Identified with many meaningful names such as Serendib, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and Resplendent Island and a few others, Sri Lanka boasts countless blessings of nature in the shimmering beaches, lush coconut and tea plantations, hills filled with rain forests and centuries-old culture and history making this enchanting island a treasure trove of attractions for intrepid visitors. Discover how to make your trip to Sri Lanka an enchanting experience.
Travel into and Around Sri Lanka
The main airport in Sri Lanka, Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is well-connected to many cities in the world through its National Carrier SriLankan Airlines and a host of other carriers, hence arriving passengers have many options.
For arriving passengers, the best mode of travel to get to the city is to use an airport taxi with standard rates applied based on the distance. Most passengers already booked with many of the best hotels in Sri Lanka arrange the taxi service offered by such hotels.
Getting about in Sri Lanka can be done by public transport services such as Bus and Railway services which are cheap and usually regular but, not so comfortable. However, using train journeys provides a scenic experience on the route from Colombo to Kandy and Kandy to Nuwara Eliya.
Apart from public transport, many taxi operators are available such as Uber and PickMe for which you need to download the app and the charge is known upfront. Metered Taxis are also available from a few cab companies whilst for short distances the three-wheeled tuk-tuks are the best.
The best time to arrive
Sri Lanka has no apparent seasons unlike in some parts of the world. As a tropical island, the climate is warm with the average temperature around 26 to 28 degrees Celsius during the day and the nights are about 3 degrees lower.
However, Sri Lanka is affected by two Monsoons the Northeast Monsoon from September to March and the Southwest Monsoon from May to August. The months of October and November become wet months due to inter-monsoon showers all over the island.
Therefore, during the year, some parts of the island are always dry except for October and November. Hence you must plan your visit to Sri Lanka considering what you like to experience during your stay be it the beaches or other aspects of sightseeing. The ideal times for the West Coast and South Coast of the island are from December to March whilst the best times to visit the North Coast and East Coast are May to September.
Places to Visit
With an abundance of experiences available, from visiting some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites to experiencing shimmering beaches all over the island, to national parks and scenic train rides you would love this paradise isle with warm and friendly people. Here are some unique places to include on your visit.
Colombo – The commercial capital of Sri Lanka and where many visitors to the island spend the initial day/s. Situated 30 km away from BIA it is a 40-minute journey by car/taxi to get to Colombo. Apart from modern skyscrapers and a scenic shoreline in the heart of the city, a walk through the streets of Fort and Pettah gives you a glimpse into the colonial past of the island with old buildings, ancient clock towers and the old town hall.
Kandy – The last kingdom of Sri Lanka the scenic city of Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the beautiful Kandy Lake and the much-venerated Temple of the Tooth drawing many visitors from the hotels in the area such as Heritance Hotels. The Royal Botanical Gardens Peradeniya is another popular site enjoyed by visitors.
Yala National Park – This is one of the many nature reserves in Sri Lanka and the second largest with a concentration of leopards, elephants, and aquatic birds among many other varieties of wildlife. Other famous national parks are Udawalawe, Minneriya, Wilpattu etc.
Nuwara Eliya – Known as Little England for its mild temperate climate this city in the hill country of Sri Lanka is beautiful with tea plantations, Lake Gregory, enchanting waterfalls, and the nature lovers haven the Hakgala Gardens.
Types of Food
With rice and roti or paratha being the staples, Sri Lankan food is a fusion of fresh produce, a mix of spices and herbs, enriched using ubiquitous coconuts and abundant seafood offering a unique culinary experience.
Savour the diverse cultures of Sri Lanka through many of the favourite dishes like Rice and Curry, Hoppers, Milk Rice, String Hoppers, Kottu Roti and more as you go about various parts of the island. These dishes are served at restaurants, street stalls and even the best hotels. Most of the main cities also serve international cuisine at restaurants and hotels.