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Authored by Pauline Travels

Sri Lanka is many things. A mesmerizing and magical place, it is a beach lovers paradise kissed by tropical seas, and a haven for budget travelers and foodies with cheap prices, flavourful food and famous teas. There are oodles of heritage, wildlife, and incredible landscapes just waiting to be hiked. There are a huge range of timeless ruins and ancient sites. Travel to Sri Lanka. 

Upon leaving New Zealand, I had no idea or expectations about Sri Lanka, only curiosity. Years of war and natural disasters like tsunamis have kept many travelers away. Though the country is quickly moving forward, and I found Sri Lanka’s myriad appeals alluring. Best time to travel to Sri Lanka. 

Arriving to a country that had seen so much suffering, I was humbled to see that the people in Sri Lanka were happy, friendly and optimistic about the future. The country is finally seeing peace and recovering from it’s tumultuous past, with a lot to offer those travelers willing to make a trip.

Sri Lanka is a small country, and you can pack a lot into a vacation of 12 to 16 days. The following are my favorite 5 reasons for why you should visit Sri Lanka. Travel now before the rest of the world realizes this unbelievable country has been hiding in plain sight. Sri Lanka tourism board. Visit Sri Lanka.

5 Reasons You Should Travel to Sri Lanka

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Beaches

The beaches in Sri Lanka are undeniably beautiful, though what’s even better is enjoying these spectacular beaches without the crowds. Often you’ll find yourself completely alone. How many days to spend in Sri Lanka.

And there are so many beaches to choose from. Some are golden, some have soft white sand, some are battered by the wind and waves, some are laid back, and some have a lively party vibe. Our favorites include Hikaduwa, Talalla, Mirissa, Marakollya, and Arugam Bay. Best beaches in Sri Lanka. 

If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot turtles, if not, kick back with a coconut and enjoy life. Scuba diving, snorkeling and surfing are popular activities along Sri Lanka beaches. There are so many options for recreation here.

“One of the best things about Sri Lanka’s beaches is that no matter what time of year you go, if it’s raining on one coast then chances are it’ll be sun hat and swimmers weather on the other.” When to go to Sri Lanka. 

Curry

Sri Lanka is famous for it’s flavourful food, whether you’re talking lunch, dinner, or breakfast food. Though you can’t go past the local curry. For starters, curry is something you’ll always get for the best price. Also, Sri Lankans are incredibly good at making it! Though do note that most of the time the spices are so tasty and rich on flavor that you’ll likely need a beer to chase it.

When it comes to curry in Sri Lanka you generally have five different choices: chicken, fish, and 3 different vegetable combinations. It is always served with a large load of rice and poppadoms. The dahl (lentil) is incredible, though my favorite was the pumpkin curry. It was seductive. Sri Lanka curry. 

When ordering something to drink with your meal, you can’t go past local juice. Pineapple will never taste as good after having had it in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is famous for it’s flavourful food, though you can’t go past the local curry.

Wildlife and National Parks

With eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, and plenty of National Parks, Sri Lanka has unique wildlife experiences wherever you go. Parks in Sri Lanka. 

Yala National Park is a fantastic location. From Monkeys, water buffalos, and elephants, there are plenty of exotic creatures to see. In Marakollya beach, you can watch as turtles come ashore in the middle of the night to lay their eggs on the beach. Best national parks in Sri Lanka. 

Mirissa provides incredible opportunities for whale & dolphin watching. Witness the majestic blue whales emerge with their tales and then disappear back into the deep ocean; an incredible moment to see this animal in their nature habit, wild and free. What wildlife can you see in Sri Lanka?

There are also opportunities for tracking leopards in the jungle, or witnessing the unparalleled sight of the annual elephant migration, which takes place in Sri Lanka’s Minneriya National Park. Sri Lanka wildlife.

Mountain Climbing: Adam’s Peak

The most breathtaking hike in Sri Lanka is the climb to the top of Adams Peak, or Sri Pada. This is “one of Sri Lanka’s most striking natural landmarks, and one of its most celebrated places of pilgrimage – a miniature Matterhorn which stands head and shoulders above the surrounding hills, giving a wonderful impression of sheer altitude.” Mountain climbing in Sri Lanka. 

There are many legends around the huge “footprint” at the summit. The original Buddhist story claims that this is the footprint of the Buddha himself, though other religious beliefs claim it is the footprint of Adam, who is said to have first set foot on earth here after being cast out of heaven, Lord Shiva, and St. Thomas. Hiking in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s best hikes. 

If you make the ascent at night, you will reach the top in time for dawn. This offers the best odds of seeing the extraordinary views free from cloud as well as a chance a glimpsing the peak’s famous shadow. You can also enjoy the spectacle of the night-time illuminations and all-night teashops on the way up.

“As dawn illuminates the holy mountain, the diffuse morning light uncovers the Hill Country rising in the east and the land sloping to the coast to the west.” This pilgrimage has proved to be one of the best travel experiences of my life.

As dawn illuminates the holy mountain, the diffuse morning light uncovers the Hill Country rising in the east and the land sloping to the coast to the west.

As dawn illuminates the holy mountain, the diffuse morning light uncovers the Hill Country rising in the east and the land sloping to the coast to the west.

Ella in Sri Lanka

The Budget

After having traveled through Australia and New Zealand, Sri Lanka helped me get my budget back on track. To travel here is quite cheap, and you can easily get by on an average of $50 per day. Sri Lanka tourism. 

Activities like safaris and entrances to UNESCO World Heritage sites will prove to be your biggest costs (sometimes as expensive as $50 per ticket), though in general, transportation, food and room rates are very reasonable and can be enjoyed on a backpackers budget. Travel tips Sri Lanka. 

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Pauline is a Norwegian girl who started exploring the world and now can’t stop. She loves discovering new places, meeting new people, and enjoying crazy adventures; all lead to new stories to tell.

She blogs about her experiences at Pauline Travels. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram also.

Photo credits: Buddhist woman prays by Brett Davies. Sri Lankan beachscape by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau. Sri Lankan rescue hatchery (turtle) by Brett Davies.

    44 Comments

  1. Sri Lanka looks stunning. I was immediately drawn to India for the food and the people, and I imagine its neighbor would yield some of the same goodies!

    • Absolutely – and the best part is there is far less tourism, so it’s a very authentic travel experience 🙂

  2. I’ve heard so many good things about Sri Lanka as I’ve been travelling through India these past few weeks, definitely adding it to my list!

    • You’re very close by then! Highly recommend visiting if you can make it happen; I’ve never heard a bad word about Sri Lanka from anyone who has traveled there 🙂

  3. I’m convinced, and inspired. I am going to look seriously at Sri Lanka.

    • Excellent Rhonda! Glad to hear it! Sri Lanka is relatively close to NZ too, so you should be able to find some flight specials 🙂

  4. Nice! Loved it when there tooling around on a motorcycle. You can rent a tuk tuk too!:).

    Gilda you included yala. Very easy and worth it park to visit!:)

    • Awesome Keith! So glad to hear you’ve also had a wonderful time 🙂

  5. looks like such an amazing country – I can’t wait to visit!

    • Hope you have the chance to visit soon – one of the most authentic places in the world 🙂

  6. Sri Lanka is one of the my bucket list places. Beaches in Sri Lanka are truly incredible. Thanks for sharing.

    • So glad to hear that Rajkumar! Happy travels 🙂

  7. Wow! Your post inspires me to add Sri Lanka to my travel bucket list!

    • Glad to hear that Archana! Hope you have the chance to visit soon … happy travels 🙂

  8. Sri Lanka is our neighbor country and the culture of South India (esp. Tamil Nadu) ans Sri lanka matches very much too. Would love to visit it once 🙂

    • Hope you have the chance to travel soon Sumti … Wonderful that you’re located so close by 🙂

  9. Wow! I want to go to Sri Lanka right now! Beaches and yummy food had me at first read but that sunset at Adam’s Peak is worth the trip alone – it looks incredible. Thanks for giving me another destination to add to my list!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Vicki! Yes, Sri Lanka really does have the perfect combination of everything; quite a lot going for it between the hiking, wildlife experiences, unspoiled beaches, and of course the food. One of the rare destinations where you can have a really authentic travel experience 🙂

      Hope you have the chance to visit soon!

  10. I have never been to Sri Lanka before and from your post I see that I should put it on my travel list. I love a good curry and it would be amazing to spot turtles on one of the secluded beaches.

    • Yes, absolutely – definitely a country which deserves to be on the bucket list 🙂 Hope you have the chance to visit soon!

  11. Wow, I’ve never thought about travelling to Sri Lanka but now I will have to add it to my list. I love finding animal experiences when I travel and it looks like I would see some interesting animals there. Great post!

    • Absolutely Jessica – if you love unique wildlife experiences, Sri Lanka has you covered. Much more of an authentic experience than you would have in neighboring countries too 🙂

  12. I’ve never visited Sri Lanka but I have received postcards from the country. I have a Japanese friend who has spent a decent amount of time in the country and she speaks glowingly about it.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad report about Sri Lanka – every traveler I know to have gone has always had glowing reports!

      Hope you have the chance to visit soon Rashaad 🙂

  13. Sri Lanka certainly has a lot to offers visitors. And hopefully, as it’s quite an affordable destination, more visitors will be awed by it.

    • Hoping so! I have a feeling it’s really going to take off in the next couple of years once people really realize what’s on offer there. So I highly recommend to everyone to travel before mass tourism hits 🙂

  14. Ah, you got me at every single point, it looks like my kind of country, cheap, with a lot of possibilites of adventure and outdoors with delicious food! Do you know if its similar to Kerala in India? It´s very close so assume it could be similar, and I loved Kerala.

    • Sadly I haven’t yet been to Kerala, so I wouldn’t be able to make the comparison. I’ve heard amazing things about it though, so hopefully I can make it to India soon 🙂

  15. Learned about Sri Lanka at World Travel Market London and am very intrigued. It was interesting seeing people as dark as me who were not of African descent. I’d be interested to see what my experience would be in that country. Great shots.

    • Hope you have the chance to visit soon Tawanna. Living in Australia we have a lot of Sri Lankan migrants and citizens of Sri Lankan descent and they’re all wonderful people 🙂

    • Absolutely Terry! Wildlife is my favorite draw 🙂

  16. As a teacher, I have students from all over the world, and ever since having a 7th grader in my class from Sri Lanka, I’ve been aching to visit! We looked into going for our honeymoon, but flights were too expensive. It’ll happen eventually, though. Mmm… that curry and those sights!

    • Perfect destination for a second honeymoon then when a flight deal pops up!

  17. It is fantastic find a local guide and be sure to visit the fish market in Columbo magical place wonderful people not a bad word to say

    • Thanks for the tips Steve 🙂 A local guide is definitely a fabulous way to explore 🙂

    • Have an amazing trip! Can’t wait to follow your photos and updates 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed it Sheli! Hopefully we can promote Sri Lankan tourism so that many other people realize how wonderful it is and travel too 🙂

  18. As a sri lankan I’m always enjoy posts of foreigners written about SL which almost always have good things to see. 🙂 like your choice of curries. I’d trade those for any Five star meal anytime.

    BTW didn’t you take the Train trip to hill country? It is one of the unique experience you can indulge in the island. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDnKgffHeW0)

    And also Kandy, Nuwara Eliya , Ella have many attractions you can enjoy. Not to mention the cultural triangle Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa have some ancient wonders as well.

    Good Day!

    • So glad you enjoyed the post Pushpitha! And thankyou for your tips 🙂

      The scenery from the train in your video looks amazing, I will definitely have to take the train through hill country when I have the chance to visit. Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and the cultural triangle Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa are also on the list!

  19. No doubt that there are several good places to visit in South East Asia, thanks for sharing this wonderful infiltration about Sri Lanka. Hopefully will visit in couple of years 🙂

    • Absolutely Sumit … so glad you enjoyed reading about Sri Lanka, hopefully you have the chance to visit at some stage during your travels 🙂

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