Sri Lanka is one of the most child friendly places to travel in the world. Children are always welcome and indulged and it will help you break the ice and get far more involved with the country than otherwise. It’s a real joy. The children will enjoy it too - the sites, smells, fun and elephants make Sri Lanka a winning combination for all.
However, there are some important tips that can make your trip considerably more enjoyable, whether it is small children or surly teenagers that you have in tow. These sites helped can help u out: TravelBlog
1: Think very carefully about your itinerary. Sri Lanka is a small country relatively speaking (think Ireland), but the infrastructure is poor, the roads are crowded and there are mountains in the middle of the country. It can take a VERY long time to get around. Indeed vehicles rarely travel faster than 30/40km per hour. Most traditional itineraries involve a rushed week long dash around the island before a week on the beach. The first week will be spent mainly in the vehicle. This is not fun with children squabbling in the back. Much better, I think, to take your time and spend a few days at least in each location. You can then approach the long journey’s as a fun part of the trip in themselves, rather than something to be endured - as you can schedule in time to take in the wonderful scenery, enjoy long meals at cheap local restaurants and interact with the ever willing locals along the way.
This has the added benefit of enabling you to take in the extraordinary variety and beauty of the countryside. From the dry plains of the cultural triangle, to the tea covered hills and the lush, tropical colour of the wet zone lowlands, Sri Lanka never ceases to amazing in the sheer diversity of its scenery. The beaches are great too - but there is much more to Sri Lanka!
2. Beware of pool quality vehicles and drivers. Most travelling is done by a chauffeur driven vehicle as driving can be a terrifying experience to the un-initiated. The most important thing here is to make sure that you have a reputable driver and that the vehicle is fitted out with seatbelts. As the traffic rarely moves above 40km per hour, dangerous accidents can always be avoided with careful driving and for minor accidents, obviously seatbelts are crucial.
3: Be careful about visiting too many sites. Sri Lankan’s are understandably proud of their extremely rich cultural heritage and many tours try to fit in as many of the cultural sites as possible. Now while adults may enjoy this, children can get ‘temple out’ quit quickly in my experience and end up not enjoying any of it. One solution is to include trips where the children are kept as active as possible. Yapahuwa and Ritigala are great examples of this - the ruins here involve fun exploring through the forest, few other tourists and mysterious evocative remains. Another good idea is instead of exploring one of the great ancient cities by vehicle - ask your guide to hire you bicycles and explore at your own pace. Take recommendations for local guides too - some, like the legendary Eddie in Anuradhapura, can really bring the majestic ancient ruins back to life.
4: Follow the Elephants! Remember that Sri Lankan style safaris are not like those on the African savannah. The national parks are comprised mainly of jungle with the odd opening and water spot, which means the wildlife can be harder to spot. This can mean disappointment to the child (or adult!) expecting to see hordes of elephants and leopards cavorting around. A crucial factor is the time of year. For example, Minneriya in the cultural triangle is amazing during the time of ‘The Garthering’ - the annual phenomenon where anything up to 300-400 elephants gather at certain guaranteed water sources at the height of the rainy season. There is a huge amount of socialising going on and it amounts to a wonderful spectacle. This is at its height in August and September, though June and July and October are generally good times to visit Minneriya too. Outside of this period chances of spotting elephants in any number are low. The best year round place is Uda Walawe with guaranteed sitings of large herds all year. Leopards are not uncommon either and the variety of birds, particularly glamorous eagles and other raptors is astonishing. A really special experience for the whole family is a camp in the park, which several reputable wildlife companies offer. The crucial early morning and late evening extra hour that staying in the park affords - when you have it to yourselves, offers amazing extra wildlife spotting opportunities before bonding around the camp fire. Just outside Uda Walawe is a wonderful elephant transit camp where cute baby elephants that have become orphaned or separated from their parents are prepared to be re-introduced into the wild.
5. Vary your choice of hotel. A comfortable hotel with a good swimming pool in areas where you are likely to have plenty of site-seeing is great - much easier all round if everyone knows they can cool off later in the pool. However, Sri Lanka also does more unusual accommodation options very well. Consider a lodge or a family run hotel and your family will really start to feel part of things in Sri Lanka and get under the skin of the country. Your children might even get a glimpse of a different way of the life they take for granted
. In the hill country it is also possible to hire entire cottages for all of you and experience the life of a colonial planter. Great fun and a totally unique experience. On the beach there are obviously a huge variety of options - but before opting for the obvious hotels - consider one of the many villas on the south coast. These villas effectively operate as mini hotels - they are fully staffed and generally beautifully maintained. The staff look after you tremendously well and it is a great way to get to know people too as it is a very intimate atmosphere. Most villa owners can recommend an experienced nanny at a very minimal cost - perfect for stressed out parents! Villas are not a cheap option - but for a slice of tropical paradise, they are well worth it. The service of the resident cook is included and all food costs are reimbursed at cost price. Sri Lankan prices are incredibly low for Europeans so it makes your extras bill tiny when compared to that of a hotel and there is a level of flexibility as to what the children eat and when they eat it, which just does not exist at a hotel. For adults, you get to avoid the massive hotel alcohol mark-up as an added bonus!
Except Sri Lanka where children can enjoy travelling with their parents, there are many resorts which are suitable for families with children. I just came across a feature on an online travel magazine which talks about some child friendly resorts in Asia. I find it quite attrative and informative. You can take a look at
Totally agree, sri lanka is very child friendly and most hotels even offfer things like day care centres. We used when we were there last and it was a superb service, everything was tailor made for us.
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Mosquitoes Spread Dengue Fever in Sri Lanka
Recent Dengue epidemic in Sri Lanka should be a concern to those who may want to visit Sri Lanka at this time.
Sri Lanka has poor sanitation standards, particularly when it comes to control mosquito spread in sewage and water stagnation ponds. Dengu killed 175 people as of July 14, 2009 in this year. Please check the following news item:
Dengu Deaths Raising in Sri Lanka from Colombo Page
Was in Sri Lanka back in June with family...never had a problem with the mossies. Just took some normal precautions such as using mossy spray. The hotel staff are very attentive to kids, even baby sat while we dined out, and mine loved every minute of it.
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