In 2016, Sri Lanka built the world’s tallest Christmas tree and achieved the Guinness World Record for “Tallest artificial Christmas tree“. Every year, the Galle Face Green in Colombo is turned into a Christmas fair in the run-up to the festivities and there is usually a tree built for the occasion.
Christmas in Sri Lanka is one of the best experiences anyone can have – a tropical Christmas is one to remember. Wearing flip-flops and shorts on Christmas Day is a dream not everyone can attain but if you’re visiting the country, here’s how to enjoy the festive period.
Try the Sri Lankan Christmas Cake
Christmas cake lovers all over the world say that the Sri Lankan version of this Christmas classic is the best variety. Around Christmas time, every bakery and restaurant has little slices of it wrapped in red or green cellophane.
Have a Christmas meal at one of the fancy Colombo hotels
All the upscale hotels in the capital city of Colombo have Christmas lunches and dinners on Christmas Eve and lunches on Christmas Day. The favorites are Cinnamon Grand and Galle Face.
Visit the Tsunami memorial in Hikkaduwa
The Boxing day tsunami from 2004 had a big effect on Sri Lanka but the communities have bounced back really well. There is a nice memorial in Hikkaduwa that is great to visit while on the island.
Hikkaduwa Tsunami Memorial AH43, Peraliya, Sri Lanka, +94 72 240 6232
Learn to surf or kite-surf
The shores of Sri Lanka are great for surfing and kite-surfing. The south of the island has small waves some parts of the year and larger ones at other times. You can learn to surf at any time of year and kite-surfing is best on the west coast around the Puttalam peninsula.
Learn to eat with your hand
Rice and curry is the national dish of Sri Lanka and it’s pretty much unmissable. Locals eat rice and curry with their right hand, creating little bunches of food that they slip into their mouths. They will all be happy to teach how to master the art of hand eating. The Sri Lankan breakfast is also a great meal to practice eating with your hand.
Spend Christmas on the Beach
Christmas on the beach is one of those experiences that some people dream of. Not freezing in the snow and being able to exchange presents in a sun dress or shorts is definitely a holiday to remember. Book a holiday package in one of the gorgeous beach hotels in Sri Lanka and drink coconuts every day.
Stay in a homestay
Staying in a resort is all good and nice, but another option is to stay in a family home. Staying in a homestay can make a spell on the island more delicious and memorable. Meet a local family and share a meal with them. Homestays are a great alternative for a real Sri Lankan experience.
Go camping in a National Park
Go on an elephant watching safari, spot some wild leopards and take amazing pictures of peacocks wandering the grasses. Sleep in a tent in the middle of the wilderness and have dinner under the stars. The level of comfort for the camping experience varies from “roughing it” to “glamping.” Yala or Gal Oya National Park are great choices for a Christmas camping.
Go bike riding in the hill country
The hill country has a fresher climate then the coast which is perfect for tea plantations and lots of other crops. Take an early morning ride through the rice fields and the tea plantations. Stop for a little picnic and breathe the clean fresh mountain air. Nothing better than some healthy exercise before the big Christmas dinner and all the Christmas cake.