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Sri Lanka is not only an island in South Asia but also a must-visit in anybody’s bucket list. It is an all-in-one package for those who love beaches, soothing rainforests, sky kissing mountains, ancient ruins, rich culture both cold and warm climates, mouth-watering food and much more! It is a country so small yet one that offers a big trip for sure. Let’s find out why!
Known for its clean and beautiful beaches, Sri Lanka offers an amazing surfing atmosphere. The best season for surfing is mostly from April to October, when the wind conditions are ideal and ocean swells remain consistent. Best known surf spots are Arugam Bay (East coast), Hikkaduwa, Weligama, Mirissa, Talalla and Bentota that fall in the South coast.
Sri Lanka is gifted with an amazing tea culture with its rich green tea estates that take over the hills of the central Sri Lanka. Ceylon tea is also one of the main exports of the country. Most popular tea points are Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Uda Pussellawa, Uva and Sabaragamuwa provinces. Many tourists prefer to take the train ride to the hill country for its breath-taking sceneries. Walking through the green estates mixed with the soothing chilled weather, tasting a fresh cup of tea is definitely priceless!
Sri Lanka is also a home to legendary kingdoms that date back to 543 BC. Having had many the capital changed from Anuradapura to Kandy which was the last royal kingdom, it has created magnificent buildings, constructions, palace complexes, frescoes and architecture blending with Buddhism which is the official religion of the country from many years. The superb irrigation systems and its set up is till date a mystery and proof for the foreseeing engineering knowledge of the people from that times. Best ancient cities to visit are Anuradapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya-Dambulla, Yapahuwa and Kandy to witness the marvellous carving and sculpting skills of the historic artist. Later on, under the rule of the Portuguese, Dutch and the British, the island also extracted the respective architecture and culture of their practises which makes the stay in Sri Lanka quite vibrant.
Ever thought what attracts all those wildlife photographers to Sri Lanka? The colourful wildlife of course! Out of which elephants and leopards play a major role. The tropical climate of Sri Lanka and the monsoons are quite suitable to its wildlife and nourishes its plantations and water systems throughout the year. In Sri Lanka, one can take up safaris to national parks such as Yala, Wilpattu, Udawalawa, Kumana to spot various species like endemic birds, deer, water Buffaloes, monkeys, stags roaming about freely in their own groups. Camping is possible at some wildlife sites which gives the ultimate nature experience.
Hiking has always been an adventure activity of visitors to Sri Lanka but the latest trend is hiking up less known mountains that fall through jungles, tea terrains crossing mini lakes and streams. The view from the peaks are different from each other. The famous hikes are Adam’s Peak which is more of a religious journey where as other mountains like Knuckles, Ella Rock, Bible Rock, Hanthane, Pidurangala, are more popular for pure view capturing hiking plans. The never ending list of Sri Lankan peaks surely do deserve a tick-off don’t they?
Exploring the fascinating coral reefs, a multitude of tropical fish while swimming into the deep blue sea is actually living a dream. Hikkaduwa, Kalpitiya, Trincomalee and Weligama are good stops and all diving activities are conducted by well-trained instructors. November to April is the best season for diving and snorkelling in the west coast whilst for the east coast its April to September. As a part of sea life one should never miss watching dolphins at Mirissa too. With turquoise coloured water and abundant fish, Sri Lanka is definitely the place for an amazing underwater experience.
Sri Lanka is truly a paradise island. The mountains are further decorated with waters that fall from enormous heights cascading down into a beautiful art. Among many of the country’s falls, Bambarakanda, Diyaluma, Dunhida, Baker’s, are quite popular for its set up. It is no more taking pictures of a waterfall but has turned into a slight hike, trek and an adventure activity for the travellers. River bathing and water rafting are some sports that take place around waterfall areas with proper safety precautions. Some waterfalls are connected to ancient legends and mysteries which makes the journey to these beauties even more exciting. Less known waterfalls are hunted for, as their paths are made clear by the ever curious nature lovers!
The food culture of Sri Lanka is just as vibrant as its people. Inspired with different races, cultures and religions, the country offers mouth-watering dishes for everyone. An ethnic food plate would include red rice, dhal, jack fruit, fresh leaves salad, fried fish to round it up with a coconut chutney mixed with lime juice and chillies. Seafood is plenty due to the coastal location and cuttlefish, shrimps, crabs and all types of fish are very common in any restaurant. Coconut is one ingredient that goes into every curry or chutney. Food is served in Banana leaves or Lotus leaves to preserve the freshness. Apart from these street foods also play a favourite part on all backpackers.
Buddhism being the leading religion, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity are also prevalent religions in the island. All these have left its traces as religious monuments which are widely visited by everyone in all corners of the world. The Kandy Tooth Temple, Jayasri Maha Bodhi in Anuradapura, Adam’s Peak temple, Nallur Hindu Temple in Jaffna, Red Mosque in Pettah – Colombo, Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Ragama and also Talawila St. Anne’s Church are popular destinations to learn about the religions and practises of Sri Lankans. Regardless of the cultures, every festival which is celebrated centralizing each of these religions undoubtedly turns out to be celebrative with decorated streets, dances, parades and seasonal holidays.
Developed as a recent trend for accommodation, hideaway nature resort culture is quite famous about Sri Lanka. With its many lands and areas rich with bio diversity and green landscapes, the country provides excellent accommodation away from all that hassle of the city. These resorts are ranging from budget to luxury, with natural herbal spas, fish therapies, river bathing, authentic and organic food collected from the villages, village tours and acquaintance with the village people. It is a unique and memorable experience for the travellers. Most of these boutique resorts are located near a natural pool or a mountain range to relax the body and soul at an ultimate relaxing holiday.