A highly reputed luxury travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveller has listed South and Central of Sri Lanka among the top 11 best places to visit in Asia in 2024.
It said “Asian region took longer than others to shake off pandemic-related travel restrictions and border closures have returned in full force, eager to remind international travellers what they’ve been missing.”
“Sri Lanka is emerging phoenix-like from economic crisis and responding with a new food festival, wellness-oriented retreats, and a hiking trail that snakes through 186 miles of hill country and centuries of history.”
Rising from economic uncertainty, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is in the midst of a luxury and wellness boom from its tea-filled highlands to its palm-fringed shores.
“In the south of the country, new luxury resorts continue to entice. Among them, Kayaam House and Ahu Bay by home-grown luxury travel specialist Resplendent Ceylon; a Hilton resort next to the Indian Ocean-bordering Yala National Park, one of the best places to spot Sri Lanka’s elusive leopards; and the art deco-inspired The Charleston, which opens in December in the UNESCO-listed Galle Fort.
The already established Kalukanda House, a villa in surf town Weligama by British-Sri Lankan interior designer Dee Gibson is making its mark with retreats centered on female empowerment, with yoga, breath work, reiki, and Ayurveda included. A comprehensive renovation of the nine-room Meraki, which employs local women and offers yoga, holistic treatments, island-sourced vegetarian fare, and artisanal crafts in the Polhena Beach district of Matara, is set to be unveiled in early 2024; and luxury fitness getaway Makahiya is gearing up to launch its own brand of bespoke retreats.
In January, the Galle Literary Festival will return after a five-year hiatus, with appearances by famed literary figures, while Gourmet Galle, the country’s new food festival, will spotlight 12 chefs in 12 venues, ranging from beaches to paddy fields, over a 12-week period from January to March.
Inland development of the Pekoe Trail, a new nearly 200-mile network of hiking routes that snakes its way through Sri Lanka’s highlands, continues. Traversing historic tea plantations, colonial estates, local villages, holy shrines, and forests brimming with biodiversity, it’s a novel way to experience Sri Lanka’s lush hill country, particularly when paired with stays at boutique properties such as W15 Hanthana, the luxurious Goatfell, or the Kelburne Estate, scheduled to open in December 2024.
Top of Asian travel list is Bangkok Chinatown, Thailand while the other Asian countries included in this list are, Da Nang, Vietnam, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, Kobe, Japan, Kochi, India, Mongolia, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, The Red Sea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and The Silk Road, Uzbekistan.