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Authored by JJ

Since I started travelling four years ago, I have been lucky enough to experience truly varied cultures and places, many of which I hold dear. Sri Lanka, however, has always had a special place in my heart and I’ve made it my mission to convince everyone else of its merits.

Despite a troubled past, Sri Lanka and its people are well on their way to a full recovery. More than that, they are very welcoming to people who wish to experience the beauty of their country and perhaps contribute a bit to stimulating the local economy.

I had such a great experience in Sri Lanka that I even decided to start my own blog about the country and inspire as many people as possible to visit! You can find the blog at takemetosrilanka.com.

With friendly people, incredible food, and stunning locations throughout the country, there are plenty of reasons to choose Sri Lanka as your holiday destination. You’ll love Sri Lanka for the following reasons, and it’s for these reasons that the country will inspire a second trip!

Why Sri Lanka Inspires for a Second Trip

Its Historical Sites are Inspiring

Sri Lanka might be relatively small but it fits a wealth of history and natural beauty within its borders.

For example, Pidurangala Rock Temple (which you can see in combination with Sigiriya Rock Fortress in one day). Or the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, which is simply breathtaking. Being that the site is massive, a good way to explore is to rent a bike; I had a wonderful experience cycling around, imagining how the city might have looked like at its peak 800 years ago.

Of course, it’s incredibly important to practice respect when you are visiting such places, as many of them have both cultural and religious significance to locals. Depending on where you will be staying in Sri Lanka, some of the country’s historical sites might be a little bit hard to access, unless your budget allows for private car hire.

However, this just gives you even more reasons to travel to the country again! Planning for these visits can be somewhat frustrating but there are plenty of resources online,  where you can find planned historical itineraries so you don’t have to do all the legwork.

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Photo CC Patty Ho

The Train Journeys are Stunning

There are plenty of beautiful train journeys throughout Sri Lanka, however one of the most remarkable is the journey from Kandy to Ella.

I’ve talked about this journey to pretty much anyone who will listen and I still can’t get enough. After all, it was this journey that convinced me that train journeys can actually be exciting and not just a time to listen to music or read a book!

Take a look outside the window at any time and you will see tea plantations covering entire hills, waterfalls splashing down right beside you, mountains covered in trees, and everything in between.

The views almost everywhere in Sri Lanka are extraordinary and if you want to soak it all up in one go, this seven-hour journey is the best way to do it. And yes, seven hours might sound like an incredibly long time, but it truly isn’t!

While you’re in the train, you may well get to meet locals, snack on food from one of the many vendors wandering around the wagons, and even drink some delicious tea!

Sri Lanka highlands by train | from Kandy to Ella

Photo CC Flashpacker Travel Guides via Flickr

The Food is Always Delicious

One of the things I love about travelling is satisfying my taste buds with the best each country’s cuisine has to offer. In Sri Lanka, this wasn’t hard to do at all as almost every meal I had was simply delicious.

Getting a curry and rice from any local place will make you rethink about what Asian cuisine means as the authentic local ingredients are more flavorful than anything you can get from an Asian store back home!

Aside from the cooked meals, the selection of fruits in Sri Lanka is so varied that I felt like a kid again. Drinking juice from fresh pineapples, water from fresh coconuts, and eating things I’ve never seen before like dragon fruit was very fun.

You just have to be a little bit careful with it. For instance, if you can’t handle spicy food, then you should try to get mild versions of whatever curry you want to eat. Hygiene may also be an issue in some places so you have to be on the lookout for it.

Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Photo CC by Patty Ho

You Can Spot Wildlife in Diverse Habitats

Sri Lanka is absolutely full of wildlife across its many national parks, jungles, and sea. There is something for everyone here and taking a safari in one of the parks will allow you to view a lot of different animals in safety.

For instance, Yala is one of the best places in the world to spot the elusive leopard at a natural habitat. The massive national park is home to pretty much every kind of animal you can think of including birds, reptiles, and giant mammals.

The country is home to a lot of elephants and watching the majestic creatures in their homes is a humbling experience. I would urge you to go to Kaudulla, my personal favorite, as there are far fewer tourists than Minneriya, its more popular counterpart.

If you want to head over to the sea, there are plenty of opportunities for whale and dolphin watching too. In fact, Sri Lanka has the largest blue whale colony in the world and seeing the world’s largest animal ever right in front of you is awe-inspiring.

Leopard RF

It’s Cheap, Safe, and Beautiful

While there are many Asian countries where you will find cheap accommodation, safe travels, and beautiful landscapes, very few of them combine all three in the same way as Sri Lanka.

The country is stunning from one end to the other whether you are looking for mountainous adventures and long hikes or relaxing sunbathing in one of its many picturesque beaches.

Everywhere you go in Sri Lanka, you will also find cheap but solid accommodation and food for any budget. Eating a great meal in Sri Lanka and sleeping in an air-conditioned room will cost almost nothing when compared to many European countries and the experience will be more authentic too.

As a solo female traveller, I never felt unsafe. There were some instances where men repeatedly tried to talk to me or stared uncomfortably but it was never dangerous. While I wouldn’t want to walk in the streets of Colombo alone at night, I wouldn’t do that in any city anywhere else in the world either.

One of the Most Magical Places in Asia

Whether you are on a tight budget or are willing to splurge on just about anything you want, Sri Lanka will undoubtedly have something for you.

Even as a solo traveller, I found so many things to love about the country that I can’t wait to go back!

OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL GUIDES TO SRI LANKA: CLICK PHOTO↓

 Sri Lanka Travel Guide

 Lonely Planet Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel Guide

101 Coolest Things to Do in Sri Lanka

 Sri Lanka Travel Guide

The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka

After catching an incurable case of wanderlust at the age of 20, JJ has spent the last 4 years travelling the world and writing about her adventures.

Sri Lanka will always hold a special place in her heart because of its unbelievably good (if not sometimes ambiguous) food, friendly locals and stunning beaches.

    12 Comments

  1. Sri Lanka is still to be conquered by myself and I am so glad the days of gorilla warfare in the country is long gone. One day I will get there and explore those tea places and chill out on the beach. One day, one day I will get out there. (I have to admit, even through my ‘real’ job is working in the railway industry, would I go out there for train rides, maybe). :P

    • I hope you do have the opportunity to visit at some stage! And I’ve heard incredible things about the rail journeys, so who knows, maybe you’ll love being a passenger when the scenery is this great :D!

  2. I haven’t been to Sri Lanka yet but as an avid fan of scenic train rides, the ride from Kandy to Ella has always been high on my list. I have friends who did it and it is as you said, definitely memorable and exciting!v

    • You would love the train ride from Kandy to Ella then Darlene! Hope you have the chance to visit at some stage :)

  3. I think it’s very important that you pointed out that people should be respectful when visiting places that have cultural and religious significance to the locals. Too often travelers tend to forget it!

    • Thanks Danila – I think this is one of the most important things when traveling to any country. But yes, sadly people tend to forget that we’re guests of a foreign country when we travel, and many tourists show so much disrespect. So I figure it never hurts to include reminders :)

  4. I would love to go on a first trip and a second trip! The scenic train rides are right up my alley. I have seen too many beautiful photos of people looking out of the train to not want to experience it for myself! I also would love to do a safari!

    • It’s one of those countries you can just return to time and time again from the sounds of it! Between the train journeys and the options for safari – it’s adventure heaven! Hope you have the chance to visit at some stage :)

  5. Sri Lanka must be special to inspire a website all about it! It’s been on my to-visit list, so I always enjoy learning more. I had no idea you could go whale watching for blue whales! I’ll have to save this post for when I start planning!

    • Right!! But I can totally understand it from the passion that JJ writes with – it sounds like such an incredible country, with so many authentic and adventurous things to do – wildlife especially!

  6. I was in Sri Lanka for 5 days (unfortunately, only 5) last month and absolutely loved it, except Colombo which I felt really didn’t have much to offer. There were so many places that I missed out, such as Yala National Prk, Galle and from your post, I can see that even the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa looks pretty intriguing! I did manage to see some elephants and lakes and tea plantations, even spent a night in a tree house, in the jungle and loved every bit of it! Have to go back one day, I agree it deserves a second visit.

    • So glad to hear that you enjoyed your first trip, and with the remaining places you haven’t seen yet, it sounds like an excellent reason to plan a second trip!

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