Sri Lanka is one of the international tourism destinations for Indians. It is also located a short flight away, making it one of the most accessible international tourist locations in South Asia. Many tourists prefer an international tour of Sri Lanka for its tourist-friendly policies. Earlier, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. It is an island country, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The distance being very short, India has always maintained close ties with Sri Lanka, businesswise and culturally as well.
Sri Lanka happens to be one of the most scenic countries around. It is also home to several ethnic groups. The country has a unique topography, that makes it more attractive to tourists. You will find mountainous zones and highlands, a coastal belt, and forests as well. The forests are very rich in flora and fauna as well. Moreover, you will find the place having all kinds of attractions, from waterfalls, to beaches, and many historical buildings as well. It is surrounded by the Indian Ocean.
Background of Sri Lanka
The history of Sri Lanka goes back to the 5th century B.C. The Singhalese were the first immigrants from India who settled there. Then, the Tamils also went and settled there, from India itself. The country was known by the name Ceylon till the colonial powers started controlling the place. There have been frequent wars between the Singhalese and the Tamils. They fought over territorial rights, the Tamils having occupied the Northern region and the Singhalese, the south. Later, various conquerors established their rule in the place, namely the Portuguese, then the Dutch India Company, and lastly, the British. What you see today in Sri Lanka, is a major contribution from the British. It is the British rulers who set up tea, coffee, and rubber plantations in the region. In 1956, Sri Lanka took to Sinhalese nationalism pushing the Tamils towards a minorities section. Ceylon also came to be known as Sri Lanka, around that time.
Popular Tourist Attractions of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is one of the most popular tourist attractions, which is also easy on the pocket for Indians. The tropical climate and beautiful beaches attract people from all corners of the globe as well. This South Asian country is also addressed as ‘the pearl of the Indian ocean’ at times. Apart from being a scenic location, you can head there if you are a history buff, an adventurist or a wildlife enthusiast. The place has two monsoon seasons. So, while tourists may experience summer in one part of the island, the others may be experiencing monsoon in another part of the country.
You will be amazed to know, that Sri Lanka has 26 national parks. The most popular national park in Sri Lanka is Yala National Park. You can spot a large number of predators, like leopards at the park. Udawalawe National Park is also famous for elephants. The country also flaunts the most beautiful beaches like Mirissa, Unawatuna, and Bentota. Sri Lanka is one of those places, where you can watch the largest land mammal and the largest sea mammal side by side. Here we are talking about elephants and whales. Kalpitiya is a great place to watch whales. You can also visit the best waterfalls, paddy fields, and tea estates in Sri Lanka.
The country also celebrates some of the best festivals, like Vel Festival, Nallur Festival, and Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Here are the top spots for you to explore:
- Dambulla Cave Temple
- Yala National Park
- Arugam Bay
- Bentota Beach
- St, Clair Falls
- International Buddhist Museum
- Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa
- The Commonwealth War Cemetery
- Temple Of Tooth
- Nuwara Eliya
- Bambarakanda Falls
- Polonnaruwa Sacred City
- Nine Arch Bridge
- Udawalawe National Park
- Ravana Falls and Caves
- Adam’s Peak
- Mount Lavinia
- Kandy Viewpoint
- Arthur’s Seat
Activities That You Can Indulge in Sri Lanka
There are numerous activities for tourists of all ages in Sri Lanka. You can choose one that suits your interests and fitness levels.
Surfing – This is one of the most exciting water sports that you can engage in. You will find waves of varying heights. Arugam Bay is one of the top spots for surfing. The place also hosts many international competitions. You can also avail yourself of surfing opportunities in Hikkaduwa. No matter if you are a novice or a professional, you can engage in surfing on the waves.
Whale Watching – It is another one of those top activities in Mirissa. You can set off on a boat to mid-sea, and watch these gigantic creatures blowing up water into the air, or just vaulting around. It is an unforgettable experience especially for the kids.
Turtle Hatchery Visit – If you are in Sri Lanka, and have not visited Habaraduwa, you are missing the best. More than a lac turtle has been successfully rescued from the surroundings and taken care of, at the hatchery. If you love nature, then you have got to witness this glorious activity of sea turtles laying their eggs on the beaches.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling – Hikkaduwa is the ultimate place for all kinds of water sports in Sri Lanka. There is a coral sanctuary at this location, where you can go all-decked up into your scuba diving suit. There are many wreckage sites and marine life sites here, which is a visual delight for tourists.
Trekking – It is one of the favourite activities for adventurists, who love to test their fitness levels. Adam’s Peak is the spot, where you can climb up and also pay your respects to the Lord Buddha. It is believed that his footprints are there on the peak.
Safari – Visit Yala National Park, which is one of the top spots in Sri Lanka. You will be able to spot exotic animals there. It also boasts the highest population of leopards. You can also spot sloth bears, and crocodiles aplenty.
How To Spend a Few Days in Sri Lanka
If you are leaving for a week’s holiday to Sri Lanka, you can have a good time there. It is possible to cover places like Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Bentota, and Colombo. Moreover, you can cover most of the top attractions in Kandy in one day. They include the Temple of the Tooth, Bogambara Lake, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Royal Botanical Garden, Bahirawakanda Temple, and Tea Museum.
The attractions like Tea plantations, St. Clairs Fall, Devon Falls, Galway’s Land National Park, and Nuwara Eliya Golf Club await you at Nuwara Eliya. Then, you can also engage in activities like trekking, cycling, and tea garden visit. Engage in beach hopping at Bentota and also checkout the Turtle Hatchery and Chaplon Tea Center. You can go for a heritage walk in Colombo, or engage in some shopping. Visit the Gangaramaya Temple as well.
You can also add Jaffna and Galle, if you have some extra time. You can relax at these locations and soak in the scenic beauty.
How to Reach Sri Lanka
There are as many as twenty-two airports in Sri Lanka, out of which five are international ones. You have to take a flight to the capital, Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport. You will find direct flights to the airport from th Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Australia. The airport is in Negombo, which is just 30 kms from the city centre. You can travel within the region in a car or a bus.
Places to Stay in Sri Lanka
There are varying options for accommodation in Sri Lanka. They include star hotels, homestays, heritage and colonial bungalows, boutique hotels, guest houses, and rented apartments. Resorts are also there. Some of the top names are:
- Tree Tops Jungle Lodge
- Marino Beach Colombo
- Serendib Village Guest House