Tuk Tuk Polo Taprobane Island - Sri Lanka - Tonic Lanka Collection

Literary Festivals, Tuk Tuk Polo Championships and Jazz Extravaganzas…

How beach time in Sri Lanka now means more than sun, sea and surf…

Sri Lanka’s justly billed as a beach paradise but it now offers much more than golden sands and blue skies. An innovative group of (mostly) the island’s hoteliers has, over the last decade, worked to develop a number of eye-catching festivals and events, details of which we thought worth sharing.  Working one or two of these events into an SL trip can be the cultural icing on an already very pretty cake.


Galle Literary Festival (Early-Mid Jan each year)

Since its launch in 2005, The Literary Festival (GLF) has become a cornerstone of the island’s cultural calendar.

Galle Literary Festival

Its attracted the likes of Vikram Seth, Sebastian Faulkes, Tom Stoppard and Richard Dawkins. It continues to evolve, with fringe events – musical and artistic – now complementing the literary schedule.

Reason enough (with no more needed) to visit Galle in January.


Tuk Tuk Polo Championship (Mid-Late Feb)

Geoffrey Dobbs, owner of the Sun House, Dutch House, Beach House and Taprobane, pioneered the Literary Festival and he takes credit too for the uniquely eccentric Tuk Tuk Polo event in late February.

Rules follow, vaguely, those of the equestrian version; team numbers differ a little and, with mixed teams, the three-wheeled variety offers some gender-based tweaks.

A bizarre, chaotic and joyous spectacle!

Tuk Tuk Polo Sri Lanka


Colombo Jazz Festival  (Mid-late Feb)

Colombo’s often bypassed on trip itineraries but a growing number of smart hotels, an improving restaurant scene and events such as this one are all broadening the capital’s appeal.The Jazz festival only launched in 2016 but the lineup for 2017 looks good. No doubt 2018’s iterations will be stronger yet.

Colombo Jazz Festival


Stay at the heart of things

As mentioned, the Galle Literary Festival and the Tuk Tuk Polo owe their existence to Geoffrey Dobbs, the owner and creativity behind Taprobane IslandThe Dutch House and The Sun House. All three properties play host to events throughout the festival period and so for those keen to be in the thick of it they should be choice number one.

(Dick’s Bar shown below is a prime spot during the GLF. See various literati adorning the walls.)


What’s more…

Beyond the above, events such as the Colombo Art Biennalle (last run in December 2016), Hot Air Ballooning festivals, even shopping experiences offered by the likes of the Good Market (in Galle and Colombo) are adding to the rich mix of beach, culture and wildlife that Sri Lanka’s rightly proud of.


For more information on any of the above or ideas on how to integrate these events into trips out to Sri Lanka do get in touch. Would love to hear from you.

For more information please email [email protected] or call UK office on +44 (0) 7921 724439 or visit