How to plan your perfect trip to Sri Lanka ??
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Located just off the southeast coast of India is the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka. It’s a tropical paradise of white sand beaches, wildlife, and delicious food.
Known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, this is the perfect destination for a holiday packed with ancient history and a taste of South Asian culture, a plethora of beautiful wildlife, followed by hikes and treks in the mountains and a whole host of watersports.
Within a few hours, you can travel through different ecosystems in Sri Lanka. Where else in the world can you visit a 300 BC city in the morning and take a wildlife safari in the afternoon?
Sri Lanka is blessed with magnificent landscapes, historic capitals and temples that are so unique they are considered to be of global importance. The country is even home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Here’s everything you need to know when planning your trip.
What are the best things to do in Nature?
1. Enjoy the most leopards you’ll see anywhere in the world
It surprised us to learn that Sri Lanka has the highest density of leopards anywhere in the world. A safari in Yala’s National Park - Sri Lanka’s second-largest park - is the best way to spy on the elusive leopard.
2. See the biggest land and sea mammals
Sri Lanka is the only country where you can see both the elephant and the blue whale - the largest land and sea mammals on the planet and all within a few hours of each other.
We have our own “big five” - Blue Whales, Sperm Whales, Leopards, Asian Elephants and Sloth Bears, along with one of the highest species densities in the world.
You can see elephants in Udawalawe National Park, Yala National Park, Lunugamvehera National Park, Wilpattu National Park and Minneriya National Park.
The southern coast around Galle and Mirissa are the best places for responsible blue whale watching.
3. Witness the largest gathering of Asian Elephants
The largest Asian Elephant gathering known is taking place in Minneriya National Park every year. Lonely Planet has listed it among the top ten wildlife events in the world.
Watching these magnificent animals converge is a sight to behold. Different herds travel together as one with just a single goal in mind - water and sweet new grass shoots.
But don’t be mistaken. This is not a migration but an annual coming together of wild animals that come to sip the waters of the Minneriya Tank at the end of the dry season.
4. Go on one of the most beautiful train rides in the world
Selfies taken hanging out of trains rolling through the tea plantations are one of the most recognizable images of Sri Lanka. But there’s a reason for this.
The train routes in Sri Lanka are some of the most beautiful in the world. A train through the hill country gives you scenic views, snaking through thick verdant jungles and the aforementioned tea plantations.
Aim for the Kandy to Ella route. It’s a 7-hour ride which may sound long, but it will be one of the highlights of your trip.
Traveling over the colossal Nine-Arch Bridge is another unmissable experience. Also called ‘Bridge in the Sky’, it is a viaduct bridge and one of the best examples of colonial-era railway construction in the country.
5. Go sailing on the south coast
For those who want to see Sri Lanka's southern coastline in all its glory, while avoiding the tourist crowds, this seven-day sailing trip with G Adventures is perfect.
Stepping aboard a 53ft catamaran, you’ll embark on a journey along the coastline, stopping at historic port towns, tiny fishing villages and coves along the way. With a chef and skipper on board, you’ll be treated to delicious seafood meals.
With an abundance of marine life, you will also visit the deep-sea trench, frequented by dolphins and whales who use it for feeding.
What are the best regions?
If you want to surf, staying around the beautiful Arugam Bay is a good option.
The dry season and the best time to surf is May to September. The best waves arrive in July, August, and September.
Whereas if you want some nightlife then Galle and Colombo are where it’s at.
If it's sunbathing you’re after, Pasikuda beach comes highly recommended and has some day excursions too, such as an elephant safari. Pasikuda, meaning “green-algae-bay” is approximately 35 kilometres from Batticaloa Town and is famous for its turquoise-blue waters.
Kandy, Anuradhapura and Jaffna are the best places to soak in Sri Lanka’s rich history. Kandy in particular is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine.
In the hillcountry, if you are looking for a different experience with a breathtaking view, just have a look at Ahaspokuna…. Sri Lanka’s 1st ever bush walk camps. You will definitely like it..