10 reasons to visit Sri Lanka

Posted Date: 18 September 2019
10 reasons to visit Sri Lanka

Blessed with beautiful beaches, lush jungle landscapes, incredible wildlife and awe-inspiring religious sites, it’s no surprise that Sri Lanka was named Lonely Planet’s number one destination to visit in 2019.

The so-called ‘Teardrop of India’ has enjoyed significant growth in tourism over the past decade, with travellers flocking to enjoy the natural and cultural splendour the country has to offer. However, the tragic events of the 2019 Easter terrorist attack may have left some reconsidering their travel.

As travellers, we can support this beautiful country in recovering from this harrowing chapter in its recent history. Watch the video below to see ten stunning reasons to visit Sri Lanka, and read more information on these attractions below.

1. Take a train over the Nine Arch Bridge

Why: An exhilarating view of the Sri Lankan jungle
Where: Ella

The railway has become an iconic attraction for travellers in Sri Lanka, thanks to breathtaking sites like Ella’s Nine Arch Bridge. A vibrantly coloured train bending through the lush jungle as it crosses the bridge is a dramatic sight, and captures the sense of adventure that lures so many travellers to Sri Lanka.

The train from Ella to Kandy is one of the most picturesque routes in the country. On one end of the journey, you’ll find unbelievable natural beauty in Ella. On the other, you’ll meander through ancient temples in Kandy, including the fabled Temple of the Tooth. But the view of the jungle from the 30-metre high Nine Arch Bridge is hard to surpass anywhere in the subcontinent.

A train on Ella's Nine Arch Bridge
2. Witness the hatching of baby sea turtles

Why: A first-hand experience of Sri Lanka’s remarkable wildlife
Where: Kosgoda

Picture hundreds of newly-hatched sea turtles scurrying towards their new lives in the Indian Ocean - witnessing the birth of these magnificent creatures is truly an amazing scene to behold.

There’s no better place to experience the magic than in the small coastal town of Kosgoda in Sri Lanka’s south. The region is a prime nesting site, with green sea turtles laying their eggs year-round, especially from January to March.

There are several conservation projects open to the public in the area, like the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project and the Victor Hasselblad Sea Turtle Research and Conservation Centre, which prioritise the sustainable longevity of Sri Lanka’s marine life.

A baby turtle on the shore
3. Learn how tea is produced

Why: An educational and aesthetic experience of old Ceylon
Where: Nuwara Eliya

Sri Lanka’s tea production was born in 1867, when a British planter named James Taylor arrived and identified its promising climate. Today, tea contributes over US $1.5 billion to the Sri Lankan economy each year, and is an important part of the country’s national identity.

Not only is Sri Lankan tea delicious to taste; the seas of rolling plantations are popular photo opportunities for travellers. Hotels like the Heritance Tea Factory even offer luxury accommodation converted from an old tea factory with fine dining, spas and complimentary tea plucking tours, so you can enjoy an immersive plantation experience high in the scenic Nuwara Eliya mountains.

Workers at a tea plantation in Sri Lanka

4. Explore sacred ruins in Kandy

Why: Some of the oldest and most significant religious sites in the country
Where: Kandy

Kandy is home to some of the most important religious sites in Sri Lanka, like the Sacred Temple of the Tooth in the heart of the city. Officially known as Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha, which has played an important role in Sri Lankan society for centuries. In fact, it’s believed that whoever holds the relic holds the authority over Sri Lanka’s governance.

There are countless other significant sites in Kandy, including Gadaladeniya, Embekke Devale and Lankathilaka Viharay; The Great Temple of the Kings built by the Gampola King in the 14th century. If temple-hopping is high on your Sri Lankan travel plan, there are few more awe-inspiring cities than Kandy.

The Sri Dalada Maligawa, in Sri Lanka
5. Catch a wave on world class breaks

Why: Enjoy a vibrant and growing Sri Lankan surf culture
Where: Nation-wide depending on the season

Sri Lanka may not be the first place you associate with a surf trip. However, the country has a growing surf scene and a smattering of fantastic waves to test your skills. From December to March, the best beaches in Sri Lanka for surfing can be found in the south-west, like Weligama, Midigama and Hikkaduwa.

From May to September, Arugam Bay in the east of the country becomes a surfer’s paradise, with long reef-bottom breaks attracting thrill-seekers from all over the world.

Surfing in Sri Lanka
6. Hike to an ancient palace carved from rock

Why: Stunning scenery and religious splendour
Where: Dambulla

The Lion Rock, locally known as Sigiriya, is an impressive ancient rock fortress and significant historical site. According to ancient Sri Lankan history, the site was chosen by King Kashyapa as his new capital and the home of his palace, which included an imposing rock lion statue and colourful frescoes.

Today, Sigiriya attracts thousands of travellers every year, who come to explore the ruins of the King’s palace, wander through surrounding gardens and climb the 1,200 steps to the summit of the rock.

Lion Rock, or Sigiriya in Sri Lanka
7. Discover pristine, golden, palm-fringed beaches

Why: A tropical oasis with boundless room to explore
Where: South-western, southern and eastern coasts

Far from the crowded shores of Waikiki or the bustling streets of Bondi, Sri Lanka’s beaches offer a more off-the-beaten-track appeal than your typical coastal holiday.

Popular tourist towns like Hikkaduwa in the south-west and Arugam Bay in the east do get busy, however, search a little further afield and you can find your own slice of palm-lined paradise.

Beruwala beach in Sri Lanka
8. Embrace wellness in picturesque surroundings

Why: Be inspired and energised by Sri Lanka’s tropical serenity
Where: Nation-wide, but particularly along the southern coastline and near Kandy

Looking for an overseas wellness retreat with a twist? Sri Lanka is dotted with suitable accommodations offering yoga, meditation, spas and more, like the popular Santani Resort near Kandy. The award-winning luxury retreat offers several wellness packages, including those tailored for weight loss, sleep and detox.

If you’re travelling on a tighter budget, you’ll find plenty of more affordable options along the southern coastline of Sri Lanka.

Yoga by sunset in one of the resorts in Sri Lanka
9. Get up close with wild elephants

Why: Experience the best of Sri Lanka’s wildlife
Where: Yala National Park

With wild elephants, leopards, monkeys, alligators and more, Sri Lanka can match it with almost anywhere in terms of majestic wildlife. Yala National Park in the country’s south-east is one of the the most popular places to observe these animals in their natural surroundings, and is the largest and most well-known reserve in the country.

Just two of the five zones in Yala are open to the public, and you’ll need to visit these with a licensed tour operator. The other three zones of the reserve are exclusively accessible by researchers and documentary filmmakers, lending to the feeling of a truly raw and unfiltered natural adventure.

Elephants in their natural habitat in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

10. Visit a flavourful food market

Why: A festival of scent and spice
Where: Colombo

Sri Lankan cuisine is a celebration of spice, seafood and traditional staples like curries and roti. Wander through the bustling streets of Colombo at lunch time, and you’ll be treated to a fanfare of flavours and smells, and the rhythmic preparation of kottu roti; the so-called ‘Sri Lankan fast food’.

Colombo is also home to many of the best food markets in the country, including the Petta Market and Good Market. Just remember your street food safety!

Plenty of options in a food market in Sri Lanka


Do you have a favourite destination in Sri Lanka that isn’t on this list? We’d love to hear about it! Send us an email at stories@scti.com.au and tell us more.

We won’t use this information for any other purpose than marketing, and we won’t identify you unless you say we can. If you’d like to access a copy of the personal information we hold about you, please send us an email at info@scti.com.au.

The content of this article is general and provided for information purposes only. Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) doesn’t guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness or currency of the articles.

This article may contain hyperlinks to other websites owned or operated by third parties, or references to third party products or services. SCTI isn’t responsible for, and makes no recommendation about the content or accuracy of any third party website, or for the suitability or performance of any product or service. The inclusion of a link in this article doesn’t imply that SCTI endorses the website or third party product/service.

Related articles

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka

Planning a trip to Sri Lanka: everything you need to know

Organising a trip to Sri Lanka? Here’s everything you need to know, from when to go, where to go and how to get the most out of your tropical adventure. Read more

Best beaches in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s best beaches

Looking for a beach escape with a twist? Discover your own slice of paradise with these ten Sri Lankan beaches. Read more

Female solo travel tips

Best destinations for solo female travellers

From Iceland to Japan, we look at the best destinations for female solo travellers and provide tips on how to stay safe when going it alone. Read more

Keywords

TravelCare is issued by Southern Cross Benefits Limited ABN 99 133 401 939, AFS License 331058 trading as Southern Cross Travel Insurance ®. SCTI is a member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). AFCA has replaced the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) schemes, so that consumers have access to a single External Dispute Resolution (EDR) scheme. AFCA provides fair and independent financial services complaint resolution that is free to consumers.

As an Australian financial services licensee (AFSL), SCTI is authorised to deal in, and provide, general advice on travel insurance products. As we are unaware of your specific needs, financial objectives, and circumstances, we highly recommend you take time to read the Combined FSG and PDS before buying this product, to ensure that our travel insurance product is right for you.

Our Combined FSG and PDS (including but not limited to the benefits, terms, conditions and exclusions) and premiums quoted are subject to change.

Copyright © 2019 Southern Cross Benefits Limited