Sri Lanka, an island country in the Indian Ocean lying just to the South of India, is reputed for its natural beauty and diversity. It is filled with idyllic beaches, lowland jungles filled with wildlife, hilly countryside, tea plantations, vibrant reefs, ancient ruins and pleasant rain forests. Sri Lanka is the world’s oldest stronghold of Buddhism and is dominated by ancient temples, Buddha relics, majestic stupas and serene monasteries. The country was once an important post of the Indian Ocean trade due to its geographical position and now enjoys a heady combination of British, Portuguese, Dutch, Malay, Arab and Indian cultures. The remnants of Portuguese, Dutch, British and Indian settlements coupled with ruins of ancient cities in Sri Lanka dot the country-scape and form a large part of its rich, historical architecture.
The ideal time to visit Sri Lanka is from April to September for the eastern part of the country and from December to March for central and western Sri Lanka. The weather here changes frequently, so it is always best to take along a lot of clothing when you visit and include some light rain-gear. The country is rather conservative; if you plan to visit religious sites or non-beach areas, be sure to dress modestly or with local garb. If you're checking into one of the hostels in Sri Lanka, check with the hostel administration as to where you will be able to get local clothing as well as deals on sight-seeing packages.
Around 1,000 miles of gorgeous palm beaches along the coast of Sri Lanka are just waiting for you to bask in them. Conveniently close to the airport is Negombo, which is also the most popular beach. Other popular beaches include Beruwela, Bentota, Mount Lavinia, Negombo, Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna.
If you're looking for less crowded beaches, check out the beautiful beaches in southern Sri Lanka. If you love diving and snorkeling, Bentota beach is the perfect place for you. Here, you can explore the coral reefs, underwater caves and barnacled underwater wrecks. On the northeastern shore of this country is Pigeon Island, which is surrounded by a limestone reef that houses 100 species of coral and more than 300 types of fishes. If you love surfing, then head to Sri Lanka’s south coast to ride the waves. Popular spots are Talalla, Hikkaduwa, and Midigama. The ideal season to go surfing is from April through October.
Visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Here you can feed Asian elephants and watch them bathe in a nearby river. Wander around the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This amazing palace-fortress dating back to the 5th century nests atop a towering rock above the plains in the center of Sri Lanka. Marvel at the impressively conserved Dambulla Cave Temples, which are tucked underneath a big rock outcrop. You can get a glimpse of the Buddhist heritage here with the temple’s collection of religious murals. Go on a safari at the Yala National Park, which is home to the world’s highest density of leopards. Explore the varied wildlife at Udawalawe National Park where you can spot elephants, leopards, deer, bears, monkeys, porcupines and birds.
Hostels abound in Sri Lanka and range from modest budget options to backpacker’s hostels. Call in advance and get your hostel reservations early, especially during peak season and Easter. While the beaches in Sri Lanka delight the senses, you certainly do not want to be stranded on one during your visit here!
Hi, I'm Joy Barboza,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Sri Lanka hostels. Welcome.