What to see and do in Sri Lanka
Whether you’re discovering the bustling streets of Colombo, roving between old colonial districts and vibrant modern areas, or getting to know Sri Lankan history in Galle, Sri Lankan cities will enchant and captivate you. Get to know the unique Sri Lankan wildlife on a cycling, climbing, trekking or safari tour, as you explore every natural beauty you could imagine. Sit down and enjoy delicious authentic food with friends or family, or even take a cooking class and learn to recreate these extraordinary flavours even after you return home. Meet local people and make meaningful connections that you will remember for years to come. Take a train journey through the tea plantations that stretch as far as the eye can see and enjoy stunning views over the rolling hills of a Sri Lankan national park.
Why go to Sri Lanka with a local travel agent?
Sri Lanka is still a novice in the travel industry, which has been booming over the past 7 years. Having the assistance of a local travel agent goes a long way to ensuring that your travel goes smoothly. Being locals, our agents have insider knowledge of Sri Lanka and by speaking the native language, the agent can communicate with hotels and restaurants, make reservations or organise travel and trips, ensuring the perfect stay, hassle-free. Local agents can also provide interesting facts and insights, and share their own experience as locals. Since they know all the hidden gems, they can take travellers off the beaten path and allow them to discover authentic Sri Lanka.
What are the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka?
Whilst Sri Lanka has something to offer any traveller, of any age and any taste, there are a few experiences which are not to be missed on any trip to the pearl of the Indian Ocean:
- The most popular experience is the unforgettable train ride either from Peradeniya to Nayer to Galle, or from Nayer to Galle. A breathtaking journey along the coast, with beautiful sea views where you don’t only enjoy the landscape, but savour delicious local snacks and fruits on the way.
- The second most popular experience is the safari.
- If you want to have a more local experience, you can go on a village tour where you can learn how to cook local dishes with the local families and simultaneously make new friends.
- The hikes in natural reserves such as the Knuckles Range also receive rave reviews from travellers; one traveller has even claimed that, after visiting 54 countries, his most memorable experience was seeing Sri Lanka and all its natural beauty.
- Stay with a local family who can tell you rich tales of history and culture as you make meaningful connections here.
- Learn to cook the famously delicious Sri Lankan cuisine to perfect a skill that you can take home with you as a lasting souvenir of this incredible country.
What is the most unique off the beaten track experience in Sri Lanka?
One off the beaten track experience is climbing Adam’s Peak in Sri Prada. The hike can be challenging, but the view will be worth it. Another choice for the people who want to discover the real, wilder side of Sri Lanka would be to stay in a unique eco-lodge where guests can partake in an authentic village life experience and even leave a lasting mark on the community by taking part in a sustainable agriculture project.
Where are the most beautiful beaches in Sri Lanka?
The Southern coast of Sri Lanka is a must visit because of its golden sands, dramatic cliff-lined coastline and unforgettable sunsets. There is a beach for anyone in Sri Lanka. If you prefer surfing, Arugam Bay is the most popular surfing beach, however, beginners and intermediates usually prefer going to Mirissa. If you happen to be on the South coast, Kandy and Tangalle are recommended. Nilaveli, Pasikuda, and Unawatuna have become increasingly popular and are the preferred beach options for many. Areas like Bentota can become overcrowded with tourists and so some of these others can be great options if you're looking to avoid the crowds.
When does the typhoon season begin in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is known to have two seasons. From November to April, people can travel around the West and South coast. During that time, the monsoon would be on the East coast, so is best avoided. However, from May to October, people can travel to the East coast without any problems.
Is it possible to travel during the typhoon season?
Overall, in Sri Lanka, one can travel all year round by simply avoiding the area where the typhoon is. The winter months are considered to be the dry season. However, travellers can still enjoy the island at any time of year since the rain is by no means constant. Depending on the travellers’ location - mountains, prairie or the coast - they can travel without any real disruptions to their trip.
What are the most popular world heritage sites in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is full of places worth visiting with great cultural and architectural value. For example, the ancient rock fortress, Sigiriya, attracts many tourists interested in learning about the historical and archaeological riches of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya is a palace built on top of a gigantic boulder rock, with masterfully designed garden pavilions at its base, and a building technique which still baffles archaeologists.
The Dambulla cave temple is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex and is known as the “Golden Temple”: very popular sight amongst visitors of Sri Lanka. Travellers who love nature often visit the Sinharaja rainforest, known for its biodiversity and a World Heritage Site since 1988. Polonnaruwa, Galle, and Kandy are other prominent sites to visit. Kandy offers visitors a variety of heritage sites. You can see the Sigiriya fortress and multiple ruins and temples such as the Dambulla and the main town, Polonnaruwa.
What makes Sri Lanka a great destination for a couple?
Endless beaches, turquoise ocean, wild safaris, rafting and romantic walks, what more can a couple dream for? A combination of adventure, culture, nature, and perfect beaches is awaiting couples in Kitulgala. Going rafting in Kitulgala is an unforgettable experience and strongly recommended for the more adventurous and adrenaline-seeking couples. The island has a unique combination of various landscapes: tropical forests, rolling hills, mighty mountains and spectacular waterfalls. Couples can explore the island’s hidden spots together and enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty of the area.
For two weeks in Sri Lanka, what tours or activities would you recommend?
When travelling to Sri Lanka for two weeks, a visit to the cultural triangle is a must because you can see numerous World Heritage Sites. Travellers visiting from the UK can stay in a city near the airport for the first day, either in Negombo or Colombo. If you begin your trip in Negombo, we recommend finishing in Colombo or the beach, depending on your flight schedule. From the second day onwards, you can go straight to Sigiriya, where you can visit the rock fortress, the cave temple, the main town, and partake in the Minora safari.
After that, you can go to Kandy and visit its temple and see the Peradeniya garden. If you want to do see a tea plantation, you can hop on the train and go to Nuwara Eliya. For those who would rather a safari experience, you can get a train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella or to Yala.
If neither of these options interest you, perhaps trekking might be more your cup of tea. Take a trek and delve into the charming paths of Sinharaja’s rain forest. Sinharaja offers amazing beaches, where you can visit the turtle hatchery, explore the marvellous city, or do a cycling tour. For the more adventurous travellers, we recommend climbing up the Adam’s Peak that will offer unforgettable views over this world pilgrimage site.
Why should I spend the honeymoon in Sri Lanka?
The main reason why Sri Lanka is the perfect place for a honeymoon is the enormous variety of breathtaking beaches that can be explored; and all for very reasonable prices. From adventure and safari to nature and history, couples can immerse themselves in the local culture and have a memorable experience that they will cherish forever. Sri Lanka is very close to the Maldives, which means that after exploring the cultural and natural riches of the “pearl”, you can hop on a short flight to the Maldives and their world-renowned romantic getaways. The powder-white beaches and crystalline waters will make for a truly unforgettable honeymoon.
What are the key activities Sri Lanka offers for a family holiday with children or teenagers?
Families who visit Sri Lanka often fall in love with the island because it is a very safe destination that also offers many outdoor adventures. It is best for families to stay in Sigiriya near Habarana because it is a convenient location for safaris, whale-watching tours in Mirissa or Kalpitiya, canyoning, or rafting in Kitulgala (if the children are 6+).
Families can delve into the authentic culture by visiting local communities. The locals will be leading the narrative and help visitors to understand the history and the current reality of the place they are visiting. Meeting and engaging with locals will be an authentic travel experience which will be cherished by both sides if done in a respectful manner. Families can explore the daily life of the local community in a stay with the locals for two or more weeks.
What vaccinations are required before going to Sri Lanka?
There is no vaccination needed. There are creams available, however, in order to avoid dengue. It is also strongly advised to use anti-mosquito repellents and to sleep with mosquito nets in the room.