If Sri Lanka being named Lonely Planet’s number one destination to visit in 2019 has propelled you to search for holiday itineraries to this mesmerising tear-drop shaped island, we are here to help. While the country has many tricks up its sleeves to woo a modern tourist, these are top attractions that must feature on your Sri Lanka itinerary:
Beaches of Tangalle
Leading visitors to the wide-open spaces and stunning stretches of white sandy beaches, Tangalle is Sri Lanka’s very own version of heaven. Despite the development of the area as one of the leading beach destinations in the country, the beaches of Tangalle remain largely untouched and low key. Visit Marakolliya Beach and be lost in the charm of the tropical. The beauty of mangrove lagoons and tropical flowers found here are a fine treat to the eyes. The Rekawa Beach, the nesting place of turtles for centuries is no less splendid and is visited by tourists in large numbers. Surfing in Tangalle is on the wish list of many as gentle waves largely unaffected by onshore winds, are suitable for beginners as well.
Train Ride to/from Ella from/to Kandy
Those who’ve taken a ride aboard this train report this journey as one of the best train rides in the world. But if you aren’t the one to be swayed by popular opinions, picture this – the seven hour long train journey is marked by absolute picturesque beauty. You will cross a number of rolling tea plantations, lush forests, mountain tunnels, and beautifully landscaped gardens before you arrive at your destination. And if this wasn’t enough, the clouds, the mist and the rains often keep consistent company to the riders, making the ride even more joyful and panoramic. Be sure to take in the astounding views from the standing room spots. Also, book ahead as this ride has many takers, any given day of the year.
The Ancient Ruins of Anuradhapura
Boasting a treasure trove of archaeological and architectural wonders, the ruins of Anuradhapura have the potential of leaving even the best cynics in awe and wonder. Preserving historical gems built over 1000 of years during the rule of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, the ruins stand testament to an ancient way of living. Inside you will find several brick stupas, crumbling temples as well as ancient pools but the most famous attraction here remains the sacred Maha Bodhi Tree, one of the oldest trees in the world, believed to have been planted around 288 B.C. Some of the other popular sights here include Ratna Prasada Guard Stone, Abhayagiri Vihara Monastery, Isurumuniya Vihara as well as Jetavanaramaya Monastery and Stupa.
Lush Tea Plantations
Escape the noise and bustle of the cities in favour of acres of rolling tea plantations that have come to become an essential part of any journey to Sri Lanka. Some of the best tea plantations in Sri Lanka are found in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Uda Pussellawa¸ Uva, Dimbula and Sabaragamuwa regions. Depending upon the time you have, you can choose to explore one, few or all these regions in search for varied flavours, colours and fragrances of this popular brew. While the tea produced in every region is different to the other, most visits to tea plantations feature lessons on harvesting and cultivation of the local tea and they end with delectable tea tasting sessions. The tea can also be purchased to be taken home as souvenir from these farms.