With most countries facing lockdowns and travel restrictions since early 2020, everyone is eagerly waiting for an opportunity to go on a holiday with their children. As we all learn to adapt to a new normal and accept Covid-19 to be a part of our lives for the next few years at the very least, it is time to plan that holiday and give your kids what they truly deserve. A trip to Sri Lanka offers a mix of adventures including the best of beaches, wildlife, water sports, hiking, history, and culture, making it your ultimate holiday destination, abundant with activities for both adults and children. Let us discuss a few exciting things to do with kids in Sri Lanka, thereby convincing you to plan your next holiday in Sri Lanka.
1. Get up-close-and-personal with wild elephants
Udawalawe National Park and Minneriya National Park are known for the elephant population, the latter being world renowned for the largest elephant gathering in all of Asia. A jeep safari at these national parks allows you and your family to experience a personal encounter with wild elephants as well as other animals of the wild, including the endemic monkeys, sloth bear, water buffalo, and sometimes the rare leopard.
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is where kids can watch elephants while they are bathing and being fed. Kids are always keen on visiting this attraction because you are allowed to touch the elephants and feed them if you arrive at regular mealtimes.
2. Scenic and adventurous train rides
Be it from Kandy to Ella or Colombo to Galle, Sri Lanka has some of the most scenic train journeys that you must not miss! The hill country ride boasts views of lush tea plantations, beautiful mountains, cascading waterfalls, and plenty of greenery. The observation deck of the trains from Kandy to Ella are the ideal tickets to book in advance for the best views. Trains along the southern coast are also interesting for sea views and coconut trees on one side and road/village views on the other.
3. Hiking adventures for the little legs
While Sri Lanka’s hill country boasts of thrilling nature treks, particularly in the Knuckles Mountain Ranges, we also have a few options that are do-able by kids when holidaying in Sri Lanka.
- One is the 4.5km hike of Little Adam’s Peak in Ella, which will take about an hour or two, depending on how active your kids are! Don’t forget to pack snacks and water to keep them motivated!
- The Horton Plains National Park trail to World’s End viewing point is also very easy amongst the hiking activities in Sri Lanka, and rewards the young and old with a stunning 870-meter drop view that seems to stretch out to eternity. Both ways, the trail is about 9kms, taking you through gorgeous open fields, beautiful waterfalls, a diverse range of flora and some unique birds.
- In the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, we have the Lion’s Rock – Sigiriya, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. the climb up and down with kids is about two hours, and at the top of the rock you can show them the remnants of a palace built by one of the ancient Kings of Sri Lanka.
4. Studying the history of Sri Lanka
Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are two of the most ancient cities of Sri Lanka and are a must-visit if your children are keen on learning about the history of Sri Lanka. Well preserved ruins of Stupas and Dagobas, massive Buddhe statues, Temples, and museums is what you would want to explore to learn about the way of life of Sri Lankan Kingdoms from many centuries ago. The traditional essence of true Sri Lankan culture can be found in these ancient cities.
5. Interacting with the warm locals
Sri Lankans are well known for their welcoming nature and warm hospitality. Interacting with the village folk anywhere across the country can be fun and entertaining for curious adults and children. For an interesting conversation, you could ask them anything about Sri Lanka, about their lives or even try to learn a few words of the Sinhalese language!
6. Enjoying luxurious family-friendly accommodation
World renowned international hotel chains such as Riu, Shangri La, Marriott and Movenpick are now in Sri Lanka and are promoting family travel with exclusive family-friendly accommodation that includes well-designed swimming pools, carefully selected kids menus, children’s play area, and a variety of indoor and outdoor gaming options. Whether you want to visit Nuwara Eliya and the hills, or you want to do whale watching in the south coast, kite surfing in Kalpitiya, or simply observe sea turtles in Koggala, the tourism industry in Sri Lanka offers luxurious family-friendly accommodation options across the island.
7. Indulge in the delicious food varieties
From kottu rotti to string hoppers to rice and curry, visit Sri Lanka with kids to enjoy the delicious food varieties on offer! Kids generally like string hoppers that seem like rice noodles, served with a delicious, coconut-milk-based potato curry or dhal. The bowl shaped pancakes, also known as hoppers, are popular amongst children and can be eaten plain, with an egg in the center, or with some sweetened coconut milk in the center. The simple and authentic rice and curry meal is also much enjoyed by both adults and children. This is usually a portion of plain rice, served with a variety of 3-4 vegetable curries and a meat curry. Kottu rotti and lamprais are two fancy local dishes which of course can be devoured by the adults if the children do not prefer fancy!
8. Beaches in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has the best of beaches for a family holiday! Whether you are in the south coast, east, coast west coast or north coast, simply head over to the closest beach and you are bound to have a fun-filled day building sandcastles and dipping in the water with your kids. On the south coast (Bentota) and west coast (Negombo), you have water sports such as jet skiing and banana boat rides, while locations such as Arugam Bay (east coast) are the best for surfing. Passikudah, Trincomalee (east coast) and Jaffna (north coast) are perfectly calm, swim safe beaches with white sands while Kalpitiya (west coast) is known for kite surfing and its blue whale sightings.
Plan your holiday now!
Get in touch with tour operators in Sri Lanka for further information on how you would like to plan your holiday in Sri Lanka with kids, what are the safest places to visit, what are the visa procedures at the moment, and if there are any Covid related health requirements to be completed before travel. Once these formalities are complete, plan your itinerary based on the activities in Sri Lanka that are family-friendly and enjoy a fun-filled stay on paradise island!