We often get asked if Sri Lanka is a nice place to visit and if it is worth going to. In my opinion, Sri Lanka is one of those places on earth blessed in abundance with awesome natural beauty. It is green and lush and there are some very nice places to stay. There is a lot to see and experience and it is a true culture trip that will have you talking about it for years to come.
Sri Lanka was previously known as Ceylon. Ceilão, the name given to Sri Lanka in 1505, was translated into English as ‘Ceylon’.
Now officially known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, this island in the South of Asia is becoming a more popular tourist destination by the day.
You can fly in to the city Colombo, with the International Airport that serves almost all airlines: Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB)
From here we would highly suggest that you book a ready-made travel tour or holiday package:
You can expect tropical sunshiny days at the beach with views of coconut trees. So shorts and skirts are fantastic options to pack, but going up to the hills of Ella it gets significantly colder and you will have to pack something a little bit warmer like pants. Good comfortable hiking shoes are a must.
Colombo city is a very busy city with lots of Tuk-Tuks everywhere. Even after sunset, the city is still crazy busy. It is noisy and loud and could be overwhelming. But if you’re part of a tour group you can feel safe to not get lost in all the hustle and bustle. Also, you will know where to focus as there is a lot to take in. Furthermore, there are food stalls all along the promenade, right next to the sea – should you wish to get away from all the noise. As this is a big part of the Sri-Lankan culture, this is often also part of your tour.
The street markets and local fresh produce markets in Colombo are quite an experience. This is also the best place to buy your fruit for the day. The locals buy their daily food here, so the markets can get quite busy, but it is all part of the cultural experience.
If you love curry, Sri Lanka is famous for the best curries ever. So do try it while you’re there. Should you be traveling on your own, stop at the Z.A.N.D. Kitchen and bar situated right on the beach in Negombo. It is the best place to stop for food. You will find fresh fish caught on the day, to be widely available at the restaurants so any fish dish is certainly a winning choice.
If you love hiking, this will be something for your travel bucket list.
Sigiriya or Sinhagiri is a spectacular ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. This massive column of rock, nearly 200 meters high, is a must-see in Sri Lanka. It might look impossible to climb from the first view but actually, you don’t have to be an experienced hiker or rock climber to concur this fortress. But bring comfortable hiking shoes and get ready for some steps as you will be climbing more than 1000 steps. (Just a note this is not for people with a serious fear of heights, believe me.) However, the views from the top are spectacular and you will not regret doing this hike. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that gives you that “I’m on top of the world” feeling.
A must-see while in Sri Lanka. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an awesome temple carved out of rock and is something you just cannot explain. It is situated in Kandy and is usually included in Sri Lanka Tours.
This is a pretty town in the south of Sri Lanka. Unawatuna Beach is known for its palms and coral reefs. The Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery are also situated here.
This fortified old town, founded by the Portuguese and expanded by the Dutch in the 17th century is near Unawatuna. You will find many options on day tours to explore. The lighthouse of Galle is a famous photo spot.
This is the city to stay in when you visit Sri Lanka. It is green, beautiful, central and pretty. While you’re here, visit one of the National parks like Udawalawa or Yala National Park to see the awesome local wildlife. Also, include the ‘Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic‘ in your itinerary. Stroll along the scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is at the heart of the city. In my opinion, I would spend more time here than in Colombo.
From Kandy take the train to Ella. This scenic train ride is definitely not the most glamorous of train rides in the world. However, it is worth it as your views of the ‘green jungle’ certainly make it one of the most beautiful rides ever. You will also see the beautiful tea plantations along the route.
For the best Sri Lanka holiday, book accommodation for a few nights in Kandy at one of the many top rated hotels or resorts.
Yes, some of the best tea in the world comes from Sri Lanka or Ceylon as you might know. The tea plantations, as I’ve mentioned are beautiful and you just have to stop for a special tea experience.
There are some Top Sri Lanka Culture, Coffee & Tea Tours you can book via Viator.
April to September and then again from November to March are the tourist seasons in Sri Lanka.
July to August is the festival season in Kandy. The Kataragama Perehera is a festival that coincides with the new Moon in the Esala month. This usually attracts a lot of travelers.
The Indian Ocean offers warm water and spectacular beaches to the South of Sri Lanka. You will find awesome sunsets in Sri Lanka, especially to the south. Spend your time snorkeling, swimming with the turtles, or just enjoying fabulous lazy days at the beach. Just keep in mind that some of the beaches have strong currents, so it is best to always swim near lifeguards.