Explore the best Sri Lanka! Why you should come, now!
Let us help you explore the best Sri Lanka. There is certainly more than one great reason to visit this island, but for me, the best reason to travel to Sri Lanka is its natural beauty! I’m going to talk about that first, but also provide another couple of reasons why you should add Sri Lanka to your bucket list!
- Natural Beauty
- Friendly Locals & Culture
- Coffee and Tea Plantations
- Unique Travel Options
Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places on earth and is also one of the most biologically diverse. There is so much rainfall on the luscious island that each seed becomes the tallest tree of photosynthetic aesthetic.
#1.1 NATURAL BEAUTY: WILDLIFE
Leopard, Elephant, Blue whale, Slender loris (aka: slow loris), Sloth bear, Chameleon are some of the magnificent creatures that make the best Sri Lanka wildlife list.
Sri Lanka receives a lot of rainfall and has an incredibly diverse array of animals including: Leopard, Elephant, Monkeys, Bottlenose dolphin, Dugong, Green sea turtle, Leatherback sea turtle, Blue whale, Minke whale, Crocodile, Slow loris, mongoose, Jackal, Water Buffalo, Squirrel, Pangolin (ant-eater), Rhino-horned lizard, Chameleon and 227 species of birds!
There are a number of national parks where you can go on a safari. I recommend you do some research into the best companies to facilitate this. Be careful with supporting some parks and “sanctuaries” as sometimes they don’t treat their animals well.
#1.2 NATURAL BEAUTY: LANDSCAPES
Beaches? Volcano core? Sea of trees? Mountains? These all make up the best Sri Lanka! Whether you want to chillax on the beach for weeks on end, surf on the beach for weeks on end, go kitesurfing, SUP’ing, or sit a coffee plantation quietly sipping a cuppa to the sounds of 277 species of birds while you contemplate the world… you will surely find whatever it is you desire here! Kandy is an inland city situated in a mountain range 1600 ft above sea level. There is an incredible city that was built on top of a magma core! What’s better? Sri Lanka is small so it only takes a few hours to go from the mountains to the beach, so you can decided day-by-day where you go!
#2.0 LOCALS & CULTURE
This is really important to me personally and I’m glad it makes the best Sri Lanka list. If you aren’t travelling to immerse yourself in something new and see a different side of life it’s my belief that you are doing it wrong (refer to driving a tuktuk in #5). Sri Lankans are friendly, warm and welcoming. They go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and appreciated while you are visiting their country, to the point that I’ve been told “Welcome to Sri Lanka, enjoy my country” one too many times. Most people will say hello to you on the street, or greet your smile with a smile. I have been invited for countless dinners, weddings or just for a cuppa. Some of these I have to politely decline but others can lead to the most memorable experiences of local life that no tourist ticket can buy.
There are hot springs across the island and a lot of natural medicine, massages and Ayurveda centres to aid in self healing.
Unfortunately there is also people who want to rip you off (much like in India), and the tuktuk mafia’s that stay around the main tourist areas of each city try to charge you through the roof – and only let their friends stay there and take the tourists for rides as they are more profitable.
It’s important to feel comfortable while you are travelling so you can fully enjoy what the country has to offer. There are hotels, restaurants and resorts to suit all budget levels. The country is cleaner than a lot of surrounding countries but still has it’s own pollution problems with it’s rapidly growing population. It has much nicer roads than a lot of countries in South East Asia, and even has footpaths in most places! You can travel by ac taxi, ac bus, ac train, or the non-ac equivalents of these services – it all depends on your budget. There is a very low crime rate and your bags will be safe as long as you take the usual precautions.
As a solo female traveller of course take extra precautions, but don’t let it scare you away from coming over!
PS. After 2 months here I started drinking the tap water and have been fine! (not recommended).
#4.0 TEA AND COFFEE
Do you like tea? coffee? I personally can’t get enough of the black elixer and I’m glad it makes the best of Sri Lanka list! In 1860 Sri Lanka was one of the top coffee producing cities in the world and had undergone what was coined a “coffee rush”, the locals were capitalising on coffee export revenue. However, in 1869 disaster struck. Coffee plantations were devastated by the fungal disease Hemileia Vastatrix also known as “coffee leaf rust” (CLR). CLR devastated the coffee crops across the country and many locals switched production to tea, which has grown to the predominant industry. In modern times there are many more coffee plantations springing up and you can enjoy a cup of locally grown coffee at a number of outlets in Colombo city.
#5.0 UNIQUE TRAVEL OPTIONS
#5.1 TRAIN & BUS
You can explore the country on an extremely low budget using the train and bus network. This can come at another price however as tickets aren’t always available late notice, and you may not always get a seat. The train line built by the British however is EPIC and runs along the length of the west coast and up in the hills. Commonly it’s suggested for tourists to catch the train from Kandy to Newara Eliya as it’s some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, as long as the train isn’t full!
#5.2 PRIVATE TAXI
To hire a local taxi & driver costs LKR45/km plus a small flag-fall. In general if you are going from A to B, a good guide to use for a taxi and driver is LKR50/km. If you book at a hotel over USD$25/night there should be seperate drivers quarters where your chauffeur can sleep. Be sure to check out the facebook forum Sri Lanka Backpackers if you want to post ride sharing opportunities.
Sri Lanka is one of the only countries that offers travel by driving your own tuktuk! Have you ever wanted to explore by driving you own glorified lawnmower? This is a completely unique way to explore the country at your own pace, and really meet and engage with local culture and community. There is a recent social start-up who rents tuktuks from local owners (some of the most poorly paid workers in the country) and passes on the profits to them to help boost their income – tuktukrental.com. They can help you organise a license, give you a free driving lesson, give you tips on the best locations and offer 24/7 support in the case of an incident. Driving a tuktuk is much safer than driving a motorcycle, it has room for your luggage and can go up to 80km/h with a 4-stroke engine so it handles the inland hills well.
Sri Lanka is affordable. You can find local meals for a few dollars, or you can go to boutique restaurants and find dishes that are equivalent to what you pay back home. Accommodation can be as cheap as $5USD in off season on the coast, and can be up to USD $150 in all-inclusive resorts. Catching a bus for a few km’s will cost you 20 cents for short distances, and a train will cost a few dollars per 100km (depending on your class).
All in all come and explore this beautiful country!!
Universal love and all my blessings, Tom.