Sri Lanka with a Baby
15th February, 2023
Are you thinking about travelling to Sri Lanka with a baby or young children? Do it, do it, do it!! Sri Lanka was one of my favourite holiday destinations while baby Isla was young and it offered the perfect mix of culture, adventure and relaxation.
Following on from our first big family travel adventure to Costa Rica, we embarked on our next big adventure- Sri Lanka with a baby! Travelling with a baby in tow most certainly does bring with it new challenges (Where can I find space in my luggage to pack all of the nappies? Will baby sleep on the plane? What will I do without my perfect-prep machine?!), but it is so much more fun!
OK, so I no longer have time to read the obligatory holiday fiction or have afternoon naps by the side of the pool, BUT I get to watch how excited my baby girl gets when she sees a monkey run past us, see how fascinated she is by the local people who don’t look the same as we do and watch her face when she first tries all of those delicious exotic fruits! Baby sensory eat your heart out!
Sri Lanka with a baby
If you’re worried about visiting Sri Lanka with a baby, don’t be! Sri Lankans love babies and in many cases my daughter was the biggest tourist attraction around with locals lining up to kiss her and to say hello! There are medical facilities all over the place in case of an emergency, there is a variety of food available and there are plenty of baby shops in the cities to buy any supplies that you need.
There are so many wonderful places to visit and things to do in Sri Lanka and we couldn’t possibly do it all in 2 weeks… but we gave it a good try! For this trip we found bargain flights with British Airways on Skyscanner, this is always my go-to for flights.
I then searched around A LOT for the right tour. We wanted a custom-made tour so that we could work our schedule around the baby. Before kids I would have been happy to jump on the train and stay in hostels, but now we tend to opt for whatever prevents the kids’ routines for being disrupted too much.
So I booked this tour with Viator. I love Viator because they offer such a wide range of tours for a variety of budgets. You also know that the company is legitimate and that you will get your money back if there are any problems.
Nowadays we tend to spend a bit more money on accommodation. When travelling with the kids when we spend more time in our hotel rooms than we would usually. We also ideally need facilities such as a bathtub, somewhere to sterilise bottles and a place for the kids to sleep (note- we were not offered a baby cot anywhere in Sri Lanka, if you don’t want to co-sleep I recommend taking a light, portable travel cot. I personally love this Phil and Ted travel cot).
All of the hotels that we stayed in when travelling Sri Lanka with a baby were organised through booking.com. Whilst we usually stay in an Airbnb, the options didn’t seem as good in Sri Lanka as the hotels that were available. So we selected all of our hotels carefully and I have recommended our favourite in this blog post for you.
To search for available hotels on your travel dates you can use the search option below.
Here is our itinerary-
Sri Lanka with a baby- a two week itinerary
There is so much to see and do in Sri Lanka that it’s impossible to fit it all into two weeks. We did give it a good go though! After lots of research we organised our travel itinerary to include the following places.
Pinnawala with a baby
Our first visit was to the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala. This was the first time Isla had seen elephants and she was fascinated, her little face was adorable! It was lovely to show her elephants that were not being paraded around for tourists and that were well treated.
Whilst we didn’t stay in Pinnawala overnight due to our itinerary, if you do plan on staying here I would recommend the Hotel Elephant Park. It’s a great location and you even get views of the elephants if you are lucky enough to get a good room!
Anuradhapura with a baby
This is a huge complex of active temples and stupas. The architecture was beautiful and it was wonderful to experience the serenity and peace of the Buddhists in this area.
Where to stay? The Gamodh Citadel Resort is rated the best hotel in the area on Trip Advisor!
Sigiriya with a baby
Sigiriya rock plateau, formed from magma of an extinct volcano, is 200 meters high and is surrounded by jungles. It is home to an ancient fortress complex which includes remnants of a ruined palace, surrounded by an extensive network of fortifications, vast gardens, ponds, canals, alleys and fountains. The climb is a good work out (especially with an 8kg baby on your back!) but the views on the top are worth than worth it!
Kuwera Eco Lodge is a nice play to stay whilst in the area and you get to do your thing for the environment while staying here too!
Polonnaruwa with a baby
The ancient city of Polonnaruwa is one of the best planned archaeological relic cities in the country and is declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It is also a core part of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. You can hire a bike or have a driver to take you around to see all of the individual sites on the complex. There are so many things to do in Polonnaruwa!
If you’re interested in learning g more about Sri Lankan cultures and traditions then I would recommend that you try a homestay. Homestay are pretty popular in Sri Lanka. They are usually more like a bed and breakfast type of accommodation as opposed to literally staying in somebody’s home. There is a great one in Polonnaruwa called Polonnaruwa Home stay that I would recommend!
Kandy with a baby
Kandy is a large city and we travelled here to see the temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine. The temple houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. According to Sri Lankan legends, when the Buddha died in 543 BC, his body was cremated and his left canine tooth was retrieved from the funeral by his disciple. A belief then grew that whoever possessed the tooth relic had a divine right to rule that land.
The temple was heaving with Sri Lankan tourists during our visit as there was a special ceremony being held. There was music, incense and candles and we queued for an hour to get a 15 second look at the tooth relic through a small hole in the temple wall. It was a truly authentic experience which isn’t something you always get as a tourist. It was also a complete attack on the senses… who needs a baby sensory class when you can visit an active temple in Sri Lanka?!
We spent Christmas Day here and really enjoyed staying at Kings Pavilion Luxury Hotel, where we enjoyed some well-deserved relaxation time in the beautiful pool overlooking the Sri Lankan Tea Plantations and fields.
Nuwara Eliya with a baby
Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. The drive here was stunning and had the opportunity to visit some tea plantations and factories. It was like stepping back into the Victorian era and to be able to see such strong evidence of British colonialism in the area was like stepping back in time! Liptons anyone?
In Nuwara Elia we stayed in a beautiful hotel named Hilldale Retreat, that I would highly recommend.
Adam’s Peak with a baby
Adam’s Peak was one of the highlights of our Sri Lanka with a baby trip (and excellent Kilimanjaro training!). Adam’s Peak is a 2,243m tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well known for the Sri Pada, or “sacred footprint”, a 1.8 m rock formation near the summit, where it is believed that Buddha once stepped. It is also believed by the Christian community that this is the place where Adam first set foot on earth.
The climb takes between 2 1/2 – 5 hours and we were super impressed to do it in 3 hours whilst carrying baby Isla! With around 5500 (very steep!) stairs, it was rather torturous on the thighs, but I did achieve my highest ever daily step count on my Fit Bit with over 30,000 steps!
You are not spoilt for choice when looking for accommodation in Adam’s Peak, but I think we may have found the best of a bad bunch (based on other traveller’s reviews of their hotels). We stayed at the Grand Adams Peak.
Yala with a baby
Our next stop was Yala national park which is home to wildlife such as leopards, elephants and crocodiles, as well as hundreds of bird species. We visited in the hope of seeing a leopard as this isn’t common on safaris but unfortunately they were all busy hiding on this day… It was a lovely area however and we did get up close to some elephants and buffalo though which was pretty cool.
If you fancy something a little bit different for your stay in Yala then Leopard Trails Yala is a cool luxury camp site. If you’d rather stick to hotels then I would recommend the Oga Reach Hotel.
Bentota with a baby
We finished our Sri Lanka with a baby trip with some ‘down time’ by visiting a beach resort near Bentota. There are lots of great beaches in Sri Lanka and we more or less had a private beach at the White VIlla Resort which was lovely and completely unspoilt- exactly what we love from a good beach! Whilst here we visited a turtle hatchery where they rescue turtle eggs and then release them into the sea once they are ready. We also paid a visit to the famous Unawatuna beach which had a cool hippy vibe and great shopping opportunities.
Should you travel to Sri Lanka with a baby?
All in all we had an action packed two weeks that was great fun not only for mum and dad but for baby too. Isla might not remember this trip in years to come but it was amazing for her development- she still gets excited when I say ‘monkey’ (although I am generally referring to cuddly toys here in the UK), she learned to point at interesting things and she even started crawling during this trip! This leaves me with fantastic memories that I will share with her when she is older.
Thinking of going to Sri Lanka with a baby? Do it!
We continue to travel to many different places with our young children and Sri Lanka with a baby was just one of our amazing family travel trips! If you’re interested in following our adventures, you can find us over on Instagram and Facebook.
Psssst! By the way, I have recently designed a flight log book to allow your kids to record all of the journeys! If you’re looking for a special way to record your children’s travel memories then head over to Amazon to take a look!