Sri Lanka – Exploring the Best Things to See and Do ✈
From its location in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has become a very popular destination for travellers from around the world. As well as their renowned cricket team, Sri Lanka is also famous for being a strategic harbour point of the ancient Silk Road route. Sri Lanka is steeped in cultural heritage and ancient Buddhist history.
A visit to this idyllic island country will not be complete without embracing the cultural richness, sacred temples and delicious local foods. For outdoor lovers and nature enthusiasts, Sri Lanka may well just blow your minds. Above all, there are so many national parks, Buddhist temples and beaches to visit. Each one with its own unique attractions.
Snorkel with turtles at Hikkaduwa Beach. Surf, watch whales and feast on seafood at the popular Mirissa beach or spend the day amidst the palms on Unawantuna. However, if you prefer to keep things quiet, you could also opt to spend some time on Ventura beach.
Pilgrims make annual trips to the hundreds of ancient Buddhist temples that are scattered throughout Sri Lanka. Many are accessible and open to tourists. Visit The Golden Temple, also known as Dambulla Cave Temple – a Unesco World Heritage site. Witness the bizarre chamber with gold and ivory doors, that houses the actual canine tooth of Buddha at the aptly named, Temple of the Tooth. In addition, other pilgrimage sites include the Sithulpawwa monastery in the South East, Adam’s Peak in the central region and Magul Maya Viharaya in the South West.
Close to Dambulla are the ancient 5th century ruins that sit atop Sigiriya, in the Northern Matale district. These ruins are accessible only via a steep, quaint staircase – certainly not for those afraid of heights!
Yala National Park in the South East is home to 44 mammal species, including elephants and leopards. Most importantly, Pinnawala Elephant orphanage, in the North West, rescues baby elephants and cares for them – well worth a visit.
Sri Lanka has an abundance of National Parks and Botanical Gardens. Wasgumuwa, Bundala and Wilpattu National Parks are worth a visit for the more active tourists that want to see Sri Lankan via the many hiking trails. While there, you might notice that each park has slightly different vegetation. Experience the cloud forests and montane grasslands of Horton’s Plain. Take a themed trip to the various waterfalls, like Bambarakanda and Baker’s Falls.
Sri Lankan Treasures
Besides the many geographical wonders that Sri Lanka has on offer, it is also known for its precious gems. Visit Ratnapura to find stunning stones from sapphires to emeralds and rubies. In addition, you will find more jewelry stores in the capital, Colombo, as well as in Galle.
Galle is the place to visit for art, museums, more shopping and nightlife. Galle architecture reflects strong Dutch, British and Portuguese influences.
Of course, the Sri Lankan food is a curry lover’s delight. Sample the vast array of curries, dhals and seafood dishes made with different spice blends and served with an array of vegetable sambals and rice.
Sri Lanka is, quite simply, a country you may never want to leave.
Spectacular Sri Lanka
Hero Photo: Asian elephants in river – Sri Lanka – Stock image / iStock
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