Sri Lanka, a tropical paradise island located in the Indian Ocean is world famous for Tea, Cinnamon and gorgeous beaches, but being a native I know firsthand it has much more to offer especially in terms of travel. So this is an attempt to list ten of the major “Must do’s” in this paradise island (out of many) in the hopes of helping a fellow traveler plan better.
Starting with the most popular one, Sri Lanka being an island is surrounded with the most gorgeous tropical beaches you will ever see.
Hikkaduwa, Nilaveli, Unawatuna, Mirissa and Tangalla are just a few of the major beaches located in Sri Lanka and each beach is different from one another offering different activities for its visitors. You can just relax and get a tan on at any of the beaches, or you could go scuba diving in Trincomalee, go surfing in Nilaveli or go whale watching in Mirissa. Whatever your beach activity preference is, Sri Lanka has got you covered.
- Meet the elephants
Go meet these Asian giants you have heard so much about.
If You prefer to see them in their own habitat go to one of the many wild life sanctuaries located in Sri Lanka such as Yala National park, Wilpattuwa National Park, Wasgamuwa National Park and see them in the wilderness doing their own thing!. Or if you want to interact with them more closely, you can go to Pinnawala elephant orphanage where you can help in feeding baby elephants or give one a bath.
Sigiriya is a UNESCO World heritage site located a few hours away from Kandy. This rock fortress is world famous for its Lions Paw, Fresco paintings, Mirror wall and the fascinating water garden with still functioning water fountains. You can also climb up the Pidurangala mountain close by to get a better view of the Sigiriya rock and the surroundings.
Visit the second largest city in the country to see the temple of the tooth relic, stroll among exotic flora at the royal botanic gardens, feel the breeze of Kandy lake or see Kandian dancers in action.
The one true metropolitan city of Sri Lankan is home to an array of architecturally interesting buildings, shopping centers, museums and parks. Go for an evening stroll at Gall Face and indulge your taste buds in Isso wade from a roadside shop or shop till you drop in the many shopping centers located throughout Colombo that offers both local and international brands and artisan goods.
- Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa
A history buff? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Head to Anuradhapura or Polonnaruwa to get a dose of history dating back to 4th century BC or before. Walk among the gigantic Stupas, Drink local herbal teas such as Belimal, Ranawara, or hire a bicycle and ride among the many archaeologically important ruins – your bound to be mesmerized by the remains of an ancient time.
Sri Lanka is home to large number of waterfalls both big and small, the largest being Bambarakanda waterfall. If you’re heading towards Nuwaraeliya your bound to come across a few of these mesmerizing natural wonders. Take a dip in one of them but do pay attention to the safety signs displayed.
Being a country home to many different mountain terrains Sri Lanka is famous for all the different hikes you can go on, whether it’s Ella, Adams’ peak or Hantana your bound to love the path and where it leads to. Go see the sunrise at Adams’ Peak, where you will get to see the world famous triangular shadow at sunrise. This mountain is a religious place and pilgrimage season is between December and April so you can join the flocks of pilgrims climbing up during this season or go up alone during off season.
If you’re a tea person (or not) Go see where the magic happens. Stroll among the Tea plantations, go to a tea factory and drink authentic Ceylon tea. If you are traveling to the hill region of Sri Lanka you will come across a lush tea plantations and factories. Some plantations have a little bit more to offer like the Sembuwatta Lake located inside the Alkaduwa plantation.
- Visit the Vaddas
The Vaddas are the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. You can meet them, learn their life style if you visit the Dambana jungle village. Head off to Dambana to learn a few words from their indigenous language, listen to their traditional songs and watch them perform their traditional dance.
This list only has a small fraction of what Sri Lanka has to offer to its visitors. Even though Sri Lanka is a small island nation it has so much to offer to the wanderers who love to explore.
Do visit Sri Lanka to experience all of this and a lot more. And let us know in the comments below what you loved (or even didn’t like) about Sri Lanka.