Travelling around Sri Lanka will be high on many a person’s bucket list of places to visit, this pear shaped island in the Indian Ocean, directly south of India is without doubt one of the friendliest and most beautiful islands in the world.
Sri Lanka offers a great opportunity to go travelling, but here are a few things you may want to know before you go ahead and book.
The island of serendipity
Known as the island of serendipity, Sri Lanka has a hot and wet tropical climate caused by its close location to the equator. Although the island is only a little larger than Ireland, it has a huge amount of diversity. On a trip to Sri Lanka you can enjoy game reserves, the seaside, unspoiled plains and the bustling cities of Colombo and Kandy.
Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons so don’t be surprised if you get wet on your visit. The Yala monsoon brings abundant rainfall to the country’s western and southern regions from May to September; the area experiences its dry season during December through March. While the Maha Monsoon come from November through to February on the eastern side of the island. Further inland the island is hilly and the weather tends to be hot and wet all year round.
The Cultural Triangle
The central area of the island is home to the Cultural Triangle, which is understandably on the top of the must-see list for a lot of people going travelling in Sri Lanka.
Here you will be able to see stunningly preserved temples and the most incredible landscapes in the world, as well as the chance to learn all about the rich history of the island. The royal capital of Anuradhapura is one of the highlights of any trip to Sri Lanka, with the location home to the sacred Bo tree and grand, intricate sculptures.
whilst most travellers head to Colombo, Kandy is possibly the better option. The last stronghold of the Kandyan Kings, it is now a cultural sanctuary, with the superb UNESCO listed and highly celebrated Temple of the Tooth, which houses the Buddha’s eye tooth.
Kandy is particularly fascinating to visit during August as this is when the Perahera festival takes place and the famous tooth is paraded through the streets of the city, accompanied by glorious elephants, drummers and dancers.
The east of the country is far less developed than the west, but if you’re happy to head off on the beaten track you will be rewarded with some of the finest beaches in the world. Sri Lanka has around a thousand miles of beautiful beaches. Negombo can boast one of the best and has the advantage of being reasonably close to the airport, the harbour town of Trincomalee, which is home to idyllic long stretches of palm-fringed sand is also worth discovering whilst Palagama is another beach well worth a visit. The south of the island has the small town of Tangalle, which is enjoying a growing reputation as a tourism hotspot, while the busiest beach on the island is Unawatuna Bay and claims to be one of the top 15 beaches on the planet.
Sri Lanka has some great wildlife, with the island home to around 450 different species of bird, as well as an array of butterflies. Udawalawe National Park is your best bet if you want to observe elephants in the wild, you can spy on Sri Lanka’s abundant wildlife (much of which is found nowhere else on Earth) in this spectacular national park and as well as the famous elephants there are also leopards, deer, bears, wild boar, porcupines and monkeys to see.
Yala National Park in the west of the island is the most likely location for leopard-spotting and if you want to have a chance of seeing sloth bears and jackals then you have come to the right place.
The southern town of Mirissa offers the opportunity of whale watching, Mirissa is rightly famous as one of the best places in the world to spot the biggest mammal of them all. Whale watchers often see sperm whales, dolphins, flying fish and even orcas too.
Anuradhapura is one of the most stunning sights in Sri Lanka, Wonder at the extraordinary civilization that ruled from the ancient capital of Anuradhapura thousands of years ago. The ruins include huge dagobas, crumbling temples and ancient pools; Its majestic remains testify to an advanced city carefully planned and filled with beautiful palaces, temples and giant stupas.