For many years, Sri Lanka has been a top destination of mine because of the alluring tea plantations, friendly locals, and diverse landscape.
After spending nearly a month traveling throughout the country–including two weeks driving our own tuk-tuk through picturesque areas–it is safe to say that Sri Lanka has easily become one of my favorite countries.It’s tough not to fall in love with Japan when you see its endlessly beautiful coastline, its stunning mountain views, the incredible diversity of its wildlife, and the welcoming warmth of its people.
Plan an unforgettable trip to Sri Lanka with our comprehensive travel guide.
Sri Lanka Trip Planning
Best Time to Go
With two monsoons annually, Sri Lanka experiences unpredictable weather patterns.
The rainy season (known as the Yala monsoon in June and July) is when it rains on the south and west coast. Places in the north and east have the finest weather during this time, but generally speaking, prices are lower.It’s a city known for its art and culture, as well as its food. It was previously known as the “Capital of Poetry” due to its reputation for being a major cultural center since the Tang dynasty (618-907). The shoulder season lasts from April through September and is typically a good time to visit because the temperatures are not too hot.
The peak season for tourists on the West and South coasts as well as hill country is December to March, while the East coast sees its best weather from April/May to September.
In general, Sri Lanka is a relatively cheap country to travel around in. Transportation and food are extremely low cost, thus often a short tuk-tuk ride from the bus stop to your hotel would be more expensive than the four-hour bus trip you made to get there.
Sri Lankan railway travel is one of the most scenic in the world, taking you through some of the island’s most beautiful scenery for a 7-hour ride (2nd class tickets). The main cost in Sri Lanka would be accommodation, although there are plenty to select from. A reasonable budget should be $25-30 per day (with $30 being generous already).
BEST THINGS TO DO IN SRI LANKA
Drive a Tuk-Tuk
The Large Minority organizes an epic 10-day tuk-tuk challenge twice a year with routes through the north and south. competitors have to navigate the entire thing using just maps and complete challenges along the way. My partner and I, who live our lives traveling and doing cool stuff, consider this one of the best things we’ve ever done.
Go on a Safari
A safari should definitely be on your list of things to do when visiting Sri Lanka. The country is home to a wide array of animals and landscapes, making it the perfect place for wildlife enthusiasts.We went on an amazing glamping safari during our time there and had a blast. Our two game drives through the park allowed us to see wild elephants, plenty of deer, monkeys…and most exciting of all, a large female leopard!
Go on a Scenic Train Ride
One of the most enjoyable things to do in Sri Lanka is to travel by train. We went on the Nuwara Eliya Ella to Ella excursion, which was fantastic.
Imagine sitting by the door of a train as you see endless tea plantation hills, gorgeous mountaintops, and valleys all around you. When we went, we bought 2nd class tickets and completely ignored getting seats so that we could fully enjoy the incredible views.
Relax by the Beach
Sri Lanka, a country with many coastline beach towns, is the perfect place to relax. If you need some adventure in your life while on vacation, you can also look into surfing or kitesurfing while you’re visiting one of these beautiful places.
See Historic Sights and Monuments
Sri Lanka is an excellent destination to visit whether you’re looking for ancient monuments and sights, or simply want to see the country. From the ancient city and ruins of Sigiriya, the Dambulla Cave Temple, or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, there’s a lot of history and culture to learn about.
Other Recommended Tours and Activities
These are some other great activities and tours in Sri Lanka
- Half-day Tour of Colombo: Come learn about Sri Lanka’s capital city on this tour of its most prominent historical landmarks.
- Sigiriya and Dambulla and Day Trip (from Colombo): Refresh and renew yourself on this day trip from Colombo to Sigiriya rock fortress and Dambulla’s cave temple complex.
- Whale-watching at Mirissa: Sail along the waters of Sri Lanka and keep an eye out for these gentle giants!
What to eat in Sri Lanka
Given its Indian influence, there are several comparable food items. Sri Lanka, unlike typical Indian curries, offers its own variation of this popular culinary item. I ate so many local snacks on long bus and train journeys that I don’t know where to start when it comes to suggesting my top picks for what to eat in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan cuisine was a cuisine that I really liked.
Where to Stay in Sri Lanka
You won’t find it difficult to locate an accommodating place to stay while in Sri Lanka. You can pick from nice hotels in Negombo to homestays situated in calmer towns- there are loads of options available. If you’re travelling during a busier time or holiday, though, be sure to book your accommodation ahead of time.