Five things you must do in Sri Lanka!

Things to Do , ,

You can turn each day of your trip to the island nation of Sri Lanka into an adventurous one. From wildlife, trekking, rafting or whale watching, one cool experience after another awaits you. This country, by the Indian Ocean, promises a near perfect holiday destination which can be far from boring. Some of the most interesting must visit places have been hand picked for you, to showcase the beauty of this small state.

1) Turtle hatchery

To conserve and maintain survival of the sea turtles, the Sea turtle farm and hatchery, is a leading non- profit organisation working tirelessly on preservation of these species. This important farm is situated on the Colombo to Galle old road, about five miles before Galle. The major nesting habitats of all the five different varieties of sea turtles found in Sri Lanka are around Galle and Hambantota district. This makes the beaches here a perfect place to take care of the newborn turtles and release them in the waters in due course.

 Image Courtesy WanderWithJo.com

                                                                        Image Courtesy WanderWithJo.com

Tip – Don’t touch the baby turtles, tempting as it is. I learnt later in Bali that it is illegal to touch them and may hamper their “imprinting” when they are released in the big blue seas.

 

2) Golden Dambulla temple

The cave temple at Dambulla, also referred to as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, is an iconic landmark and a 1991 World Heritage site as well. This 2000 feet long and 600 feet high massive rock face is home to the most famous cave complex depicting images of Lord Buddha. In addition, there are exquisite rock paintings on display dating back to 2nd century BC.

                                                                        Image Courtesy WanderWithJo.com

Tip – As is the case in almost all Asian temples, cover yourself. It was too hot when I visited so I simply carried a stole to cover up before entering the sacred space.

3) Mangrove tour

In an effort to conserve and protect the diverse wildlife found in the mangroves of Pottuvil Lagoon, a new initiative by way of guided mangrove tours has been introduced by the Sri Lankan government. A quiet two hour canoe or boat ride takes you serenely between the mangrove tunnels. Apart from a large variety of bird life, crocodiles, snakes and monitor lizards lurk in these waters. This not only provides for extra income to the locals, but plays a significant role in the sustenance of the Pottuvil Lagoon.

                                                                        Image Courtesy WanderWithJo.com

Tip – Buy things on the tour directly from locals in the fish spa or cinnamon plantations. They are 100% run by villagers and I believe in supporting local businesses as a way of giving back to the community.

4) Try Mackwoods tea

Sri Lanka is one of the top quality tea producing countries. The region,where the plantations are located display their own charm and beauty being set among awe inspiring landscapes. The hub of the tea producing region is without doubt the beautiful town of Nuwara Eliya, enjoying an average annual temperature of just 16 degrees Celsius. The nearby Mackwoods tea company, not surprisingly, attracts tourists in large numbers. The guided walks through the fields and the complimentary tea tastings, more than make up for the rather routine like tour of the factory.

 

Tip – Try the free tea-tasting before choosing your poison.

5) Whale watching

The largest mammal on earth, the blue whale, can be seen just a few miles of the south coast of Sri Lanka. The town of Mirissa, has a number of tour operators to take you whale watching, all as per strict government regulations. Not only do these trips generate money for the locals, but the trip in itself provides a valuable research data on other marine life as well.

Tip – Check whale season and ensure you are travelling in the high season for optimum chances viewing these giants, which is from November to April. Seas are extremely rough so carry a sea sickness band or pop a pill before you get on board. Go with an operator who offers some refund for non-sighting as they put in best efforts to try and ensure you get to see the whales.

If these places don’t convince you, there are plenty more attractions in Sri Lanka. Go visit now and you will surely thank me later.

 

Author: Jyotsna Ramani

Jyotsna is a passionate globetrotter who loves to explore offbeat locales and inspires others to do the same. Traveling solo, enjoying new adventures, trying local cuisines are all part of her escapades. Follow in her footsteps as she takes on the world – one country at a time.

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