by Harriet Chubb

Explore the hidden gem of the Indian Ocean, previously known as Ceylon; Sri Lanka has plenty to offer the luxury holiday maker looking to indulge both body and soul…

If you have a penchant for long-haul destinations but find it difficult to get a true grasp of the country in the precious few weeks holiday you have a year; Sri Lanka is a destination that is small enough and varied enough to fulfill all your cultural needs and can be experienced in  five-star luxury. Still a destination that is considered off the beaten track enough; you won’t find many tourists in Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo and you will find even less as you venture north east towards the jungle city of Kandy, where you can go in search of The Temple of the Tooth, the famed temple that houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha – a Mecca for Buddhists all over the world.

Due to its Buddhist roots, Sri Lanka has plenty of opportunities to experience a Zen-like state of health and well being. Yoga retreats are in abundance but do tend to be situated in remote Buddhist temples in the jungle so make sure you have suitable directions or a knowledgeable tour guide. Just two hours west of Kandy you will find the Ulpotha resort that specialises in yoga and ayurveda holidays, with a focus on organic farming and reforestation, this is the perfect start to your physical and spiritual escape.

After enjoying the excitement of Colombo and the more laid back, provincial city of Kandy, head to the south coast on a six hour train ride to the handsome town of Galle. With its UNESCO-site old fort it has quickly become Sri Lanka’s style capital boasting a myriad of chic venues and colonial buildings.

There’s still time to catch a tuk-tuk 30 minutes west and experience some of the most unspoiled beaches in the orient; Unawatuna and Tangalle are among the many where you can even swim with wild sea turtles. It’s no wonder that Sri Lanka has often been referred to as the pearl of the Indian Ocean – a pearl that’s bursting with history and culture and reasonably sized enough to squeeze into your year’s travel plans.


Forty One Lighthouse Street

Yoga & Ayurveda: Pamper your body and soul and stay at the ULPOTHA resort near Kandy. With awards and editorial from magazines such as Vogue and World of Interiors, this really is something to experience. For more information visit www.ulpotha.com and learn about their Yoga holidays.

Luxury: Stay at FORTY ONE in Lighthouse Street, Galle, and you won’t be disappointed. A villa within the famous Galle Fort and with the option of a private chef; you can see why this is one of the most top end, boutique hotels in Sri Lanka. www.lighthousestreet.com

What to eat: Coconut sambol, a mix of coconut and chillies, dried fish and lime – this will boost any weary traveller’s metabolism.

What to drink: Melon juice, straight from the melon with a hole and a straw, refreshment in its most natural form.

What to wear: A Melissa Odabash kaftan to cover your shoulders and arms in style.

What to listen to: Hotel Costes – relax with a cocktail to the mellow and elegant sounds of the band made famous by its Parisian Hotel.

What to read: The Inner Tradition of Yoga by Michael Stone – a concise guide to the philosophy of yoga to get you in the spiritual mood.

What to do: Meditate – in Sri Lanka meditation is as ordinary as breathing.