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.