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We understand just how precious our natural world is. That’s why the charitable arm of our business, A&K Philanthropy, is constantly working to help reduce the impact of human activity on our planet. Read about our latest philanthropic projects in Antarctica.
For more than a century, the Trans-Siberian Railway has been transporting travellers across the vast and beautiful Russian landscape. A trip on this enchanting train will treat you to mesmerising vistas, delicious cuisine, elegant accommodation and fascinating stops en-route.
Our escorted tours allow you to explore the world's most incredible destinations with like-minded travellers. Accompanied by an expert guide, each trip is designed around you and your group.
From barefoot luxury on a private island, to a few days of relaxation after conquering a mountain, we know where the best beach holidays can be found. Our travel specialists have hand-picked a selection of outstanding hotels and resorts.
There's an old-fashioned, evocative romance that comes with travelling by train. Our tailor-made rail holidays allow you to experience life on-board a luxurious rail carriage, with plenty of stops at fascinating locations along the way.
We're an award-winning, luxury travel company. We create tailor-made holidays that are as individual as the person we're creating it for. We care about the smallest details of every holiday we design, but also about the world we're travelling through.
Our specialists are experts in travel. They've travelled extensively throughout the regions they cover, putting them in an ideal position to help you plan your next luxury holiday, relaxing escape or exciting city break.
We're pleased and proud to have been crowned 2017's best luxury tour operator at the fifth annual News UK Travel Awards. This accolade is voted for by the readers of The Times, The Sunday Times & The Sunday Times Travel Magazine.
January sees Sri Lanka enjoying warm weather and religious celebrations. The marine wildlife becomes active and visible. The season for dolphin watching begins in the northwest city of Kalpitiya, a beautiful peninsular bordered by the Indian Ocean and a lagoon. The southern coasts also yield dolphin and whale sightings, particularly in Mirissa, which continue until around March.
The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara Buddhist temple is famous for its paintings and frescoes depicting scenes from Buddhist history. In January, the annual Kelaniya Duruthu Maha Perahera procession in commemoration of Buddha’s visit to Sri Lanka takes place.
A visit to the south coast would be incomplete without seeing the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle. Known as a ‘city within a city’, the busy port of Galle was settled by Europeans. Today, it’s famous for its Dutch Fort, cobbled streets, outdoor dining, boutique hotels and stylish stores. The nearby area is renowned for cinnamon tapping and virgin white-tips tea.
The iconic Gangaramaya Buddhist temple is one of the oldest landmarks in Colombo. In February, it hosts the annual Navam Perahera festival. For two nights, the streets are filled with elephants, dancers and musicians in colourful, cultural parades.
Adam’s Peak, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is of religious significance to many different faiths. March is the midway point of the annual Adam’s Peak pilgrimage season (December to May) and a great time to visit. If you start out at around midnight, you’re set to reach the summit for dawn for a sunrise like no other.
Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve is Sri Lanka’s largest remaining virgin rainforest and another UNESCO site. More than half of the trees here are indigenous and many are endemic. In March, this is an excellent destination for bird watchers. Meanwhile, in the east-coast city of Trincomalee, the whale-watching season comes towards a close.
Although bright and sunny, rain can be expected in the evenings.
The two main nationalities of Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese and Tamils, celebrate Avurudu (New Year) in April. In this harvesting month, you’ll experience traditional customs, lavish hospitality and many age-old New Year games. At a certain time, the whole country stops cooking until the new year has been welcomed in.
During the festivities, the hillside town of Nuwara Eliya becomes a popular destination. Hakgala Botanical Garden is in full bloom, and horse racing, live music, flower and agricultural shows, motor-racing tournaments and golf competitions all commence.
Light evening rains are common in May, though the days are warm and sunny. The Vesak Festival, the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar, is celebrated throughout. By night the whole island is lit up by lanterns, ranging from oil lamps to more elaborate ones made of bamboo and decorated with tissue paper. The capital city of Colombo is exceptionally beautiful and well-lit, and one of the best places to be. In 2018, the festival begins at the end of April and continues about a week into May, and it will showcase Sri Lanka at its most vibrant.
June marks the beginning of Sri Lanka’s warmest months. It’s the perfect time to stroll around historic Anuradhapura, founded in the fifth century BC. The brilliant white dome-shaped Ruwanweliseya and Jetavanaramaya stupas have survived over two millennia, and the latter is equal in size to the pyramids of Giza.
June is also the season for palu, a wild berry found in the jungles of Sri Lanka. These are a particular favourite of the Sri Lankan sloth bear who reside mainly in the Yala and Wilpattu national parks. As they become more active, sightings become much more likely.
July is a warm month, and with the building winds surfing season arrives. Arugam Bay is ranked among the top surfing beaches in the world. On Kalpitiya Peninsula, the kitesurfing is at its best. The Indian Ocean provides the perfect set-up, while the lagoon on the other side is ideal for beginners.
The annual Kataragama Festival attracts pilgrims from all parts of the island each July. Kataragama is one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Sri Lanka, sacred for both Buddhists and Hindus. In 2018, the festival is scheduled for 26 July.
Occasional evening showers can occur in August, but the warmer climate continues.
Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, prepares to host the annual Esala Perahera parade held in honour of the Sacred Tooth of Buddha. The festival is held annually over ten nights, and is a great way to see traditional Sri Lankan customs and rituals. The colourful procession is famous for its elephants dressed in vibrant attire, traditional Kandyan dancers and drummers, Kandyan chieftains, whip crackers, torch and flag bearers and also fire dancers, all captivating sights. Although its origins are Buddhist, people of all faiths and religions enjoy the celebrations.
From July to September, one of Asia’s most amazing spectacles can be seen. The Gathering takes place at Minneriya National Park, where around 300 elephants make their way to the ancient Minneriya reservoir to feast on the fresh grass and shoots.
Located in the North Central district of Sri Lanka, Minneriya is a sanctuary for a great amount of wildlife. Minneriya Tank – a reservoir built in ancient times – is itself a highlight of the park. It’s only when it starts to dry out that the fresh grass and shoots appear, attracting the elephant, as well as deer and water buffalo.
Rain tends to be more abundant in October, though the climate is still warm. At this time of year, a visit to the UNESCO-site Polonnaruwa will reveal Sri Lanka at its most wondrous. Polonnaruwa is home to the Parakrama Samudra, a reservoir constructed around 386 AD. This ancient monument is also known as the Sea of Parakrama due to its huge size.
Sri Lanka’s monsoon is unpredictable, and some years it appears lightly if at all. Sometimes it only affects the northeast of the country. A flexible itinerary is the best way to stick to the drier regions.
November marks the beginning of the peak period for Sri Lanka. You can enjoy the warm atmosphere in a number of ways, including a hot-air balloon ride over Dambulla where cave temples are marked by magnificent golden Buddhas. There are few better ways to experience the majesty of the Sri Lankan sunrise.
It’s also well into the cricket season. A passion that unites an otherwise diverse culture, cricket is a crucial part of everyday life here. As Sri Lankans gather around televisions and fill out matches, you’ll see the game absorb the whole country.
In December the weather becomes cooler during mornings and evenings, though the days are warm and perfect for many Sri Lankan experiences. The Kelani River, the country’s second largest, flows from the Central Highlands down through picturesque Kitulgala. Here, the terrain creates the perfect environment for white-water rafting. With many of the rapids graded as two or three, Kitulgala is an extremely popular place for this exhilarating activity. It’s also the perfect time of year for diving excursions to see the abundant aquatic life including several species of turtle among the many shipwrecks and coral-rock formations.