The Island of Sri Lanka in the Indian ocean has a long tradition of embracing those that travelled there, it’s position along the trade routes ensured that travellers have arrived and stayed on the island for much of its history, leading to a unique blend of Indian, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, each one with its own version of Sri Lankan history.

Charming and vibrant, this island has all the sights, sounds and fragrances of paradise, with miles of golden beaches, sparkling turquoise seas, dramatic dense greenery and eerie ruins making Sri Lanka that little bit different. Famous for its cuisine, its tea and its elephants Sri Lanka is a thousand destinations all crammed onto one tiny island.

The accommodation is of varying standards from basic huts to all out luxury spa hotels, the off peak season sees the prices tumble making the high end hotels accessible to all, but even during peak season the hotel prices are never outrageous and the service in all establishments is always excellent.

The Amaya Hills Hotel is a great hotel for something a little bit different, set amongst the hills overlooking Kandy this hotel looks like paradise from the moment you step into the open air reception, the cliff top position of the outdoor pool confirming the idea that this hotel is a little bit special. Spa treatments are offered on site making this not only a great base for your holiday but a great place to unwind and soak in the beautiful island atmosphere.

The vibrant buzz of passing backpackers and surfers is captured perfectly at Ritas Hotel in Hikkaduwa, with its busy beach side restaurant and perfectly clean rooms, there is nothing not to like about this friendly establishment. Push the boat out and pay a little extra for an ocean view room, the tiny price difference is well worth it for the amazing early morning view of paradise.

The food reflects the coming together of many different cultures; rice and curries are popular but these are a combination of Malay, Thai and Indian, with use of the spicing that the island is well known for. Middle Eastern influences are common as are Dutch and Portuguese, Sri Lanka doesn’t serve international food by design, the food truly is international without even trying.

Eat the way that the locals do by dining at the extensive range of restaurants serving well cooked local produce in surroundings that are social rather than elegant, The Young Men’s Buddhist

Association welcomes all into its dining room, with trestle tables and excellently cooked food, the ambiance might be that of school dinners but the flavours and quality certainly aren’t.

Nobody should ever stay on Sri Lanka and not try the seafood, Beach Wadiya has been serving excellent seafood for many years and counts plenty of visiting celebrities amongst its fans, although little more than a beach shack with outside tables this restaurant takes catch of the day to a whole new level. Perfect cold beers, friendly faces and the freshest food on the island make this an unmissable dining experience.

No trip to Sri Lanka is ever going to be complete without a trip to the Pinnawala elephant orphanage, this is the number one thing to do for any visitor to the country, the opportunity to see these wise old animals cared for is one not to be missed. Originally set up to look after orphaned elephants, the centre now has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.

For wildlife lovers there is also an opportunity to see all the islands native wildlife at the Yala National Park, monkeys swing about whilst leopards hide in the dense undergrowth of their habitat, take your binoculars to witness the natural behaviours of these amazing creatures.

Fans of physical activity might find themselves surprised by the wide availability of sports, there are numerous good quality golf courses and the surf is second to none, kayaking and canoeing are also popular activities as is scuba diving. For those more amused by spectator sports it is hard to forget the Sri Lankan love of cricket with reminders everywhere, tickets to major matches are readily available (although often quickly sold).

Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons and both should be avoided, May to August and October to January are the times to avoid, with travel outside these months being most popular amongst tourists.

December to March is not only the driest season but when most tourists do visit; Sri Lanka is the perfect retreat away from the British winter and although it can be busy at this time of year travel during the rainy seasons is really not recommended, unless you are prepared for the inconvenience of heavy rainfall.

Hotel prices will peak and room availability will drop during the peak seasons but there is little alternative for the best travel experience.