Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, tons of elephants (literally), a rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea, and flavorful food are great descriptors for Sri Lanka. Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometers lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometers of coastline – much of it pristine beach – 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, and a culture that extends back more than 2,500 years. After time in the tropical climate of the coast and lowlands, escape to the hills, with their temperate, achingly green charms. And then there are the beaches. Dazzlingly white and often untrodden, they ring the island so that no matter where you go, you’ll be near a sandy gem. Distances are short: see the sacred home of the world’s oldest living tree in the morning (Anuradhapura) and stand awestruck by the sight of hundreds of elephants gathering in the afternoon (Minneriya). Discover a favorite beach, meditate in a 2000-year-old temple, exchange smiles while strolling a mellow village, marvel at birds and wildflowers, and try to keep count of the little dishes that come with your rice and curry. Sri Lanka is spectacular, it’s affordable and it’s still often uncrowded. From $2,699 per person based on double occupancy. Opt to extend your trip in either Dubai or the Maldives.