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Places To Visit in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is the 7th most bio diverse place on the planet. This is thanks to the different landscapes it has to offer just within a few hours of travelling by car You can be in the cool mountains or golden sandy beaches all within one day! Start planning your trip through the below descriptions of the places to see in Sri Lanka.

 

Colombo

Sri Lanka Travel

Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka situated about 40 minutes drive southwards from the Colombo international Airport. With popular bars, restaurants and shops, the city can be used for a stop overnight just before you take off from Colombo, at the end of your trip. The capital city has a few interesting sites to see like the Independence Square and the Galle Face Green still carriy an old charm of the colonial past.

Mount Lavinia, a suburb of Colombo located in the South of the capital is a popular beach destination among the locals as well as tourists with beachside restaurants and guest houses.

Negombo situated just a few kilometres north of Colombo International Airport is actually a small fishing town quite famous among travellers as the best place to begin their sightseeing in Sri Lanka. Main highlights to visit in Negombo are the fish market and catholic churches.

Kalpitiya / Puttalam, the peninsula of Kalpitiya situated along the North West coast of the island is most famous location for kite surfing during the months of June to September and for dolphin watching. The lagoon of Puttalam is famous for producing the best crabs in the island.

Cultural Triangle

Sri Lanka Travel

The cultural triangle consists of Anuradhapura Polonnaruwa and Kandy but in reality Sigiriya is much more significant than Kandy. This part of the island is where you can experience the real rural Sri Lankan life and its rich cultural heritage.

Anuradhapura the ancient capital of Sri Lanka found in 4th century BC is also an important Buddhist pilgrim site with massive Dagobas and Pilgrim sites as Sri Mahabodiya (the sacred Bo Tree). What is impressive about this city is to discover the ancient civilization in terms of advanced irrigation systems used for paddy cultivation with manmade tanks like Kalawawa and Yodha ela ( the giant’s canal).

Polonnaruwa The medieval capital of Sri Lanka is a lost city in a good state of preservation with ruins that include a 7 story palace of the King audience halls Shrine rooms and Hindu temples. The most impressive thing about the Polonnaruwa architecture is the famous ‘Gal Viharaya’ a huge bed rock with 4 massive Buddha statues carved on to the face.

Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks where huge herds of elephants gather by the large lakes during the dry season (June to August). Sometimes up to 300 elephants can be seen together - the largest number of wild elephants gathering in one place on the entire planet!

Sigiriya and its surroundings: this area is most famous for the Rock fortress of Sigiriya also known as the lion’s rock. Apart from that the region also houses other famous archeological sites like the Golden Cave temple of Dambulla and Monastry of Ritigala and Pidurangala. This area is also the opportunity to do elephant back rides and excursions into the local villages to on bullock cart and have enjoy a typical village lunch.

Kandy

Sri Lanka Travel

Kandy is the last Sinhalese Kingdom of Sri Lanka before the whole island fell under the rule of the British Empire. To date it remains the cultural capital of the Island with the world famous Kandy Perahara Festival taking place annually in the months of July and august.

Kandy the famous sites includes the Temple of the Buddha’s tooth Royal Botanical gardens of Peradeniya.

Pinnawela the famous elephant orphanage of Pinnawela where you find the largest herd of elephants is located in the surroundings of the Kandian region.

Kithulgla, this picturesque little village by the river was the actual film set for the Alec Guinness’ movie ‘Bridge On the River Kwai”. Today it’s famous for adventure sports and white water rafting.

Knuckles Range, mountains that takes the shape of a clenched fist harboring a wide variety of flora and fauna that sometimes can only be found in Sri Lanka. Provides excellent cycling and hiking trails.

Matale is famous for its spice gardens and traditional craftsmen and a place where you can buy Batiks with traditional Sri Lankan designs like the Kandy Perahara or Still Fishermen.

Northern Peninsula

Sri Lanka Travel

The Northern part of Sri Lanka was once considered as a forbidden land but after the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka visitors have started visiting this part of the island to sample the exotic Jaffna cuisine and the arid yet unique landscapes of the region.

Jaffna and surroundings, the important sights in Jaffna town are the library, the Dutch fort and the town in general. Apart from that, you visit Nagadeepa Islands and the Delft island, the Casurina beach and the northern most tip of Sri Lanka point Pedro.

Mannar this is the second most important town of the region and where you can visit the famous Adam’s bridge, a series of rocks and sand banks that link the island to Rameswaram, the southern tip of the Indian sub continent. This region is also famous for the most important Catholic pilgrim site of Madhu Church.

Tea Country

Sri Lanka Travel

The beautiful lush green mountains of Sri Lanka where world’s finest Ceylon tea is produced offers great hikking trails, breath taking views and waterfalls. Nuwara Eliya also known as little England is a popular hill stations with beautiful flower gardens and lake in the middle of the town. Where locals believe Seetha of the ancient Hindu Epic Ramayana was kept in captivity by Ravana.

Horton Plains national park and the walk to the world’s end is a famous nature walk done by many visitors while passing through Nuwara Eliya.

Hatton famous for it’s acres and acres of tea plantations notably the Bogawanthalawa valley is a good base to start your over night trek up to the Adam’s peak ( December to April)

Haputhale offers probably the best views in the island overlooking the Koslanda valley and some of the famous hikes you can do from Haputhale is up to the Lipton Seat where the famous British Planter used to sit and admire his plantations.

Ella, the name of the town comes from the Sinhalese word from waterfall it maybe because of all the beautiful waterfalls situated in close proximity to Ella such as Ravana Falls, Diyaluma and Dunhinda.

Udawalawe National park is another beautiful national park that you can visit in Sri Lanka. It has a large concentration of wild elephants and also home to sloth bears, deers and wild boar.

South Beaches

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Southern beaches of Sri Lanka can be described as the most beautiful part of the island with unspoiled beaches and some amazing sites and scenery.

Galle is famous for its Dutch period fortress and the rich culture and architectural heritage. One can say walking inside the Galle Fort is like entering a time capsule its past glory comes alive every year in January with the Galle Literature festival.

Sinharaja Rainforest a UNESCO world heritage site is easily accessible from the south coast Deniyaya Entrance.

Unawatuna was once ranked as the 7th most beautiful beach in the world. However, today, Unawatuna is a typical beach destination with many guest houses and lots of tourist. Nevertheless it is still beautiful and has a happening night life to offer with good beach parties.

Weligama, this little bay is also considered as a great surfing spot and offers god midrange accommodation. Famous for viewing the Stilt fishermen at dawn or dusk.

Mirissa is now world famous for being a whale watching hotspot from November to April.

Tangalle is a perfect beach for a quiet honeymoon with virgin beaches and probably the last place left to have a beach all for yourself.

Yala and Bundala National Parks offers some of the best safaris in Sri Lanka with the opportunity to spot leopards, wild elephants,crocodiles, wild buffalos and more than 200 different species of birds.

West Coast

Sri Lanka Travel

The south west coast of Sri Lanka probably offers some of the best beaches and best accommodation and resorts in the island beginning from Kaluthara all the way down to Hikkaduwa. Apart from the picture perfect palm fringed golden beaches each beach has something authentic to offer. Bentota has a lagoon that is famous for practicing water sports like wakeboarding and water skiing.

Kosgoda is best known for turtle conservation as each year many sea turtles lay eggs on the shores of Kosgoda. Visitors can visit turtle hatcheries in the area and let baby hatchlings off to the sea at sunset.

Hikkaduwa has recently gained popularity for being a party beach with its annual Hikka Beach fest taking place in July. But the beach is also famous for Scuba diving and taking glass bottom boat rides to see the underwater life of the coral reef.

East Coast

Sri Lanka Travel

Who says you can’t visit Sri Lanka during the European Summer months! An interesting fact about Sri Lanka when it’s raining in the west coast it’s sunny and bright on the east coast and that’s how the seasons work. After a lapse of time the beaches of the east coast are gaining popularity from visitors worldwide.

Trincomalee eastern port of Trinco is well known for its Dutch fort and a Hindu temple over looking the Indian Ocean. It’s also famous for whale watching from June to August. The popular beached in Nilaveli and Pigeon Island are excellent for swimming and snorkeling.

Arugambay, this fishing village has become a surfer’s paradise in the recent years as the beaches near Arugambay offers some excellent surfing breaks like the Whiskey point, Crocodile Point and Okanda. Even if you are not a surfer, the beaches of East coast can add up an excellent beach break to your tour of Sri Lanka in summer.

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