Exploring pristine beaches

Sri Lanka is a beach paradise. Many of the best beaches are located along the southwestern coast where blue water, snorkeling, surfing waves, and even migrating whales can be enjoyed. In the south, you can find many superb beaches, such as at Unawatuna, Weligama, Mirissa, Tangalla. You’ll also find unspoiled beaches on the east coast, such as Arugam Bay with a surf spot. Up to north east coast to the Kalpitiya peninsula owns numbers of fine resorts

Traveling by train to the rural

One of the best way to explore Sri Lanka is to be on a train and witness the countryside charm. Prepared to be impressed by the breath-taking views through Ella Gap, a spectacular gap in the southern mountain wall, where you can also visit small vegetable plots, lush forests and be amazed by tea pickers standing out in the sea of green. Other places you can visit are Nuwara Eliya and Bogawantalawa Valley.

Being amidst The Wildlife

National parks and reserves, infact, make up almost 15 percent of the island. They cover diverse terrain and wildlife species, along with fantastic eco-lodges gradually opening. The most famous one, Yala National Park, locates in the South, 240 km from Colombo. You can start your trip here with a safari to see wide range of wild animals, including elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles and leopards and around 215 bird species. Other interesting parks you might want to visit are Uda Walawe, Horton Plains, Bundala, Minneriya, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (UNESCO World Heritage-listed), and many more.

Climbing up Sigiriya

Travelers to Sri Lanka need to put Sigiriya on their list since this is considered the must-see symbolic spot of the island. Sigiriya is an ancient city built on a steep slope, topped by a plateau called Lion’s Rock of 180 meters high. There you’ll be surprise to find beautiful ponds, gardens and fountains. It is recommended get there when it opens at 8am to avoid huge lines and crowds at the site. If you are there after 10am, the crowds are so overwhelming it’s not worth visiting. It takes an hour to walk up as it’s single-file all the way!

Sight-seeing Ancient Ruins and Relics

If you curious to see the long-time unique culture of Sri Lanka, these places will certainly make you satisfied. A wide range of ancient temples full with precious relics and statues will surprise you of how magnificent the culture was in this island. Some of the destinations should be on your list are Polonnaruwa, Anurdhapura, Kelaniya temple, Aluvihara Temple, or Dambulla rock cave Temples.


Throughout years of influence and colonization from other countries, Sri Lanka has adapted its taste with local ingredients. Being a tropical island, Sri Lanka’s most crucial components are coconuts and fish. Sri Lankans love vibrant spicy food that explodes with flavors. Here you can find rice and curry everywhere, though various kinds of bread, roti are very common. Some of the best things you should try are different types of fish curry, pepper chicken stew, Kotthu Roti, Polos (young jackfruit curry), and Appa (egg opper).


Best time to go to Sri Lanka is between December and mid-April, which is considered to be the peak season. Temperatures are fairly constant year round, with coastal regions enjoying average temperatures of 25-30°C and the highlands 15-18°C on average. If you’re travelling during the summer months (May to September) you’ll want to head towards the east coast and northern regions for dry, sunny weather, as the west and south west coasts experience rain at this time. On the flip side, the west and south west enjoy favourable weather conditions during the winter months (October to February) when the monsoon season hits the east and north.


Although infrastructure is improving and transport options are plentiful, getting around this modestly sized country, with its tightly winding roads and engine-testing inclines, can feel a little trying at times.

The Hill Country is particularly notorious for eating away time. Whether travelling by bus, tuk-tuk or train, expect to inch from one tea plantation to the next at speeds of around 12-15 miles per hour. For those with little time or deep pockets, taking a seaplane or hiring a car and driver are good alternatives. Rough Guides can connect you with a local expert in Sri Lanka to organise everything from a private driver to excursions, accommodation and more.

Outside of Colombo, and a few beach resorts, hostels with dorm rooms tend to be thin on the ground. Family-run guesthouses are much more common. This makes it easy to meet locals but harder for solo travellers hoping to make friends on the road.

As an emerging honeymoon hotspot, Sri Lanka also attracts a lot of couples. Those looking for nightlife to rival Bangkok’s Khao San Road will leave unfulfilled: beach bars pepper Arugam Bay on the east coast and Hikkaduwa on the west, but these are mellow affairs and many shut down out of season.

If you've got Sri Lankan rupees to spare there are plenty of new luxury hotels and resorts where you can spend them. International names such as Aman have already set up shop on the island, and Shangri-La has two new hotels scheduled to open soon. But it’s the home-grown, luxury hotel mini-chains that you ought to keep your eye on. Uga Escapes and Resplendent Ceylon are just two examples of burgeoning local brands that offer more than just copy-and-paste properties.

Formerly off-limits, the country's Northern Province is prime territory for those who want to roam off the beaten path. Once a Tamil Tiger stronghold, it was one of the last areas on the island to reopen to tourists, and has yet to succumb to the same wave of hotels, resorts and other developments – or to receive the same flurry of foreign visitors.

If you’re after deserted golden beaches, remote temples and colonial port towns – go north.

Sri Lankan food is delicious, so make the most of it while you’re there. However, knowing where and when to find the good stuff may prove a harder task than you anticipated. Bowl-shaped hoppers (savoury rice flour crêpes) are a highlight, though they are typically only served first thing in the morning or late afternoon. Rice and curry is a lunchtime affair, while kottu rotty (chopped flatbread stir-fried with eggs and vegetables) is only available in the evening.

Those familiar with Asia will be surprised at the lack of street food stalls; instead, some of the best food can be found in the kitchens of small guesthouses.

With jazz clubs, rooftop bars, boutique stores and internationally acclaimed restaurants, Colombo can no longer be considered a mere gateway city. And though there are a number of sights to see, the capital is also a great place to simply settle in and get a sense of what local life is like.

Watch families fly kites on Galle Face Green at sunset. Then cheer for the national cricket team at the R Premadasa Stadium, or observe grandmothers swathed in vivid saris bargain with stallholders at Pettah Market.

While the monsoon rains might not dampen your enthusiasm for exploring, bear in mind that experiences can vary wildly depending on the season. If you’re desperate to climb Adam’s Peak, for example, then visit during pilgrimage season (December–May).

Outside of these months it’s still possible to hike to the summit, but the myriad tea shops that line the path will be closed. You’ll also tackle the peak with a handful of tourists instead of hundreds of local devotees, meaning much of the atmosphere and camaraderie among climbers is lost.

Sri Lanka might be known for its stupas, beaches and tea plantations, but it’s also crammed with adrenaline-packed activities. Why not try surfing in Arugam Bay, hiking the Knuckles Mountain Range or white-water rafting in Kelaniya Ganga, Kitulgala. Cycling holidays are also becoming increasingly popular with a number of international tour operators offering specialist tours.

By western standards, Sri Lanka is still a cheap destination, but prices are rising. For everyday items such as tea and toothpaste, head to the supermarkets in big cities where you can rest assured that you’re not paying over the odds. In the corner shops of smaller cities simply check the packaging, which has the price printed next to the letters "Rs." (meaning rupees).

At its closest point, only 18 miles of water separate Sri Lanka and India – but there’s a world of difference between the two. The pace of life in Sri Lanka feels much less frantic than that of its neighbour. This makes Sri Lanka the ideal choice for those intrigued, yet intimidated, by India.

Few locals bat an eyelid at western visitors and while covering up is always appreciated (and necessary at places of worship), wearing shorts and vests is unlikely to attract much attention.