Why Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is tremendously family friendly. Sometimes referred to as a tamer version of India, the island is incredibly diverse and boasts historical sights, colonial forts, beaches, wildlife reserves, tea estates and coconut plantations.
Thanks to its relatively small size, many of the sights can easily be visited over the course of two weeks, sometimes less, and together they offer plenty to keep even the youngest family members busy and entertained.
The beauty of Sri Lanka is that it doesn’t have water parks, theme parks or interactive museums. Instead, children will be fascinated by their surroundings ranging from the busy streets of Colombo and Kandy to the peace and serenity of the hills. There is so much excitement to absorb, so many memories to be created and so much fun to be had!
The island’s beaches are perfect for sandcastle-building and the coastal view is a sight to behold with its dramatic waves rolling in – a great soundtrack to send the little ones to sleep at night!
On an educational level, children can also learn how tea and spices are grown and produced as well as where rubber comes from. Sri Lanka has a rich colonial history just waiting to be discovered as they wander the atmospheric streets of Galle or Colombo forts and if little feet get tired there is always a tuk tuk driver ready to offer a ride.
Your children will be immersed in Sri Lankan culture as they experience the hustle and bustle of a street market or experience a vibrant local festival.
To experience the wilder side of the island, take your children on safari where they will have the opportunity to see elephant, leopard, crocodile, bear and plenty of birds in their natural habitat.
For a particular treat visit the cultural triangle in the summer months to witness the elephant gathering in Minneriya National Park. Although I think elephants are best seen in the wild, it is possible to experience elephant encounters, if you are not able to go on a jeep safari.
Where to stay
Sri Lanka has some of the most family-friendly boutique hotels and villas. Some fabulous new accommodation options have emerged over the last few years and continue to do so, but luckily not big resorts, just stunning characterful, privately-owned small hotels.
The accommodation can include family friendly rooms and facilities including swimming pools, walled gardens, children’s menus, outdoor games and babysitting services. During the day take trips locally to visit villages and homes, go on nature walks, explore by cycle or kayak and, for the more adventurous and those with older children, white-water rafting.
Or if you love seeing animals, why not stay in a safari camp with family tents? Children and teenagers alike will love spotting game in the parks. Some camps can also organise activities such as animal tracking, footprint identification games and photography classes for the younger family members.
If you yearn to see the ocean, there are numerous small, intimate accommodation options ranging from hotels to villas, all perfectly placed for exploring the coast or relaxing on the beach.
Visit a turtle hatchery, head out on a boat to spot dolphins, sea eagles or maybe even whales. It is possible to take a boat from Dondra point on the south coast on a whale watching trip, and the peak times for seeing Blue and Sperm Whales are January and February, perfect for a Spring half-term break maybe?
Wherever you choose to go you will find yourself and your children feeling very welcome thus making for a very relaxing yet stimulating holiday.
What to do
Sri Lanka is best seen with your own superb guide, and often your very own chauffeur guide will accompany you and your family everywhere you wish to go, and when appropriate you will be left to enjoy precious time relaxing with your family.
Visit temples, see cultural dances, explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites, take the train, go walking or cycling to whatever level you feel happy with, spot wildlife, people watch, enjoy amazing and exciting food and best of all relax in places where you will feel very safe and very welcome.
Or for more information on family holidays further afield, visit Asia family holidays.
Images courtesy of Eden Villas