Discover the top 5 reasons to visit Sri Lanka this year
Sri Lanka is fast becoming a very popular tourist destination thanks to its picture perfect beaches, magnificent ruins, unique wildlife and friendly people. Not to mention some of the most amazing food you’ll ever taste. Our Indian Ocean expert Jackie fell in love with this beautiful country on her very first visit and returns whenever she gets a chance. Sit back, relax and take in her top 5 reasons to visit Sri Lanka this year.
1 – Golden Beaches
Sri Lanka’s entire coast is lined with seductive sandy beaches, perfect for all kinds of sun worshippers. Forget all your worries as you take in your stunning surroundings – hypnotic swaying palm trees, clear azure waters and lush vegetation. For a truly decadent beach experience, head to Bentota Beach in the Southern Province, a short hour drive from Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. The resorts here are exceptional value for money and feature cute cottages amongst manicured tropical gardens – the perfect base for any getaway.
2 – Cultural Ruins
Sri Lanka is host to some of the oldest bastions of ancient human civilization, some being nearly 3,000 years old. Incredibly, you can have nearly unfettered access to roam and explore these to your heart’s content. Local tour guides will offer to show you around the ruins, taking you to places off the beaten track you won’t read about in your guide book. Sigiriya Rock is an ancient fortress carved into a massive limestone monolith that stands 900 feet above sea level. Head there to explore spine-tingling catacombs and exquisite frescoes. No trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without experiencing the ancient Sacred City of Kandy, a UNESCO world heritage site that boasts ornate palaces, elaborate Buddhist temples and complex water gardens. The city is located in the centre of Sri Lanka, where it has been the seat of power for the government for nearly 2,500 years.
3 – Animals and Wildlife
This stunning country is one of the best places to see exotic animals like elephants, bengal tigers and the water monitor, a relative of the feared komodo dragon. Sri Lankans have taken conservation efforts seriously with the establishment of many wildlife preserves and national parks. The main ones to visit are Yala National Park and Wippattu National Reserve, where you can see packs of leopards, herds of elephants and flocks of pink flamingos amidst some of the most amazing scenery in the world. Animal lovers certainly won’t be disappointed!
4 – Incredible Food
There’s a reason Sri Lanka was such a prized British colony – the famous Ceylon tea. The tea here is simply amazing and something you must indulge in on your trip! Food is equally delicious with many diverse dishes being served. If you love spicy food, try lamprais, a rice and curry dish wrapped in banana leaf and slow cooked. You can feel the heat from the curry mingle with the soothing milk rice. Hoppers are flour pancakes that are rolled around cinnamon, honey, milk, chocolate and other delightful ingredients. It’s easy to see why these are such a hit with the locals. And, as you’d expect, seafood in Sri Lanka is amazing, especially barbecued tuna steaks and shrimp.
5 – Sri Lankan People
Everywhere you go in Sri Lanka, the locals will want to tell you about their country and make you feel at home. They truly appreciate you taking the time to visit their remote island. It is not unusual to be invited to eat with their family and friends at a night party or to be invited to a religious service. Over 99% of Sri Lankans identify religion as one of the most important aspects of their life and you will find a peaceful merging of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Take locals up on their offers to guide you through a city or ancient ruin and get their advice about what upcoming events to attend. This is Sri Lanka at its finest.
Any trip to Sri Lanka is a rewarding experience of culture, exotic scenery and sights. It is easy to lose track of time and even lose track of yourself, which is exactly what you want on your holiday. You will want to go back the minute you leave!