Sri Lanka, an island nation south of the Indian subcontinent, is bustling with opportinities for its visitors to take up. From walking through it's rainforests to long strolls along the sandy beaches that make up the country, there's an abudance of things for tourists to do in the country. The mixture of culture, activites and sandy beaches, make Sri Lanka the perfect place for a relaxing but adventurous holiday. The friendliness of it's peolpe, it's food and tea (home of Ceylon tea), alongside cheap prices make this destination one of the most popular for people to visit in the coming years. If you've got an upcoming trip to the country and are stuck for ideas for what to do, why not check out our workshops, where we offer bespoke itinerary planning.
Traditional Sri LankaOne thing you need to check out in Sri Lanka is the fishermen sitting on stilts to catch fish. This can be seen between Unawatuna and Weligam but some beaches host more authentic fishermen than others. Sitting on a pole, which is driven into the sand a few meters into the sea, the fishmen cast their lines and wait for fish. Although it may appear an ancient tradition, it is a fairly recent one as it is thought to have originated during WWII. This is because there were food shortages on the island and overcrowded fishing areas lead to some men deciding to begin fishing on the water, at first they used capsised ships and downed aircraft and after they took to using stilts in coral reefs. The skills have been passed down the generations and now, exist between the towns of Unawatuna and Weligama. Due to a reduction in catch, following the Indian ocean tsunami, this is a dying tradition, so go and check it out soon! If you're looking to check out the most authentic fishermen and not a paid actor, head off the beaten track!
Sri Lankan ElephantThe Sri Lankan elephant is native to the island and is one of three recognised subspecies of Asian elephant. Unfortunatly, the subspecies has seen a massive 50% reduction in population over the last three generations and is now listed as endangered. If you're wanting to see elephants in the wild, a good place to visit is Udawalawe National Park, where you can go in a safari-style jeep through the park to see the herd of around 250 elephants. If you're wanting to get up and personal with an elephant, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a good bet and you can take the Viceroy train from Columbo to Pinnawala to get there, head around 2pm to see them bathing in the river.
NB. Don't ride or feed the elephants.
Stunning rainforest and endless beachesSri Lanka has 1,340 km of coastline and coming with it include endless miles of stunning beaches, perfect to have a relax on during your trip.
· Bentota Beach - an hour away from Colombo lies Bentota Beach, good for surfing, the beach offers great waves and a chilled and relaxed environment, with less crowds.
· Mirissa Beach - is another hot spot, perfect for hitting the waves, nearby there are plenty of restaurants to eat in and sunset there is beautiful!
You can't Sri Lanka without a stroll through some of the amazing rainforrest which will allow you to fully understand the true, natural beauty of Sri Lanka. To see it best, head to the Sinharaja rainforrest, a UNESCO World Herritage Site, which is home to many endemic speicies of birds, trees, insects, mammals and repitles. A trek through the forrest will make you fall in love with the flora and fauna of the country and will make it hard for you to leave!
Inspiring templesSri Lanka offers a rich tapestry of temples from Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth, which is said to contain the tooth of Buddha himself, to small, community temples in villages crafted in elegant and orante styles. Whilst in the country, why not visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a World Heritage site, 148 km east of Colombo - the site is the home of the best preserved and largest cave temple complex in the country and is also home to The Golden Buddha statue, which is just down the hill from the cave temple.
Beautiful food and teaYou can't visit Sri Lanka without tasting their most famous export, Ceylon tea, and a trip to Kandy, the birthplace of Ceylon tea is required. Whilst in the country, why not take a trip to Handungoda Estate, where you can enjoy a tour of the grounds, the tea bushes and a show around the manufacturing process, ending with the opportunity to try some tea! (make sure you take some cash as the tour is paid for with your tips!)
You must also check out the great variety of food that is on offer in Sri Lanka, from Kukul mas curry, a simple chicken curry in a coconut milk based sauce to Watalappan a steamed egg custard made with Kitul jaggery, coconut milk and a variety of spices such as nutmeg and cardomen.