Sri Lanka, also formerly known as Ceylon, is an Island country located in the northern Indian Ocean off the Southeast coast of India. Due to its long-dated and documented history, its diverse heritage of different ethnological groups and its truly fascinating flora and fauna the country has developed itself as a very interesting tourist destination.
Despite having visited quite some countries throughout Asia already, I found this destination to turn out to be one of my hot-spots for traveling. Perhaps this results from the fact that my expectations have been topped by far but also because the country simply offers a great variety of things to do. So why would I now recommend this country?The answer lies in the various facets and faces that it offers. I experienced great ancient cities, luscious jungles and forests, stunning beaches and a high biodiversity. On top the locals are very helpful and welcoming people that try to assist and help you in every way.
The temples, especially in the ancient city of Anuradhapura in the north, are definitely worth a trip. The place offers a great spiritual vibe and the best way to discover the ruins is by renting a bike.
The greatest beaches can be found in the south and southwest of the country, such as Mirissa, Weligama or Hikkaduwa. These areas are also more developed for tourists and you can find many restaurants, hotel areas and night life there.
Sri Lanka has also always been an important trade hub prior to and during its colonization by different European nations. This can particularly be seen when visiting the beautiful tea plantations in the center of the country which were introduced by the British.
So if you are looking for a country that can offer a great choice of things to do – I would highly suggest to travel through Sri Lanka.
When to travel
The good thing about Sri Lanka is that you can basically travel all year around! This is because it is split into two monsoon seasons, making one part of the country always be in season. Generally between August and September is a good time to travel all around. If you want to head down south then the best time is between December and March, for going up north it is between May and October.
Temperatures can vary extremely between the different regions. During my stay I experienced hot peaks of 30 degrees Celsius and above in the south and temperatures of around 10 degrees Celsius in the middle.
If planned correctly you can even have the option of watching whales and dolphins down south and in Mirissa between December and March.
Sri Lanka offers a strong network of roads which can bring you all around the country. There is also a railway network but this is limited to connecting major cities. Buses are by far the principal way of transportation and offer a great choice of destinations.
We actually rented a so-called Tuk-Tuk which is a motorized three-wheeler. This allows a great flexibility and made us experience the country on a very local level. See my other post 10 Day Tuk-Tuk Challenge Sri Lanka for further information.
In general Sri Lanka can be considered as a low budget destination. There is a great variety of cheap guest houses and hotels that can be found all throughout the country. These can range from €10 to €15 for a hostel or guest house to around €25 per night for a hotel. Obviously, prices can get much higher, but with this budget you can find places with a good level of comfort. Food is also quite cheap – Sri Lankan cuisine offers a choice of, mostly curry-based, dishes that can be purchased starting €2 per meal.
The only thing that could turn out a bit more expensive are the entrance fees for archaeological sites and national parks.
5 Things not to miss in Sri Lanka!
2. Take a ride on a Tuk-Tuk
3. World’s End
5. Rice and curry