Obscured by the Goliath that is India, Sri Lanka is something of a hidden gem in Asia. All the better for anyone on a Sri Lanka tour, since it means the plethora of lush beaches are left virtually untouched and the unique style of life relatively untainted by troves of tourists.
Sri Lanka tours offer an abundance of things to do thanks to the country’s size and diversity. Within a few weeks you can travel the majority of the country, enjoying everything from verdant tea farms to beach side cocktails to meditative Buddhist temples.
Within its borders Sri Lanka packs in 8 UNESCO Heritage sites, a fascinating culture and some of the best food you’ll ever try. Do not miss out.
Things to do in Sri Lanka
Main Attractions and Tourist Regions in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s size means it’s fairly easy to visit everything you’d like to see in one tour, and there’s no real reason to divide the country into regions. There is, however, an well-trodden path around the country known as the Cultural Triangle.
A Cultural Triangle tour features many of the country’s most popular tourist spots. Kandy is central to this region, and is supposedly home to the Buddha’s tooth. This leads droves of loyal followers of his teachings to the city and makes it a great jumping off point.
Nearby you can enjoy the epic ruined city of Anuradhapura, a vast medieval Asian city that was once the capital of the island. Walking through the city it’s easy to imagine the civilization that once roamed the dusty paths. The energy of the place – as with many of Sri Lanka’s most remarkable destinations – is one that will stay with you. The solemn, reflective attitude of the Buddhist monks that once studied in this great city seems to permeate in the air.
Nearby Polonnaruwa is smaller but equally breathtaking, and no-one traveling to Sri Lanka should miss the opportunity to climb Sigiriya – a huge rock that houses ancient markings, elaborate carvings and a huge stone entrance carved into the shape of a lion. It’s something out of a Indiana Jones movie.
From here it’s easy to travel to Dambulla and Mihintale, which are both worth a visit to understand more about the island’s history.
Tours in Sri Lanka will undoubtedly begin and end in Colombo, the nation’s vibrant, chaotic capital. On the coastlines of the city you’ll find inexpensive, luxurious hotels to relax in, while the streets are lined with restaurants serving up some of Sri Lanka’s remarkable dishes.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, where you can bathe, feed and observe baby elephants, also makes for a great day trip between Colombo and Kandy.
So What’s Sri Lanka all about?
Food and Culture of Sri Lanka
Perhaps the most overwhelming thing about Sri Lanka is the Buddhist culture of the Sinhalese regions. The teachings of the Buddha inhabit almost every home, while elaborate temples can be found in abundance throughout the country. Buddhism is truly infused within the Sinhalese culture and a visit to any one of the Buddhist temples is highly recommended.
Sri Lankan food may, like the country, live underneath India’s looming shadow but that’s certainly not owing to a lack of quality. Blending spices, curries, coconut-infused recipes and rice, Sri Lankan food may sound like what you’d find in nearby countries but the taste is truly unique
When to go to Sri Lanka
What time of the year is best to visit Sri Lanka?
Owing to its tropical location, Sri Lanka has distinct wet and dry seasons (as well as a mini monsoon season in each). From May to August the southwest of the island can be battered by monsoons (the rest of the year is mostly dry).
In the northeast it’s much drier, but between October and November you could encounter monsoon weather.
Have you been to Sri Lanka? Tell us all about it in the comments!