Planning a trip to Sri Lanka, sri lanka whale watching
SRI LANKA HOLIDAY TIPS

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka

Fa-hsien, Chinese monks, who travelled to Sri Lanka in 410, anchored in the island for many years while exploring various parts of the island. The Sri Lanka-China Society organized a commemorating ceremony in 2010, in view of the 1600th anniversary of Fa-hsien’s visit to Sri Lanka… planning a trip to Sri Lanka

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka – essential tips you need to know

Sri Lanka travel is a hot topic in the travel world for more than 2 millennia, and historical evidence suggests that the island was visited by travellers from all around the world in ancient time. E.g. Fa-hsien, Chinese monks, who travelled to Sri Lanka in 410, anchored in the island for many years while exploring various parts of the island. The Sri Lanka-China Society organized a commemorating ceremony in 2010, in view of the 1600th anniversary of Fa-hsien’s visit to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is still a popular holiday spot in Asia and attracts many million tourists a year. You might be also planning a trip to this charming and enticing travel destination. But where to stay in Sri Lanka if you wish to visit Sri Lanka? Here are the nuts and bolts in the eyes of Sri Lankan travel experts of Seerendipity tours, to plan your memorable tour package in keeping with your interest.  

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka

Geography of Sri Lanka

The endless coastal belt, verdant hills, cascading waterfalls, a fascinating collection of untamed wildlife, thousands of years old historical monuments and the facilities for people to travel with any type of budget are some of the reasons for the popularity of this ultimate island paradises of Asia. But what to do in Sri Lanka and where to go to Sri Lanka?

This tropical nation is small, has a land area of 64,740 sq km (25,000 sq miles) within its border- roughly the size of Ireland. It is 425 km from the southern tip of Sri Lanka to the tip of south Sri Lanka and the maximum width of the island is 225 km (from the west coast to east coast). However, this small geographical space is packed with contrasting landscapes and cultures that make you feel the country is much bigger than it measures to be.

Sri Lanka mountains

Most people mistakenly think that Sri Lanka is a flat country like the Maldives, perhaps because Sri Lanka is a small island; however, the facts are much different than they think. Sri Lankan has more than 1 thousand mountains that go above 1000 meters mark above sea level.

The highest mountain is Piduratalagala, which rises up to 2524 meters above sea level, however, sacred Adam’s peak is the most popular mountain on the island, which is a little bit smaller (2243 meters). Most of Sri Lankan mountains are concentrated into the central-southern portion of the island.  Central Sri Lanka is characterized by cool, mist-shrouded mountain peaks, tea gardens and waterfalls.

Things to do in Sri Lanka

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka-where to Start

It is better to start in Colombo, and Colombo is the gateway to Sri Lanka for all travellers, this 21st-century metropolis has a fascinating blend of old and new, where you see centuries-old building rubbing their shoulders with high-rise modern constructions. Colombo is the pulse Sri Lankan economy and offers an electrifying introduction to modern Sri Lanka. Most Sri Lanka tour packages offered local tour operators start in Colombo, however, they there maybe Sri Lanka tours begin at the southern Sri Lankan airport in the future, but for the moment we assume that tour starts in Colombo.

You have to choose one of the below options when you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka

1 Sri Lanka round tour-This type of Sri Lanka trip includes cultural triangle, mountains, southern Sri Lanka, wildlife reserves and leisure on the beach.

2 Sri Lanka beach holiday-as the name suggests the trip revolve around the beach resort and you can organize short trips to visit important tourist attractions.

About half of the travellers head down to the southern and western coast beaches in searching of gold-coloured, palm-fringed beaches with torque water, majority of Sri Lankan beach resorts are well established here. It is easy and straight forward when you are travelling around the island thanks to the well-maintained road and rail networks.

However, it is not recommended to self-drive in Sri Lanka, if you are not familiar with Sri Lankan chaotic traffic. The best way of getting around Sri Lanka and visiting sights is to rent a car with a local driver, you can easily get it done through a local tour operator.

You can contact Seerendipity tours with regards to any Sri Lanka tour arrangements. Most importantly, their service is free of charge until you book the tour. You can browse through the package tours published on Seerendipity tours official website and find the best match for your expectations or talk to our local experts to create a tailor-made Sri Lanka tour package from the scratch.   

Where to Start

Taste the colonial splendour in Galle…

Near the southern tip of Sri Lanka is Galle city and the Galle harbour and they are located bordering the Indian Ocean. This southern Sri Lankan laid-back city is a tourist hot spot on the island owing to the existence of the best preserved Dutch fort in Asia. Galle had been ruling capital of Sothern Sri Lanka for more than a century during the Dutch colonial era (1656-1796). Galle fort had been a trading emporium during the medieval time, where a large number of merchants sailed in and exchange their goods with local products such as ivory, gemstones, spices.  

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka with Galle fort

Galle Fort is the most important tourist attraction in the city and it had been a Dutch colony, which was guarded by Dutch soldiers from all four corners.  It was well secured with a gigantic granite wall. Only very few people were allowed to penetrate the gates during the Dutch rule due to the security reasons. Inside the wall, it was a well-equipped Dutch city with mansions, houses, churches, schools, parks and many other things that a city needs. Even today one feels like being to an old European city upon entering the Dutch fort.    

Much of the Dutch constructions are still intact and most buildings are converted to hotels, guest houses, restaurants, bars, pubs, shops, cafes, galleries and museum. The fort is the tourist hub of southern Sri Lanka and most travellers prefer to stay in the fort and absorb the colonial splendour. Dutch Fort is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its historical and architectural importance.

Galle is calm, quiet and charming city, perhaps that’s why Dutch governor opted to live in Galle (the governor’s house, which sits inside the Galle Fort, is converted to a luxury hotel now), and even today Galle is the city that attracts most number of European expats (mainly from the UK). Most of them have moved to The Dutch fort buying up and restoring old constructions. These expats and foreign traveller have added internationalist dimension to this colonial city.   

The presence foreign nationals (expats) are very apparent in the Fort: in the string of bijou shops and cafés that sit along the cobbled streets of the fort; in the town’s new swathe of luxury villas and upmarket hotels; and in the steady string of cultural events. Explore the fascinating tourist attraction your self: You can book a short tour to Galle and southern Sri Lanka with Seerendipity tours or visit Galle in one of Sri Lanka round trips.

Sri Lanka Heritage Private Tour

Sigiriya frescoes paintings, Where should I visit in Sri Lanka
6 – Day Sri Lanka Heritage Private Tour -More Info
Colombo , Dambulla , Kandy , Nuwara Eliya , Polonnaruwa , Sigiriya
From $300 P.P

Planing the tour with Cultural triangle…

Tucked away from the coast, about 200 km from Colombo is Anuradhapura, which was the first capital of Sri Lanka and founded by Sri Lankan kings in 3rd century BC. Anuradhapura along with Polonnaruwa and Kandy sits on the three corners of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. The cultural triangle was the heart of the ancient civilization of Sri Lanka. The ruins of ancient cities are scattered in the cultural triangle, they present in the form of pagodas, temples, palaces, parks, and lakes.

Most number of UNESCO world heritage sites of Sri Lanka is concentrated to cultural triangle, most iconic tourist attractions such as Sigiriya, Dambulla and tooth relic temple among them. The historical cities such as Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa showcase extraordinary collections of Buddhist art and architecture, some of those monuments are dating back to pre-Christian Era.

Most Sri Lanka round trips include Cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, however, if you rush to the beach resort right after the arrival, you can opt to a 2 days Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour and visit most important sights in the golden triangle.

Sri Lanka tour planned with hill country and beach

  • Kandy, Pinnawala elephant orphanage, tooth relic temple, royal botanical garden, Water rafting, jeep safari at Udawalawe national park, Boat tour at Madu river estuary, Bentota beach
  • Duration-4 Days
  • Places- Kandy, Udawalawe, Kitulgala, Bentota, Colombo
  • Start/End-Colombo
  • Transport-Private vehicle
  • Accommodation 4-star hotel
  • Meals-Breakfast and Dinner

Special Price US$ 690, save $60, Regular Price US$750

Sri Lanka upcountry…

Sri Lanka upcountry or central mountain range is better known as the Kandyan kingdom is to be found right in the middle of the island. This last stronghold of Sri Lankan kings was surrounded by mountains and jungles making it impenetrable for foreign forces, therefore 2 other foreign forces lived in Sri Lanka before British administrators (Dutch and Portuguese) were not able to control Kandyan kingdom. The Kandyan king was able to maintain independence throughout the dark centuries during which other parts of the island fell, one after another to the invading Europeans.

However British governor was able to persuade the Kandyan chieftains to help the British army and arrest the Kandy king. The legendary last capital of Sri Lankan kings and it was ceded to the British Crown in early 1815 by the Kandyan chieftains. Kandy is the home to the most sacred Buddhist temple on the island, the tooth relic temple, which is the most important tourist attraction in the city. Kandy had been a centre of Buddhist education in the past and even today it hosts many Buddhist religious centres that cultivate Buddhism ideology. There are many dozens of ancient temples around Kandy and many other natural attractions such as royal botanical gardens, tea gardens, Udawattekele sanctuary are also to be visited on your trip to Kandy.    

Kandy is still the hub of Sri Lankan culture and religion, one of the oldest ceremonies in the world known as “Esala ceremony” is still take place in Kandy every year in the month of July/August. The event is one of the most colourful pageants in the world dates back to 2nfd century BC. This colourful event attracts more than half a million local and foreign spectators every year.

It’s also the undisputed arts and crafts capital of the island, filled with myriad temples and palaces built in the distinctive Kandyan architectural style, adorned with elaborate murals and finely carved wooden pillars, and often echoing to the unmistakable sound of the city’s virtuoso drummers beating out rhythms in their uniquely dynamic style.

When is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka? November to April best time to travel to Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka dry weather from November to April

When should I plan my trip to Sri Lanka?

You can plan the trip to Sri Lanka at any time of the year because the weather on the island is hardly changed based on the different period of the year. However, Sri Lanka is under the influence of Monsoon, this by annual wind soaks the western and southern Sri Lanka from April to November while it brings rain to northern and eastern parts of the country from November to April. So choose the dry part of the country to travel corresponding to the time you show up in Sri Lanka. Most importantly the monsoon makes it difficult to perform saltwater activities such as swimming, diving, snorkelling.

Is Sri Lanka cheap?

Is Sri Lanka cheap? Yes, compared to the travel budget of most other holiday destinations in Asia such as Maldives, Singapore and Malaysia. However, some places in Thailand (not the beach areas) is a bit cheaper than Sri Lanka.

Planing the beach stay in Bentota

Bentota- the main beach of the island located 50km south of Colombo is the most expensive beach resort on the island. Here you find accommodation in varying prices; however, the rates are higher compared to the same category of accommodations elsewhere. It would cost around USD 100 per night for one-night accommodation in a 3-star beachfront hotel (with breakfast). A similar category of hotels would cost around USD 70 per night in less crowded beach areas such as southern coast. However the rates increase further up in the peak holiday season from November to April, it can increase up to around USD 150 per night. Usually, the meals are also expensive in Bentota and seafood plate would cost around USD 20 per person.

There are many other good alternative beaches for Bentota on the west and southern coast of Sri Lanka, where you can find cheap accommodation and meals and they are not as crowded as Bentota. Usually, the accommodation in a 3-star property would cost around USD 50-70 per night in those uncrowned beach areas.

As for all other things the price largely depends s on the demand. Therefore the accommodating and meals cost in most popular beach resorts such as Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Kalutara is higher compared to other uncrowned beaches.  

Usually, the accommodation that to be found few kilometres away from the beaches are about 25% cheaper than the beachfront hotels, however, you are able to reach the beaches from your hotel within a few minutes of walk and engage on all saltwater activities. When you sleep in a beachfront hotel, you open the door to the beach and on the hotels located more towards the interior of the country you need to make a few hundred meters walk to reach the beach, and this difference makes a huge price gap.  

Ready for Sri Lanka tour with Seerendipity Tours

From family holidays to luxury honeymoon tour packages: Seerendipity tours cater to any type of Sri Lanka tour package. You can talk to us or write to us at any time and one of our local staff will help you to plan the best tailor-made Sri lank trip for you. Contact us on admin@seerendipoitytours com

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Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity)

This blog is all about travelling in Sri Lanka, I am trying to illuminate my readers with a wide range of information related to Sri Lanka travel. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you need more information. Furthermore, we can organize your holiday package or any travel related requirement in Sri Lanka. Please contact us on admin@seerendipitytours.com... read more

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