Category Archives: Sri Lanka

Best Things to Do and See in Sri Lanka

Teeming with pristine beaches, lush forests and green tea gardens and flaunting a cultural flamboyance unlike any other, Sri Lanka is truly a traveller’s delight. Located right in the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean, this fascinating teardrop shaped island has impressed the travellers with its beauty and charm for long. Featuring everything, from natural beauty to architectural wonders, the island is one of the most sought after holiday destinations in the South Asia. Read on to learn more about the island.

Beaches

Beaches

Kissed by the tropical waters and famed for its long coastline along the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is definitely a beach-lover’s paradise. Unawatuna, Bentota, Mirissa, Dickwella, Weligama, Galle, Induruwa, Hikkaduwa, Koggala, Negombo, Uppuveli, Trincomalee and Polhena are some of the must visit beaches in the country. Coral reefs, hot springs, lagoons and shacks are popular attractions on the beaches. Moreover, music festivals and dance performances are quite common on the beaches. Most of beaches in the country are ideal for water sports such as diving, snorkelling, kayaking and wind surfing.

Attractions

Whether it is historical forts, ancient buildings, rock fortresses, cave temples, Buddhist sites, museums or national parks, there is a lot to explore in Sri Lanka. Sigiriya, Galle Fort, Kandy Lake, Adam’s Bridge, Devon Falls, St. Clairs Fall, Haldummulla Fort, Colombo Fort, Fort Hammenheil, Star Fort and Royal Palace of Kandy are some of the most well-known attractions in the country.

Tea Plantations

Introduced by the British, tea is the country’s most famous export item. Sri Lanka stands as the 4th largest producer of tea in the world. Ceylon Tea is the major speciality of Sri Lanka and is loved by people all over the world.

Tea-Plantations

Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Bandarawela, Haputale, Galle, Matara, Mulkirigala, Ratnapura and Kegalle are among the key tea growing areas in Sri Lanka. Apart from the beach visits, sightseeing and different adventure sports, exploring the tea plantation sites and watching the process of tea manufacturing is the most popular activity among tourists visiting the island.

Shopping

Be it precious gems, handloom fabrics, batik, tea, handicrafts, ceramics, jewellery or leather products, Sri Lanka has a lot in store for shopping lovers. Traditional masks, Sri Lankan lace, metalwork and lacquerware are picked most by the travellers who look for souvenirs of their trip to the country. Though there are several large malls in the country, shopping from one of the traditional street side stalls, gift shops or beach shacks is a more cultural experience.

Festivals

With a diverse population belonging to different ethnical groups and sections, Sri Lanka’s calendar is packed with a long list of cultural celebrations and events. Most of the famous festivals celebrated here have a cultural or religious side to them. Sinhala-Tamil New Year, Vesak, Duruthu Perahera, Navam Maha Perahera, Maha Shivarathri, Poson Poya, Vel Festival, Pongal, Kataragama and Esala Poya some of the most popular festivals in Sri Lanka.

Food

Exploding with flavours, food in Sri Lanka is one of its most potent draws. Influenced by diverse culinary traditions, Sri Lankan cuisine flaunts a variety of gastronomic delights and delicacies prepared using authentic ingredients and organic herbs. Kottu (godhamba bread stuffed with vegetables, egg or meat), Kevum (deep-fried, sweet Sri Lankan pastry made from rice flour and kithul treacle), Kokis (deep-fried, crispy and sweet dish), Pol sambola (dish made from coconut), lunumiris (sambal paste served as a condiment), Falooda (rose syrup, vermicelli, sweet basil seeds, and pieces of jelly with milk) and Kalu dodol (kithul jaggery, rice flour and coconut milk) are few of the must try dishes on the island. Being an island country, seafood including fish, prawns and crabs, is the biggest hit here.

Temples

Temples

Hindu and Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka are a major tourist attraction. Preserving a major chunk of the religious history of the country are prominent temples like Temple of the Tooth, Dambulla Cave Temple, Thuparamaya, Vajiraramaya Temple, Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, Isipathanaramaya temple, Sri Kailawasanathar Swami Dev Temple, Koneswaram Temple and Sri Maha Bodhi. Most of these temples host traditional festivals and events on special occasions.

Museums

Collecting and preserving valuables from different ancient eras, museums in Sri Lanka are quite popular and visited in large numbers. National Museum, National Museum of Natural History, The Dutch Period Museum, The Dutch Period Museum, Koggala Folk Museum, The National Maritime Museum, Ehelepola Museum, Archaeological Museum and Tea Museum are among the top ones.

Must Visit Attractions in Galle, Sri Lanka

From Dutch colonial buildings to historical temples and tea plantations to ancient churches, Galle has it all. Located on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, this former trading port is one of the most vibrant places to visit on the island. Read on and find out which are the top attractions of the city.

Galle Sri Lanka

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

‘Kingdom of the Lion’, Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Galle. Established in 1978 to preserve and protect endangered animals on the island, today it has been successful in providing home to several endemic species. Elephants, leopards, purple faced langur, greater racket-tailed drongo, orange-billed babbler, red-faced malkoha, green-billed coucal and Sri Lanka blue magpi are among the animals and birds spotted here.

Sinharaja-Forest-Reserve

National Museum of Galle

Located in the oldest building of the city, National Museum of Galle is one of the most prominent museums in the country.

It houses a wide collection of interesting artefacts, items and other valuables including jewellery, mask carvings, furniture, and weapons. Ancient wooden carvings and paintings dating back to the pre colonial era are on display here.

Unawatuna

Unawatuna is a beautiful coastal town in Galle. Loved for its stunning beaches, hidden corals and old world charm, the traditional town is a major tourist attraction for the ones looking to experience the best of sun, surf and sand. Kadolana (a famous mangrove), Rumassala Hillock (an area where several species of endemic birds and animals can be found) and Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya Buddhist Temple are among the popular attractions here. Swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving are the most enjoyed activities here.

Dutch Reformed Church

Also known as ‘Groote Kerk’, Dutch Reformed Church is among the oldest Protestant churches on the island. Built in 1755 by the Dutch, this ancient structure is known for its Doric style architecture and traditional design. A pulpit made up of calamander (Malaysian wood) and the royal entrances are the two impressive features of this church. Shops and vendors selling gifts and souvenirs can be spotted around the church.

The Dutch Fort

First built in 1588 by the Portuguese, Dutch Fort is one of the most visited attractions in Galle. Later modified by the Dutch, the popular fort is a perfect blend of stunning architecture, history and design. The fort’s entrance gate, carved pillars and wall paintings all appeal to the travellers. You can enjoy traditional delicacies at the Galle Fort Hotel Restaurant and other eateries located around the fort.

Best Known Tourist Attractions in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Established by Vikramabahu III of Gampola during his reign, Kandy is an ancient Sri Lankan city. Located in the south central part of the island, the city features some of the ancient Buddhist temples and shrines dating back to 18th century.

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Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, Kandy is an apt destination to explore Buddhist culture and tradition. Here are some of the most well-known tourist attractions of the city.

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Located close to Udawattakele Sanctuary, The Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic is one of the most prominent shrines in Sri Lanka. Also known as Dalada Maligawa, the popular site houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. A popular tradition of the temple is the chanting of prayers and hymns by a dedicated group of priests and monks three times a day within the temple complex. Also, every Wednesday, a holy symbolic bath of the relic in scented water is done and the water is distributed among the crowd. It is believed that this water possesses healing powers.

World Buddhist Museum

Nestled inside the former High Court building, World Buddhist Museum is a famous attraction in Kandy. The museum is home to numerous pictures, photographs, models and illustrations depicting various stages of Buddhism in the country. It is the relics of Buddha, the beautifully crafted painted images which attracts visitors and tourists from across the world. Interestingly, the construction of the museum was a joint effort by 17 Asian countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Korea, Malaysia, Bhutan, India and Afghanistan.

Aluvihara Rock Temple

Also known as Matale Alu Viharaya, Aluvihara Rock Temple is a popular temple located in the Matale district of Sri Lanka. Built during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa, the ancient temple houses some of the most beautiful paintings and depictions of Buddha. The temple was the location, where the Pali Canon was first written down completely in text on palm leaves. The reclining statue of Buddha, the arch of dragon, and a painting depicting the hell and the heaven are most popular among the visitors.

Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara

Situated in the heart of Badulla, Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara is another ancient Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. Believed to have been built by King Devanampiya Tissa, the popular site is regarded as one of the Solosmasthana (the 16 sacred places) in the country. As per Hindu mythological texts, the war between Rama and Rawana (Ramayana) took place near the site. Popular attractions within the structure include thorana (pandol), Makara thorana, image house, The Stupa Bo Tees (bodhi trees).

Thuparamaya

Built after the introduction of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Thuparamaya is one of the oldest stupas on the island. Built by King Devanapiyatissa, the popular site consists of relics, inscriptions and testimonies written and maintained by Buddha. At the time of its discovery, the site was used as a residential complex for Bhikkhus (monks).

Kadurugoda Viharaya

Located in a small hamlet called Kandaroda, Kadurugoda Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. Constructed during the Anuradhapura era, the site was discovered by a famous historian P.E. Pieris in 1917. At the time of its discovery there were 56 stupas with remains and relics of Buddha.

Experience the Grandeur of Galle, Sri Lanka

Blessed with stunning natural beauty and rustic grandeur, Galle is a popular tourist destination in the island country of Sri Lanka.

Galle

The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a pristine beach nearby and boasts of lush surroundings and historical monuments reflecting grand colonial architecture. Read on to know more about the attractions of Galle in Sri Lanka.

Old Gate

The Old Gate is one of the best places to explore the city’s colonial history. The site has a stunning entrance with a beautifully engraved British coat of arms at its top on the outer side. As you explore the Old Gate, notice the engravings on the inside of the gate, which is flanked by a couple of lions and a cock. This section of the old wall was also used as a warehouse to store the spices that were to be exported.

The Dutch Fort

One of the main attractions of the region is the Dutch Fort of Galle, which is best explored on foot. Enjoy an early morning stroll or walk across the ramparts of the fort to marvel at its colonial grandeur. The Dutch Fort is considered to be one of the biggest remaining fortresses in Asia to have been built by Europeans.

Dutch Reformed Church

The Dutch Reformed Church is a part of the Galle Fort and visitors can go through the entire church in around half an hour’s time. Experience the soothing vibe of the serene environs of the church and admire the antiquity of its organ loft, which used to contain a cumbrous Dutch organ. Also, check out the wall hatchments, tombstone engravings, and the orthodox pulpit.

Koggala

Visit the charming coastal town of Koggala in Galle, which is also the hometown of a renowned local writer named Martin Wickramasinghe. His old residence has been converted into a museum called the Museum of Folk, Art & Culture. It displays a fantastic collection of early 20th century local folk artefacts, including folk dance costumes, sports items, household goods, and furniture. The Koggala Lake and its lagoon is a bird watcher’s paradise as the several small islands here attract lots of birds.

Unawatuna Bay

To enjoy water sports and scenic ocean views, head out to the fantastic Unawatuna Bay. Protected by a reef, the bay is popular with tourists and locals alike for its safe swimming and snorkelling opportunities. Visitors can also buy the local handicraft Galle lace, an excellent souvenir.

Top Reasons to Visit Sri Lanka!

Rich and beautiful Ceylon, popularly called Sri Lanka, is a popular destination in Asia. The island country lures travellers with its myriad charms – it has serene golden beaches, lush mountains, grand historical attractions, and exotic wildlife to name a few.

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While here, sip the world-famous Ceylon tea and also enjoy exotic ayurvedic spa experiences to collect memories of a lifetime. Check out some of the top reasons to book flights to this amazing country.

Spectacular Natural Beauty

Sri Lanka is blessed with diverse landscapes spread across and also extending beyond several national parks and nature reserves. It is surrounded by the ocean and has a majestic coastline punctuated by numerous pristine beaches, rocky coves, and lagoons. Also, there are dense forests, wetlands, waterfalls, and misty mountains. A true heaven for nature enthusiasts!

Diverse Wildlife

Wildlife spotting is one of the most famous activities here. The country shelters a variety of animals, birds, and marine species. It is home to the UNESCO designated World Heritage Site; the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and has around 14 national parks. You are likely to spot huge elephants, leopards, sloth bears, sambhar, spotted deer, and many other wild animals. A bird watcher’s paradise, the country is home to around 233 resident species and many migratory species.

Adventure sports

Sri Lanka’s wonderful landscapes make it a paradise for adventure seekers. The country’s long coastline makes it a perfect place for water-based sports such as wind-surfing, water-skiing, surfing, sailing, and scuba-diving across popular sites such as Negombo, Wadduwa, Kalutara, and Beruwela. Go kayaking, white-water rafting, and canoeing on Kalu Ganga, Kelani Ganga, and scores of other rivers are also quite popular. Besides, here are plenty of trekking trails, with some of the most popular ones being at the Sinharaja rainforest, the cloud-forests of Horton Plains, and the Knuckles mountain range.

Cuisine

The delectable local cuisine is another highlight of a trip to Sri Lanka. The country is well endowed with the best of vegetation, including several kinds of rice, spices, vegetables, and fruits. So while here, enjoy its staple rice with an assortment of curries of eggplant, potato, green banana, chicken, or fish. Don’t forget the local favourites; hoppers and pittu (a flour and coconut delicacy). Seafood aficionados will be spoilt for choice with abundant and fresh fish, prawns, crab, squid, and crayfish.

Historical Sites

The island country has a rich cultural heritage. It is home to around six World Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO. Explore the likes of the sacred ruins of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, sacred temples of Dambulla and Kandy, and the historical and colonial heritage of Galle. Discover the gems of the ancient world with a tour of the ancient royal capital Kandy, which now houses the Sacred Temple of the Tooth.

Ayurveda & Spa

The relaxing and soothing Ayurvedic treatments and rejuvenating spa treatments are a must for travellers. Don’t leave the country without getting a massage. The massages truly rejuvenate one’s body, mind, and soul.

Travellers, Here’s what NOT to Miss in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, affectionately called ‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, is truly unique! The diverse landscapes in the form of rainforests, plains, highlands, and beaches amaze one and all.

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The vibrant cities have a magic of their own. In fact, there are quite a few absolutely not to be missed attractions and activities at the destination. Here, take a look!

Jungle Beach

Jungle Beach is the ultimate spot for relaxation. The soft sands and views of the deep blue ocean draw people in hordes. It’s also a treat to enjoy refreshing beverages under the bright sun. Those who are looking for ‘Me-Time’ must walk further into the beach, where it’s delightfully secluded. With almost no waves or currents, the waters of Jungle Beach are considered suitable for swimming.

Kandy Esala Perahera in Kandy

The Kandy Esala Perahera in Kandy is one of the oldest and biggest Buddhist festivals of the nation. It encompasses dancers, musicians, and jugglers who showcase their talents and skills in a graceful manner. The extravagantly decorated elephants startle everyone. This 10-day festival comes to an end with the time-honoured diya-kepeema ritual – a water cutting ceremony which is conducted annually at Mahaweli River in Getambe, Kandy.

Yala National Park

Tourists who want to spot wild animals should head to Yala National Park. It is home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species. Lucky visitors can spot leopards, elephants, sloth bears, jackals, peacocks, and crocodiles. The best time to visit Yala is from February to July when the water level of the park is very low, encouraging wild animals to come out in the open. It is advisable to carry water, first-aid, and snacks.

Take a Guided Tour of Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. It grows a tea that is acknowledged by connoisseurs as among the finest in the world. One may join guided tours to learn about tea production. Formerly, Nuwara Eliya grew coffee but the weather played spoilsport. Consequently, tea was extensively cultivated in the same region and it flourished.

Ride the Train

This is a marvellous experience! Train rides in Sri Lanka make people feel as if they are stepping back in time. This old mode of transport chugs through hills and valleys at a slow pace. The scenic beauty grabs the attention of foreigners and locals alike. Journeying in trains is affordable as the rates are attractively low. The train ride from Ella to Kandy is an outstanding one.

Best Place in Sri Lanka to Enjoy Wildlife

srilanka-wildlife

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, Sri Lanka will delight you no end. Despite its small size, the country is one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots and promises a blissful experience for nature lovers and wildlife buffs. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most popular national parks in Sri Lanka.

Wilpattu National Park

Sprawling over an area of 131, 693 hectares, it is Sri Lanka’s largest national park and is believed to be one of the best places in the country to spot leopards. One of the highlighted features of Wilpattu is the abundance of lakes and ponds, which are scattered throughout the park. So apart from wildlife safaris, the park also offers opportunities for fishing, camping and bird watching. Elephants, sloth bears, leopards, spotted deer, and mongoose are some of the animals that can be spotted here.

Yala National Park

One of the most visited and the second largest national park in Sri Lanka, Yala is home to a tremendous variety of flora and fauna. The park has a very high density of the leopard population and is home to over 215 bird species, six of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. Other animals and reptiles you might spot here include sloth bears, sambars, wild pigs, golden jackals and crocodiles. Visitors are also enthralled by its historical and cultural significance; two important pilgrimage sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are located inside the park.

Uda Walawe National Park

Uda Walawe National Park boasts a variety of eco systems including grassland, scrub jungle and riverine forests. It is considered to be amongst the best places in South Asia for sighting elephants in their natural habitat. There are plenty of walking trails here that allow visitors to explore the region at a leisurely pace. The park may not be very rich in terms of wildlife, however, the stunning landscape more than makes up for it. Meandering rivers, beautiful waterfalls, a number of bird species and of course, lush greenery make the park worth exploring.

Top Attractions in and around Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eliya, often billed as “Little England”, is said to be like a toy town. Located in the hill country of Sri Lanka, it is packed full of beautiful places. The town lies in the heart of tea plantations and has numerous attractions. In fact, you may well require more than a couple of days to explore it in entirety. So we recommend you to set at least two days aside for this scenic hill town. Have a look at our recommendations.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park is one of the most popular places in Nuwara Eliya. The park, located in the heart of the town has various garden areas, a playground for kids, and various varieties of plants.

Victoria-Park

Different species of birds also flock here. It is often said to be “one of the nicest, and best maintained, town parks in South Asia”. It is a good place to take a stroll, exercise, unwind or spend romantic time with your partner.  You will have to buy entry tickets for the park. The price of these tickets is different for domestic visitors, foreigners and kids. The park has free Wi-Fi hotspot services too.

Pedro Tea Estate

As mentioned previously, Nuwara Eliya is surrounded by tea plantations, where you can go on tours and also sample fabulous tea.

Pedro-Tea-Estate

Pedro Tea Estate is one such popular place, where you can treat yourself to some of the finest quality of tea available in the region. The estate is easily accessible by rickshaws and public buses. You can go for a factory tour and see tea processing and packaging, apart from the regular tea estate tours. The equipment used in the factory is simple and it is fun to watch the tea-making process. It is a family-friendly place and there is an entry fee for adults.

Gregory Lake

About two kilometres from the town centre of Nuwela Eliya, lies the beautiful Gregory Lake. It is probably one of the most picturesque sunset points in the area and the highlights include, long walkways, motorboats, paddle boats and a beautiful houseboat.

Gregory-Lake

There are several rides for the kids, while different food stalls dish out appetising food.  It is a beautiful and serene place to spend long leisurely moments with your partner and family. We would recommend you to visit before sunset in order to catch the mesmerising sunset. There are entry tickets for adults, while kids can enter for free. Boat rides cost LKR 200 for adults and a hundred for kids.

Three Popular Tourist Destinations in Sri Lanka

When it comes to culture and heritage, Sri Lanka easily remains one of the most popular destinations in South Asia. There are various places of interest in the island country, which attracts tourists from all around the world. With abundant natural landscapes, tea plantations, temples and markets, buying flight tickets to this beautiful country, is worth every penny. Have a look at our pick of top tourist destinations in Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya

Sigiriya

Sigiriya, or the Stone Lion, situated atop a rock plateau stands on the site of the erstwhile palace of King Kasyapa built in the 5th century.  The fortress is one of the most unique and mysterious ancient sites in Sri Lanka and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. There are beautiful ancient frescos here that date back to about 1500 years. This beautiful and mysterious site is a famous pilgrimage site for the Sri Lankans.

Kandy

Kandy

Kandy holds a vital place in the history of Sri Lanka. In 1815, this was the last place where the power was handed over by the King of Sinhala to the British Empire. Kandy is also a popular place for the Buddhists, as there are numerous Buddhist heritage sites here. The highlight of the trip to this beautiful place is Dalada Maligawa, or the Temple of the Tooth, which is said to contain the tooth of Gautama Buddha in a well-guarded casket. If you are a history-buff, this place is a must visit.

Colombo

A trip to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, requires lots of planning. Colombo’s strategic location on the coastline lures a large number of tourists every year. The city is modern and has state-of-the-art infrastructure, including restaurants, luxury hotels, shopping centres, al fresco cafe options and a good transport system. There are various tourist attractions in the capital which were mostly constructed during the colonial era. If you want to experience the flavour of the native culture, you should definitely plan a trip to Pettah; a traditional bazaar. Haggling is common here and you will be able to shop for things at a much cheaper rate.

Exploring the Cultural Heritage of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

srilankaLocated in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province, Anuradhapura is a wonderful tourist spot. The pleasant city is home to a number of archaeological and architectural wonders. Mammoth dagobas, ancient pools, soaring brick minarets and age-old temples depict the city’s rich history and culture. Although many of these structures are now in ruins, Anuradhapura is still considered one of South Asia’s most notable historical destinations and draws history buffs from all over the world. Here is a quick look at the top tourist attractions in this ancient Sri Lankan town.

Abhayagiri Dagoba

Dating back to the 1st century, Abhayagiri Dagoba is one of the greatest historical structures in Sri Lanka. The brick monument soars 75m above the forest floor, and looks stunning due to its gorgeous architecture and colossal size. The monument complex also has some interesting bas-reliefs, and a large slab with a Buddha footprint.

Bodhi Tree Temple

This sacred Buddhist temple is home to an over 2000-year old Bodhi tree. It is a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists and is frequented by monks and worshippers in large numbers. April and December are particularly busy months. Make sure you leave your luggage at the hotel, as tourists are not allowed to carry anything inside the temple complex.

Ruwanwelisaya

Ruwanwelisaya is just a short walk from Bodhi Tree Temple, and is one of the oldest and most voluminous stupas in the region. Visit the place to see different ancient images, sculptures and smaller stupas built in all four corners of the complex.

Archaeological Museum

Another must-visit site in Anuradhapura, this museum has a superb collection of historical artefacts, carvings and gems and religious objects that were found at various sites in the region. Many interesting sculptures, scattered across the museum’s grounds, are also worth checking out.