Recognized as ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka is a popular vacation spot due to its stunning landscapes, abundant natural beauty and many incredible sights. It is also an increasingly famous budget destination today for a memorable holiday with family and close ones. Each of the places in multicultural Sri Lanka has its own allure. From tropical rainforests and rich wildlife to beautiful beaches, tea gardens and ancient Buddhist ruins, your sojourn in this heaven on earth will always hold a special place in your heart. Depending on your interests, there are so many things to do in Sri Lanka.
Get packing and strap yourself in for an unforgettable journey! Are you ready to experience the best of Sri Lanka?
Here are 10 of the best places in Sri Lanka to include in your itinerary:
Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Nestled in the central Matale district, Sigiriya is one of the best ancient sites in the country (dating back to third century BC) and single most dramatic sight. You probably can’t help but marvel at everything about this ancient citadel and UNESCO World Heritage Site – right from the start of your vertiginous climb to the flat topped summit the fortress is built on top of. This gigantic column of rock, rising 200 meters (660 ft) into the skies was once a royal palace. ‘Lion’s Rock’ is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and palatial city center home to the ruins of an ancient civilization. Hard to miss the awe-inspiring vistas of the rolling hills in the jungle below, most magnificent in the last stretch! Take it all in – also surrounding you are landscaped pleasure gardens, lily-covered moats and quiet shrines. On your way, you’ll pass Buddha statues and elaborate frescoes that fill the caves. A giant pair of lion’s paws carved into the bedrock at the entrance invites you to step into the past.
It has been suggested that Sigiriya is the eight natural wonder in the world!
Top Attractions: Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Pidurangaya Rock, Minneriya National Park, Sigiriya Museum
Nuwara Eliya’s distinctive countryside is lush with a vivid spread of flora and fruits and vegetables and the world’s finest orange pekoe tea. Wandering around in its stunning landscapes, you’ll pass sprawling tea estates and waterfalls. The moniker ‘Little England’ may give you an idea of the exceptionally quaint allure and colonial ambiance of hill country Nuwara Eliya. Located high in the mountains, this is an authentic nature and wildlife escape (with a whisper of folklore all around you) in Sri Lanka! Tea is a big business in Sri Lanka. An absolute must-do activity here is a guided tour of a tea making factory. Kind of an added bonus if you go tea plucking – you get to work shoulder-to-shoulder with tea plantation workers! Tea lovers relish the flavour of local Ceylon tea.
Top Attractions: Tea estates, St Clair’s Falls, Victoria Park, Gregory Lake, Moon Plains, Lovers Leap waterfall
The capital city has the most vibrant atmosphere and it is where you will touch down upon arrival in Sri Lanka. Colombo is worthy of both a pit stop and an extended stay. Make the most of your time here by immersing yourself in the city’s lively metropolitan ambiance. This is also the place to give free rein to your local food cravings. Anticipate many delicious varieties of local seafood and street grub. Colombo has a rich colonial heritage and more than a handful of picnic spots and popular, scenic attractions – museums, recreational parks and Buddhist temples. With the abundance of shopping centers in the city, it makes complete sense to want to indulge in some (perfectly affordable) retail therapy. All in all, just what you need for quality time with your loved ones!
Top Attractions: Galle Face Green, Beira Lake, Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple
Blessed with swaying coconut palm trees and a tranquil atmosphere, Bentota is a tropical paradise. The coastline of Sri Lanka – stretching over 1585 kilometres – is dotted with the most beautiful beaches. Make sure to take the time to go hopping between them. One of the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka, Bentota is an idyllic place to soak up the sun and take a dip in the waters. The area has some of the most breathtaking views and exciting activities to experience, besides a dazzling marine life and age-old cinnamon trade.
Mirissa is a heavenly place where you let the days pass you by without a care in the world! They say that this wonderful beach destination in the south of Sri Lanka has it all – exquisite beaches with water sports facilities, surf waves, whale watching, and fabulous restaurants and bars. Mirissa is surely worth more than a day trip. Rajah and the Whales is a popular company which organizes trips regularly to see blue whales, dolphins and killer whales. Enjoy an incredible sunset at the beach in your hammock. The quaint beach town is also famous for its seafood.
One of the highlights of your Sri Lanka trip could be the beautiful train ride from Ella to Kandy. Photo opportunities galore! Located in the heart of the island and nestled in the middle of beautiful precipitous green hills, Kandy is the second largest city of the country and the last ancient Kingdom capital. This marvelous city full of rich heritage and culture. It is home to Temple Of The Tooth, one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in the world.
The most popular place to visit in Sri Lanka. At a time that sees much of Sri Lanka becoming increasingly modernised, take a step back in time to Sri Lanka’s exotic past, in Galle, at a three hour coastal drive from Colombo! Galle is the largest port in southern Sri Lanka and arguably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Sri Lanka. Steeped in history, Galle is a gem best explored wistfully on foot. This charming Dutch colonial town is well-preserved and just the ticket for history buffs. Built by the Portuguese in the 16th century – today, UNESCO World Heritage Site Galle perfectly blends cultures, architecture, traditions and cuisines.
Hikkaduwa is a seaside resort town located just 98 kilometres south of Colombo. Beachfront Hikkaduwa is a quiet, idyllic destination and fascinating Buddhist island nation. It is also a beautiful base from which to explore the rest of Sri Lanka. A famous activity here is surfing and snorkelling in the azure waters at the beaches – it is recommended you go surfing in the months from November to March. Feel pampered with an exotic massage and flavourful seafood curries. When it comes to accommodation, JACKPOT! There is something for both budget travellers and luxury seekers at this stunning beachside town. Great value. Take leisurely strolls on the beach to take the edge off. Tuktuks are also a great, affordable way to get around.
Yala National Park
The really pretty cool thing about this park is that a large portion of the park is a natural habitat for the animals housed here, without the pesky intrusion of safari jeeps! The two blocks (out of five) that are open to the public have winding trails under a canopy of trees arched over the road. The wild, mossy forests touching the sides of the trail are described as a scene straight out of Lord Of The Rings! The animals sightings here are most in the month of February. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900. Important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds, Yala is also the most visited and second biggest national park (979 square kilometres) in Sri Lanka. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals.
Witness a most mesmerizing sunrise at Adam’s Peak. Trekking to the mist-covered peak is one of the most exciting expeditions to have in Sri Lanka!
Also known as Sri Pada, Adam’s Peak is the second highest in the country and one of the most sacred sites in the world. Start your climb to the top in the middle of the night so you reach the peak just in time for a breathtaking sunrise. Trek up 5500 stones steps to the peak to watch as the solitary mountain (with its landmark pyramid shape) comes alive with a marvellous symphony of temple bells, drums, and conch shells. Soak in an unrestricted panoramic view of the tropical rainforest below and around, for as far as the eyes can see.
Are you all set to experience the best things about Sri Lanka? Get in touch with TripFactory today for assistance with a tailor-made Sri Lanka holiday package, for an unforgettable, Insta-worthy vacation!