Looking for an experience of a lifetime that is also off the beaten path? Here we give you 20 reasons why choose Sri Lanka as your next travel destination.
Though human settlement in Sri Lanka is not less than 1,25,000 years of age, but this very country looks fresh out of the box every other day. Yes, it has clasped on the heritage, history and culture but when it comes to cosmopolitan affair Sri Lanka is never lagging.
Golden-sand beaches kissed by the Indian Ocean and fluttering leaves of its rich tea and spice plantation are pleasing. It’s diverse culture and vivacity is cherry on the cake.
You get to experience the joy of giving in Elephant Orphanage and Turtle Hatchery Kosgoda. The country is mentioned in the holy Hindu epic of Ramayana, thus beautiful temples and religious sites are dotted throughout the island.
I am giving you twenty reasons to choose Sri Lanka as a travel destination. As you reach the end, you would be inspired enough to pack your bags and book Sri Lanka tour packages.
Take a look at 20 Reasons to visit Sri Lanka:
- A Whale of an Adventure
- Crystal Clear Indian Ocean
- Sigiriya Rock
- Get Closer to Wildlife
- Kandy Esala Perahera
- Sip Your Way through Tea Plantations
- Ease of Travel | Sri Lanka by Train
- The West Coast
- Religious Sites
- Off The Beaten Path
- Elephant Playground – Pinnawala
- Curries Sweet, Spice and Everything Nice
- Visit a Turtle Hatchery
- Swim on the East Coast
- Adventure & Special Interest Sports
1. A Whale of an Adventure
While on board a wobbling boat or cruise, there are fair chances that you to spot blue whales and sperm whales. They simply swim past gracefully in the blue waters. Dondra Point is located close to Galle, Mirissa and Hikkaduwa, is well-known for whale-watching experience in Sri Lanka.
2. Crystal Clear Indian Ocean
Beaches shouldn’t be all about ambling by the seashore or sunbathing. If you are looking for adventures on the sea, Sri Lanka is best chosen. Crystal clear tides and ocean is a big plus for a surfer and here you have it all.
On the South Coast of Sri Lanka you can easily find instructors who can help you sharpen your skills at the pristine beaches. If not surfing, how about yoga and meditation?! Try it amid the tranquility of Weligama. Or just go beach-bar-hopping, meet sea turtles in Hikkaduva or simply unwind under the shade of coconut groves in Mirssa.
3. Sigiriya Rock
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sigiriya Rock is 200 meters tall rock of historical and archeological importance. Surrounding it are expansive gardens, reservoirs and several structures. The paintings have with semblances with those in Ajanta Caves of India. As the legend goes, King Kasyapa (477- 496) chose this site as his capital and built a palace at the top of this rock and adorned it with beautiful frescoes.
The capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo also happens to be the largest city of the island country. Skyscrapers dotted all throughout and playful blue waves of the Indian Ocean together to form a cityscape that’s just perfect. Though modern infrastructure is apparent but the colonial edifices are still the historic landmarks kept intact.
Dress your best and head straight to the cosmopolitan locale that’s filled with fancy restaurants, art galleries and museums. There is no wonder why Colombo is a must visit destination of Sri Lanka as a traveler never comes out disappointed.
5. Get Closer to Wildlife
One of world’s highest rates of biological endemism in the world is in possession of Sri Lanka. Southernmost part of the country is Wet Zone and others are Dry Zone. The country is home to about 123 species of mammals such as sloth bear, Sri Lanka leopard, Sri Lankan elephant and Sambar.
There are about 433 species of birds (local and migratory), 93 species of freshwater fishes. Yala National Park, Udawalawa National Park, Bundala National Park, Elephant Orphanage, Kosgoda Sea Turtle Project Conservation Project Iron Wood Forest are few popular national parks and wildlife areas of Sri Lanka.
6. Kandy Esala Perahera
Kandy Esala Perahera, a popular festival of Sri Lanka commemorates the first teaching of Lord Buddha upon acquiring enlightenment. This age-old festival is celebrated with royal procession of dancers, jugglers, fire-breathers, musicians and decorated elephants. The festival spans for ten days and is held in July or August, at Esala. It is concluded with diya-kepeema ritual held at the banks of Mahaweli River.
7. Sip Your Way through Tea Plantations
Sri Lanka is an eminent tea exporter of the world and you can stumble upon flourishing tea gardens dotted all throughout the countryside. Lush green vegetation on the rolling hills of colonial town is something that would catch your eyes for a long while.
To make this affair unforgettable you must stay at old plantation homes, sip tea and munch baked delights. Best places for those who want to visit tea-plantations of Sri Lanka are without doubts Ella and Nuwara Eliya.
Sri Lanka, like its neighbor India, is a land of diversity. Sri Lankans are religious people, belonging to different communities but still standing beside each other. The country serves its generous amount of foreign immigrants as brothers. The Veddahs, hunter-gatherers, is respected ancestors and native-people of Sri Lanka.
Sinhalese and Tamils are main inhabitants of the country, who originally belong to Indian Subcontinent. Just when Sri Lanka emerged as a prominent trading center, Muslims, Malays and Chinese too made this island their home. Kaffirs from Africa were brought by Portuguese and British rulers and Burghers came with the Dutch. These are just a few communities to name, as mentioned above; Sri Lanka is a land of diversity.
9. Ease of Travel | Sri Lanka by Train
Sri Lanka’s colonial trains were made mainly for the transportation of tea from the rolling hills to the main trade port of Colombo. It meanders through lush valleys filled with spice plantation, waterfalls, tea plantations and other such miracles of nature. This mode of transportation is an easy and affordable way to travel to different locations of the beautiful island.
10. The West Coast
Golden sand shimmering with the sunlight embraced by the playful waves of Indian Ocean, that’s not all the West Coast is about. Not only can you try your hands in enthralling water-sports, this region is enclosed with five-star hotels, colonial town, fishing villages, temples and a turtle sanctuary.
[Book Sri Lanka heritage tour to visit the popular heritage sites of Sri Lanka]
The beach town, Negombo on the western coast is crowned with church spires that are visited by the travelers too often; mainly because of its close proximity with the airport. As you move forth northwards along the seashore, wilderness welcomes you. This region is mainly beautified with coconut groves and placid lagoons filled with dolphins.
All throughout the western coast there are places worth spending hours in.
11. Religious Sites
People of Sri Lanka are deeply religious and have preserved age-old rituals, relics and teachings in their heart. Majority of its people are followers of Buddhism and Hinduism. No wonder Sri Lanka has some charming religious sites you cannot afford to miss. Sri Maha, Dambulla Caves Temple, Sacred Tooth Relic, Sri Maha Bodhiya and Adam’s Peak are some of the most popular religious sites of Sri Lanka.
There are sixteen venerated Buddhist religious sites in Sri Lanka, of which Muthiyagana houses the jaw-bone of Lord Buddha and was built in 4th century AD. According to legends, Lord Buddha himself blessed the site while on a visit to the country.
Similarly the Temple of Tooth houses the tooth of Lord Buddha, which was taken from the funeral of lord’s funeral pyre. Adam’s Peak on the other hand is considered sacred by Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims alike.
The town Dambulla’s popular attraction Dambulla Cave Temple in Central Sri Lanka is a revered religious spot and the largest best-preserved cave temple complex of the country. These caves are datable from 7th to 3rd century BC and its paintings are something that stand out.
During the 14-year-exile of King Valagambha, he found refuge in the caves. Other than paintings there are statues that are well-acclaimed. These statues are of Lord Buddha, gods, goddesses and Sri Lankan kings.
13. Off The Beaten Path
Galkadawala is undoubtedly a secret virgin land of Sri Lanka, a treasure for an offbeat traveler. The forest lodge by the mini forest is where the chirps of beautiful echoes or chitters of fireflies do the talking. The owner of the lodge built it with recycled materials.
She grows the vegetable in the field and cooks it in earthen pots, and once you have it you cannot have enough. This countryside is not merely about lazying around and comprehending the wilderness, you can spend your time kayaking, hiking or swimming. This is a huge canvas you are free to paint your adventures on.
14. Elephant Playground – Pinnawala
In a way, you can say Elephants are Sri Lanka’s mascot. This is surely regretful if you miss out on visiting these cute creatures, especially in Pinnawala that’s famous for its Elephant Orphanage. Often just like humans, animals too get parted with their mothers.
These elephants while in search of water or falling into pit or due to several reasons lose their mothers and that’s what the Elephant Orphanage takes care of. It feeds, house and nurse such baby elephants. The mahouts train them to do many things that are undeniably adorable.
[Book our Sri Lanka Delights tour package to visit Pinnawala]
15. Curries Sweet, Spice and Everything Nice
Other than tea plantations, Sri Lanka is world-renowned for its spices and spice plantations. These spices are not confined to cooking but are smartly used for Ayurvedic purposes to cure mild to chronic diseases or allergies.
Main spices used in Sri Lanka include Cardamom, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Cloves, Pepper and Gamboge, among others. So, just relax and let fresh aroma of these spices tickle you nostrils. The Peradeniya Spice Gardens alone houses about 4000 species of trees, many of them being tropical timber trees.
16. Visit a Turtle Hatchery
Yes it is yet another reason why choose Sri Lanka as your next travel destination. One of most popular turtle hatcheries of Sri Lanka is Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation. Here the nesting and conservation processes are taken after by the locals with the help of volunteers from around the world.
Visitors are briefed about turtles and what they need in order to thrive. What is beautiful about this area is the people enjoying the joy of giving, learning and teaching. This is a wonderful experience highly recommended for animal-lovers.
Right from golden-sand beaches to sky-kissing cityscape, Sri Lanka pours a thousand photo ops every single minute. This is undeniable that if you have the right equipments you can grab brilliant frames. Whether you are a wildlife photographer, travel photographer, fashion photographer or a photographer for leisure just head your favorite spot and let your pictures do the talking of Sri Lanka’s beauty.
18. Swim on the East Coast
It would be unfair to conclude that only one side of the island has the best beaches of Sri Lanka, but I am bound to put East Coast as a special mention, that’s because the waves are shallow and gentle here which is ideal for a swimmer. In fact, you might think you are in a swimming pool.
19. Adventure & Special Interest Sports
All an adventurer seeks is adrenaline rush and let me get this very clear, Sri Lanka is not disappointing in this province too. Be it trekking or Scuba diving, everything here is just sorted. Hike or trek around virgin rain forests or spice and tea plantations of the country. Take a scuba diving session and behold the charm of colorful marine life, swim past ship wrecks or spot dolphins.
If you love heights, what’s better than rock climbing?! In fact there isn’t surely anything better than rock face of Bambarakanda Waterfall, the tallest one of Sri Lanka. If sky is not your limit, what about hot air ballooning? Float at a height of 500-2000 feet, above vast expanses of vegetation and just savor the sunset. These are just to name some adventure activities in Sri Lanka.
Being a leading tourist destination of the world, there is no dearth of hotels in Sri Lanka, whether budget or luxury. In the impressive cityscape of Colombo, lavish five-star hotels are built up to serve the guests. Many of these hotels flaunt the charm of colonial era. You can find the best hotels in the coastal areas, especially in the south and west.
Galle has boutique hotels which are also worth a mention. Most of the hotels are designed by 20-century’s prominent architect Geoffrey Bawa, who aimed specifically to incur Tropical Modernism in his designs.
Other than hotel accommodations tree-houses, eco-lodges, jungle cabins, colonial homes and tea and rubber plantation buildings are other options you can opt for a comfortable stay.