Are you ready to ride the back of an elephant across the golden sands of a pristine beach or traverse ancient ruins and temples that have been in a the world for over 3000 years? Do you dream of hiking through lush rainforest, sampling unique cuisine and exploring a land of rich history and culture? Welcome to Sri Lanka.
Not many know much about the pearl of the Indian Ocean, let alone have been or even thought about going, but lo and behold, beauty, adventure and cultural extravagance is tucked into every corner of this tiny island. Years of civil war and disaster from tsunamis have kept tourism at bay, but guess what- the terror of war is over, the clouds are clearing, and only now are travelers beginning to discover and spread the word of this secret paradise. Here are 7 reasons why you should book your trip now.
Sri Lanka has centuries upon centuries of ancient history, boasting eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites under its belt. Explore magnificent temples and ruins crafted by religious artisans, and check out the sacred city of Anuradhapura, where a cutting from the Buddha’s fig tree was planted in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, one of the founders of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
Elephants, crocodiles, birds, leopards, water buffalo…the list goes on. Experience it all on a safari trip that is all seriousness, as wild animals are highly respected and protected. Animals are everywhere, from the monkeys that jump from roof top to roof top in the city to clusters of giant bats that hang sleepily in the tree tops- get ready to make some new, exotic friends!
There is so much to do, adventures off the beaten path are not difficult to find in this wild land. From amazing, year long surf on the East and west coast, to rain forests and sprawling mountains- there is much to see and do, whether hiking, white water rafting, or sightseeing.
Get ready to stuff your face with some of the most delectable dishes filled with so many rich flavors your taste buds wont know what hit them. The fish and vegetable curry is a must, with fresh prawns, fish and other seafood caught right off shore. Indulge in meals you won’t find anywhere else- string hoppers, lamprais (curries and rice wrapped in a hot banana leaf) or kiribath (rice cooked in coconut milk). Juicy tropical fruits are abundant and lets not forget what this country is known for- wonderful, fragrant teas.
Festivals & Holidays
Holidays are an important part of Sri Lankan culture with celebrations stemming from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. Take in a vibrant procession on Esala Perahera in Knady with elephants decorated in splendid colors, followed by a myriad of drummers and dancers. Every month the full moon day is known as “Poya Day” where Buddha is celebrated. There are more public holidays in Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the world!
Many of Sri Lanka’s beaches were closed off due to war violence, leaving them hidden and untouched for years. Now, they are open for all to enjoy with everything you could ever dream of for the perfect trip in paradise. Whether you want to surf, snorkel gorgeous coral reefs or lay under the shade of a palm tree, Sri Lanka has got it all to quench your tropical thirst.
Ayurveda is a powerful holistic medicine centering on the principles of earth, water, fire, air and ether. Practiced in Sri Lanka for over 3000 years, forget western medicine and experience the ancient secrets to health and well being! Treatments include oil massages, steam baths, special organic supplements, yoga and meditation.
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.