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About

We are a licensed tour operator in Sri Lanka, committed to creating an unforgettable and memorable experience for those who wish to visit our island nation, an awesome location with tropical beaches, picture perfect tea gardens, amazing cuisine and sacred sights.

A family vacation, a celebration – birthday, anniversary, wedding or honeymoon, a holiday on the beach, a journey into our past with a heritage extending over 2500 years, wildlife and photography; take your pick from a range of holidays we can arrange for you.

Holidays by Design is a subsidiary of the United Ventures Group

As the military historian Geoffrey Powell wrote “ A country doesn’t have to be rich to invite invasions, but Ceylon was always wealthy; a treasure house of spices and gems, elephants and rice.” When Marco Polo called by, he spotted gems the thickness of a man’s arm and to the Arabs; this was Jazirat Al-Yakut, ‘the Isle of Rubies’.

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Pre-Tour

This metropolis is the largest city in Sri Lanka and is located on the west coast of the island. With rising skyscrapers filling the Galle Face green, the city offers a unique perspective to how the island nation strives towards future with a firm grip of the old world charm.
Known for its colonial architecture and its spectacular Esala Procession, Kandy is also home to the “Temple of the Tooth”. The most sacred temple in Sri Lanka and a beacon of Buddhism.
From tea plucking to playing golf and the most picturesque landscapes, the highlands of Sri Lanka is a unique combination found on a country for its size. With mountains that fuel waterfalls and steep lush green hillsides, words simply will not suffice the view you are bond to enjoy. Nuwara Eliya, commonly known as ‘Little England’, is truly breathtaking and best described as the best kept secret.
Known for its bio-diversity of both plants and animals, National Parks scattered across the nation is a true “Hot Spot” for the nature lover. You will be granted with a 1st row seat to view some of majestic animal that roams the island. Asian elephants, sloth bears, leopards, sambars and wild buffaloes is what most wildlife enthusiasts are flocking to see. All these animals and more can be seen at the National Parks around the country. With over 250 species of bird and over 40 species of both reptiles and mammals, these sanctuaries have becomes a "must-see".
With a rich merchant history behind, this coastal town was used by Arab traders in the 8th century AD. Home to a large population of Moors. Known for its crisp beaches and wonderful surrounding this is also home to luxurious 5 star hotels.
Bentota is a favourite for those seeking the ultimate beach experience. With the sea and its beaches, the river and a lagoon fusing into each other at this location, Bentota attracts thrill seekers for a variety of water sports and boating excursions. At the North end of Bentota facing Aluthgama, lies 'Paradise Island' as it is popularly known; a narrow sliver of land between the choppy breakers of the Indian Ocean and the calm waters of a lagoon. At its rear, is the Bentota Ganga (Sinhala for river)) which provides the setting for some of Sri Lanka's biggest water sports events. Visitors have the option of taking boat trips through mangroves where time stands still. Ambling along the attractive beaches on the southern side lined by dense thickets of corkscrew palms, are some of the most amazing vistas along the island's coast. Visits to Sri Lanka’s most famous architect Geoffrey Bawa's estate home 'Lunuganga' whose creations are a marvelous blend of nature and modern artifice and his architect brother Bevis Bawa's estate “Brief" are not to be missed.
Hikkaduwa is the paradise islands scuba diving & surf-boarding hotspot. It is quite a touristic town yet alive at nights and weekends.
Home to the Singhalese, Galle city has a rich history best explained on tour. With a fortified majestic fort now modernized to suit the 21st century the city offers exclusivity unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka.
Tangalle is vibrant, tranquil and contains pristine beaches. Town has a rich history for being a famous fishing town and also provides a perfect escape for those wanting a more private experience.
is where you go to have your dreams come true to paint a crystal clear image of how Paradise is meant to be. Situated closer to the Southern tip of the Island, is the perfect place to sit back, relax and forget about all your worries.
Famous for its larger-than-life golden beaches, the coral reefs around Pigeon Island, as well as the blue whales that swims its waters. For hundreds of years, the Koneswaram temple attracted pilgrims from all over India. Adding to the diversity of Trincomalee are “Kanniyai” hot springs are well worth a visit.
Surrounded by a gorgeous lagoon, batticaloa is an island in an island. Find out why this is becoming a highly valued “places of interest” that includes the now popular Kalkudah and Passikudah Beaches.
With much deserved recognition, Passikudah is situated in the east of Sri Lanka. It is a virgin beach and renowned throughout the country for its serenity.
Sri Lanka’s richest archaeological heritage sites which boast a great civilization of 2500 years old is nestled in to the cultural triangle. Centrally located are the world heritage; sacred cities such as Anuradhapura, ancient city of Plonnaruwa and Sigiriya. These sites are treated with high universal values which are visited by local travelers and tourists from all around the world.
is famous for surfing crisp beaches. Beyond surfing there are many things Arugam Bay offers the unique holiday-goer. From Lagoon tours to bird & elephant watching at Kumana National Park.
“Guarded by the gods” is situated northerly. War-torn for nearly 30 years this town is rejuvenating as a must-see place in the country. Culturally and ethnically rich Jaffna will gives those who visit the place with an awe feeling to last a life-time. With sandy beaches and its own peninsula, Jaffna offers a unique experience to those who dare to visit this magical place.
Geographically situated between the archeological sites Sigiriya, Dambulla, Habarana is the place for those who enjoy the wilderness and history. With its Great Plains and large water bodies surrounded by hills, Habarana is a safe-haven to animals that roam Minneriya & Kaudulla National Park. See to believe!
With one of the longest beaches in Sri Lanka, Koggala remains relatively unexplored even today by foreigners. Rich in history due to colonization by the British and the Dutch, Koggala still contains the 1st printing press that was brought to Sri Lanka by the Dutch. Home to the famous Stilt-Fishermen this is a picturesque venue that leaves everyone breathe-less.
Further north of Colombo on the West Coast, the road threads its way across the beautiful windswept Kalpitiya Peninsula. Its pristine beaches are bounded on either side by sea and lagoon, fringed with mangrove swamps, salt marshes and bar reefs. Offshore, large schools of dolphins hundreds strong can often be seen jostling each other and frolicking in the waters. Boat safaris are available to watch the antics of these spectacular aquatic creatures. This area remains largely unspoilt and for the time being, tourism remains low key, centered on a small cluster of eco- resorts.
Not far from the International Airport 5 kms away along the coast, lies Negombo, a seemingly laid back town crisscrossed by canals. Aptly nicknamed 'Little Rome’ for the several ornate Portuguese-era Roman Catholic churches to be seen here. The town has a frequent festive feel to it with the many churches celebrating their respective Feasts. A major beach resort, Negombo is home to a small port based on its centuries-old fishing industry. It still retains its quaint, tranquil air despite the stir of a busy town. Soak up the atmosphere with a stroll down Beach Road and imbibe the atmosphere created by its trendy cafes and bars.
Wonder of Asia

Legislative Capital : Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo
Commercial Capital : Colombo Time Zone : UTC+5.30
Population : 20.48 million (2013) World Bank
Area : 65,525 square kilometers (25,299 square miles)
Language Spoken : Sinhala, Tamil, English
Religion : Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim

What to Wear -

    Cotton clothes are very useful at any time of the year but you will need light woollens for the hills and waterproof clothing or an umbrella. Modest dress for women is advisable especially off the beach and if they are planning to visit any religious sites. Do not forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers and cotton socks. If you are planning to trek and climb go prepared with appropriate gear. Water sports enthusiasts would do very well to take their snorkels and diving equipment along with them.
Currency : Sri Lankan rupee
    ATM’s are common in Colombo and Kandy. Smaller towns have at least one ATM. The ATM’s often issue LKR 1000, 2000 and 5000 notes. All major currencies can be exchanged in banks and local exchange bureaus. Please be advised to change the rupees back to your currency at the airport before leaving.
When to Visit -
    January – April (Entire country)
    Mid July – September (Entire country)
    February – September (North & East)

Monsoon Season -
    May – July (South-west Monsoon)
    October – January (North East Monsoon)

Beach Season -
    January – April (South)
    May – July (East)

Wild Life -
    December - April (Bundala National Park – birds, South coast – whales)
    November – April (Kalpitiya - dolphins)
    July – September (The Cultural Triangle, Minneriya - Elephants, Wilpattu/Yala - Leopards)

Volts : 220V-240V
Electricity Phase : Single / Three | Round / Square Pin (Type D or M)
Average Temperature : Between 27C-32C Across the Country. Hill Country average 15C
Visa : Required for all Nationalities. Exemption for citizens of Singapore, The Maldives & Seychelles Online Visa Service : Electronic Travel Authorization
Tipping : Standard 10% is usual
Telephone : Area Code + 94


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Our History & Culture

“It may well be that each of Ceylon’s attractions is surpassed somewhere on earth; Cambodia may have more impressive ruins, Tahiti livelier beaches, Bali more beautiful landscapes (though I doubt it), Thailand more charming people (ditto) but I find it hard to believe that there is any country which scores so highly in all departments” Arthur C. Clarke 1970.

Sri Lanka has a documented history of over 2000 years. There is archeological evidence that the island was inhabited as early as 10,000 B.C. The present day Vaddas who live in the remote areas are apparently descended from these early inhabitants mixed with the later arriving Tamils and Sinhalese, who were both well established in the island by the third century BC. Legend and history are deeply intertwined in the early accounts of Sri Lanka. The Sinhalas, Tamils and various south Indian invaders built powerful kingdoms that periodically brought the island under the authority of a single regime.

SRI LANKA is a mini-miracle among the countries of the world. A tiny and yet an ancient island, it sits just south of its big neighbour India. From time immemorial, it has had the good fortune to be touched by the hundreds of trade routes in its way from afar as Arabia in the Middle East, China, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia in the Far East. Within a span of just 125,000 square kilometers, it is ringed by a wonderful seacoast and has for its interior, a varied topography with flat lowlands, which can be hot and humid. Moving to the centre, there is a transformation into a panorama of hills and immaculately tended tea country, with bracingly cool weather.

With trade, first in the coastal areas and filtering interior, came the settlers. Notably the Arabs, who settled on the East Coast of the island, intermarried with the local Sinhalese lasses, thus bringing into the island a new religion, Islam. The Portuguese who came long after, in the 16th Century, followed by the Dutch and finally the British, made converts to Christianity under different denominations - the Catholics, the Dutch Reformed Church and Anglican denominations. Hindu influences prominent in the North and the Jaffna Peninsula came from South India from ancient times. The British in the 19th Century imported hundreds of thousands of Indian labourers mainly south Indian, to work on the newly opened tea estates in the hill country. So what the island has seen over the centuries is a potpourri of visitors - immigrants, invaders, governors, missionaries, traders and travellers who still keep coming to this day, lured by the attractions of this diverse land like no other.

Sri Lanka has a long and prolific history of written as well as oral literature. Religious topics and institutions heavily influence Sri Lanka’s statutory and pictorial art. Traditional handicraft such as pottery and basket weaving are caste-based activities. Others include woodcarving, batik, handloom and lacemaking.


Our Cuisine
Though Sri Lankan food has parallels to South Indian cuisine, it distinctly retains its own form of authentic flavours.

Sri Lankan food is authentically its own from flavours to ingredients and methods of preparation, even though it may appear to mimic South Indian cuisine. Clay pots have been used for centuries, which give Sri Lankan cuisine, its curries especially, their distinctive flavours. Rice and curry is the Sri Lankan staple, but through years of colonisation, influences have come in from other countries - breads in a variety of forms including English, French and Dutch breads, the popular Dutch lamprais, a specialty of the Dutch Burghers, Rotis perhaps from the Middle East, Dossa, Idli, Hoppers and what not from South India, the Arabian buriyani and the Malay Pittus and String Hoppers.

Sri Lankan's thoroughly love their spices; they love foods that explode with flavour. Coconut grown in abundance along the coast and everywhere in the interior and fish in plenty, in the surrounding seas, form two of the most often used in Sri Lankan cuisine. Fish is prepared into curries and the milk extracted from the coconut, gives the curries a special flavour. A multitude of vegetables are grown both in the fertile lowlands and upcountry regions of the island, and are turned into curries and sambols in a vast variety.

In recent years MacDonald’s, KFC, Burgher King, Pizza Hut and Chinese fried rice have proliferated but rice and curry will always continue to be the chosen food of the majority of Sri Lankans, both in the urban areas and its countryside.


Our Land
This jewel of the East, the pendant hanging below the chain that is India, is poised above the equator on the map and is seen washed by the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean. Its natural beauty and richness of vegetation, has been known far and wide and written about by world travellers in times long ago, like the Chinese Fa-tsien and the Arab traveller Ibn Battuta. No wonder it has attracted travellers like D.H.Lawrence, Leonard Woolf, Somerset Maugham and many others. It still holds sway as a not-to-be-missed destination for travellers to the East.

Small in size, yet beautiful, its variety of habitats and the extensive range of wildlife found here cannot merely surprise but overawe the casual visitor. Great herds of elephants seen both in jungles and game reserves, the elusive leopards and the rich bird life are all there for the viewing within hours of the Capital, Colombo. The surrounding seas are home to whales including the famed blue whale, the largest of the species and the sperm whales. Keeping company with these behemoths of the blue waters, are schools of dolphins and rainbow coloured fish teeming usually among the enchanting coral reefs, only fathoms away from the shores along the coast. Any and every visitor, the casual tourist or perhaps the dedicated naturalist can have access to all these wondrous sights at the various national parks in the island. One does not have to go far to reach them, it can be a matter of hours, or only a few days and it will be worth it all.


  • "Village Experience" in the Metropolis
  • Rediscover Colombo on our walking trail
  • Sri Lankan Culinary cooking with a local
  • Shopping Spree in Colombo
  • Colombo City Tour on Double-Decker
  • Pottery & Things
  • Discovery of Negombo on Walking Tour
  • Partaking in "Alms Giving"
  • Hiriwaduna "Village" Visit
  • Minneriya Elephant Safari
  • Sri Lanka - Through the Eyes of an Artist
  • Wood Crafting & Mask Painting
  • Explorations Through Cycling Programs
  • Batik Painting & Creations
  • Tea Plantation Visits
  • Train Journey Through the Valley
  • Horse Back-Riding
  • Bundala "Bird" Santuary
  • The Royal Botanical Garden visit with a Botanist
  • Water Rafting in Kitulgala
  • Elephant Orphanage Visit
  • Rubber & Cinnamon Plantation Visits
  • Ridiyagama Safari Park
  • Through the eyes of Bawa at No:11
  • Jet Skiing & Water Skiing
  • Pigeon Island National Park
  • Stilt Fisherman Experience
  • Galle Fort Walk with Historian
  • Scuba Diving
  • Kite Surfing
  • Lunuganga Rediscovered
  • Whale Watching
  • Hot Air Balloon Programs
  • Heli Tours & Trasnfers
  • Water Taxi transfers by Boat
  • Water Taxi transfers by Air
  • Sinharaja Forest / Game Reserve
  • Visit to the Turtle Hatchery
  • Jazz Brunch Sundays
  • High Tea Afternoons
  • Prawn Vada & More
  • The Seafood Cove
  • Glass-Bottomed Boat
  • Kumana Bird & Wildlife Park
  • Yala National Park

  • Note
    - Spotlights are additional excursions that can be arranged on request basis.
    - Not included on standard tour.

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    Book With Us

    Meetings | Incentives | Conferences | Exhibitions

    Why Sri Lanka? Because we offer a wide array of exotic venues and diverse attractions, all of which make it the perfect destination to host your next big corporate meeting, conference or exhibition.

    We pride ourselves in paying attention to detail, no matter where you choose to host your event or choice of theme – from accommodation, to food, service and entertainment!

    The compact size and geography of the country allows you to host your event at multiple venues. Travelling will be half a day at most if by road, allowing you to relax and take in the sights of the country’s beautiful landscapes. Alternatively you can fly to most parts of the country in 60 minutes or less.

    More

    Gallery

    SIGIRIYA

    The Lions Rock

    GALLE

    Dutch Fort

    RATNAPURA

    Adam's Peak - Sripada

    NUWARA ELIYA

    Lipton's Seat

    DAMBULLA

    Cave Temple

    HIKKADUWA

    Stilt Fishing

    NUWARA ELIYA

    Horton Plains

    YALA

    Leopard

    KANDY

    Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

    MIRISSA

    Whale Watching

    BUNDALA

    Bird Santucary

    PINNAWALA

    Elephant Orphanage

    ANURADHAPURA

    Avukana Buddha Statue

    RATNAPURA

    Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve

    COLOMBO

    The Galle Face Green

    POLONNARUWA

    Vatadage

    Enquiry

    GUEST TESTIMONIALS



    A family vacation, a celebration – birthday, anniversary, wedding or honeymoon, a holiday on the beach, a journey into our past with a heritage extending over 2500 years, wildlife and photography; take your pick from a range of holidays we can arrange for you.