Sri Lanka Travel Guide - Attractions, What to See, Do, Costs, FAQs - VRGyani News


Friday, March 22, 2024

Sri Lanka Travel Guide - Attractions, What to See, Do, Costs, FAQs

Sri Lanka's history is a tapestry woven with threads of ancient civilizations, colonial conquests, and cultural exchange. From the prehistoric settlements of the indigenous Vedda people to the glory of the Sinhalese kingdoms of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, the island has been a crossroads of civilizations for millennia. Later, European powers such as the Portuguese, Dutch, and British left their mark on Sri Lanka before it gained independence in 1948. The country's history is preserved in its archaeological sites, sacred temples, and colonial architecture, offering a glimpse into its rich past.

Geography of Sri Lanka

Located in the Indian Ocean, just off the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is a diverse and compact island nation blessed with natural beauty. The landscape varies from palm-fringed beaches to mist-covered mountains, dense rainforests to arid plains. The central highlands are adorned with emerald tea plantations, while the coastal areas boast pristine sandy shores and vibrant coral reefs. Sri Lanka's biodiversity is astounding, with national parks and reserves protecting a wealth of flora and fauna, including elephants, leopards, and rare bird species.

Tourist Destinations/ Attractions of Sri Lanka

  1. Sigiriya: Dominating the skyline with its ancient rock fortress, Sigiriya is one of Sri Lanka's most iconic landmarks. The UNESCO World Heritage Site features elaborate frescoes, landscaped gardens, and stunning views from its summit, offering a glimpse into the island's royal past.
  2. Ella: Tucked away in the central highlands, Ella is a picturesque hill station renowned for its breathtaking vistas, cascading waterfalls, and verdant tea estates. Hike to Ella Rock or Little Adam's Peak for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, or take a scenic train ride through the tea plantations.
  3. Galle Fort: A testament to Sri Lanka's colonial heritage, Galle Fort is a UNESCO-listed site and a living museum of Dutch and British architecture. Explore its cobblestone streets lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and cafes, or stroll along the ramparts for sweeping views of the Indian Ocean.
  4. Yala National Park: Sri Lanka's premier wildlife destination, Yala National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including leopards, elephants, and sloth bears. Embark on a thrilling safari adventure through its scrublands, grasslands, and lagoons, and keep an eye out for elusive sightings of the park's resident predators.
  5. Kandy: Nestled amidst the lush hills of the central province, Kandy is a cultural capital steeped in tradition. Visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, which houses a revered relic of the Buddha, and witness the mesmerizing rituals of the Esala Perahera, one of Asia's most spectacular festivals.

Travel Plan for Sri Lanka Tourists Bifurcated in Days

Day 1-3: Cultural Triangle: Begin your journey in the Cultural Triangle, exploring ancient cities such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Dambulla. Visit sacred temples, marvel at towering stupas, and discover the rich history of Sri Lanka's ancient civilizations.

Day 4-6: Hill Country: Journey to the scenic hill country, where you'll find misty mountains, lush tea plantations, and charming hill stations. Explore the picturesque town of Nuwara Eliya, hike to the summit of Adam's Peak, and unwind amidst the tranquil beauty of Horton Plains National Park.

Day 7-9: Southern Coast: Head to the sun-kissed beaches of the southern coast, where you can relax on pristine shores, surf the waves at popular surf spots like Mirissa and Weligama, and embark on whale-watching excursions to spot majestic blue whales and playful dolphins.

Day 10-12: Cultural Capital and Wildlife Safari: Return to the central province and spend time exploring the vibrant city of Kandy. Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic, stroll around Kandy Lake, and enjoy cultural performances showcasing traditional music and dance. Then, venture into the wilderness of Yala National Park for an unforgettable safari experience, where you'll encounter diverse wildlife in their natural habitat.

Day 13-14: Colombo and Departure: Conclude your journey in Colombo, Sri Lanka's bustling capital. Explore its vibrant markets, colonial-era architecture, and modern landmarks such as the Colombo National Museum and Gangaramaya Temple. Spend your final day shopping for souvenirs and sampling delicious street food before bidding farewell to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Best Activities to Do in Sri Lanka

  1. Surfing in Arugam Bay: Ride the waves at one of Asia's top surf destinations, known for its consistent breaks and laid-back atmosphere.
  2. Whale Watching in Mirissa: Embark on a thrilling boat safari to spot magnificent blue whales and playful dolphins in their natural habitat.
  3. Trekking in Horton Plains: Explore the otherworldly landscapes of Horton Plains National Park, home to dramatic cliffs, misty forests, and the iconic World's End viewpoint.
  4. Tea Tasting in Nuwara Eliya: Sample world-renowned Ceylon tea at a local plantation and learn about the fascinating history of Sri Lanka's tea industry.
  5. Snorkeling in Hikkaduwa: Discover vibrant coral reefs and exotic marine life while snorkeling in the clear waters of Hikkaduwa, one of the island's premier snorkeling destinations.

Sri Lanka Travel Package Costing with Bifurcation

Budget Option: 

For a budget-friendly trip to Sri Lanka, expect to spend around $800 to $1200 per person for a 10 to 14-day itinerary. This cost includes accommodation in guesthouses or budget hotels, meals at local eateries, transportation by public buses and trains, entrance fees to attractions, and miscellaneous expenses. Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the season and your travel preferences.

Mid-Range Option:

For a more comfortable and convenient experience, opt for mid-range accommodations, private transportation, and guided tours. Expect to spend between $1500 to $2500 per person for a 10 to 14-day trip. This cost covers stays at mid-range hotels or boutique guesthouses, meals at restaurants serving both local and international cuisine, private transportation with a driver/guide, entrance fees to attractions, and additional activities such as guided tours and cultural experiences.

Luxury Option:

For those seeking luxury and indulgence, a 10 to 14-day trip to Sri Lanka can cost anywhere from $3000 to $5000 or more per person. Stay in luxurious five-star resorts or boutique hotels, dine at gourmet restaurants, and enjoy personalized services such as private tours, spa treatments, and exclusive experiences. This cost includes premium accommodations, fine dining experiences, private transportation with a chauffeur, guided tours with expert guides, entrance fees to attractions, and additional activities such as cooking classes and wildlife safaris.

Top Hotels & Resorts to Stay in Sri Lanka

  1. Amangalla, Galle: Nestled within the historic Galle Fort, Amangalla offers a luxurious retreat with colonial charm. Housed in a meticulously restored 17th-century building, this boutique hotel features elegant rooms, a serene courtyard, and a spa offering rejuvenating treatments inspired by ancient healing traditions.
  2. Ceylon Tea Trails, Hatton: Set amidst the verdant hills of Sri Lanka's tea country, Ceylon Tea Trails offers a unique experience blending luxury with nature. Stay in beautifully restored colonial-era bungalows surrounded by lush tea plantations, and indulge in gourmet cuisine, personalized service, and guided tours of the surrounding estates.
  3. Amanwella, Tangalle: Situated on a pristine stretch of beach along Sri Lanka's southern coast, Amanwella is a secluded oasis of tranquility. This luxury resort features minimalist design, spacious villas with private plunge pools, and panoramic ocean views. Guests can unwind on the beach, indulge in spa treatments, and savor fresh seafood at the on-site restaurant.
  4. Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura: Set amidst 58 acres of lush greenery, Ulagalla Resort offers a serene escape in the heart of Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle. Stay in eco-friendly villas with modern amenities, explore the surrounding countryside on horseback or bicycles, and relax by the infinity pool overlooking the tranquil reservoir.
  5. Shangri-La's Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa: Located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Shangri-La's Hambantota Golf Resort & Spa is a luxurious retreat surrounded by nature. Set amidst landscaped gardens and overlooking the Indian Ocean, this resort features spacious rooms, a championship golf course, a tranquil spa, and a range of dining options showcasing local and international cuisine.

Customer FAQs related to Sri Lanka

Do I need a visa to visit Sri Lanka?

Yes, most visitors to Sri Lanka require a visa. You can apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) online before your trip or upon arrival at the airport.

What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?

The best time to visit Sri Lanka is during the dry season, which runs from December to March on the west and south coasts and from May to September on the east coast. However, Sri Lanka is a year-round destination with diverse climates, so the ideal time to visit depends on the regions you plan to explore.

Is Sri Lanka safe for tourists?

Yes, Sri Lanka is generally a safe destination for tourists. However, it's always important to exercise common sense and take precautions to ensure your safety, such as avoiding isolated areas at night and keeping an eye on your belongings in crowded places.

What currency is used in Sri Lanka?

The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). It's advisable to exchange your currency for LKR upon arrival in Sri Lanka, as it may be difficult to find money changers outside major cities.

What should I wear when visiting religious sites in Sri Lanka?

When visiting temples and other religious sites in Sri Lanka, it's respectful to dress modestly. This usually means covering your shoulders and knees, so it's a good idea to carry a shawl or sarong to cover up if needed.

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