Sri Lanka’s all year round climate, family friendly hotels, beaches and facilities make the country one of the easiest and safest country for family travel.
You won’t find theme parks in Sri Lanka (yet) but the country has plenty to offer inquisitive young minds. The island’s hotels and guesthouses often have triple and family rooms or extra beds provided on request.
Baby beds, cots, car seats and high chairs are in short supply at most mid-range to lower end category properties and kids clubs are hard to come by, but in smaller boutique and 5* hotels and resorts are generally very family friendly, and have staff who will spoil your kids rotten and will go the extra mile to make sure you have a very relaxed time. That said, the island has plenty of great experiences for families with young children.
- Children’s sunscreen and mosquito repellent; you won’t find brands you’re familiar with in Sri Lanka, and sunscreen is expensive to buy locally.
- Entertainment for long car rides, especially video downloads can ease the boredom for little ones. Many roads in the hill country are long and winding so for anyone who suffers from motion sickness, anti-nausea tablets are a good thing to pack/
- For babies and toddlers, either a backpack or some other form of small wheelie to carry toys, books and games.
On the ground:
- Imported baby food and disposable nappies/diapers at Cargills Food City and Keells supermarkets throughout the country can be purchased.
- Breastfeeding in public is accepted, but parents will struggle to find dedicated baby-changing rooms. It’s not a major problem, as it’s acceptable for toddlers to be naked in public.
- Keep children away from stray animals, including cats, dogs and monkeys because of the risk of rabies.
- Bring kid-friendly snacks for car and train trips.
- Kids love hoppers (bowl-shaped pancakes), or mild rotti (flatbreads) with butter or cheese.
Kid friendly sites and activities:
The west and south coast have plenty of child-friendly accommodation with plenty of beaches for relaxation, sand castle building and turtle watching or their first go at learning to swim in shallow reef fringed pools in Unawatuna or Wijaya. Please be aware that most of Sri Lanka’s coast are prone to strong currents and riptides at certain times of the year, so children should always be supervised. As you head into the interior, Uda Walawe and Minneriya National Parks offer almost guaranteed sightings of herds of wild elephants. For older kids that can swim, Pigeon Island off Nilaveli, in the island’s east, has great snorkeling. Short tuk tuk or three-wheeler rides offer a thrilling ride that kids absolutely love. The Hill Country Railway train ride is an absolute winner with kids. Bikes rides, white water rafting, hiking, kids cookery classes, surfing, kite surfing, waterfall hikes – all available in Sri Lanka and an absolute hit with kids.