Long stretches of palm-framed beaches, the charm of a thousand-year-old culture, the spirituality of the temples and hospitality reserved for foreigners are some of the reasons for a trip to Sri Lanka.
Despite its strong ties with that of southern India, local cuisine stands out from it for the delicacy and lightness of its flavors, for an intense but balanced use of coconut milk and its tasty and colorful tropical fruits. The culture of Sinhalese food is well represented by its wide range of curries where every flavor is well treated, the ingredients always fresh and the spices scented. You should definitely try everything!
History and culture
The ancient city, Kandy, is a good starting point to explore the history and the culture. This city was the last capital of the kingdom and develops around the royal palace, inside which stands the famous Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Tooth. Here every day, three times a day and with a ceremony marked by the drumroll, the golden casket containing a tooth belonging to Buddha is exhibited to a crowded crowd of faithful and tourists. A few kilometers outside the city, in Peradeniya, the Royal Botanical Gardens, a charming botanical garden created during the era of English domination and is the ideal place for a stroll.
North of Kandy, the ancient Dambulla temples, carved into the rock two thousand years ago, are a must before arriving at Sigiriya, which is perhaps the most interesting of the 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka. On the top of a gigantic monolith, which stands out in the middle of the forest, you can admire the remains of a royal fortress of the fifth century; on the wall, along the ascent on a spiral-shaped iron staircase, the frescoes of half-naked maidens, which are thought to depict the concubines of King Kasyapa, are still visible.
The other two destinations of the “cultural triangle” are the ancient capitals of the island, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, which preserve numerous vestiges, including the famous statue of the reclining Buddha.
Sri Lanka has a long list of national parks rich in plants and animals. The national parks are a preciously preserved piece of nature which present a perfect sight of joy and bliss for nature lovers. If you want to see nature at its safest pace, you should visit Yala National Park and Minneriya National Park Sri Lanka without any further wait. These two national parks offer a variety of animals including monkeys, elephants, leopards, water buffalos and a wide variety of natural plants to amuse nature lovers.
Ceylon Tea Trail
Sri Lanka is home to the world’s best tea brands. If you are a lover of a good cuppa you would surely love to see wide tea plantations all around the Hill Country. Tea lovers should opt to stay with Ceylon Tea Trails to enjoy sceneries of stunning tea gardens alongside walking trails of luxury bungalows.
And then there is the sea. The southern coast offers long stretches of sand, such as those around Tangalle and Mirissa, and small promontories that alternate with the creeks. Despite the presence of numerous tourist centers, the environment still maintains in original character, with sleepy villages and typical fishermen on stilts, clinging for hours on piles planted in water.
On the east coast, the peak season runs from mid-February to mid-October. Even there the coast is characterized by large white sandy beaches, the sea shallow, wonderful bays, lagoons, rich marine flora and a long and sweet summer season. The most beautiful beaches are Passikudah, Aragum Bay, Nilaveli, Kuchchaveli, Marble Bay, Sweat Bay and Dead Man’s Cove.
Connecting with locals is another unique experience as people here are lovely, kind, joyful and open to make you feel part of the community. Try to keep things authentic and traditional by relying on the locals and asking them for the best places to eat and the best places to fully-immerse into the traditional culture and so on. This is the right approach to explore the country from a different perspective. You are going to love this!
As you may have noticed, Sri Lanka basically has it all! From ancient history, authentic culture, stunning nature and an astonishing seaside this is definitely a place that is worth a visit. Plus, together with local people and the fact that this places (besides tourism) is so authentic and real to itself, you can live a unique experience that will enrich and empower your passion for travelling even more!