History and Culture Await on a Sri Lanka Honeymoon

This island in the Indian Ocean is a dream for adventurous couples.
Aerial view of Colombo, Sri Lanka
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Holly Riddle - The Knot Contributor.
Holly Riddle
Holly Riddle - The Knot Contributor.
Holly Riddle
The Knot Contributor
  • Holly is a freelance contributor for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on travel, honeymooning and wedding planning.
  • Holly has been a travel, food and lifestyle freelancer for her entire career.
  • Holly also works for a range of publications and brands as a ghostwriter and marketing copywriter.
Updated Oct 28, 2021
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Located just south of India in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a South Asian destination you may not have previously considered for your honeymoon, but should. Beautiful beaches, awesome food culture, stunning nature, fascinating history and cultural attractions all make a Sri Lanka honeymoon perfect for couples who want to truly explore on their romantic getaway.

Sure, it does take a little bit longer to reach Sri Lanka compared to some other honeymoon destinations, but the travel time is well worth it once you see what awaits.

Intrigued? Here's everything you need to know about honeymooning in Sri Lanka.

Is Sri Lanka Good for a Honeymoon?

Museum of the Golden Temple Dambulla

Pros of a Sri Lanka Honeymoon

The best thing about a Sri Lanka getaway is the fact that there's just so much to do and see. You'll never be bored. Whether you and your honey prefer adventurous activities, beach bumming or learning about the local culture, you can do it all, plus more. Additionally, Sri Lanka is relatively affordable compared to nearby honeymoon destinations like Seychelles and the Maldives.

Cons of a Sri Lanka Honeymoon

As noted, it does take a while to get to Sri Lanka. If you're traveling from the East Coast, you can expect a flight of about 19 hours, or over a day in some instances, potentially with multiple connections. If you're visiting from the West Coast, you can definitely expect to be traveling for more than a day. Given this, you probably don't want to pick Sri Lanka for your honeymoon if you only have five to seven days to spend in your destination; you'll be spending all of your time traveling and then recovering from jet lag.

Additionally, if you're looking for a destination where you can just sit on the beach, go to the spa and enjoy some romantic dinner dates, Sri Lanka might not be the perfect honeymoon spot for you. You're better off going to an all-inclusive resort rather than a destination where the best experiences are had while exploring off-property.

The Best Times of Year to Go on a Sri Lanka Honeymoon for Good Weather

Sri Lanka's seasons are split into rainy and dry. When planning your visit, you'll want to account not only for the season, but also where you're going to stay on the island, as temperatures drop and weather changes the further inland you travel.

Coastal Sri Lankan temperatures are around 80 degrees, while inland temperatures hover around 60 to 70 degrees. Monsoon season on the south coast and in southwestern Sri Lanka is from early summer to fall. In the northwestern region of the country, it's from mid-fall to winter. If you want to experience all of the island country with as little rain as possible, you'll want to visit in the spring.

Things to Do During a Sri Lanka Honeymoon

Elepahants safari in Minneriya, Sri Lanka
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Explore Colombo

You'll likely fly into Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital city, but don't head straight from Colombo to your beach resort. Instead, stick around and see all that this bustling urban hub has to offer. History and culture buffs, foodies and retail therapy fans will all find something to enjoy. Even a simple stroll through popular neighborhoods like Cinnamon Gardens or Bambalapitiya will yield gorgeous views (and perfect Instagram backdrops) thanks to the hodgepodge of internationally inspired architecture.

Visit the Cultural Triangle

Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle connects Kandy, in the country's hill country; Polonnaruwa, a medieval capital; and Anuradhapura, an even more ancient capital. Combined, the three destinations pack in tons of historic and cultural attractions, as well as several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Kandy is the largest of the three, with lots of art, history and Buddhist temples. Polonnaruwa is filled with well-preserved ruins and is such an extensive point of interest that you can rent a bike or a tuk-tuk to spend the day exploring. (For a more romantic form of transportation, try a hot-air balloon.)

Anuradhapura dates back to the third century BCE and contains ruins, holy sites and even the world's oldest living human-planted tree.

Commune With Nature

Even if you don't consider yourself to be all that outdoorsy, Sri Lanka's national parks are worth a spot on your itinerary. Yala National Park is home to the densest population of leopards in the world, but you'll also spot other wildlife when you take a (guided) tour, ranging from elephants and crocodiles to sloth bears. Udawalawe National Park also attracts visitors with its elephant herds.

Horton Plains National Park in the highlands is known more for its views than its wildlife. Check out World's End Precipice, as well as Baker's Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls in the country.

Hop Between Beaches

You'll find beautiful sandy beaches on both Sri Lanka's east and west coasts. Spend at least a few days exploring the beaches and enjoying a little relaxation by the water. Unawatuna is one of the most popular Sri Lanka beaches, as is Bentota, but if you want something a little less crowded and more romantic, try Arugam Bay or Uppuveli.

Whatever beach you find yourself at, take advantage of the many available water sports. You'll find water skiing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, jet skiing and more.

Best Hotels and Resorts in Sri Lanka for a Honeymoon

Hotel in Sri Lanka
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Shangri-La Hambantota Golf Resort and Spa

For a luxury resort-style experience, look to Shangri-La Hambantota. The elegant property features the only golf course in the country, as well as an upscale spa and adults-only areas. Book a Janapathi Suite for views of the Indian Ocean, an indoor soaking tub, your own outdoor jacuzzi and a private massage room (perfect for spa treatments and a bit of pampering). The property's location is great, giving you quick access to multiple national parks.

Anantara Kalutara

The Anantara brand is known for providing discerning travelers with unmatchable experiences, and the Anantara luxury hotel in Kalutara, just south of Colombo, is no exception. With beachfront, garden and lagoon views, all of the guest rooms delight, but you can't go wrong with the Presidential Suite, which includes a private plunge pool. Elsewhere around the property, you'll find multiple restaurants, two pools and a world-class spa.

Relais & Chateaux Ceylon Tea Trails

For something truly one-of-a-kind, stay at Ceylon Tea Trails, a small boutique hotel in tea country made up of several restored, colonial-era tea plantation residences. From the bungalows' period furnishings and private pools to the hotel's tea plantation setting and butler service, every refined detail is sure to impress. Take advantage of one of the property's curated experiences for a unique activity to add to your itinerary, whether it's a guided tea factory tour, a picnic lunch or a private tea tasting.

What to Pack for a Sri Lankan Honeymoon

Make sure to bring layers. As you travel around Sri Lanka, you'll need more or less clothing as the temperature rises and falls. If you plan on traveling when one of the country's regions is impacted by monsoons, rain gear is also a must. Since so many of Sri Lanka's best sights require a bit of exploration on foot, you should also pack your favorite comfy walking shoes. For a more complete list, check out our full guide of what to pack for a tropical honeymoon.

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