How to pack light for your trip to Sri Lanka - Hiking, Yoga, Culture & Safari

Sri Lanka is the perfect place for hiking, yoga, beach, safari and more – we love that Sri Lanka has so much to offer! It is however, a little daunting to pack for such an array of activities. Here are our top tips of essentials.

Don’t forget your sunscreen & sunglasses! We expect sun all day & every day on this gorgeous tropical island.


hiking in the knuckles mountain ashburnham estate tea plantation


·      Good comfortable shoes (trainers are normally fine)

·      Reusable water bottle

·      Comfy clothes (ones you don’t mind getting a little dirty)

·      Hat/cap


Ashburnham Estate is the perfect place for the outdoorsy type; take a stroll around our private waterfalls, go hiking in the knuckles or embark on a biking adventure around the hills.


Although we love Ella, we think the Knuckles mountains offer some of the most stunning hikes without being surrounded by other tourists. Imagine quaint tea estates and gentle rolling hills. There are trails that suit all levels in the area so do not be put off if you’re new to hiking.


Ashburnham sits at the foothills of the Knuckles mountains. Our guides are always on hand to show you the ropes. We have designed bespoke hikes which range from 4-8 hours, including plenty of beautiful viewpoints of the surrounding area. The chef at Ash will also put together a delicious packed-lunch so you don’t go hungry.


One of the resident yoga teachers, Jasmine at Rukgala Retreat. Photo from Luka Alagiyawanna.

One of the resident yoga teachers, Jasmine at Rukgala Retreat. Photo from Luka Alagiyawanna.


·      Yoga gear (leggings/tops/shorts)

·     Swimwear

·      Light clothing for lounging in

Forget about packing that heavy yoga mat, all props are normally provided. Expect to chill out to the max, lazy afternoons by the pool and breakfasts that last forever. Most places also offer a laundry service (in case that vinyasa class gets a little sweaty).


Our sister property Rukgala Retreat helps you reconnect with yourself and nature. They’re currently offering 3-night and 6-night and 10-night Yoga Retreats. Take advantage of their latest deals here.


sri lanka beach what to pack travel tips


·      Very light clothing, think thin cotton & linen! (we love Kaana Boutique)

·      Swimwear - suitable for surfing if you’re that way inclined

·      Sarong / light beach towel (you can normally borrow beach towels from your hotel or guesthouse)

·      Flip-flops

·      Book / Kindle

·      A nice dress or shirt for a few cocktails by the beach


Lazy afternoons watching the waves go by. The beach is THE place to chill, surf, swim and make friends.

There are loads of boutique shops dotted around the South and East Coast in case you forget anything, as well as never ending food spots. We love The Kip for brunch & shopping.


Photography by Heather Brand-Williamson

Photography by Heather Brand-Williamson


·      Light clothing (again, stuff you don’t mind getting dusty)

·      Comfortable shoes for walking safaris

·      Cap/Hat

·      Camera / phone

·      Light jumper for early mornings


Be sure to cover up and get ready for a hot day in your open-air jeep or walking safari. We love Gal Oya Lodge for a quieter and off the beaten track safari experience.


Stoopa at Polonnaruwa, captured by Jasmine Brand-Williamson

Stoopa at Polonnaruwa, captured by Jasmine Brand-Williamson


·      Modest clothing – to cover knees and shoulders

·      Remember no headwear

·      Shoes that are easy to take on and off

·      Socks – in the cultural triangle the ground can get really hot!


When visiting the cultural triangle be sure to dress appropriately and be respectful of religious traditions. We love Galkadawala Forest Lodge near Sigiriya for an authentic experience immersed in nature.

Rukgala retreat is close to Bambaragala Cave Temple - a beautiful hike combined with culture. Ashburnham Estate is around 45 minutes from Kandy if wanting to visit the Temple of the Tooth.

We love that Sri Lanka has so many different areas to explore. What are your essential items for travel around the island?