Sri Lanka – you might have heard of it mainly because of the island country’s civil war which lasted 26 years. Tourism re-opened only in recent years and tourists began looking at Sri Lanka as a destination to explore post-2009. Since then the number of tourists to the country is on a steady rise. I have made a number of visits to Sri Lanka till date and have travelled across the western coast, the north-eastern coast, north-central province, Kandy region (commonly called part of the Hill country) and the Yala National Park in the Southeastern part of the island.
Sri Lanka is an underrated destination and here are 7 striking reasons why you MUST VISIT Sri Lanka.
The ancient forts and ruins
The North Central regions of Sri Lanka are populated by quite a number of ancient forts and ruins; some of them being Retigala, Anuradhapura, Pollonaruwa, Sigiriya – the Lion rock fortress among others. I’ve climbed the Sigiriya twice till date. I must tell you – when I climbed it in the hot month of October, the climb felt like a stretch. The same climb felt like easier in June when the weather was pleasant anf the wind so strong that I had to hold on to every railing possible while climbing.
The food here is largely not exposed. Like Indians, they have a lot of curries but the taste differs and the cuisine satisfies the spicy palette. There is an array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, each with distinct flavours. My personal favourite was the Jaffna Chilli Crab from The Crab restaurant at Trinco Blu by Cinnamon, a resort hotel on the northeastern coast. There’s also Ministry of Crab in Colombo which is a hot favourite among Crab lovers.
Sri Lanka has a significant number of locations that are relevant to Hindu mythology. Two of the main locations are Ram Sethu, Adam’s peak and Konneshwaram. The sea view from Konneshwaram is breathtaking! And if at all you’re looking at Konneshwaram from the sea, you’ll also get to see pretty jellyfish on the surface of the sea.
Sri Lanka is an island country and boasts of a coastline of 1340km (833 miles). The turquoise clear waters make it an ideal holiday destination for a beach lover. Some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka are Nilaveli, Arugam Bay, Bentota and Mirissa. If you find another beautiful beach in Sri Lanka, do let me know!
Galle takes you back in time to the period when the Dutch were in Sri Lanka. The fort is a complete town from Europe. I’m sure it won’t be hard to believe once you’ve made your way there. Pick a tea parlour, sip a beverage, kick back, relax and stare aimlessly at the sea.
If you’re an elephant lover, you’re in for a treat! In Sri Lanka’s north central province, there are two national parks where elephants frequent – Minneriya National Park & Kaudulla National Park. The best season to spot multiple herds of elephants is September, when about 200 elephants gather for the largest elephant gathering in all of Asia! Like this wasn’t enough, Sri Lanka also has an orphanage for elephants.
If you’ve been dreaming of taking a vacation to places where you can spot whales, Sri Lanka is a fabulous place to start. The best months to spot whales on Sri Lanka’s northeast coast (Nilaveli/ Trincomalee) are March – April and on the south coast (Mirissa) are post-September. If you’re lucky, you will be able to spot Blue Whales and Sperm Whales among other gentle giants of the ocean.
What do you like most about Sri Lanka? Leave your comments below.