Things To Know Before Traveling To Sri Lanka In 2019
Lonely Planet has touted Sri Lanka as the best place to visit in 2019, and we are not surprised. A country to the South of India in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is blessed with unparalleled tropical fervor and is comfortably unexposed the tourist rush of South East Asia. Laced with cultural influence and fusion of the varied colors of South Asia and colonial rule, Sri Lanka’s diverse landscapes range from the rainforests and arid plains to highlands and sandy beaches. It’s famed for its ancient Buddhist ruins, including the 5th-century citadel Sigiriya, with its palace and frescoes. The city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka's ancient capital, has many ruins dating back to more than 2,000 years.
Often the country is touted as being very “Green”, the entire country feels like one massive and beautiful national park that’s of course blessed with diverse wildlife including the Asian Elephants.
So before any further delay, here’s your quick travel guide to Sri Lanka.
Best Time To Visit
Sri Lanka is a tropical country which is why the temperature in the region remains fairly equitable throughout the year. Moreover, it also rains in the country for a good part of the entire year. However, it should not be a deterrent as it comes with a pleasant breeze and lush greenery. If you're heading to the west and south coasts and hill country, December to March is the best time to visit Sri Lanka. If you plan on seeing the east coast, you'll get the best weather from April/May to September.
What To See in Sri Lanka: Top Spots To Visit
Negombo- A region with Dutch and Portuguese colonial remains, close to Colombo. Often encountered when on a drive from Negombo (close to the airport) to Colombo, the Negombo beach is one of the foremost and one of the most beautiful sites one comes across after landing in Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura - A UNESCO World Heritage Site city, the notable sites to visit in Anuradhapura include Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Polonnaruwa Temple, and Dambulla Cave.
Galle - known for the Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, encircle car-free streets with architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule, Galle symbolizes the blend of different cultures that Sri Lanka stands for.
Kegalle - Close to the Colombo-Kandy road, the town is known for its large density of Elephants and its Elephant orphanage where local mahouts take care of the gentle giants and conservation enthusiasts visit the region to help in the upkeep and sustenance of the orphanage.
Kandy - Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Kandy is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. A large city set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforests. Kandy is a must visit for strolls of a lifetime. World renowned for the Bogambara Lake and sacred Buddhist sites such as the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine.
Nuwara Eliya - A city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka, the region is naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns, and shelters monkeys and blue magpies. A visit to Sthree Craft Shop and Café, it’s highly recommended that travelers enjoy a local breakfast prepared by women and youth living with disabilities in Nuwara Eliya.
Hikkaduwa - Hikkaduwa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka located in the Southern Province, 98 KMS from Colombo. It’s known for its strong surf and beaches, including palm-dotted Hikkaduwa Beach.
Ella- A small and vibrant village in the beautiful Midlands, away from the tourist rush. One of the best spots visit in Sri Lanka.
Adam’s Peak/Sri Pada - Adam's Peak is a 2,243 m (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka especially known as a sacred religious site. “Pada” translates to foot in the local language and it is widely believed to be Buddha’s footprint by Sri Lankans.
An all-encompassing backpacking trip to Sri Lanka that’s both affordable and well-endowed is offered by Team Go Discover and should be checked out by all enthusiastic travelers aching to go to Sri Lanka.
Things To Do In Sri Lanka
Work at an Elephant Camp - Working in Elephant camps in Kegalle is a great way to witness how intertwined are the lives of the locals of the region with the magnificent Asian elephants.
Explore the Sea Turtle Conservation Center - This project lets travelers who want to do something take part in protecting the endangered sea turtles and taking care of them. Set in Southern Sri Lanka, Galle, where it is famously said that “No matter where you are, you are never too far from the ocean”, the time at the Sea Turtle Conservation Project will be a life-changing experience for all participants.
Take Surfing Lessons - Owing to the coastline and beaches of Sri Lanka, surfing in the region is an ideal accompaniment when at the Sea Turtle Project or even otherwise. A glimpse of the precious marine life is a bucket list worthy experience to collect.
Rainforest Hiking - An obvious choice. Sri Lanka is blessed with ample nature reserves and rainforests and hikes up to the peaks such as Adam’s Peak or Ella Rock is recommended.
Take the Sri Lankan Train - The Sri Lankan Railways runs the nation's railways, and they are a great way to cross the country. Almost always more relaxed than a bus ride, the train rides offer scenic rides across the country. Routes from South, East, and North of Colombo are the best bet to express the views the country is famous for.
What To Eat In Sri Lanka: Top Foods To Try
Sri Lanka offers many different options to eat simply because of its geographical location. Located in the tropics, the country is blessed with several spices and plantations that reflect in its cuisine. Following are the various different things you can try when in Sri Lanka :
Kiribath with lunu miris - Kiribath is a special type of rice, cooked with thick coconut milk and often served during special or auspicious occasions, such as Sinhalese New Year.
Pol Sambol (coconut relish) - In a country that has a rich supply of the superfood Coconut, Pol sambol, is the ideal dish for travelers to try. Made of a simple blend of finely grated coconut, red onions, dried whole chilies or chili powder, lime juice, salt and Maldive fish (at times). The ingredients are diced or ground, then combined in a bowl.
Gotu Kola Mallum Sambola – Shredded Greens With Coconut - Another Coconut preparation that comes with oodles of greens. This dish is prepared by mixing shredded green vegetables, basic spices available, coconut, chili, onion, and Umbalakada fish.
Kuttu- A popular Sri Lankan cuisine, Kottu is prepared using a flat crispy bread called Godamba roti. The roti is deep fried and chopped, and then vegetables and spices are added to the mix. The preparation is served with spicy curry sauce.
Parippu - It’s a spicy lentil curry that also has several variants in India as well. Accompanied with rice cakes, rice, chappatis, the blend of garlic along with other tropical spices makes it a must try.
Potato Curry - A mild, coconut-based potato curry, more like a soup, is often a choice for a sumptuous Sri Lankan breakfast.
A list of the 12-must-try foods in Sri Lanka has been released by CNN Travel that travelers can check out before heading to Sri Lanka.
Very recently, The Sri Lankan government has taken steps to provide a hassle-free visa in order to give a greater push to Tourism. Unlike most other South East Asian countries that provide a Visa on arrival, an Electronic Travel Authority is mandated for traveling in the country.
Sri Lankan Visa For US Citizens: U.S. citizens visiting Sri Lanka must have either an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) or a visa to enter Sri Lanka. The Electronic Travel Authorization System is available online or at the port of entry. Visitors are strongly urged to use the online system to avoid lengthy delays at the port of entry
Sri Lankan Visa For UK/European Citizens: UK/Europe Citizens will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can get a short stay visa online at Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Tourist visas are normally issued for a maximum period of 30 days.
The Electronic Travel Authorization can be obtained by the Online Portal run by the Government of Sri Lanka.
The Sinhala language is spoken by the majority Sinhalese, and Tamil, is spoken by the minority Tamil and Muslim groups, are Sri Lanka's two official languages. English is commonly used in most cities, especially Colombo, Kandy and Galle, and also by the Sri Lankan Government. A lot of people who are involved with tourists can speak basic English, to expect everyone to speak English is a bit of stretch. In rural areas, close to no English at all is spoken.
Visitors to Sri Lanka having a tattoo of Buddha or other tattoos of religious significance may be arrested and deported- if you want to visit despite the warning it is advised to cover up religious tattoos at all times. There are no issues with non-religious tattoos. Smoking in public places is prohibited (including inside buses and trains). Violators can be prosecuted. Photographing with your back to statues of the Buddha or posing in an inappropriate manner next to them is prohibited. Violators will be booked. (Source: Wiki Travel)
Time away in the wilderness, being close to the ocean, living with the locals, taking long walks far away from the car honks, trekking lush green hills and finally finding out why is Sri Lanka gets the top spot when it comes to the best destinations visit, A visit to the country the ideal experience for all those who yearn to get away from cities and head to the countryside.