With sun-drenched coastlines, tropical climate, lush foliage, diverse lands, historical pride, abundant flora, and fauna, Sri Lanka was named after the best country to visit according to renowned travel publishers. Its position in the Indian Ocean makes this island a biodiverse heritage. Whether you are a first time visitor or have visited Sri Lanka before, there are plenty of secrets to be unfolded in this little jewel. So, what makes a tour in Sri Lanka unique from other countries? Indeed, you are about to discover the exquisiteness of this legendary island. Here are the top 20 reasons to select Sri Lanka as your next travel destination.
- To discover its history & culture
Rich in both history and culture, the country comprises many historical phenomena of the bygone era; some are also well-known world wonders and world heritage sites – They are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Sigiriya, and Dambulla. While the cultural triangle covers Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Kandy, Sigiriya boasts as a UNESCO world heritage site. The historical paintings, the temples built in the past, frescoes, and archaeological remains are the best pieces of evidence of the historical existence.
- Experience the tropical climate
While the climate in Sri Lanka remains mostly tropical throughout the year, there are also monsoon seasons in which you may expect unexpected rainfalls. However, this doesn’t mean that the same climate prevails in the entire nation or interrupts your travel plans. These monsoon seasons affect different parts of the country at different periods and months. By means; if it is raining in the West, still you can experience sunny weather in other parts of the island.
- wander along serene coastlines
As an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has no shortage of pristine beaches scattered across several regions. These palm-fringed infinite coastlines are renowned for beach holidays, night vibes, stilt fishing, coral reefs, sunbaths, water sports, and wanders. Mirissa, Bentota, Unawatuna, Nilaveli, Uppuveli, Hikkaduwa, Arugam Bay, Pasikudah, and Kalkudah, Beruwala, Trincomalee, and Koggala are a few to name.
- To climb ancient rocks
Your visit to Sri Lanka remains incomplete unless you have climbed the lion rock Fortress. Positioned in the Central province of Sri Lanka, lion rock Fortress so-called Sigiriya was the capital of King Kashyapa in which his palace was built. Visitors are allowed to the premises from 7 am to 5 pm, and tickets can be purchased from the counter to begin the hike. You will have to climb through narrow staircases which will take you to the summit. During the climb, you will see the ruins of the palace such as paintings, frescoes, the mirror wall, and abandoned gardens which were once occupied by the royal family. Reaching the top of Sigiriya, visitors can encounter charismatic vistas surrounded by foliage.
- Unfold the secrets of caves
Next to Sigiriya, where the golden temple or the cave temple of Dambulla lies. It is the well-preserved cave temple complex that houses paintings and statues of Gautama Buddha.
- Witness the Megalithic tombs
Ibbankaduwa is an ancient burial site that is named as an archaeologically conserved site at present. The Megalithic tombs in Ibbankaduwa span across a large area with 42 clusters and each cluster hold 10 tombs. It is a great example that confirms ancient settlement.
- Witness plentiful of wildlife
The biodiverse national parks in Sri Lanka are home to wildlife and some of the rarest animals. Among the national parks located around the country, Yala is the most visited national park, which drives a large number of tourists every year. While leopards are often spotted in Yala, Sri Lankan elephants, sloth bears, water buffaloes, Toque macaque, and flying snakes are the other creatures found in Yala. Enjoy a wildlife safari in Yala to encounter elephants roaming in the wild, leopards hunting after prey, water buffaloes loafing in meadow and monkeys hopping over trees. Minneriya, kaudulla, Wilpattu, Udawalawe, Kumana, Bundala, and Lunugamvehera are some other places to be included in your Sri Lankan wildlife safari list.
- Spot the giants living in the Ocean
When it comes to witnessing sea mammals, Mirissa is the first destination that comes into mind. This recreational tour allows you to catch a glimpse of the sea creatures living beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean. Whale watching tours start early in the morning and run up to 4 hours, where visitors spot dolphins, spinner whales, blue whales, and sea turtles. Apart from Mirissa, you can also watch dolphin in Kalpitiya and whale in Trincomalee.
- Feed the baby jumbos
Sri Lanka has an entire orphanage for baby jumbos that are stranded in the wild. Founded to take care of wild elephants and unweaned baby elephants wandering in the forests, Pinnawala elephant orphanage has over 100 elephants that are taken care of. During the visit, you will see the daily routine of the elephants, such as bottle feeding and bathing.
- Surfing & water fun
Enclosed by the Indian Ocean, the beaches of Sri Lanka make perfect openings for surfing and several other water sports. Mirissa, Arugam Bay, Hikkaduwa, Beruwala, and Weligama provide year-round surfing experience in seasonal patterns. Visitors can hire boards from nearby shops and catch the waves of the Indian Ocean or any given water sport of their interest – scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, windsurfing, and kite surfing.
- A visit to tea country
The hill country region of central province in Sri Lanka is surrounded by acres of tea estates dotted with tea picking ladies, which also pave the way to unforgettable hiking trails. Ella rock is one of the most visited for tea trails to try. Imagine hiking through lush green tea bushes in the morning and tasting a cup of Ceylon tea at the nearby tea factory. Isn’t that what you want after a tiring walk? Enjoy them all during your visit to Sri Lanka.
- To see Sri Lankan version of “Little England”
Witness the Sri Lankan version of little England also called Nuwara Eliya. Renowned for tea production in Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya was once a recreational ground of the British colonials. Even today, the British influenced landmark buildings like hill club, General’s House, city post office, Queen’s Cottage recalls the presence of the colonial period. The cool climate in Nuwara Eliya and picturesque landscapes makes it a perfect tourist attraction in Sri Lanka.
- Tantalizing food adventure
Sri Lankan cuisine is known to revitalize everyone’s’ taste buds. The country is renowned for flavourful treats mixed with the right amount of spices. The culinary journey in Sri Lanka starts from local food vendors selling street food and expands up to five-star hotels. With street food stalls, restaurants, and luxury hotels evenly spread across the cities, one could taste a variety of food selections from traditional to Western. However, visitors mostly prefer traditional cuisines that add strong flavors to their platter – Dhal, spicy curries, and pickles, and there are more to explore.
- Ayurveda therapies
The ancient healing method called Ayurveda in Sri Lanka has a long history. Many visitors are drawn towards this country to obtain its authentic Ayurveda treatments. From treating illnesses to beauty therapies, travelers will benefit from this indigenous treasure trove. A host of Ayurveda treatments like oil baths, steam baths, spa treatments, Yoga, and meditation can be experienced amidst peaceful surroundings.
- Spot the botanical gardens
There are about 4 major botanical gardens found in Sri Lanka, and each of them occupies a wide variety of plant species. Peradeniya royal botanical garden, Hakgala botanical garden, Henarathgoda botanical garden, and Mirijjawila botanical garden are some of them. Every year, thousands of blossoms adorn the walkways of these gardens while the lofty giants provide shade to its visitors.
- Learn about festivals
With the cultural difference and different ethnicities, Sri Lankan enjoys several festivals throughout the year. Kandy Esala Perahera is the legendary festival celebrated by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. It is often held between July and August to honor the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Various acts such as fire juggling, Kandyan dances, elephant parades, whip-dances, and traditional dances will be performed during the event to symbolize the tradition of Sri Lanka.
- Witness Buddha/Adam’s footprint
Different religions have different believes on Adam’s Peak, often called Sri Pada – it is where the sacred footprint of Buddha or Adam lies. While Buddhists believe it to be the footprint of Lord Buddha, Christians and Muslims believe it to be Adam’s and Hindus believe it as the footprint of deity Shiva. While there are 6 tracks to reach Sri Pada, it is deemed as a sacred pilgrim site by the Buddhists.
- Enjoy nightlife
The heart of the country, Colombo has so many places to entertain and spend your night. Busy Colombo is packed with themed pubs, classy cafes, live music, western-style night clubs, and casino to keep its guests amused throughout the night. Indeed, it has everything you have dreamt of and anything you wish for.
- Shop till you drop
Whether you are looking for a local or classy shopping experience, Sri Lanka has both to satisfy your shopping desires. Pettah in Colombo is the reputed destination for local shopping. Often crowded streets in Pettah have plenty of stalls and shops to buy whatever in your mind. On the other side, classy shopping malls like Colombo city center, Odel, One Galle Face, and Crescat welcome its visitors to those who prefer high-end shopping.
- Memorable train journeys
Although various train routes operated within the country, Nanu Oya to Ella or vice versa is known as the most scenic train ride which drives travelers through the hill county suburbs. The train trip allows you to explore the beauty of the central highlands encircled by paddy fields and jade green tea estates.