Even though Sri Lanka is a small island the country has unique and interesting diversities. The opportunities and places to explore are endless. There are historical monuments, heritage buildings, waterbased activities, refreshing hill country, and mouth-watering Asian cuisines, and lot more to explore in Sri Lanka. Travel and leisure in Sri Lanka will never disappoint you because the island is bountiful.
TRAVEL AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES IN SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka has one of the oldest cultures in the world and it is one of the few cultures that did not breach over the last two thousand years. Many other cultures came and gone over last 2 millennia but Sri Lankan culture managed to survive until today.
Owing to the age-old culture, Sri Lanka is not only popular for beach holidays but also for exploring interesting history, culture and tradition. Sri Lanka travel and leisure will enable you to discover and learn about Sri Lanka’s rich cultural and historical heritage. Numerous historical monuments and fortresses of different ages, ancient engineering feats, historical architecture, museums etc, are marvels that make many thousands of travellers to come to Sri Lanka.
There are 9 provinces on the island and each of it has its own characteristics and offers something interesting. However, only a few provinces are been used by the travellers as they engaged in Travel and Leisure in Sri Lanka. For instance, North-central province has many ancient cities with historical monuments, dating back to 3td century BC, some of the places such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya are UNESCO world heritage sites. Central province, North-central province, western province and southern province are at the forefront of those provinces.
TOP 10 LEISURE ACTIVITIES IN SRI LANKA
- Exploring Sri Lanka historical monuments
- Visiting Buddhist temple
- Sun and sea bath
- Exploring Sri Lankan mountains
- Visiting tea plantations
- Sri Lanka Wildlife tours
- Rainforest trekking
- Engage in adrenaline-pumping activities such as hiking, trekking
- tasting delicious Sri Lanka food
Colombo is the biggest city and fast-developing 21st-century metropolis that offers many interesting activities for city lovers, casino, cinemas, museums, fine dining, nightclubs, parks, shopping as well as historical monuments and temples are among the leading attractions in Colombo. In Colombo, you can visit the national historical museum, where historical artefacts of ancient culture are displayed.
Kandy, the hub of Sri Lankan culture, is one of the most visited cities on the island, you will find the worlds Buddhist museum and the tooth relic temple here, the most sacred Buddhist temple on the island. Kandy, located at the heart of the island, is deemed to be a sacred city as it hosts the tooth relic temple, which provides shelter to the sacred left eye tooth of Buddha. Galle Fort, the best preserved Dutch fort in Asia that dates back to the 16th century in the southern province is an exquisitely built structure. TRAVEL TO SIGIRIYA ROCK
The Sigiriya rock fortress, located in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, in the north-central province is an enduring historical monument that takes every visitor by surprise. This 5th century built complex structure shows the knowledge of advanced trigonometry and usage of hydraulic principles of the ancient engineers. It is a marvellous engineering feat comprised of landscaped gardens, swimming pools, ponds, and palaces.
DAMBULLA ROCK CAVE TEMPLE
Sri Lanka is a country with one of the oldest and uninterrupted cultures in the world. The island offers loads of history for travellers, Dambulla is a part of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka in the central province, which is also a UNESCO world heritage sites on the island. The Golden Temple of Dambulla is to be found on the main road from Sigiriya to Kandy, about 19 km from Sigiriya. The rocky outcrop of the Dambulla golden temple is comprising of more than eighty natural caves and some of them had been converted to meditation quarters by the monks who lived in the jungle hermitage. The Dambulla temple, which is known to travellers at present is mainly consisting of five caves. All of them accommodate Buddha statues and Buddhist murals. The history of the Dambulla golden temple goes back to the 1st century BC and it is one of the oldest cave temples in the world. The temple was founded by King Walagambahu, who ruled the country from the first capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura. However, according to the historical notes, the temple had been renovated on various occasions in the past. Some of the Hindu statues that present at the temple believed to be added in the 12th century AD while the latest paintings in the temple were drawn in the 18th century AD. The temple showcases the paintings belong to different eras of Sri Lankan history, therefore it is one of the best places to see the evolution of ancient Sri Lankan arts. The amalgamation of material across many eras make the temple a unique and important Buddhist religious site.
RELIGION AND TRADITION OF SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka is a cultural melting pot with many ethnic groups and religions. The religions and traditions and customs of each religion make an integral part of the island. The presence of monuments, temples, mosques, and churches of ancient time and modern period shows the importance of religious sentiments of the island. Every monument is a reminder of the deep connection of the people with their creator.
Adam’s peak better known as Sri Pada is the 3rd highest mountain on the islands rising up to 2300 meter above sea level is a popular pilgrimage site. The footprint of Buddha, which is located at the top of the mountain, is an important object worshipped by thousands of devotees. This religious site is popular among all religious groups and attracts people from all around the country.
The Wahakotte church, Madu church and Wolvendaal church are some of the immaculate and beautifully preserved ancient structures where devotees still gather to pray. The temple of Kataragama is located at the southern tip of Sri Lanka, the exquisite religious site revered by the Hindu community as well as Buddhists.
DRIVE TO EAST COAST AND LEARN HINDUISM
North and east coast of Sri Lanka has the highest number of Hindu shrines and temples dedicated to Hindu Gods such as Vishnu, Shiva and Ganesh. There are few other popular Hindu shrines in the tea grown areas of Sri Lanka (in the mountains), where there is a large number of Hindu people with south Indian origination.
EXPLORING SRI LANKAN NATURE
Sri Lanka is the home to many dozens of national parks, wildlife reserves, rainforests and sanctuaries and they have a large stock of Fauna and Flora. Some of the rainforests such as Sinharaja rain forest has very high endemism and considered to be global-level biodiversity hotspots. The presence of national parks, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, parks, patches of forests is one reason for Sri Lanka’s popularity as an Eco-holiday destination, these natural resources attract a large number of nature lovers.
EXPLORING SRI LNAK WILDLIFE
You will be amazed by the vividness of animal’s world of Sri Lanka which comprised of animals such as leopard, elephants, crocodile, many bird species, vertebrates and a large number of sea-based animal species. Some of the famous wildlife reserves found in the island include Yala national park, Wilpattu national park, Udawalawe national park, Minneriya national park.
VISITING SRI LANKA’S UPCOUNTRY
Discovering the upcountry of Sri Lanka is undoubtedly an interesting affair, it has a large number of mountain peaks that rises up to 1000 meters from the sea level. Adam’s peak is the most popular of all Sri Lankan mountains, which is a popular pilgrimage site and full of devotees from November to April. Adam’s peak also very popular among travellers, who love hiking and trekking because hiking at Adam’s peak is a thrilling adventure that lasts about 8 hours. Adam’s peak is a catchment area, where a large number of rivers start such as Mahaweli, Kelani and Kalu River.
VISITING SRI LANKA’S WATERFALLS
The mountains of Sri Lanka is the home for many dozens of cascading waterfalls, these breathtaking waterfalls expand their area especially during the monsoon seasons, during which they fed by the torrential rain. Sr.clairs waterfall, Ramboda waterfall and Devon fall are two popular waterfalls that most travellers encounter on their upcountry Sri Lanka trip; all of them are conveniently located within easy reach of the main travel route of Sri Lanka tour itineraries.
BEACHES AND ISLANDS OF SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka is home to a large number of mesmerizing beaches. The coast of Sri Lanka spreads all around the island, which spread over 1300km. Beaches such as Hikkaduwa, Bentota, Unawatuna, Mirissa are the popular beach resorts on the west coast while beaches such as Arugam Bay, Kalkudah and Pasikudah are popular for beach tour packages on the east coast. There are some other emerging beaches such as Kalpitiya on north-west Sri Lanka, Hambantota, Weligama and Tangalle in the south coast have also been able to contribute heavily for the island’s tourism industry.
There are few islands around the country; even they are not big enough to develop as tourist resorts, those islands attracts a large number of travellers due to their large stock of marine creatures, such as pigeon island in eastern Sri Lanka.
SRI LANKA CUISINE
Travel and leisure in Sri Lanka are essentially involved with sampling mouthwatering Asian cuisine. If you are foodie travellers and like to delight your taste buds in the foreign country, Sri Lanka is the place to be, the island offers a wide range of sumptuous flavours and tastes. Traditional Sri Lankan dishes include curries, rice, seafood varieties and many other sweetmeats. Most Sri Lankan cuisines come with a rich and spicy taste that ensures a flavoursome experience.
SRI LANKA TEA COUNTRY
Naturally, Tea is the most popular drink on the island and it is widely grown throughout the country. The world-renowned Ceylon Tea is a proud product of Sri Lanka, and which is exported to all around the world. Sri Lanka is home to many dozens of different variety of tropical fruits and most of can be easily juiced into a glass.
Water is the best and most popular thirst quencher on the island and coconut water comes immediately behind. Coconut water comes mainly in two flavours King-coconut and regular coconut is rich in minerals and vitamin. Usually, coconut contains a lot of fluid about 500ml, most importantly they are natural no added flavours, sugar or preservatives, so open coconut and drink, impressed by the taste.
For those who love street food, you will find many interesting places to appease your taste buds. Apart from sampling delicious Sri Lankan food specialities, you will find many other international dishes coming under Indian food, Chinese food, Italian food, Thai food, Chinese and many more.
LEISURE ACTIVITIES IN SRI LANKA: SHOPPING
Sri Lanka is a perfect spot for travellers, who enjoy shopping in foreign soil. Travellers find a diverse market place on the island such as open markets, flea markets, boutiques, wholesale traders and folk fairs, shopping mall etc and they offer plenty opportunities to buy various goods at varying qualities and prices.
You will love to see the variety available on the island in gems and jewellery, clothing, leather products, accessories, handicraft and gadgets. Shops are opening at 10.00 am daily except on Sunday and open to shoppers until 7.00 pm. Note that opening hours of shops can be slightly varied depending on the region E.g. the opening hours of many shops in Colombo is from 10.00 am to 08.00 pm. Every full moon day is a public holiday in Sri Lanka and shops are closed.
The nightlife on the island is not developed much however there are some opportunities in Colombo with a number of night clubs, casinos, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, cinemas, concert halls and most of them are opened throughout the night. So in Colombo, you can expect some quality time if you are eying on evening relaxation.
If you love adventure activities such as whitewater rafting, waterfall abseiling, mountain climbing there are many places to await you. By far, Kitulgala is the most popular locality for land tour packages with land-based adrenaline-pumping activities while places such as Weligama, Arugam Bay and west coast beaches are the best places for salt water-based sports.
Some of the popular land-based sports are whitewater rafting, mountain climbing, hiking, trekking, waterfall abseiling, river kayaking, caving, and bungee jumping. Activities such as snorkelling, diving, swimming, boating, surfing among the most popular saltwater activities on the island.
Yoga and meditation centres are very popular among travellers in Sri Lanka. These are age-old proven methods to create inner peace and calm your mind and body. Yoga and meditation can be practised at selected resorts on the island and most of them combine traditional Ayurveda healing system, Yoga and mediations in order to give you the much-needed escape from the busy humdrum of life.