stunning views you'll ever have seen. Talk about a digital detox. (But, don't worry, everywhere has impeccable WiFi, if you so need.)

The location

If you want privacy, and quiet, this is the place to come to. South of Colombo, Tri can be found located on the banks of Lake Koggola. In map terms, it's 25 minutes from Galle Fort and it's within a beautiful, uncluttered and unexplored area. If you wanted off-the-beaten track, you've got it.

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The room

Tri Sri Lanka

Minimalist, chic and with never-ending lake views, you'll feel like you're staying in a James Bond hideout. And the surrounding wildlife only add to that tropical getaway feel. Head to the Water Tower to watch sunset from the honesty bar balcony for a real treat.

The food

Foodies rejoice! The menu is all seasonal so you'll never have the same thing twice. Boasting local cuisine from traditional Sri Lankan curries and Michelin star-quality six-course dinners, you'll be spoilt for choice and constantly asking the waiting staff to explain what adventurous food you're eating (think: gotukola chawanamushi, kurakkan porridge and jackfruit croquettes). But, if you're more traditional when it comes to what's on your plate, there's also a selection of dishes you'll recognise, too (like crispy okra, green mango curry and chickpea dahl.)

The vibe 

Tri Sri Lanka

This no-kids hotel is tranquil, intimate and incredibly grown-up. Co-founder Lara leads yoga sessions weekly in a treetop yoga studio and with only 11 rooms, you'll only come across an absolute maximum of 20something guests in your time here. Dress code? Be as OTT or relaxed as you like. And the infinity pool is 50% chemical-free so you can go in guilt-free.

Don’t miss 

A boat trip to Cinnamon Island where you'll meet a local cinnamon farmer who will show you around an island filled with cinnamon bark, local fruits and local wildlife like the land monitor lizard. And, on the way back, ask the staff if you can have breakfast on the jetty. You've never felt so VIP...

While you’re there…

Get your trainers and sweat on by heading on a bike tour with local company Idle Bikes. You'll be guided through expansive lush greenery, riding amidst rice paddy fields and small towns where you'll meet wildlife including eagles, langur monkeys, water buffalo and kingfisher birds on your way. You'll also come across pea, cinnamon and peppercorn plants which are as fragrant as beautiful. And, halfway through, you'll be met with a support vehicle complete with fresh coconuts to get you hydrated again. And celebrate your physical prowess by heading to nearby Ahangama Beach for a beer and a dip in the sea for sunset.

Prices at Tri start from £215 per night based on two sharing. trilanka.com 

For more information see srilanka.travel

Delphine Chui