Photo Credit: uditha wickramanayaka

Sri Lanka’s vast natural beauty and diverse terrain make it the perfect place for travelers who love the outdoors. Whether it’s experiencing the fascinating waters which surround the country or traveling inland to explore the island’s luscious forests and mountain ranges, there is something for every thrill-seeker here.

Travelers who are less inclined to engage in blood-pumping activities should not despair, however, as there are a host of other activities aimed at relaxation and cultural enrichment. From experiencing the relaxing effects of ancient ayurvedic spa treatments to taking tea at one of the country’s many tea plantations, there is something for everyone.

Travelers to Sri Lanka should make good use of the country’s vast coastline and embark on a diving or snorkeling trip. The waters surrounding the country are filled with some of the most fascinating ocean life, eeriest shipwrecks, and most beautiful coral reefs on the planet. Favorite diving areas include Hikkaduwa, which is located to the southwest of the island, and Bentota, which is nearby. Many companies can organize trips for all levels of diver, including Poseidon Diving Station.

If exploring the depths of the ocean seems too daunting, why not go surfing in Sri Lanka’s impressive waters? The best swells can be found on the southern coast of the island, in areas like Arugum Bay, Midigama, and the popular Hikkaduwa. Most beaches are filled with surf shops that rent out boards for the day, but travelers who would like training before hitting the waves should head to Reef End Surf School in Hikkaduwa.

If the waters are not your fancy, the country’s gorgeous mountains and forests are bound to catch your eye. The interior of the island is the perfect place for hiking and trekking trips. Some of the most famous spots include World’s End in the Sri Lankan highlands, Adam’s Peak, and the Knuckles near Kandy. Hikes and treks of all lengths and intensities can be organized through such reputable companies as Eco Team Sri Lanka.

Traveling through the east opens up a whole new world of health and relaxation. While in Sri Lanka, travelers should take advantage of the tradition of ayurvedic treatments. One of the oldest medical systems world-wide, ayurveda has been used by people in India and Sri Lanka for centuries. For visitors, the treatments are aimed at relaxation. While most hotel spas offer treatments, there are also a few independent establishments like the Siddhalepa Ayurveda Centre in Mount Lavinia.

Sri Lanka is famous for its delicious and aromatic tea exports and while the product can be easily purchased from local stores, buying from and visiting a tea plantation make the experience that much more enjoyable. The plantations offer the full package: a tour of the plantation itself, a look at the process from plant to teabag, and, finally, a tea tasting. Most plantations are located in the Sir Lankan highlands, including the Nuwara Eliya hill station.

Staying within the category of colonial legacies, another fun excursion is watching a traditional cricket match. While cricket matches can be seen almost everywhere in the country – from playgrounds to beaches – it is entertaining to catch a formal game. There are myriad cricket clubs around the county but one of the most famous ovals, which hosts international showdowns, is the Galle International Stadium.

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