Best places to visit in Sri Lanka

My Hot list for you !

 

When a holiday is about letting the bliss of nature working its spell on you, catching sunshine and relaxing away on golden sandy beaches, exploring astounding cultural roots that fascinate your hunger for the extra ordinary, you have reached the tropical paradise of the Indian ocean, Sri Lanka.

 

You would be surprised that an island with the shape of a tear drop is blessed with such beauty and splendor and you would never run out of a list of best places to visit in Sri Lanka.

 

Its nothing but a little slice of heaven to give you unlimited surprises whether you are in need of a beach holiday, want to add bit of cultural color to the holiday or if you are looking forward to add the spur of adventure.

Sunset at colombo sea side
Sunset at colombo sea side

 

 

Sunshine.. Beach Love.. Where to find it ?

 

Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian ocean, so basically you can catch the sea at every corner of the island. The west coast of Sri Lanka is my favorite beach stretch! With the opening of the southern express way, you can get to the west coast in just 1-2 hours from Colombo. The view as you enter the express way is stunning and definitely not a time to have a nap on the way. You will be cascading through the beautiful greenery, paddy fields and lovely little villages and then reach the never ending beach glory of Sri Lanka!

Mouth watering sea food so fresh and delicate are in plenty and luxury hotels or villas, small boutique villas or back packer type of accommodation is not something difficult to find in this area.

 

 

West coast

Bentota

 

Running from the south of Bentota lagoon, this is one of the finest stretches to step your foot on and definitely one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka . You can expect a calmer holiday when you visit this part of the coastal area. If you are an adventures beach goer, you cannot get enough of Bentota water sports. Apart from scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling you can also get your hands on water sports on the Bentota lagoon to get your adrenaline hype.

Bentota Beach
Bentota Beach

Bentota coastal stretch is a golden mine for the luxurious travel seeker. Vivanta By Taj Bentota, Taru villas and Saman villas are my best picks from this awesome place.

Saman Villas Bentota Sri lanka
Saman Villas, Bentota
Vivanta By Taj, Bentota, Sri Lanka
Vivanta By Taj, Bentota

 

While staying in one of the hotels, you can hop in to a colonial style boutique villa like the villa Bentota to spend a lazy evening sipping a favorable Sri Lankan tea and tasting a sweet meat to add some sugar to your evening.

 

Hikkaduwa

This is the ultimate place for the night life beach seeker! The calmness of the village life slowly escapes as the night dawns. Hikkaduwa is flourished with beach parties around the year attracting a large number of tourists and even locals during the weekends for beach fun and party till morning. This is the specialty of the area apart from the beauty of the beach, awesome sea food and plenty of water sports.

Hikkaduwa water sports
Hikkaduwa water sports

November to April is the busiest time of the year but how busy it gets, you will not witness a shore like Goa or Pattaya having to share the beach side with hundreds of people. So don’t worry to pack your bags during this time of the year

 

 

East coast

pasikudah

Once traumatized by the cruelty of long standing war in Sri Lanka, the bliss of east coast was not revealed to the world for many years. After the end of war in 2007 slowly but steadily there is a growth in the area and there are 4-5 star hotels coming up to serve the tourists flocking to the East coast.

 

Pasikuda Sri Lanka
Pasikuda Sri Lanka

War- torn Passekudah is the highlight of the area with an un spoilt beach that Sri Lankans consider to be the Maldives of Sri Lanka due to the color of the sea.

When you visit the capital of East, Trincomalee you will notice that it takes a different look to lot of the costal cities around the country. With the influence from Hinduism it is a vibrant city full of Hindu temples with a bit of colonial charm as well. If you get to the Trincomalee town, the marble beach is not to be missed. As the surface becomes the look of a marble when the sun shines upon the bluish water it has been named as the marble beach which has been an un spoilt area for many years.

 

 

The alluring city of Sri Lanka..beach… culture… beauty and glory

 

Galle

If I were to spend my time in Sri Lanka discovering unspoilt areas, tasting delectable cuisine, sun bathing & exploring the marine world, I would choose no place other than the magnificent striking city of Galle. Every time I enter this paradise my heart fills up with excitement and I’m completely overwhelmed!

Galle beach side
Galle beach side

 

Galle Beach side 2
Galle Beach side 2

To begin with, this city has the features of a developed beach village but yet beautified so much with the colonial touch. European style buildings and structures are a great story teller of the ancient “ Ceylon” ( Sri Lanka) during the time that the country was a colony just like many of the Asian countries. Nothing fascinates me than a walk around the Galle fort in the evening trying out different types of cuisine from boutique type stalls along the streets, Rampart street being my favorite.

Love Galle Beach
Finding love at Galle Beach

The old Galle Dutch hospital has transformed into a massive shopping arcade adding glamour to the city while still preserving the colonial touch. The food here is just amazing and super fresh and I could just spend the whole night allowing myself to pamper my taste buds like there is no tomorrow.

 

Accommodation is another unique experience whether you want luxury or whether you can just settle in at a clean and nice place over looking the beach. There are plenty of super charming villas along the coastal side of Talpe and its just a pity if you don’t stay in one of those while you are in Sri Lanka.





Recently I came across a hidden gem called “ Satori Villa” which surely lives by its name “a sudden enlightenment or awakening”! Again the colonial look and feel is certainly not missed in this villa which is an absolute beauty amidst greenery and to add to that it encompasses a breathtaking yoga pavilion which is a definite icing on the cake. Imagine letting out the yogi in you while gazing at the greenery of the paddy fields from the top of the pavilion and allowing that cool breeze to gently caress your whole body and mind…

Satori villa, Thalpe, Sri Lanka
Satori villa, Thalpe, Sri Lanka

 

 

 

Galle city can keep you alive from morning to evening with water sports, many places offering yoga classes, meditation programs and breezy evenings with a walk along the beach or you could even visit a beautiful temple which carry a historical value for many years.

 

 

 

The city of culture and pride of Sri Lanka

 

Kandy

Sometimes I have arguments with myself if I am more in love with Galle or Kandy because the beauty of Kandy is just un questionable.  Of course they are just two different beauties that cannot really compete with each other…

Temple of tooth, Kandy
Temple of tooth, Kandy

The Kandy city is in the central part of Sri Lanka and a train ride would add more memories to your lovely trip in Sri Lanka as you will be riding through scenic mountains, lush greenery of tea plantations to the highlands of Kandy..

Kandy lake side
Kandy lake side

Apart from the beauty of the city, it also holds lot of pride for the Sri Lankans because of the temple of tooth shrine (Sri Dalada Maligawa) which is considered to be the utmost important place for the Buddhists who are a major portion of the citizens. The amazing architecture of the whole building is just breathtaking and takes you back in time. This place was actually the royal palace of Kandy during the time the country was governed by kings and you can still see the beautiful crafts done on the walls and even the roofs which have been preserved for many years.

 

Once you enter the serenity of the shrine and bath in the beauty of the place you wouldn’t wonder why it has been named as a world heritage site!

 

An evening walk around the lake which is right in front of the temple is pure bliss.. The climate here is cool and heavenly usually anytime of the year due to the high elevation from sea level. I would suggest exploring the coastal side with some sun tanning and then heading to Kandy which would be a definite elevation to your travel experience.

 





In terms of accommodation you would get few five star properties and many basic type of hotels. My favorite spot is Amaya hills hotel which is inspired by the kandian architecture and you can live a majestic life in a suite while the absolutely stunning views would just keep you engaged with nature every minute.

There is plenty of things to do while in Kandy. Take a hike to the Udawattekele sanctuary, taste great Sri Lankan tea at an estate, visit the elephant orphanage or elephant foundation and adopt an elephant or if you want to explore more culture there are so many temples and buildings which are with great historical value.

 

 

How about some England experience in Sri Lanka ?

 

NuwereEliya

NuwereEliya or the “ city of life” is also a unique city and is surely in the list of best places to visit in Sri Lanka for many tourists. For me the drive up and down the hill country is always a struggle because of the frequent turns that makes your way to the top of the central part of Sri Lanka. But if you are up for the drive and the motion sickness it will be totally worth! Good news is that there are domestic flights which can transport you from Colombo to kandy and back to Colombo which can save you some time and drive from the total trip which I must try very soon..

Nuwara Eliya Sri Lanka
Nuwara Eliya Sri Lanka

Tamed green grass, rainy cold weather and the architecture around the city is a great illustration of an English country town from the olden Britain which has given the name to the city “little England”. Most of the city was built during 19th century while the country was a colony of the English men. The weather and the city life has made this town a very laid back type which is ideal for a mellow down evening or a great spot for honeymooners who can cuddle up with each other in the cold breezy weather.

 

A boat ride on the lake Gregory is just amazing during a lazy evening. Or head to the Victoria park to play some cold golf on the beautiful golf course. With the abundance of gorgeous gardens, vegetable stalls and amazing landscapes the photographer in you will not be bored !

 

 

 

A glimpse of splendid history of the Ceylonese

 

Sigiriya

If you are up for a hiking experience why not visit a world wonder !

Sigiriya “ the lions rock “ is a UNESCO world heritage site which was built by king Kassapa and this spectacular rock can be viewed by many places even from far.

Sigiriya Rock Paintings
Sigiriya Rock Paintings

The history behind this beauty is as magnificent as the look of it. If you ever get to read a bit of history on it you will be surprised as to how King Kassapa built up a kingdom with such complex architecture where the water streams could run up so high to the top of the cliff with the sole aim of saving his life from his brother.

 

The remaining arts is a another highlight which still preserves its colors even though generations have passed by.

 

 

 

Add more value to your holiday with bit of history and religion

 

Anuradapura

Sri lanka is a place so blessed and enriched with culture, religion and history. If you love to explore the religious roots of the country a place you must not miss is the great city of Anuradapura. I remember going there so many times during my childhood mainly because it became a custom to visit as often we could due to the value of the place as a Buddhist.

Samadhi Buddha Statue | Anuradhapura
Samadhi Buddha Statue | Anuradhapura

Ruwanweliseya which is one of the main stupas in the whole island and many shrines will captivate your heart if you love the ancient architecture. It also a lovely experience to see how a village life is and also to see how religion has become a great part of their lives.

Ruwanweli Maha Seya | Anuradhapura
Ruwanweli Maha Seya | Anuradhapura

If you want to explore more into the roots of Sri Lankan history and see some amazing pagodas you should be heading to Polonnaruwa, cave temple of Dambulla..

 

 

 

 

Night life and awesome food taking its own share in the capital city

 

Colombo

The city of Colombo has developed so much over the last few years especially with the end of war. It would be much convenient to stay in Colombo the day you are departing Sri lanka. In that way you can catch a glimpse of city of life in Sri Lanka as well as head to the airport with no hassle.

Colonial Colombo
Colonial Colombo

Colombo is a place where you can indulge in all types of food you would fantasize in Asia. Be it fiver star 7 course cuisine, Thai, Japanese, authentic Sri Lankan food or street food that you are craving for, Colombo will not disappoint you.

Rainbow at Galle face beach | Colombo
Rainbow at Galle face beach | Colombo

Let me suggest my favorite picks for you so that you can try them when you enter the city of Colombo. For an authentic Sri Lankan food experience at a restaurant no place can mesmerize you than “ Upalis by Nawaloka”. Be ready to get some Sri Lankan spices to your system. Japanese food is on an awesome level at Nihonbashi and don’t miss out on street food along the marine drive for Indian & Sri Lankan food at a cheaper rate

Its also a great time to get into some last minute shopping to buy Sri Lankan tea, some handy crafts to give away or simply to buy some branded clothes for yourself.

 

Marine Drive Colombo | Sri Lankan Dish
Marine Drive Colombo | Sri Lankan Dish

If you have time to explore the city, don’t forget to visit the Dutch arcade for shopping and evening tea, barefoot to grab some lunch and buy hand made Sri Lankan clothes. You can end the day with bit of spa pampering if you want to spoil yourself a bit before the departure..

 

I would say that Sri Lanka is just blessed with the mother nature in all possible ways. When in Sri Lanka if you need a beach holiday with lots of sun and beach fun, costal areas are just few hours away while a cold laid back weather to just relax away is also few hours away in the hill country.

 

Isn’t it such a blessing? You really have to hop into a plane and touch down to this beautiful heaven on earth to find out what it can do to spell you so that you wouldn’t miss coming down at least few times during your life and experience the best place to visit in Ceylon – glorious sri Lanka!