February 8, 2018
A honeymoon is a trip you only take once (hopefully), and while Sri Lanka can certainly supply the pristine beaches and 5-star resorts most newlyweds seek, there are other, wilder options. On land and underwater, Sri Lanka is rising as one of the most important wildlife destinations in Asia – developed but not yet overrun – and from the blue whales and dolphins of Trinco to the leopards and luxury tents of Yala National Park, Sri Lanka is ready to be romantic.
Wild Coast Tented Lodge Yala
Bordering beaches and within reach of Yala National Park sits the West Coast Tented Lodge Yala. This luxury tented camp – boasting plush amenities such as freestanding handmade copper bathtubs, open-air Ten Tuskers bar, and dining pavilion – is designed to mirror the landscape’s natural boulders surrounding the resort’s freeform pool.
Thrill-seeking newlyweds can stay the night in a safari camp in the buffer zone of Yala National Park – a safari-style wilderness experience with all the luxuries of a hotel. The park is famous for its rich biodiversity, but the star attraction is the Sri Lankan leopard. Marked endangered as of 2015, the park houses more than 40, making it the best spot anywhere to spot this beautiful big cat.
After a day in the park, travelers can enjoy gourmet cuisine with Sri Lankan flair in the dining pavilion while watching dusk settle over the Indian Ocean. For a more intimate setting, couples can dine in the beach garden under a star-studded Sri Lankan sky.
For an even more luxurious stay, guests should consider Leopard Trails in Yala, which operates a similar camp in Wilpattu.
Cape Weligama Resort
Located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Cape Weligama Resort sits on a unique clifftop nearly 100-feet above sea level overlooking the Indian Ocean, complete with crescent-shaped infinity pool.
Cape Weligama Resort offers a state-of-the-art catamaran for travelers to explore the open waters of Mirissa to enjoy stilt fishing, snorkeling, and dolphin and whale watching as the sun sets. Rarities such as orcas, Bryde whales, and even the rough-toothed dolphin can be spotted in these waters.
Back at the resort, travelers can follow smooth stone pathways that lead to a secluded cove where turtles rest in the clear blue shallows, and then follow it further to the resort’s in-house spa offering fragrant treatments such as organic spice scrubs, essential oil massages and green tea infused facials.
Theva Residency, Kandy
Ideally located along the slopes of the Hantana range, the Theva Residency offers commanding views over the surrounding mountains and forest. This boutique hotel includes excellent facilities such as an infinity pool where newlyweds can relax and watch the sun go down, or embrace the spectacular view while sipping on cocktails until dusk
A unique activity available at the Theva Residency is the Elephant Gathering at the Minneriya reservoir. The Great Elephant Gathering features the largest collection of Asian elephants in the world where honeymooners can enjoy seeing the gentle giants of the animal kingdom up close and personal.
The Elephant Gathering involves riding in a Jeep to the banks of the reservoir while watching from a safe distance. As the sun sinks in the sky, elephants infiltrate from all directions in one of Sri Lanka’s most awe-striking natural sights – and romantic to say the least. In addition to the elephants, other wildlife such as the Sri Lankan sloth bear and spotted deer can be seen.
Along a coconut grove and a private crescent beach is the Amanwella‘s collection of 27 villas, a secluded jungle for an intimate atmosphere. The honeymoon suite overlooks the beach and travelers can enjoy romantic strolls along the shores as the sun sets. Couple and group snorkeling tours can be arranged around the southern headland, and whale watching is prime from December to April at the Mirissa Harbour, 90 minutes away from Amanwella. If possible, travelers may even be able to swim alongside the whales for a truly unforgettable experience.
For those in search of on-land adventures, village excursions and tours around the Mulkirigala Rock Temple are available through the resort. Safaris to the Yala National Park or Bundala National Park are available to see Sri Lankan wildlife. Full-day tours are available from the resort and guests can expect to see Asian elephants, spotted deer, and the Sri Lankan leopard.
Slightly less luxurious than the above mentioned properties, Anilana Nilaveli provides a secluded beach near one of the most sought after whale watching spots in the world. The stylish resort has spacious deluxe rooms and poolside suites, as well as chalets close to the beach, providing an intimate escape to see Trinco’s sights.
Trincomalee may not have the same luxury options as Galle and Colombo – a victim of fighting during the civil war – but the accommodations are not as much of a draw as the wildlife; this is one of the few comfortable places in the world to spot sperm whales.
For the aquatic-inclined, days can be spent underwater amongst thriving marine life. March to October are peak months for whale sightings and during these months, travelers are likely to see sperm whales and Bryde whales, as well as spinner dolphins.