I was excited to explore this island with fresh eyes and anticipation. Sri Lanka, a place I knew little about but had heard was one of the most beautiful islands in the Indian Ocean. In a nutshell, Sri Lanka is blessed with all the essential ingredients of exploration and vacation.
Comparatively compact, with a colourful cultural identity, incredible wildlife, and food that is so unforgettable, this is a destination at its most manageable. Sri Lanka’s vibrant mix of British colonial heritage, captivating landscapes and incredibly friendly locals make it a beguiling destination.
I always take peoples recommendations with a grain of salt, as everyone has their own experiences whether positive or negative which will always differ to how you personally experience or perceive it, but I can confidently say that Sri Lanka is a stunning place to visit.
If it’s not on your list yet, then get it on there quick and visit before it gets overrun as the world finds out about its beauty.
So, here are my Top things to do in Sri Lanka:
The beaches aren’t the main reason I decided to come to Sri Lanka, but damn are they beautiful!!
So many amazing historical sites and so little time we had. A trip to Sri Lanka wouldn’t be right without visiting some of the 8 UNESCO sites. All those steep climbs in the heat was well worth it!”
The hike up to Little Adam’s Peak was more of a leisurely walk. We made it just before sunset to capture the breathtaking views.
The train journey from Ella to Kandy is said to be the most beautiful and scenic in the world. And I can’t agree more.
I was literally glued to the window watching the scenery change. The train winds through the mountains overlooking villages and farms and villages and of the vast tea plantations. It was amazing to see an entire green view, then the next minute, stopping in the middle of a woodland forest.”
I really enjoyed being in Ella. The cooler climate, being surrounded by natural beauty and the waterfalls make this sleepy town worth the visit.
If anyone doesn’t know it yet, Sri Lankan food is delicious! Strong punchy flavours and spices kept me coming back for more. Local Tea is also treat. Amangalla Hotel in Gaulle serve the best tea ever!
The beaches are really beautiful
Real local colour can be found in the relatively remote, low-key beach resorts of Unawatuna, Marissa and Tangalla, where you may find you are the only person on some of the picturesque beaches.
Sink your feet into the sand and order a Lion lager for the remainder of your stay.
Top Beaches to visit: Unawatuna, Marissa, Tangalla, Bentota and Induruwa Aragum Bay, Uppuveli
Sri Lankan food is amazing!
You’ll be happily surprised to discover that Sri Lankan food is seriously amazing. How is there an Indian restaurant on every street corner and not a single Sri Lanka restaurant in sight ?(most cities). Sri Lankan food is not for the timid eater: the fiery curries, tons of spice and flavours, a diverse assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, and heavy usage of the coconut are all dominant, powerful flavours that awaken the senses.
For a quicker bite, there are “short eats,” often a coconut roti with hot sauce, a newspaper cone of fried spiced chickpeas, or maybe a crispy samosa
Top foods to eat : Fish ambul thiyal, kottu roti, Kukul mas curry, Lamprais, dhal curry, green jackfruit curry, Hoppers
Sri Lankans are so friendly
In fact, out of every country, I’ve ever travelled to, Sri Lankans may be the most willing to have a short chit chat or just say “hello.” While travelling through the island you’ll be asked “Where are you from,” countless times.
On top of their friendly positive attitudes, many Sri Lankan are also very hospitable. They will go out their way to take care of you and make you feel welcomed in their country.
Train rides are impossibly scenic
The railway journey between Kandy and Ella is said to be one of the most beautiful, and I agree! See the real hill country of Sri Lanka; the train tracks run right up to nearly 2000m above sea level and along long portions you are literally spoiled with picturesque views of lush, green, tiered tea plantations for miles.
Top sites for Train timetable: railway.gov.lk colombofort
Morning Tea & Hike
Enjoy Sri Lankans finest tea and even visit the tea plantations. Climb up to Adam’s Little Peak and along the way be enamoured by all the exotic flowers and lush green tea plantations.
Top tea plantations to visit: Nuwara Eliya, Dimbula, Kandy Uda Pussellawa, Uva Province and Southern Province.
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll be enthralled by its fantastic biodiversity. Although it is one of the smallest countries to be found in Asia, it is by far one of the most biologically diverse.
You will simply be amazed in the abundance of its flora and fauna as well as their native habitats.
Unmissable UNESCO Heritgae sites
Enter portal to antiquity. From forts to temples, the island’s colonial and Buddhist heritage is rich and varied. With such a wealth of ancient sites, for explorers, the Cultural Triangle is the best place to absorb the island’s unique cultural heritage and incredible history.
Top UNESCO sites: Polonnaruwa City, Sigiriya City, The Golden Temple of Dambulla, Galle, Anandapura.
For more go to http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/lk
Get an insight into Sri Lankan colonial past. Dutch rule in Sri Lanka lasted for over a century (1640-1796) and can be explored in many cultural sites built during this epoch. One such structure is Galle Fort, an attraction which is a superb blend of architecture, with fortifications that resemble those in the coastal areas of Portugal. The narrow streets are dotted with charming Dutch colonial villas, and there are several museums and antique shops that display curiosities from the island’s colonial era.
Go on a Safari and spot a leopard
There’s no need to go to Africa for a safari. You can experience some really close encounters with Elephants, Leopards or Water Buffaloes in the of National Parks in Sri Lanka. For example, the Kumana National Park is home to all those majestic creatures offering a beautiful experience for everyone.
Top safari tours for Yala:
The country is a land of diversity
Although a small island nation, Sri Lanka offers so much diversity. One minute, you could be enjoying the paradise views of one of its many beautiful beaches, the next you could be deep in the forest or walking through the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa, and then the next minute you could be in a luxury hotel in Colombo.
Go to Kandy City
See the famous temple that houses Sri Lanka`s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha himself. Sri Lanka’s most flamboyant festival is staged here from July to August, with spectacular processions of elephants, musicians and dancers. Take a stroll along Kandy’s lake. The scenery is pretty, and there are several peaceful spots where you can just sit and stare at the river and the Temple. . A visit to the Kandy Market Hall is also worth your time. This is the perfect place to experience the crowdy part of Kandy, so be prepared for a chaotic afternoon! Various food, souvenir and cloth shops are to be found inside.
No matter what you choose to do when visiting Sri Lanka, I’m certainly sure you’ll walk away feeling refreshed and inspired. There’s an undeniable charm and vibrancy about this island, whether you’re visiting by yourself, with your partner or with your friends. I can’t wait to hear about how you experienced Sri Lanka or any recent vacations.
If you fancy going on a luxury or budget friendly tour, checkout some of these Travel sites to suit whatever your needs.