Sri Lanka is a small island in the middle of Indian ocean enriched with natural and cultural and natural heritage. For its fascinating natural beauty, the island is also known as the paradise of tourists. The most valuable gems are found in this wonderland and the cultural heritage for your amazement is two thousand five hundred years old. So, it is worth it to experience a dreamy vacation in this island at least once in your life time.
Your kind attention on below advises would make your tour the happier
- Do not expect a lot at once: Jut go with the flow. Infrastructure, transportation, public facilities are still under development in the region itself. So, it will make you happier, if you can be more patient with the atmosphere and with not so comfortable facilities. Hence, you may enjoy the friendly smile boding over the sun burns and dusty air.
- Transportation: The county is much connected by far through roads and railways. There are two highways connecting the international airport and the capital city, Colombo and the southern province of the country. Public transport is available covering the entire country however it is little slow and crowdy nevertheless improving. Adding more, there are domestic flights available to selective destinations also.
- Get away from the crowd: The essence of a vacation means less distraction and more freedom. So, it would be important to note the peak periods of tourism in the country. March, April, October and November are the most crowded months of the year. During these months, the hotel and resort bookings get full almost instantly and air tickets get quite expensive too.
- A relaxed lifestyle: There are number of beach resorts, country-side resorts and hostels that you can spend your vacation. While, luxury hotels and resorts surely do exist for your convenience but, for change try enjoying the local lifestyle by staying at local resorts and hotels. There are less expensive family-run guest rooms, semi-luxury to luxury international hotel chains such as Shangri La as well.
- Drinking laws: Accessibility to alcohol, wine and other drinks is easier in the country. The point remember is, it is prohibited to use alcoholic products in certain public places. Thus, one should keep a check regarding the same.
What you can do in Sri Lanka
Bask on Sri Lanka’s numerous beaches:
The beach area of Sri Lanka is approximately 1,000 miles. Blue and green shaded long beach around the country will amaze you for sure. There are number of beach resorts covering all the wonderful beach areas of the country.
“Arugam Bay” is one of the most popular beaches which can be found in the eastern province of the country. This place is famous for surfing among the tourists around world. “Nilaweli”, “Passikuda” and “Roomassala” beaches are the next in line in terms of beauty. Nevertheless, you can witness the most beautiful sea views in any corner of the country.
Hiking in Sri Lanka:
Are you a hike adventure freak? Then this is the perfect destination for you. There are many mountains you can go on hiking in Sri Lanka.
It is Adam’s peak on the top of the list. This is one of the highest mountains that reflects the deepest folk tales in Sri Lanka. It is known that the Sacred Footprint of Lord Buddha is deposited on the top of the mountain. And it is a popular pilgrimage site since centuries. The palace is crowded during December to May and rest of the months are considered as rainy season.
“Ella Rock” is another world-famous tourist destination of Sri Lanka. The cold climate, beautiful green sceneries that can be viewed from the top of the rock will make your mind to feel like flying.
“Lakegala” is another fascinating mountain in Sri Lanka. This is situated in one of the most rural areas of the county called “Meemure”. Thus, transportation will be little difficult and only camping sites are to stay the night. But, it is fully worthy to take a chance visit the village area and go on hiking.
There are many other places around the country ideal for hiking which carries environmental beauty and cultural values as well. There are many Buddhist temples and antient places on top of the hills.
Vibrant Reefs of Bentota:
What else is the better way of spending your perfect getaway than with the surroundings of natural beauty? Bentota is one such place that offers activities such as deep-sea diving, snorkeling, boating, fishing and more.
Kitugala is famous for the adventurous sport, white water rafting. The way the “Kelani” river flows in between the rocks and bends, it creates a wonderful experience for anyone to fall in love with rafting. There are other exciting activities such as rainforest trekking and mountain biking that you can try out in the place.
Explore the Ancient Cities of Sri Lanka:
Evidencing a civilization of more than 2,500 years old, there can still be found the ruins of antient kingdoms of Sri Lanka.
“Anuradhapura” and “Polonnaruwa” are the largest ancient cities in the country. These places are also regarded as the most sacred places of Buddhists. In ‘Anuradhapura” you can witness the holy tree of “Bodhi” which is also regarded as the oldest tree in the world.
“Mahanuwara” also known as “Kandy” is another ancient city of the country. You can have joy of discovering a majestic culture of art and architecture in “Kandy”. This is also a local pilgrim destination and a tourists’ attraction as you can find many beautiful sceneries in the city and the surrounding.
What you will like in Sri Lanka
Indulge in kite-surfing:
This is very popular among the crowds in Sri Lanka as it is easily available at most beach locations in the country. In playing this, you will be provided with your own kite surfing gear which you can use to get a thrilling experience of the place. The best time for this sporty activity is between November and April.
Hot air balloon rides:
Experiencing the bird’s eye view from the sky on a hot air balloon will make true your dream to fly. The view you will get to see would never be experienced by any other way. This is available in the north-central province of the island at rates that can be considered as affordable.
Explore the misty waterfall:
Sri Lanka is filled with tropical jungles that embrace rich fauna and flora. Imagine yourself taking a graceful, enchanting walk through the misty waterfalls of one of these forests. It is a perfect vacation for a couple, a group or even single. “Sinharaja” rainforest is the largest rainforest in the country which is also a world heritage. You will get fascinated witnessing the inside bio-diversity for sure if you are a nature lover. You will deliberately stay at camping sites with the hunger of discovering and experiencing more. Even in absence of misty waterfalls, “Yaala” also one of the attractive forests rather sanctuaries in the country. It is famous for Leopards, wild elephants and aquatic birds. Also, you can now explore the luxury comfort of Cabanas, the Chena Huts by Uga Escapes.
Boat rides on the lovely oceans:
Sri Lanka has its own share of lush-green paddy fields and tropical shallow coral reefs. But the crystal-clear oceans are quite irresistible. Go on a boating tour through these lovely oceans and discover a new experience for your life.
The best time to visit Sri Lanka
There are two monsoon seasons in Sri Lanka. However, you can experience different climate conditions around the island. The “Yala” Monsoon, which occurs from May to August, affects the south and west coasts of the hill country. This is the best time to visit the north and east regions. The “Maha” Monsoon, on the other hand, takes place from December to March and covers the north, east and west regions, leaving the west, south and hill country perfect for visiting. Overall, April and September are the best months for a vacation as the weather is pleasant and there is no rain.
Flying to Sri Lanka
Bandaranaike International Airport is the country’s only international airport and is well-connected to major cities.
Visa is required to Visit Sri Lanka. For a short visit, visitors can obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) – valid for 30 days – by logging on to www.eta.gov.lk and applying for the same. Take a print out of the approved authorization and present it when required. It’s also possible to get a visa at Bandaranaike International Airport. However, the wait can be long and the cost is higher.
There are no mandatory vaccinations to be taken before traveling to Sri Lanka but it’s advisable to protect yourself against diseases such as Tetanus, Poliomyelitis, Hepatitis, Rabies (for trekkers), Tuberculosis (if traveling to rural areas), Japanese encephalitis (if traveling to rural areas.)
Transactions in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan rupee is the currency used in the country. USD is also accepted at luxury shops and hotels. There are no many Forex counters in the airport so it is better to convert some amount before arriving the country. However, once you are in, you can approach Forex services in the main cities, mostly in Colombo. Another option is to get an international ATM card that you can use to withdraw money when necessary.
Major tourist attractions in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is enriched with cultural and historical heritage. It is also blessed with natural beauty therefore the adventure-seekers will love spending time trekking, camping and going on safaris. The country itself is a paradise for tourists having many things to witness, discover and explore. Some of the most attractive places can be listed as below.
Places with cultural and historical heritage
- Anuradhapura – the antient sacred city
- Temple of the scared tooth-relic
- Polonnaruwa – the antient city
- Sigiriya – the extraordinary art and architecture
- Munneswaram kovil
- Galle Fort
Places with natural heritage
- Sinharaja Rainforest – the bio diversity
- Yaala National Park – the exiting wildlife
- Hortan Plains – the chilling climate
- Hikkaduwa – the coral beauty
- Kumana – the bird sanctuary
- Trincomalee – the natural harbor
- Mirissa – the whale watch
Best Beaches in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has the most beautiful beaches around the country. Being an island, beach is an inherent attraction to the country. the most famous beach sites can be listed as below.
- Arugam Bay
- Nilaweli Beach
- Passikudah and Kalkudah
- Hikkaduwa Beach
- Unawatuna Beach
- Bentota Beach
- Negombo Beach
- Tangalle Beach
- Weligama Beach
- Uppuveli Beach
Best Water Sports Adventures to try in Sri Lanka
Being an island, Sri Lanka offers numerous opportunities for fun water sports in different regions. Here are the best activities to try out for an exciting vacation.
Scuba diving in Hikkaduwa
Snorkeling in Mirissa
White water rafting in Kithugala
Canoeing in Unawatuna
Jet skiing and windsurfing in Bentota
Kite surfing in Kalpitiya Lagoon
Wakeboarding in Negombo
Food and Beverages
Sri Lankan cuisine is vast and varied and is also influenced by different cultures. Some of the most popular local foods can be listed as below.
Rice and curry – the most famous main meal of Sri Lankans
Aappa/ Indiaappa/ Kottu – the most famous night time local food
Milk Rice – made to share the happiness
Sweets such as Dodol, Aluwa, Keum
Fruits such as watermelon, wood apple, grape, banana
However, you can find international varieties also in hotels and restaurants.
Travelling in Sri Lanka
Public as well as private transport modes are available Sri Lanka. Usually, the public transport is slow and crowdy. However, you can take inter-city busses and trains to travel from one city to other. Also, cab services provided by private firms and also from hotels are commonly available. Hiring a cab would be the most efficient way travel distant locations however would be more expensive. Travelling short distances by a Tuk Tuk is the easiest and cheapest mode available. It is wise to choose Tuk Tuks that are metered as you pay the precise amount.
Currently, there are no areas that are restricted to visitors in Sri Lanka.
Destinations for Ayurveda Treatments
The country is also known for its Ayuravedic treatments for various illnesses. This is in practice from the antient times. The famed Ayurvedic massage can be enjoyed at several centers in Sri Lanka. The deeply relaxing treatment involving heated oils is extremely relaxing and healing. If you’re excited to try one, these are the centers to approach.
- Spa Ceylon
- Bentota Ayurveda Center
- Siddhalepa Spa, Cinnamon Gardens
Shopping Destinations in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has numerous shopping destinations among them unique local items can be bought from below places.
- The Pettah Market: handmade bags, batik textiles
- Odel Department Store: Fashion and lifestyle products with local touch
- Majestic City: Fashion and lifestyle products, food
- Laksala: Handicrafts, spices and souvenirs
Sri Lanka as a tourist destination will bring you a life time experience, will let your heart to melt with the simplicity and genuineness of people and will make you feel like living for once again. So, come, visit the pearl of Indian ocean and live your vacation to the fullest.