Once labeled an untouchable war zone, Sri Lanka saw its 26-year long civil war end in 2009, with the country now having re-opened its doors to tourism. Gone are the days of military missions and no-go areas. Today, Sri Lanka is one of the most popular visitor destinations in Asia.
Sri Lanka offers tourists a wide variety of sights and activities. Outdoor fanatics have a plethora of excursions to choose between, from surfing Sri Lanka’s impressive waves to trekking through its luscious forests. There is something here to thrill even the most hardened of adventurers. There are, however, calmer activities like drinking tea in the Sri Lankan highlands or watching a traditional game of cricket at a local cricket club.
There are as many things to see as there are to do. Many of Sri Lanka’s popular sights revolve around the country’s history. Both the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the ancient city of Anuradhapura are perfect places for travelers to learn more about this wonderful country. Some attractions, like the stunning Yala National Park, celebrate Sri Lanka’s natural environment.
There are many options for accommodation on the island, ranging from five-star luxury hotels to budget-conscious backpackers and guesthouses. The country’s cuisine is a reflection of its culture – exciting and diverse. Sri Lankan fare is similar to the cuisine found in southern India, with many local restaurants boasting familiar favorites as curry and rice. There are, however, several international options for travelers who have aversions to spiciness or who are simply looking for something from home.
Sri Lanka’s geography is extremely varied but therein lies its appeal. Whether travelers are looking to laze on a beach, hike in the Sri Lankan forests, or plan a trek in one of the challenging mountain ranges, this country has it all. Southern India is a stone’s throw away and makes for a great extension of any trip to Sri Lanka.
The climate in Sri Lanka is Tropical, so it is hot and humid most of the time. However, there is a distinct boundary between the wet and dry seasons. The rainy seasons are important considerations in Sri Lanka as they directly affects the ability of tourists to travel around the country - the North East Monsoon, known as the Maha Monsoon, spans October to January. And the South West Monsoon, known locally as the Yala Monsoon, lasts from May to July. The climate is most enjoyable during the cooler dry season: in the south, this is December and in the east, it is April.
The best way of navigating the country is by rental car. Most of the international rental agencies are spoken for, but there are also several reputable local rental companies. There are two main forms of taxi, including metered taxis and three-wheelers. Both are reliable modes of transport, only three-wheelers tend to be significantly cheaper. An extensive network of buses and trains operates around the country. Travelers can choose their preferred class, with prices determined accordingly.
- Treat yourself to a relaxing ayurvedic spa treatment
- Explore nearly 200 caves in the Dambulla Cave Temples
- Have afternoon tea at an authentic tea plantation
- Experience the beauty of Sri Lanka’s coral reefs on a scuba diving trip
- Take in the fauna and flora of Yala National Park
- Appreciate the architectural creativity of ancient civilizations at the Sigiriya Rock Fortress