Declared the number one country to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet, Sri Lanka has finally found the fame it has been deserving of all these years. As the world packs their bags for Sri Lanka in 2019, marking the 70 years of the country’s independence, we bring you the basic information that you need for planning your trip:
Tourist Attractions in Sri Lanka
Lapped by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has some of the best white-sand beaches in the world, fringed by swaying palms. Unawatuna, Bentota, Mirissa, Dickwella and Weligama are some of the most famous ones. Boasting forested interiors, the country has a diverse wildlife helmed by elephants, leopards and some rare endemic bird species. Yala National Park is one of the best places in the country for an encounter with the wild. Besides, a staggering number of Hindu and Buddhist temples can also be discovered, offering an insight into local culture, customs and traditions. Historical forts, including the Galle and Jaffna forts, offer a peep into the past whereas ruins of ancient temples and palaces in the spiritual capital of Kandy give insight into the architectural heritage of the country.
Getting Around in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka makes it very easy for visitors to commute from one part of the country to the other. There are frequent buses available to all major landmarks in the country. The fleet of buses have both AC and non-AC buses with the latter being more economical. Inter-city train journeys in the country are some of the most scenic in the world. You will, however, be required to pre-book in case you don’t want to travel standing. Sri Lankan ‘tuk tuks’ will take you most places where the buses won’t go. Travelling on tuk tuks is a fascinating experience as it allows you to soak in the atmosphere of the city better. Buses are the cheapest mode of transport, followed by tuk tuks and trains.
Food in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s cuisine has Indian, Indonesian and Dutch influences that render it the great diversity it is known for. Rice, coconut and seafood are the base of several dishes as are varying kinds of spices that are locally grown and sourced. Some of the popular dishes that you must try include rice and curry made of chicken/fish/mutton, kiribath, kottu, hoppers, lamprais, kool, pittu, sambol, babath, asmi, polos, parippu amongst others. Tea is at the centre of all conversations in the country and you can expect to be treated to the finest qualities procured from local tea estates.
Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka sees two monsoons every year, so the best time to visit the country will actually depend on the part of the country that you are planning to visit. The south and the west coast receive the highest rainfall from April – June whereas the east coast is the wettest from November-December.
Shopping in Sri Lanka
Local artisans get together to create souvenirs that offer glimpses of Sri Lanka’s culture, customs, traditions and local life. There are a number of bustling markets where one can shop for beautiful saris and sarongs, jewellery and gems, hand-woven items, moonstone carvings, finest qualities of tea and spices as well as Buddha and elephant figurines. Some of the most popular flea markets in the country are Pettah Market, Kala Pola Art Market, Good Market and Jaffna Market amongst others.