A land of tropical beauty, enriched with culture, wildlife, attractions, and food – Sri Lanka is a mesmerizing holiday destination to visit. From the historical stories to the luxurious ocean waves, the little island is a paradise for a relaxing time.
There is so much to see on a trip to Sri Lanka. As a well-deserving tourist destination. The island offers many tours that are worth the travel. So if you are planning a trip to Lanka, here are some essential tips that can be useful for your travel.
What you need to know about Sri Lanka
Welcoming and Diverse Destination
Being listed as one of the top travel destinations in 2019, Sri Lanka is considered the most welcoming tourist spot in the world. The people, the atmosphere, and the island itself will give you a memorable experienceto take back home. You can be the one unveiling the culture and bonding with the locals. Sri Lanka has something unique to offer to its visitors.
From beaches to hills and vibrant cities, Sri Lanka has many attractions to visit and explore. The small island is big enough to fulfill your vacation spirits. Even though Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, the island is rich with different cultures and other religions. Friendly people, calming nature, and a variety of adventures are what you will experience on this magical island.
Local Data Options
Sri Lanka is a small island, but it has many technological advancements that make it easier for travelers from all around the globe to connect. You can simply be able to connect to the local data and 4G services while you are touring. Tourists can purchase a sim and use affordable data packages and reloads to use while traveling. The internet connection in the country is pretty reliable and fast. You can enjoy your trip while filming and posting on social media.
Touring the country is pretty simple compared to other tourist destinations. Almost everyone in the country communicates in English, which makes it easier for travellers to get around without having a tour guide.
The local currency used for any transaction in the country is Rupees. Tourists and travellers can easily make payments with cash while exploring the city. As a tourist or traveller it is always convenient to carry cash while traveling around the cities.
Safety and Health
Sri Lanka is a safe country to visit and explore on your own. Whether you are taking a stroll in the night time or walking the busy streets in the city during the day, you can enjoy the peaceful surroundings while you discover the cities hidden gems. Women are free to roam around the tourist spots without having to worry about anything.
The climate of the island is considered very warm and hot. However, the rainy seasons in most parts of the country are an enjoyable time. There are two monsoon seasons in the country, each affecting the opposite side of the island. The hillside of the country is mostly cold, while the south coast and the centre being warm and sunny most time of the year.
Sri Lanka is a modern yet controversial island with many religious beliefs shared among the communities. As a Buddhist nation, there is much cultural significance bought upon the dress code. Modest clothing and casual styles are mostly encouraged in the country. Where as many outrageously revealing clothes are not recommended to be worn while in public.
Travelers exploring temples and other religious places should keep in mind to abide by decent attire before entering holy grounds. Wearing clothing with Buddha and other religious gods is not encouraged in the country.
How to Travel in Sri Lanka
Over the years, the infrastructure of the country has rapidly developed making it easier to travel. From highways to rail tracks, Sri Lanka provides affordable travel options for tourists.
- Hire a Motor Bike or Tuk Tuk
- Train and Bus
- Taxi with Tour Guide
- Luxury Cars for Hire (SUV, Sport Cars, 4WHL)
Accommodations in Sri Lanka
As genuine as it may sound, Sri Lanka is not only a friendly and welcoming country, the people of Lanka are very hospitable when it comes to welcoming guests. You can find many affordable and comfortable accommodation options in Sri Lanka. However, you may want to keep in mind a budget when you are on the trip. There are many luxurious beach hotels and villas that are worth staying in for a long trip. From hostel rooms to guesthouses and hotels, Sri Lanka hospitality can be ranked well for the price you pay.
Stay in Hostels
Sri Lankan hostels are different than the usual hostel experience that travellers have. Hostels are more likely to be comfortable with a home-like vibe. With beautiful interiors, clean sheets, comfortable beds, and good local cuisine, hostels are pretty affordable to stay for a long trip. You can find many hostels all around the country. From the south coast to the central district and more. Hostels are becoming a trending accommodation option Solo travellers.
Stay in Budget Hotels (Below 3 Star)
As a traveller roaming the streets of Colombo and the rest of the Sri Lankan districts, you can opt to choose from a wide variety of Budget hotels with Bed & breakfast accommodation options. Budget hotels usually estimate with a affordable price for any traveller visiting the island.
Stay in Luxury Hotels (4 Star and 5 Star)
Apart from affordable and comfortable accommodations, Sri Lanka also offers many luxurious hotels that are not only an eye-catching view but also the best option to stay when you are on a luxury vacation. Sri Lanka offers a wide range of hospitality services with spas, luxury swimming pools, and international cuisines. If you are looking to pamper yourself with a good vacation, then head over to view some of the best luxury hotels on the island. Whether you want a beach view room or a mountain range experience you can find everything at its best.
Stay in Villas
A private vacation with a group of friends or family is best spent in a spacious villa on the island. Villas can accommodate up to 30 people. Most of the Sri Lankan Villas come with a historical background that will leave you speechless. The architecture and interiors in the villas will leave you with a memorable experience. Villas offer many facilities such as a luxurious private pool, meals, and clean sheets.
Food in Sri Lanka
The historical and diverse culture of Sri Lanka has brought a variety of local cuisines full of spices and deliciousness. Sri Lankan local food is not only mouth-watering but it is one of a kind. The diversity in cultures and religions is represented in the food served. From Variety of Seafood, Arabian, Indian, Europian and Local dishes the island offers some of the world’s best that you will crave for a lifetime.
You can find flavourful, healthy, and amazing street food in the streets of Colombo and anywhere in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan spices and aroma create some of the best local food in the world.
- Rice and Curry
- String Hoppers with Coconut Curry and Pol Sambol
- A variety of hoppers (Milk Hoppers, Egg Hoppers, and plain Hoppers with curry)
- Pol Roti (Coconut Roti)
- Wade (One of the best kinds of Wade is the isso Wade (Prawn snacks) that are sold by food vendors on trains, beaches, and on the street).
It is easy to find these local dishes in many street food hotels and through home-made vendors.
Rice and curry with a variety of Sri Lankan vegetable curry are among the famous meals in the country. Rice is the staple food on the island, hence there are many different varieties of rice meals available to purchase for a reasonable price. The combinations of the meals are splendid and delicious to eat at any given time. The local jackfruit curry with brinjal and chicken is a fulfilling meal for lunch. Due to the largely Buddhist population, the country serves many vegetarian dishes as well.
Apart from the local cuisines available, Sri Lanka is also considered a culinary genius for offering many international dishes. From Italian pizzas to Indian dishes, you can have a flavourful experience while traveling and exploring the country.
When it comes to drinks and beverages, Sri Lanka makes the best milk tea with added spices (cardamom and ginger). A warm cup of tea with a piece of butter cake will fulfil your evening snack cravings. This combo is easily available in many train stations and roadside hotels.
Ginger coffee and a cup of hot milo are the bestselling hot beverages in Sri Lanka. The locals as well as many tourists love a great cup of coffee or milo to go.
On a hot day, when traveling the roads, Travelers can also enjoy a large King coconut fresh and ready to drink on roadsides. Sri Lanka produces a large amount of sweet and tasty king coconuts that will quench the thirst of travelers. You can easily find many king coconut vendors in many town markets or the beaches.
If you are looking for a treat or snack during your evening stroll, you will come across many buns and ice cream tuktuk’s passing the street with a melody. The freshly baked local buns are affordable and tasty to indulge as snacks.
Highlights in Sri Lanka
Gall Face Green, Viharamadevi Park, the Pettah Red Mosque, Independence Square, The Large Shopping Malls, Colombo Museum and Luxury Food Restaurants.
You can walk the busy streets of Pettah and do some great shopping for affordable rates. The bustling market is a bazaar filled with so many varieties of products, from textiles, sweets, electronics, spices and more.
Apart from sightseeing and exploring the markets, you can also visit century-old churches and religious places in Colombo.
NuwaraEliya is also known as the ‘’Little England’’ in Sri Lanka is a surprise for nature lovers and mountaineers. The city is overlooked by the tallest mountain Pidurutalagala. Visiting the hills and tea plantations in a tour to NuwaraEliya is like a time travel journey back to the British lifestyles in history. The beautiful botanic gardens, the red phone boxes, and colonial Victorian architecture that still stands today is a memory back to the British colonial era. The town is one of the famous regions for tea plantations with many factories, farms, and other organic fruits and vegetable farms to visit. You can enjoy your trip while staying in a cozy cottage or villa up on the hill. Wake up to the mist and chill weather in NuwaraEliya. The beautiful emerald green landscape is a view that you will not forget.
Other places you could visit Ambewala Farm, Horton Plains, Beautiful Waterfalls, Gregory Lake and Haggala Botanical Gardens
The historical town of Kandy is the most touristic location for travelers who want to see Sri Lankan culture and its beauty at raw. Kandy, a major city was also the last ancient capital during the King’s era. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. The city is located amidst the mountain and it is the home for many plantations and biodiverse rainforests. There is so much to see and do in the city of Kandy. Visit one of the most revered Buddist relics ‘’ the Temple of the Tooth’’ a shrine of Buddha’s left canine tooth. Many monks and Buddhists travel from all around the world to visit the temple. You can take a stroll around the scenic Bomgambara Lake also referred to as the Kandy Lake and observe the cultural importance in the city.
While you are in Kandy, you can also visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and the Udawattekele Sanctuary which is also known as Royal Park Palace to watch some of the fierce and national animals known in Sri Lanka.
Kandy is the best place for climbers and hikers, you can explore Knuckles mountain ranges, and visit the LankatilakaVihara located on a natural rock called the Panhalgala Rock. The ancient Buddhist temple has a unique architecture that is known across the world.
Take a stroll around the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, Ambuluwawa Tower and visit the 1925 vintage Ceylon Tea Museum and discover some of the rare collections of herbs and spices in the spice garden.
If you want some historical sites to visit then you can explore the Royal Palace of the Kandyan Kingdom, It is the last reminiscence of the reigning King of Kandyan Sri WickramaRajasinghe.
The city is also famous for its shopping adventure for tourists, you can shop for gems, jewelry, handicraft, batiks, skills, and more.
Climb the 5th-century ancient fortress located in the central province of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya is among the so-called cultural triangle center along with Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. It is also known to be UNESCO-protected ruins. The kingdom of King Kashyapa the first of Anuradhapura is still standing tall in the dense forest canopy with a panoramic view of the surrounding jungle and the mountain range on the top. Sigiriya is a historical and archaeological location famous for its palace ruins, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. You can explore the caves and rooms in Sigiriya to observe the royalty from above the land. The fortress tower was known as the eighth wonder of the world. It has many discoveries such as its ancient art galleries and the ancient equipment used in the past. The climb to the top is an exciting hike, however, keep an eye for the wild monkeys that swing around the fortress.
Visit the fortified city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. the city on the southwest of Sri Lanka, Galle is known for its historical buildings and monuments left behind by the Dutch. The iconic stone sea walls, the Galle Lighthouse, and the 18th century reformed church are some of the main attractions in the city. The Galle Fort is a tourist destination that will allow the traveler to visit back to the artistic, bohemian ambiance of the past. The streets in Galle tell many tales that you can cherish while traveling. The city has preserved its historical highlights while retouching the area with some modern restaurants, StreetSide cafes, and many boutiques. The people of Galle are among the friendliest community on the island. You can also rent a bike or scooter to travel around the city at ease. And not to forget to enjoy theeautiful coastline with the blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
Beaches in Sri Lanka
- South Coast – (Betota Beach, Hikkaduwa Beach, Unwatuna Beach, Mirissa Beach, Arugambay)
- North Coast – (Pasikudah Beach, Nilaveli Beach, Marble Beach, Casurina Beach, Kalpitiya Beach)
Adventure Activities to do in Sri Lanka
For the love of adventures, Sri Lanka has many adrenaline-rushing activities that travelers will love to be a part of while visiting the island. Some of the trending activities include:
- Wild Safaris
- Boat Rides & Fishing
- Snorkeling & Advance Surfing
- Whale Watching & Dolphin Watching
- Helicopter Rides & Sky Diving
- Hiking and Camping
- Hot air Balloon Rides
- Water Games (eg- Jet Ski, Banana Boat, Wind & Kite Surfing)
In Conclusion, Sri Lankan heritage and its rich culture is an invitation for many travelers from all around the world. Whether you would love to travel with a guide or explore the magnificent island as a solo traveler, the journey in the pearl island is a must travel destination.