Laying in the beautiful Indian Ocean South of India is Sri Lanka, known as the ‘Wonder of Asia’.
At the World Travel Awards Asia and Australasia 2017, Sri Lanka was named the leading destination in Asia, as well as, the leading adventure tourism destination.
These famed titles have been long coming, Sri Lanka is not a new destination at all, it boasts ruins that date back to over 2,000 years ago and traditions with strong cultural roots.
There is an abundance of things to do and see, from thrilling adventure to exquisite luxury.
To keep things simple (as all travellers love to do) today, we are going to go over our top 5 things to experience in Sri Lanka
1. Golden Temple of Dambulla
The Golden Temple is located in the Dambulla Caves and is a World UNESCO Heritage Site. It’s the largest and best-preserved cave temple in all of Sri Lanka and has been used as a pilgrimage site for over 22 centuries.
The walls of the cave are colourfully and beautifully covered with murals of Buddha, making this temple also home to the largest antique painted area in the world.
The Golden Temple is one of Sri Lanka’s most visited destinations and has a distinct large golden statue of seated Buddha directly above the temple.
Also located in Dambulla is the Buddha lined Dambulla Cave Temples. In the Royal Rock Temple complex, there are five caves with over 150 stunning Buddha statues. Another iconic site with ties back to over 2000 years ago.
Sigiriya is a located close to Dambulla and is also a World UNESCO Heritage Site.
This ancient palace and fortress has been created from volcanic magmatic rock. It now sits 370 meters above sea level and is one of Sri Lanka’s most valuable historic sites.
Sigiriya was originally a monastery, until the 5th century where it became the royal palace of King Kasyapa. It stayed as the royal residence till his death in the 14th century and then transformed back into a monastery until it was abandoned, later that same century.
A trip to this unique site will bring awareness and appreciation to any traveller, of the magnificent union between nature and mankind, that is easily seen in its design and interesting history.
3. Tea Factory Tour
An essential part of Sri Lankan culture and economy is tea.
The British introduced tea plantations to Sri Lanka in 1867, and today the same tea has become world famous. Sri Lanka is now the fourth largest producer of tea and 2nd largest exporter of tea in the world.
A trip to Sri Lanka would not be complete without experiencing the fine detail that goes into crafting the perfect cup of tea.
Daily tours are available; however, it is highly recommended to experience a long stay trip at one beautiful heritage tea estates.
4. The Wild Side
Sri Lanka is blessed with being among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world; this means that nature and wildlife enthusiasts will rejoice in many outdoor activities here.
There are 91 mammal species in Sri Lanka including the famous elephant, leopard and buffalo. Many of them can be spotted on a safari tour, available daily or long stay.
Off the coast and into the ocean, Sri Lanka’s biodiversity continues. Home to over 26 species of cetaceans and five of the seven turtle species in the world, a trip out on the water to go dolphin/whale watching or to a local turtle hatchery is a must and will leave travellers with lasting, majestic memories.
5. Beaches, Beaches and more Beaches
With all of the water sports possibilities in Sri Lanka, it’s no mystery that there are beautiful beaches all over the island. Nearly 1600km of beautiful beaches to be exact.
The beaches in the South are popular with spots including Tangalla, Beruwala, Mirissa, Bentota and Unawatuna.
Eastern beaches are slowly getting developed, currently known to surfers. On the North West coast is the Negombo Lagoon, popular for locals and tourists, known for its lobster harvesting.
Sunrises, sunsets and palm-shaded days are all included in our favourite beach activities, along with snorkelling, kite surfing, surfing, windsurfing and kayaking.
Do we have you daydreaming or reminiscing yet?
Sri Lanka truly is a gem waiting to be explored. With all of its diverse offerings, an itinerary for Sri Lanka can look very different for each specific traveller.
If you are not sure where to start, contact one of our experience travel specialist today and begin creating your ideal Sri Lanka itinerary.