Top things to do in Sri Lanka for Indians
Explore the beaches of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a beautiful coastline with many interesting towns. Whether you are the type who prefers a town with nightlife or someone who prefers a secluded quiet stretch of sand Sri Lanka has them all. The most popular places to stay on the western coast are towns of Bentota, Galle and Hikkadua. Weligama and Mirissa are the newer kids on the block and then there is Tangalle seeing newer development of uber luxury resorts.
Each of these towns has a different vibe and to know which one would suit you best talk to us. The beaches of Sri Lanka are very popular with surfers and if you would like to learn Surfing we tie-up with some really good surf schools. Another popular activity is whale watching but the best time is from November to April/May. Scuba diving, especially wreck diving is also great. Some beaches in Sri Lanka are powder white sand and azure blue seas like you would find in Maldives, after all Maldives is not far from here. Turtle hatcheries are another interesting activity. Besides these adventures there are historic sites like Galle Fort and small villages to explore as well.
One of our favorite hotels to stay on the west coast of Sri Lanka is The Fortress Resort & Spa. This one has been around for years and always pleases. There are many newer hotels opening up so you are spoilt for choice.
Visit a Hill Station
Central Sri Lanka is known for its Tea Estates and even some luxury tea estate residences. Besides tea gardens there are treks to be undertaken like Little Adam or Adams Peak, waterfalls to be discovered and nature to be enjoyed. Then there are the aforementioned train rides, which we recommend doing just one small part of rather than the entire 6-8 hrs route. Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Hatton etc are popular towns to stay in. Adventure activites like rafting, canyoning, zip lining can also be undertaken in the mountain towns of Sri Lanka like Kitulgala.
Explore the wildlife
Everyone knows elephants abound in Sri Lanka and a sighting is a must on any trip to Sri Lanka. Whether you choose to visit Elephant zoos and orphanages like Pinnawala or intend to explore the wild herds of Elephants,leopards, deers etc then maybe Yala National Park is the right pick for you. There is Udawalawe National Park closer to the south west coast or the Maduru Oyu National Park which is harder to get too but chances are you will be the only tourist there.
Don’t expect Africa style wildlife in Sri Lanka and Yala can come across as a bit commercial with too many jeeps entering the park. We work with the best guides and outfits who will take you off the main roads to quieter parts of the park but will still practice sustainable and responsible tourism.
The wildlife accommodation options in Sri Lanka can give Africa a run for its money. There are unique stay like Wild Coast tented lodge, Chena Huts by Uga Escapes and glamping pods like Leopard Nest. The best thing about staying in Yala is you are not too far from the beach so you can enjoy the wildlife and the beach.
Heritage and Culture
We all know Sri Lanka was the home of Ravana and Sita was held captive here so of course there is Ramayana history and places to visit related to the Saga. Infact it is possible to a Ramayana centric tour of Sri Lanka while visiting the main places like Kandy, Nuwara Eliya etc. If that is what you are interested in let us know and we will arrange a very knowledgeable historian cum guide to take you back in time. Sri Lanka also many Buddhist temples and is rich in Buddhist history and culture.
Dambula cave temples and Sigiriya Rock are a must visit. Do bear in mind that entry fees in Sri Lanka are a bit steep and usual rules like not wearing shorts etc apply to temples here like in India. If you have time and are going for a longer holiday to Sri Lanka consider adding Anuradhapura, one of the 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites of Sri Lanka to your itinerary. Just about a 2hr 30mins drive from Anuradhapura is another Unesco site of the medieval ruins of Polonnaruwa. Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the kingdom's first rulers.
Sri Lanka shares our Ayurvedic heritage and has made the most of it. While most resorts offer yoga classes and massages, there are many wellness only resorts. Beautifully located with emphasis on wellness, diets and detox, these resorts are a great choice if your idea of a getaway is some R & R. The Ayurvedic resorts here don’t have a compulsory 3 or 7 day minimum stay like some in India. You can even do a 2 night stint.
Sri Lanka manufactures for many popular international brands and the chances are you will get their products (sometimes minus the label, we did not tell you that) at much cheaper prices here. Though you need a local to take you to the right places, shall we arrange that shopping tour??
The Porcelain and glassware in Sri Lanka is just absolutely gorgeous, whether it is world famous brands you are looking to buy or unbranded local products, you will fall in love and want to take the entire store back with you! However luggage limits on airlines are a buzzkill. However our ground partners in Sri Lanka can courier the same to you, so here one more reason to book you Sri Lanka holiday with us.
Tea is another thing to buy in Sri Lanka, the most popular brand being Dilmah, but try the local loose teas also and then pick. Spices are good quality but actually cheaper back home so you can give them a miss. Gems and Jewels again better to buy from your trusted jeweler back home, unless you have fallen in love with that necklace or earrings and must have them.
Another thing that is fabulous in Sri Lanka is their linens. Don’t expect cheaper prices than India, just better quality as our best quality is always exported abroad and we don’t really get to buy it in our local shops. Cotton garments, towels, bed sheets etc with good thread count can be looked into.
And lastly there are ofcourse souvenirs. Many crafty and cutesy items can be purchased in Sri Lanka. Wood and handicrafts abound here like back home so the choice is yours if to buy here or not.