Post Pandemic, if you plan to travel, don’t miss the Asia’s hottest and relatively unknown travel destination, Sri Lanka. Yet this place presents some of the most beautiful places to spend your holidays. Its history dates back thousands of years and is the wholesome travel destination where one can get to explore historic cities and temples, go on a safari on game parks, see around the mountains, valleys and tea plantations or sun bathe in the beach or do surfing. With utmost difficulty I present to you the top ten places to visit in Sri Lanka.
This is one of the most famous attractions in Sri Lanka, also known as the Lion’s Rock. It is a rock fortress and a palace situated in the Matale district which is a 4 hours drive from Colombo. This is one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. The ruins of the palace can be seen at the top and the overview of the valley covered by lush green vegetation. The climb to the top is almost 1900 steps and is quite exhausting.
It’s also known as the relaxation paradise of Sri Lanka. This place well suits the likes of a budget traveler as well as the luxury traveler. The beautiful tea plantations, waterfalls, viewpoints and the most beautiful hiking trails surround the area. This place is about 4-5 hours drive from both Colombo and Sigiriya, so you can plan accordingly. One can hike up to Adam’s peak which is a common pilgrimage route as there is said to be the impression of Buddha’s own footprint. The bonus part of climbing this peak is the remarkably beautiful and most unforgettable sunshine from the top of the mountain at dawn.
This World Heritage Site is considered to be the cultural center of Sri Lanka. It is about 4 hours drive from the capital city, Colombo and is located on a plateau. One can get a taste of the Sinhalese culture during the 10 day Esala Perahera festival which normally happens in July or August. The ‘Temple of the Tooth’ built during the 4thcentury holds the sacred ‘Buddha’s tooth. Other than this, Kandy has some beautiful botanical gardens and lake in the core of the city. The traditional dance shows can be seen during the evening.
The capital city of the North, Jaffna is a must place to visit to discover the Sri Lanka’s Tamil culture, language and cuisine. It is about 10 hours drive from Colombo. This places still bears the scars of the civil war that tore the country for almost 26 years. After the end of civil war, Jaffna is rebuilding and healing. Despite the rough history, this place has some of the most amazing and kind locals with few ancient forts (Jaffna fort) and temples (Nallur Kandiswamy) and isolated islands (Delft island). This is mostly suited for travelers who wish not to be in a crowd of other fellow tourists.
5. Nuwara Eliya
A 2.5 hours drive from Kandy leads to the central province with plenty of tea plantations. It is a stopover on the famous beautiful train ride from Ella to Kandy. This place is also known as Little England due to the British Colonial buildings. Other than tea plantations, this area has many natural beauties like the waterfalls, hills and the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.
This place contains a rich collection of archaeological and architectural wonders and has been listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a paradise for the lovers of temples, stupas, giant Buddha statues, ancient pools built during the 1000 years of rule by Anuradhapura. The small town here looks like a large village. One can find the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment.
Of the many beautiful beaches, Hikkaduwa is the most popular beach destinations. Tourists have been coming here since the 1970s and to this day those coming here can get to go for diving and snorkeling. There are plenty of nice cafes and restaurants for everyone.
8. Horton Plains & World’s End
It is a beautiful nature reserve with hiking paths under shades of the second and third largest mountains of Sri Lanka. This park is located on a 2000m high plateau covered by wild grasslands, thick forest waterfalls and misty lakes. The plateau comes to a sudden end at World’s End, a deep escarpment of 880m. This gives a beautiful scenery of the surrounding villages, tea plantations and the valley.
9. Arugam Bay
This is the surfer’s hotspot as you can find the perfect waves to afloat your surfing board. May surfing schools are nearby as well the surf board shops. This is best for anyone wanting to learn surfing.
The capital city of Sri Lanka is worth a visit if you are visiting it for the first time. It offers a variety of bars, restaurants, shopping and hotels. It is a business capital in the process of a modern make over with building boom is transforming the city’s skyline. Therefore tourists wanting to get picturesque and relaxing views should prepare themselves early.