Sri Lanka Must-Do's
This breathtaking tropical Island Nation has no fewer than 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the old town of Galle and the secret city of Kandy. I think I caught the wanderlust bug after my visit to Sri Lanka. Known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean the country is renowned for its unspoilt scenery that includes verdant Hills, Pristine beaches and 1330 km of coastline. Sri Lanka offers Travellers a plethora of things to see and do including whale watching, hot air ballooning, Spice Shopping to Scuba Diving and trips around the busy capital Colombo. If you are visiting Sri Lanka, here's my break down on what you shouldn't miss - some of which I did experience myself, some of which I only heard of when I came back but, I have decided to include it here for those of you who wish to visit Sri Lanka and are referring to my blog.
When should you go to Sri Lanka?
This isn’t as easy a question to answer as you might think, because despite being so small, Sri Lanka has markedly different climates across the island, due to it having two separate monsoon seasons.
The good news is that there’s always going to be somewhere sunny on the island. The bad news… somewhere else is likely to be wet!
Generally, April – June is the wettest season in the west and hill country (including Kandy).
The east coast, on the other hand, has its wet season in November / December.
The worst time for weather (but likely cheapest for your pocket), is October – November, when it can rain anywhere.
What Should You Not Miss ?
Get yourself a booking to dine at Ministry of Crab in Colombo
Stop by Beruwala and visit Bevis Bawa's home
Try and stay in one of the hotels designed by architect Geoffrey Bawa
A safari through the Minneriya National Park
Trekking the Sigiriya of course. Sigiriya is one of the most valuable historical monuments of Sri Lanka. Referred by locals as the Eighth Wonder of the World this ancient palace and fortress complex has significant archaeological importance and attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is probably the most visited tourist destination of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya rock plateau, formed from magma of an extinct volcano, is 200 meters higher than the surrounding jungles. Prepare yourself for a little challenge and conquer the 1200+ steps to the top. The climb is marked with good paths and stairs. The start at the terraces gardens gives you the most impressive perspective of the rock.
The Royal Botanical Garden at Kandy : probably the best garden in Sri Lanka, these gardens feature a giant banyan tree, an orchid house and bats.
Learn all about Tea at the Tea Museum in Kandy. Drinking tea where you discover more about it is very relaxing!
Visit the old town of Galle.Built by the Dutch, the original city of Galle dates from 1663, and is today one of the best surviving examples of a fortified port city in Asia. It’s also a UNESCO world heritage site.These days, it’s a wonderful, vibrant place to wander about, with highlights including those incredible walls and the lighthouse. It’s also filled with boutiques, cafes and no shortage of hotel options.
Go for a safari at Yala National Park. before I visited Sri Lanka I had no idea how incredible the wildlife viewing opportunities were. Yala National Park is full of wildlife, but the main attraction is without doubt the leopard. Yala has one of the highest densities of Leopard anywhere in the world, meaning your chance to see these animals is pretty good. You can now also go glamping here. This wasn't something that was on offer when we travelled few years back and I think it's an incredible experience to have.
A train ride from Kandy to Ella. The train from Kandy and Ella is a beautiful 7-hour ride through tea plantations, endless mountain views and running waving kids along the train track. Getting a train ticket as a tourist can be hard because next to the popularity among tourists, locals use the train to head back home or to their work.
Walk along the rails on the Nine Arch Bridge in Ella This now world-famous bridge is located just outside of Ella Town and on the same way as Little Adam’s Peak. With a small 30 minute walk through the woods, you will reach a piece of beautiful architecture hidden between lush green tea fields.
Walk to World’s End Get up really early in the morning and get ready for a good 4 km walk to World’s End. World’s End is located in the Horton Plains National Park which has a UNESCO status. The 9.5 km round trip takes around three hours. Keep an eye on the weather conditions, rain or fog can totally ruin the experience. Rainy season in this region lasts from April to September.
Go whale watching in Mirissa! Mirissa attracts all kinds of people, surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers. The 2km long Sri Lankan beach, divided by the Parrot Rock is full of great restaurants and bars. Mirissa beach is one of the most well-known beaches in Sri Lanka. The left side of the bay is particularly popular with snorkelers while the right side of Mirissa Beach is a great surfing hot spot. You can climb up on the Parrot Rock by walking through the water Trincomalee is also famous for Whale Watching. Which is also one of the popular things to do in Mirissa in the opposite season. The whale season in Trincomalee runs from March until August.
Wijaya Beach (Beach Swing) The most Instagrammed place of Sri Lanka is without a doubt the beach swing at Wijaya Beach. It isn’t really on Wijaya Beach but just around the corner. Search on Google Maps for Dream Cabana, Unawatuna. You can visit this well-known swing in Unawatuna, one of our favorite beaches in Sri Lanka. The swing ride costs 3 USD but it’s free if you’re staying at the Dream Cabana guesthouse on the beach.
Seeing the Fishermen at Unawatuna. One of the other popular attractions in Sri Lankan beaches is checking out this unique method of fishing called “stilt fishing”, which basically consists of fishermen standing on sticks to catch fish. We witnessed this in different places and despite of it being so “touristic” of us, we decided to take their photos. Dalawella Beach (where the Palm Tree Swing is) and Koggala Beach are some of the well-known places where you can see stilt fishers.
What to Buy As Souvenirs
Spices specifically Cinnamon
Tea ( Buy teas from the town / in shopping mall rather than from the factories and museums. The same teas are marked up much higher. Do not do all your tea shopping fromone place. The airport duty free has a lot of variety and excellent packaging of teas to choose from)
Save this for later :)