8 Amazing Tourist Places To Visit In Sri Lanka
By: Pinki Tue, 03 Oct 2023 8:58:57
Ravan transformed Swarna-Lanka into his legendary kingdom, while the Venetian merchant Marco Polo found himself irresistibly drawn to the enchanting allure of Sri Lanka during the 13th century. Later on, Sri Lanka, known as Ceylon in ancient times, became the focus of colonization by the Dutch, Portuguese, and British. Have you ever pondered over what captivated all of them about the exquisite beauty of Sri Lanka's top tourist destinations?
It's quite possible that they all recognized the potential of discovering paradise beneath their feet and above their heads at these remarkable Sri Lankan tourist spots. Perhaps the towering mountains that seemed to touch the sky, the hillsides adorned with tea plantations, the lush and vibrant green landscapes, the abundance of diverse wildlife, the stunning beaches, and the warm hospitality played pivotal roles in the historical surge of interest in Ceylon.
# Colombo in the Western Province
Commence your journey in the picturesque island nation by beginning with a trip to Sri Lanka's vibrant capital. Colombo stands out as one of the top destinations to explore in Sri Lanka, renowned for its rich colonial heritage, shopping districts, trendy dining establishments, and captivating art galleries. Situated along the western coast of the island, Colombo caters to a diverse range of travelers, including couples, families, and budget-conscious backpackers.
For those in pursuit of romance, Beira Lake offers an enchanting experience. Travelers seeking leisure can indulge in rejuvenating Ayurvedic massages on the southern outskirts of Colombo. Families, on the other hand, should seize the opportunity to embark on an open-top bus tour, available in the morning, evening, or night.
If you're traveling with friends, consider delving into the underwater realm by exploring certified diving sites in Colombo, such as Chief Dragon, Pecheur Breton, and T. Sierra.
# Hikkaduwa Beach
How about combining an energetic nightlife experience with exhilarating watersports like boogie-boarding, snorkeling, and scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters of Hikkaduwa Beach? Located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Hikkaduwa Beach is a true paradise for beach enthusiasts, especially during the months of November to March.
Galle's Hikkaduwa Beach is renowned as one of Sri Lanka's top destinations, particularly during July and August when it hosts the 5-day Hikkaduwa Beach Festival featuring international DJs.
The shoreline of Hikkaduwa Beach is adorned with numerous restaurants, bars, beach shacks, and luxurious resorts, making it a magnet for watersports enthusiasts, couples in search of romance, and families looking for a memorable getaway.
The icing on the cake is the opportunity to swim alongside giant turtles and other fascinating marine creatures in the protected shallow areas.
Your journey through Sri Lanka would be incomplete without experiencing one of its most iconic attractions. Sigiriya, according to ancient manuscripts, served as King Kasyapa's capital, featuring his palace perched atop the imposing rock.
However, some historians argue that the plateau's summit was once the majestic realm of Ravana, who reputedly constructed a palace of solid gold and shared it with Kubera nearly 5,000 years ago. If you have an affinity for places steeped in history and imbued with captivating tales, then Sigiriya stands out as one of the finest destinations in Sri Lanka's Central Plains.
To reach the pinnacle of this ancient rock fortress, you'll need to ascend approximately 1,200 or more stairs, divided into three phases. The journey begins at the garden located at the base of the rock fortress, where you can explore numerous caves. It typically takes around three hours, including breaks, to reach the summit of Sigiriya, and you'll encounter a ticket checkpoint midway during your ascent.
Sigiriya has earned a well-deserved place on UNESCO's tentative list of heritage sites, holding the eighth position. It's a must-visit as it proudly resides at the heart of Sri Lanka's cultural triangle, alongside Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, and Anuradhapura.
As you hike through the boulder-strewn heights, we recommend engaging local guides to gain insights into the terraced gardens and cave temples. Along the way, you'll also pass by a highly polished stone wall, rumored to be where the King admired his reflection as he strolled by.
# Nuwara Eliya
Experience the sensation of vacationing in a miniature version of England, all without leaving Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya, nestled in the central province of Sri Lanka at an elevation of 6,199 feet (1,889 meters) above sea level, extends the picturesque charm reminiscent of Munnar, Coorg, Ooty, Wayanad, and Darjeeling. It proudly holds the title of Sri Lanka's tea capital.
To alleviate all your stresses, savor a piping hot cup of Dilmah tea in the midst of the lush tea plantations at colonial-style accommodations. Dilmah, a globally renowned tea brand, originated from Sri Lanka, underscoring the allure of this cool-climate destination in the country.
Nuwara Eliya is one of the most enchanting places for couples seeking a romantic getaway in Sri Lanka, owing to its refreshing climate akin to that of Munnar. What adds an extra layer of delight to this tea capital is the scenic train journeys connecting it to Kandy.
The venerable Victorian railway engines laboriously ascend into the hill country, winding their way through undulating tea estates. As a passenger, you'll want to stand at the open doorways, gazing at the sweeping vistas of meticulously manicured greenery. Just remember to maintain a firm grip on the handrails while immersing yourself in the breathtaking lushness of the scenery.
Nestled in the fertile valley of Sri Lanka's Matale district, you'll find Dambulla, renowned for its five cave temples that serve as a treasure trove of Sinhalese Buddhist architecture. Dambulla stands out as one of the most remarkable places to visit in Sri Lanka for families, offering profound insights into various aspects of Buddhism in the country.
Within Dambulla's vicinity lies Pidurangala Rock, where you can embark on a stair-climbing adventure to revel in commanding views of the iconic Lion's Rock. For couples seeking a memorable experience, a hot air balloon ride over Kandalama Lake in Dambulla provides a unique opportunity to exchange promises amid the lofty heights, overlooking Sri Lanka's foremost cultural and heritage attractions as if soaring like a bird.
Wildlife enthusiasts can also venture to Minneriya National Park near Dambulla for captivating wildlife safaris. And if you happen to be lucky and there are ICC events taking place, make sure not to miss the chance to immerse yourself in the live-action at the Dambulla International Cricket Stadium during the evenings.
# Arugam Bay
Situated on the East Coast of Sri Lanka, this destination has garnered notable recognition and attention from the surfing community. Arugam Bay stands as Sri Lanka's ultimate surfing haven, particularly welcoming newcomers and novice surfers. The region boasts numerous fantastic bays, and a lagoon safari in Arugam Bay is among the most enticing activities for couples exploring Sri Lanka.
Arugam Bay offers a delightful array of beachfront restaurants, Ayurveda resorts for ultimate relaxation, and the opportunity to embark on wildlife safaris in the nearby Yala National Park. These experiences collectively create the perfect vacation in Arugam Bay.
# Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Witness the world's most extensive gathering of mesmerizing elephants at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This destination ranks among the top tourist attractions in Sri Lanka for families with children, offering the opportunity for youngsters to interact with and nourish the gentle giants. At the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, these majestic creatures partake in refreshing river baths, and observing them receiving affection and attention from tourists is an unforgettable experience to treasure while in Sri Lanka.
# Yala National Park
Grab your binoculars, charge your cameras, because Yala National Park, located in the southeastern corner of Sri Lanka, boasts the world's highest population of leopards. Undoubtedly, Yala National Park is among the finest wildlife destinations in Sri Lanka, catering to couples and families alike.
Spending at least half a day in Yala National Park allows you to witness the thriving flora and fauna that inhabit the park. It's important to note that the park is closed for maintenance from September to the first week of October.
To make the most of your visit, consider hiring a guide, as some of the drivers may have limited proficiency in English. And here's a little secret: you can opt to stay in cocoon-shaped tented lodges, providing an immersive and unfiltered wildlife experience.