Where to go in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an amazing destination for 2018 with great diversity and some amazing things to see and experience. To help you plan your trip , we have produced a guide on where to go in Sri Lanka
The region has a captivating charm of its own with isolated beaches, picturesque man-made lakes, vast lagoons and an abundance of marine and terrestrial wildlife. Negombo, a coastal town which is a short from the Airport has a wide sandy beach with star class hotels and biodiversity rich mangroves in the lagoon.
Kalpitiya further north is known for its large pods of Spinner Dolphins, pristine coral reefs and seasonally provides ideal conditions for kitesurfing. Further north lies Wilpattu, Sri Lanka’s largest and oldest national park where one can encounter leopards and sloth bears along with other wildlife. Influenced by the colonial powers, Catholicism is highly prevalent in these areas; there are some delightful old churches, which attract large numbers of devotees each year during local festivals.
The Cultural Triangle
Steeped in history that dates back to over two millennia, this region comprises of the ancient capitals of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya where cities boasting of impressive structures including sacred stupas, monastic sites, administrative buildings, palaces and numerous man-made tanks were constructed. Sri Lanka was during these periods, regarded as being one of the most advanced civilizations in Asia. The Dambulla Cave Temple, which is famous for its rock paintings and is among the best preserved monastic temple cave complexes where the origins date as far back as the 1st century BC.
The forested areas and man-made lakes are home to one of the highest populations of Asian Elephant in the country. ‘The Gathering of Elephant’s seen in Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks where one can see up to three hundred wild elephants in the open is regarded as being one of the world’s top wildlife spectacles.
Ravaged by the 30 year civil war, northern Sri Lanka which was previously off limits is now gradually undergoing a revival and is beginning to open up to tourism. The area has its own distinct flavour of cuisine and is dotted with historic and colourful Hindu Temples and can resemble parts of southern India. Influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, there are a number of interesting archaeological sites from the colonial periods which include ruined forts, historic churches, to clock towers and administrative buildings.
Palmyrah trees replace the coconut trees seen in the south, which are designed to withstand the higher temperatures and there are a number of picturesque lagoons across the region where migrant flocks of Greater Flamingo can be occasionally seen. There are also some excellent beaches in the Jaffna peninsula which are sparsely populated.
Eastern Sri Lanka has been largely spared of development due to the effects of the three decade long civil war which ended in2009. The landscapes are pristine and remote, with picturesque lagoons, scrub jungles teaming with wild elephants, beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters.
Arugam Bay in the south-east is a hub for surfers, while Trincomalee and Passekudah have some of the best swimmable beaches on the island and the former is a hotspot for viewing a resident population of Blue Whales. The sparsely visited Kumana National Park provides opportunities for viewing big game and is abundant in birdlife, while the Gal Oya National Park further inland offers opportunities for wildlife viewing by boat. The entire region is dotted with a number of interesting and lesser known cultural sites including ancient dagobas, prehistoric cave drawings, remains of monastic sites and sacred temples such as the Konneswaram Hindu Temple in Trincomalee.
The Central Highlands, with its cooler climate and mountainous terrain provides a refreshing escape from the tropical heat. The home of Ceylon Tea, the island’s most reputed and famed export product, the hills are carpeted with lush green plantations that produce some of the world’s finest tea. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in the heart of Kandy, which is one of the most revered sites in the country attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees each year. Nuwara Eliya, which is the highest elevated town in Sri Lanka is another fascinating area to explore and is nicknamed as little England due to its climate, well-manicured lawns, gardens of flowers and colonial style buildings.
The Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Ranges contain some of the most pristine wilderness areas which have a number of panoramic viewpoints and are abundant in wildlife, making it popular for hiking, guided nature walks and bird watching. Waterfalls are abundant and there are a number of scenic vistas all through the central highlands making it a very popular area to explore for the outdoor enthusiast.
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