Sri Lanka’s Top 13 Attractions according to Lonely Planet
13. Exploring Undiscovered Beaches
Off limits due to war, inaccessible due to bad roads, not really on the map: these are all factors that have kept some truly magnificent east-coast beaches off traveller itineraries. But just take one look at these beautiful ribbons of sand and you won’t want to leave. And you may well have the strands to yourself.
12. Whale-Watching at Mirissa
Mirissa is a beautiful little village with a nice beach and two surfing points. One for advanced surfers, and one for intermediate ones. In recent years blue whales have been spotted at Mirissa which has made it a tourist attraction.
11. Feeling the Healing: Ayurveda
If you start to feel the burden of the centuries while in Sri Lanka, you might appreciate an irony while you feel the tensions melt out of your body in an Ayurvedic sauna: the design is more than 2500 years old. Ayurveda is an ancient practice and its devotees claim enormous benefits from its therapies and treatments.
10. Surfing at Arugam Bay
Arugam Bay is a bay situated on the Indian Ocean in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s southeast coast. The bay is located 320 km due east of Colombo. “Ullai” as Arugam Bay is locally known is a popular surfing and tourist destination. Beyond surfing there are many things can be enjoyable: Lagoon tour, bird watching, elephant watching, Kumana National Park.
9. Beloved Galle Fort
Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 423 years maintains a polished appearance.
8. Kandy: Cultural Capital
Kandy is located at the center of Sri Lanka and is generally recognized as the island nation’s cultural capital. Kandyans are usually proud of their heritage. Since the western elements has played a comparatively little role in the city most Kandyans are upholding Buddhist values.
7. Adam’s Peak Pilgrims
Adam’s Peak is the major attraction in the Peak Wilderness Protected Area. Dalhousie is the nearest place to Nallathanni town, which is one of the many entrances to Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada). This entrance is one of the most favored by those undertaking the climb. Although this trail is the steepest, it is also approximately five kilometers shorter than any of the other trails.
6. Bundala National Park
Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of Birds, the highlight being the Greater Flamingo, which migrate in large flocks. Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and redesignated to a national park on 4 January 1993.
5. Soaring Sigiriya Rock
Sigiriya is famous for its 200 metre (above the surrounding plain; 370 metres above the sea level) high red stone fortress and palace ruins which are surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs and other structures. The rock was a Buddhist monastery between the third century BC to 477 CE.
4. Ancient Anuradhapura
The ancient city of Anuradhapura was first settled ca. 900 BC, and served off and on as the capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom until ca. 1100 AD, when the capital moved further south. The city was quite large in its heyday, and so there is a lot of archaeology to see. This old town’ is quite large, so get a tuk-tuk if you want to cover all the sights in one day.
3. Uda Walawe National Park
Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir.
2. Travelling by Train
Sometimes there’s no way to get a seat on the slow but oh-so-popular train to Ella, but with a prime standing-room-only spot looking out at a rolling carpet of tea, who cares? Outside, the colourful silk saris of Tamil tea pickers stand out in the sea of green; inside, you may get a shy welcome via a smile.
1. Stunning Beaches
There are long, golden-specked ones, there are dainty ones with soft white sand, there are wind- and wave-battered ones, and ones without a footstep for miles. Some have a slowly, slowly vibe and some have a lively party vibe, but whichever you choose, the beaches of Sri Lanka really are every bit as gorgeous as you’ve heard.