Visit a true gem on the world map – Sri Lanka
You will be pleasantly surprised when you arrive in Sri Lanka. Lush green vegetation, Buddhist temples and long stretched beaches are the order of your holiday. From the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonisation, Sri Lanka is filled with history of its past. There’s even an Old Dutch Hospital, which today has been transformed into a restaurant.
No visit to a foreign country is complete without a taste of what the locals eat. Whatever you do, make sure you try crab curry which is a favourite at the coast. Also treat your taste buds to Coconut Sambal, which is a delicious condiment made with coconut, chillies and onion. You can pretty much expect this sambal with every dish. Also try an array of curries, including Mango, beef and beetroot curry. Actually, the real secret is to feast on anything the locals recommend. This exquisite country won’t disappoint.
Things to do in Sri Lanka
- Sigiriya: This World Heritage Site with its old palace and fortress complex is considered one of the most historic monuments in Sri Lanka and is popular among visitors. Built on top of a rock plateau, the fortress consists of old ruins and is surrounded by gardens, ponds, fountains and water walkways. Climb your way to the top and you will see lion paws carved into the rock. The natural beauty is eye-catching and the over 1,000 step climb to the top is well worth it. This is a must-see while touring Sri Lanka. Ensure you have good walking shoes on and get there early in the morning before the crowds.
- Royal Botanical Gardens (Peradeniya): At the largest botanical gardens (60 hectares) in Sri Lanka there is plenty of nature to see in this beautiful garden with its interesting plants and trees. The garden is home to about 4,000 species of plants and boasts impressive orchids and royal palms. There is even a grass collection – check it out! Also visit the Orchid House and have a look at the suspension bridge. You should plan to spend at least 3 hours here, so you can see the whole garden. Pack a picnic basket and head for the gardens to relax.
- Adam’s Peak: This is a must visit on your holiday to Sri Lanka. The peek, is known by locals as Sri Pada ‘sacred footprint’. The legendary stories of this mountain are interesting. Buddhists believe that the footprint at the summit of the mountain is that of Buddha, while Christians believe that Adam fell on the top of the mountain after he was expelled from the Garden of Eden. It’s said that Adam stood on one foot for one thousand years. Located at the mountaintop is a small building which houses the footprint. For something different, do a night climb up the countless steps to the top. A great idea is to head for the summit in time for sunrise – then you will understand the true meaning of an amazing sunrise.
- Uda Walawe National Park: Get a glimpse of elephant, buffalo, deer and leopards when you visit this magnificent park, which is brilliant for game-watching. The park is a popular attraction because Elephant-spotting is easy. You get pretty close up to the elephants and the birdlife is great too. Don’t miss out on the lake where you could spot some buffalo. Enjoy your own Sri Lankan safari!
- Temple of the Tooth: Located in a former royal complex in Kandy, this temple houses a relic of the tooth of Buddha – pilgrims flock to this site. You can’t really see the tooth, as it is kept in a two-story shrine. Legends say that the tooth was removed from Buddha after he died and then the tooth was smuggled to Sri Lanka. The complex also has other attractions for visitors, which include Alut Maligwa – a shrine hall with sitting Buddhas and the World Buddhism Museum. A must visit site on your trip.
- Old Town of Galle: Galle was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century and is a great example of a fortified city. There are plenty shops and places to grab a bite to eat. Have something to eat at the Old Dutch Hospital, which is now a restaurant. It is an interesting part of Sri Lanka filled with history where you will see old Dutch homes and cobblestone walk ways. Enjoy the sea view and get a feel of the colonial heritage as you walk around. Be sure to take your camera with you. The area makes for some good photos.
- Golden Cave Temple: Don’t miss this great attraction, which has been a place of pilgrimage for over 22 centuries. This is a cave monastery with five sanctuaries. Golden Cave Temple is also the largest and best preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka. It gets its name from King Nissankamalla, who had the caves’ interior covered with gold. The complex is filled with over 100 Buddha statues. You will also get to see fascinating paintings. The view from the caves are brilliant. Ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes as the climb to the caves is long.
- Kandy Lake: This is an artificial lake created in 1807 and is located next to the Temple of the Tooth. Stroll around the lake and take some time to relax. There is also an option of a boat ride.
- Hikkaduwa Beach: Put on your snorkelling gear and take a dive and enjoy some underwater scenery or catch a few waves on your surfboard. You can also frequent one of the restaurants and bars at beach. It’s a perfect place to spend some hours in the sun. Even spot some turtles.
- Ruwanweliseya Dagoba: This is the third largest stupa in Anuradhapura and a must-see for tourists. The wall guarding the dagoba is filled with elephant friezes. This is also considered as one of the most sacred places for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The best time to visit here is early morning or late evening. It’s recommended you take a tour guide with you to get full insight into the history of the dagoba.