ESSEN­TIALS Get­ting there

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Best Travel 2019 -

SriLankan Air­lines flies from Lon­don to Colombo in 11 hours (from £560; srilankan.com). It’s of­ten cheaper to fly via one of the Gulf hubs, on air­lines in­clud­ing Emi­rates, Eti­had, Oman Air and Qatar Air­ways (from £460; emi­rates.com).

Get­ting around

For the kind of itin­er­ary cov­ered in this fea­ture, it’s best to go by road and hire a driver if you aren’t al­ready book­ing through a tour com­pany. Ex­pect to pay around £45–£60 per day, with fuel ex­tra. Do­mes­tic flights are few in Sri Lanka, and usu­ally pricey (from £180 for a one-way Trin­co­ma­lee to Colombo flight). Trains can be a scenic way to get around: a trip from Colombo to Jaffna should take six to eight hours (from £1.60).

When to go

Tem­per­a­tures in Sri Lanka are gen­er­ally warm to hot, and don’t vary greatly year-round. In­stead, the sea­sons are distin­guished more by rain­fall. Cli­mate pat­terns are shift­ing, but the coun­try ex­pe­ri­ences two main rainy pe­ri­ods: the Yala mon­soon, which usu­ally peaks around May and af­fects the south­west and Colombo; and the stronger Maha mon­soon, which cov­ers the whole coun­try and is mostly at its height from mid-Oc­to­ber to mid-De­cem­ber. For trips to north­ern Sri Lanka, it’s best to come out­side the sec­ond mon­soon sea­son; mid-April to mid-May can also be a lit­tle blus­tery.

Fur­ther read­ing

Our Sri Lanka guide (£15.99) cov­ers all parts of the coun­try; you can down­load chap­ters on in­di­vid­ual re­gions for £2.99 each (shop.lone­ly­planet.com).

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