Ask the Experts: Is Sri Lanka safe?

It’s that time of week again, people! Our Travel Experts are ready and waiting to answer your travel questions. This week’s little beauty comes courtesy of Ian in Leeds, as he wants to know more about that island in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka. Take it away, Ian:

I’m hearing a lot of talk about Sri Lanka; what are the Expert’s thoughts? Is it safe; and how long should I visit for? Ian in Leeds

Ooh, a good question, Ian. If you’ve got a question to get our Experts scratching their heads, drop us an email.

So, can our Experts put Ian’s mind at ease and convince him that Sri Lanka is the island for him? There’s only one way to find out – over to you, Experts!

Sarah Jones at STA Travel Covent Garden says…

Those that have visited Sri Lanka will agree on one thing, Ian: it is one of the most stunning places on the planet.

A tropical odyssey with a year-round summer, the country is lined with over 1300km of sandy palmed beaches. Bentota is the beach to go for watersports, while the small fishing village of Hikkaduwa is the party capital and renowned for its top surf. If you’re looking for more of an untouched spot then Weligama on the southern tip or Induruwa with its water lagoons are musts.

The interior of the country is a historical montage; one of the oldest Buddhist countries, the island is covered in ancient temples dating back to the 1st Century BC.

If it’s adventure you’re after then head to the numerous National Parks, waterfalls and tropical rainforests. You’ll find jungle trekking, mountain biking and white water rafting. Our 6 day tour Sri Lanka Adventure and Safari encompasses all these in the country’s southern hotspots.

Sri Lanka’s long and bitter civil war ended in 2009, and for the last 2 years a concerted effort has been made to bring visitors in to the magnificent country. There are a number of tours which provide a thorough taster of the country in anything from 6 to 8 days – the 8 day Sri Lanka Experience is a top one. Take two to three weeks, and you will come back in awe and in search of your Sri Lankan citizenship.

Kim Lindsay at STA Travel Dundee says…

Sri Lanka is safer than Dundee at 3am that’s for sure! Do it, Ian in Leeds! About 10 days should see you right.

I would fly into Colombo and join our 6 day Sri Lanka Highlights trip to sort the sightseeing without the hassle. Must-sees are Sigiriya’s Fortress in the Sky, Polonnaruwa statues and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy.

Chill out for the remainder of your time in Negombo. It’s famous for its beaches, elephants and nightlife – but probably better not to try not to combine all three!

Heather Dack at STA Travel Nottingham says…

I have to agree with Sarah and Kim, Ian: Sri Lanka is a great destination to visit, and is becoming really popular since the end of its 30-year war. One of the must-sees is the Udawalawe National Park which gives you the opportunity to see some of Sri Lanka’s best wildlife. It is one of the best places to view elephants, with large herds often sighted, as well as wild buffalo, leopards and sambar deer.

If you love wildlife, another must-visit is Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, run by Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife Conservation. You can get up close to the elephants as they have their bath, and if you fancy doing some volunteering, you can hand feed the baby elephants – how cute?!

Sri Pada is another popular destination, and is home to the sacred Buddha’s footprint, left as he left earth for paradise. It is a very important place for the locals, with the pilgrimage season running from December – May. It doesn’t just offer religious signigficance, though; it also boasts some amazing views and landscapes.

Sri Lanka isn’t the biggest island, so you won’t be travelling large distances, but there is so much to see. With that in mind, I’d recommend spending at least three weeks there.

Wow, I’m sold! Get me to Sri Lanka, stat. Hope that’s helped you with your travel plans, Ian! Our Experts will be back next week to put your travel-filled minds at rest as they answer your questions. Remember, you can email the Experts with your own travel conundrums.