Sri Lanka has been one of those countries which were often over looked by tourists in the past but have been a great holiday destination for those who’ve enjoyed their stay in the island. Sri Lanka is often dubbed as the pearl of the Indian Ocean due to its tear drop shaped island and was known during the Colonial era as Ceylon. One of the key reasons which make Sri Lanka a perfect holiday getaway is due to the fact that it’s a country which offers a wide variety of experiences ranging from its beautiful beaches and water sports to wildlife and hiking trails to lush landscapes, sceneries and hotels and the list goes on. In this series we shall be exploring some of the main attractions which makes this tiny Island a great holiday retreat.
Due to its rich multi-cultural society, Sri Lanka has many varieties of food to offer with its unique flavors which would fulfill a food lovers’ palate exponentially. Street food is one of the best ways to experience the local taste and could be enjoyed in several vendors in Colombo central and even Kandy and Nuwara Eliya areas of the central region of the country.
Local food also is rather cheap and doesn’t cost more than a dollar or two for a single person. There are many fusion dishes which have been inherited to this country like the chocolate rothi which is made with Indian flatbread and cocoa/chocolate added in the middle.
Sri Lanka has a considerably long rail network spanning across the country, and as a tourist there are certain destinations which should not be missed for any reason, such as the 9 arches bridge in Ella.
The first-class observation package is the best carriage which you could book to get some incredible shots of the 9-arch bridge in Ella. Train rides along the south coast also offers breathtaking views of the sea shores in the Indian Ocean with occasional palm trees as you go along in the open window carriages. Trains in Sri Lanka are also filled with vendors selling snacks, water bottles, cut mangoes with chillie etc, but remember to buy with caution as some of these items may not necessarily be halal, factory packed or made in registered businesses.
Hiking & Climbing
Although Sigiriya is a rock fortress, it also has a bit of hiking along as you get started and the steps gets steeper as you go towards the top. Sigiriya is a rock fortress of one of the kings which ruled the country several hundred years ago and is also listed as one of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Entry ticket costs around $30 for foreigners to visit the site, a visit to the Sigiriya Museum would cost a further $5 as well.
Entrance tickets could be booked online from the official government portal here or could also be purchased at the entrance. Another major hiking trail which shouldn’t be missed is in Ella rock which offers magnificent views as you get to the top.
Sri Lanka also offers surfing as well as many other water sports like jet ski rides, boat rides, banana rides etc so if you are after a wetter experience then you shouldn’t miss out on the fun filled activities along the south coast of the country. Unawatuna, Mirrisa, Hikkaduwa and Galle are great destinations for water sports and beach stays. However, it should be noted that Hikkaduwa is mostly a tourist area which may not necessarily have Muslim friendly beaches. Jungle beach is a great stop in Galle where you can experience a hidden beach amidst trees in the area.