Sri Lanka might be a tiny island, but it has a whole lot going on! Tropical beaches, exotic jungles, ancient history, phenomenal food and super friendly people are never more than a coconut’s throw away. Here are the top 5 reasons Sri Lanka deserves the top spot on your holiday bucket list.
1. Beaches, beaches everywhere!
Sri Lanka is an island floating in the azure Indian Ocean. So it’s no surprise that beaches abound. But these aren’t just any beaches. They’re practically paradise on earth. Over 1300km of pristine white shoreline lapped by warm waves (an average of 27°C year round) and fringed by swaying coconut palms. Perfect for lazy days of sunbathing, as well as lively water sports, Sri Lanka’s beaches are right up there with the Caribbean and Cannes. Top spots include Unawatuna, Bentota and Galle. And Hakkiduwa Beach is pure bliss for surfers.
Top tip: For a bit of adventure, be sure to go palm tree swinging over the ocean!
2. Ancient wonders
With a rich history dating back over 3000 years, it’s little wonder that Sri Lanka is home to hundreds of sacred sites, ancient citadels, frescoes, gardens, monasteries and more (including an impressive 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites). Nicknamed the ‘Rome of Sri Lanka’, Negombo features a wealth of gorgeous churches to explore. Check out the famous Temple of the Tooth of Buddha in Kandy. Don’t miss the historical treasures of Polonnaruwa and the Buddhist temple of Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara in Bentota.
Top Tip: If you’re willing to travel a bit further inland, a trip to Sigira Fortress is a must. Built in the 5th Century by King Kashyapa, it features a towering Sky Palace and a steep climb to ancient caves, winding gardens and jaw-dropping views.
3. Food to die for
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you the cuisine in Sri Lanka is phenomenal. An eclectic combination of South Indian, Indonesian, and Dutch influences have made it a unique taste sensation unlike anything you’ve tried before. Fragrant spices, fresh coconut, juicy fruit, fiery curries and white rice are on every menu.
Top tip: You can’t go far in Sri Lanka without being offered a bowl of Dahl Curry. Also known as Parippu, this tasty dish includes red lentils cooked in coconut milk and scented with mustard seeds, saffron, turmeric, cumin and fenugreek. Don’t be surprised if it’s even served for breakfast!
4. Into the wild
Need a break from the beach? Sri Lanka does not disappoint. Watch the sunset from the top of Adam’s Peak. Trek through lush plantations on the Royal Tea Trail. Safari through a host of exotic national parks where you can spot massive herds of elephant, elusive leopards, sloth bears, chattering monkeys and a myriad colourful birds. Hike to the top of cascading Diyaluma Falls, the second biggest waterfall in Sri Lanka. Explore the spooky underwater shipwrecks of Colombo. And feed gentle giants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
Top Tip: Adam’s Peak was once believed to be the ‘Garden of Eden’ after a Florentine Monk discovered its immense beauty. It’s a steep trek (with an additional 5000 steps thrown into the mix), but it will all be worth it once you get to the top.
5. The friendliest people on earth
It’s sunny smiles all around in Sri Lanka. The locals have a super relaxed vibe and are always happy to lend a helping hand or friendly wave as you pass by. Sri Lankans are very hospitable and love to invite travellers into their homes. Don’t be surprised if a driver or guide, or pretty much anyone, invites you over for a cup of tea.
Top Tip: English is widely spoken in Sri Lanka, so you won’t much trouble chatting with the locals.
Now that Sri Lanka is at the top of your travel bucket list, book your amazing Sri Lanka holiday here.