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Located south of India, the island of Sri Lanka has an abundance of reasons to visit. Boasting eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and packed with incredible natural and man-made attractions, Sri Lanka is a country you could spend months exploring. We’ve listed some of the main reasons to explore this wonderful country:
A large part of any Sri Lankan tour is a visit to the country’s fabulous coastline. In fact, fans of the beach can easily tailor their trip around the country’s beaches and still see its historical and cultural sights with a Sri Lanka Beach Tour. There are over 30 beaches to choose from, ranging from popular tourist spots to quiet, unexplored hubs and two islands: Large Pigeon Island and Small Pigeon Island. Many of the beaches boast fabulous marine life, with turtles often visible not far from the beach. Some of the country’s most popular beaches include Negombo (north of Colombo), a vast stretch of golden sand that is lined by plush resorts, and Bentota Beach (south of Colombo) which is less crowded than Negombo, and boasts a TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award 2020. Another popular spot includes Mirissa Beach, on the south coast, which has a small-resort feel with a cluster of local bars and restaurants, whale watching and plenty of stunning viewpoints, such as ‘Coconut Tree Spot.’
Despite its relatively compact size, Sri Lanka really packs a punch in the wildlife department. The country boasts a whopping 22 National Parks, brimming with various flora and fauna. The most popular National Park for wildlife fans is Yala National Park which is world-famous for being the home of the elusive Sri Lankan leopard. As well as the chance to spot this majestic creature, the park boasts elephants, jackals, sloth bears, deer, lizards and an array of colourful birdlife. Smaller than Yala, but also very popular, Udawalawe National Park gives lucky visitors the chance to get up close and personal with elephants. Boasting a huge population, elephant sightings are almost guaranteed, and the park also contains wild cats, deer, mongoose, lizards, snakes and various birdlife. Wildlife plays a huge part in tourism for the country and most tours in Sri Lanka include a visit to at least one of its beautiful National Parks.
Like India holidays, Sri Lanka getaways offer tourists fantastic value for money. Holidaymakers will find that general costs in Sri Lanka are considerably cheaper than those in the UK. For example, a pint of local beer is usually less than £2, and local meals can cost as little as £2.50. However, as many tourists opt to visit in a tour group, many meals and extras are included as part of the package. With a whole host of affordable Sri Lanka tours available, this leaves visitors with plenty of left over spending money for shopping and souvenirs.
Adding to the enjoyment of a Sri Lanka holiday, local cuisine is fresh, flavoursome and relatively healthy. Featuring a wealth of spices, Sri Lankan food consists of colourful curries, rice, rotis, hoppers (steamed rice noodles), fresh seafood and deliciously ripe tropical fruit. There are plenty of options, and menus will often change depending on your location within the country. Expect everything from local haunts, to world-class restaurants in the capital Colombo, seafood curries in beach resorts like Mirissa, and local cafes and stalls selling hearty meat or vegetarian curries throughout Sri Lanka. Due to tourism you’ll also find a fantastic selection of international restaurants (everything from English-style pubs, to Chinese food and sleek Italian restaurants) in Galle, Kandy and Negombo, where you can enjoy upmarket dining at lower prices than the UK.
Sri Lanka is a country that is renowned for its natural beauty - you only have to look at some of the stunning imagery to see this. There are a plethora of amazing sights throughout the country, and visitors are certain to return with some fantastic photos. Highlights include Lion Rock (also known as Sirigiya, this 200-metre high ancient rock fortress is nothing short of breathtaking), Adam’s Peak (a sacred mountain offering incredible views) and the tropical Mirissa beach. There’s also the famous Kandy to Ella train ride which offers lucky passengers panoramic views of lush, rural mountain scenery. Lasting five hours, the train ride is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.