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Sri Lanka, What Took Me So Long?


by Binni Penny



Welcome to the mesmerizing island of Sri Lanka! Nestled in the Indian Ocean, this tropical paradise is a destination that will leave you in awe from the moment you set foot on its shores. With its rich culture, vibrant history, stunning natural beauty, and warm hospitality, it’s no wonder that Sri Lanka is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination.


For too long, Sri Lanka has been overlooked by many travelers, overshadowed by its neighboring destinations. But now, it is finally gaining the recognition it deserves as more and more people are realizing the incredible experiences this country has to offer.


With its diverse landscapes, from pristine beaches to lush rainforests and misty mountains, Sri Lanka offers something for everyone. Whether you are a nature lover, an adventure enthusiast, a history buff, a foodie, or simply seeking relaxation and spiritual rejuvenation, this island has it all.


One of the highlights of visiting Sri Lanka is the opportunity to delve into its rich culture and history. As you explore ancient cities like Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya, you will be transported back in time to a bygone era. Marvel at the remarkable ruins, intricate architecture, and captivating stories that still whisper through the walls of these ancient wonders.


But Sri Lanka is not just about its fascinating history. It is also home to breathtaking natural landscapes that will take your breath away. From the golden beaches along the coastline to the lush tea plantations of the central highlands, every corner of this island offers a different kind of beauty. Embark on a safari at one of the national parks and witness elephants roaming freely in their natural habitat, or take a hike through the enchanting Ella Rock and be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and waterfalls.


No visit to Sri Lanka would be complete without indulging in the country’s mouthwatering cuisine. Bursting with flavors and spices, Sri Lankan food is a true culinary delight. From the fiery curries to the fragrant rice dishes and delicious street food, every bite is a tantalizing experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor traditional dishes like hoppers, kottu roti, and string hoppers, and wash it down with a refreshing cup of Ceylon tea.


For the thrill-seekers and adventure lovers, Sri Lanka offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Surf the waves along the southern coast, go hiking in the Knuckles Mountain Range, or embark on a thrilling whitewater rafting experience in Kitulgala. The adrenaline rush is guaranteed as you push your limits and create unforgettable memories.


But Sri Lanka is not just about physical exploration; it also offers a chance for spiritual and wellness pursuits. Find inner peace and tranquility at Buddhist temples and meditation retreats, or rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul with Ayurvedic treatments and yoga sessions. Sri Lanka’s serenity and natural beauty make it the perfect destination for self-discovery and relaxation.


And let’s not forget about the warm and hospitable locals who will welcome you with open arms. Sri Lankans are known for their friendly nature and genuine warmth, making you feel right at home. Engage in conversations with the locals, learn about their customs and traditions, and immerse yourself in their vibrant culture.


So, what took you so long to discover the wonders of Sri Lanka? It’s time to embark on an unforgettable journey to this enchanting island and experience its rich culture, stunning landscapes, mouthwatering cuisine, and warm hospitality. Get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!


Exploring Sri Lanka’s Rich Culture and History

Sri Lanka boasts a rich and vibrant culture that is deeply intertwined with its fascinating history. From ancient cities to impressive temples, there are countless opportunities to explore and immerse yourself in the country’s cultural heritage.


One of the must-visit destinations is the ancient city of Anuradhapura, which served as the capital of Sri Lanka for over a thousand years. Here, you can witness the immense Stupa of Ruwanwelisaya, the sacred Bo Tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment, and the majestic Abhayagiri Dagaba. As you wander through the ruins, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe at the magnitude of this ancient civilization.


Another architectural marvel is the rock fortress of Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Climb to the top of this iconic rock formation to witness breathtaking panoramic views and admire the impressive frescoes and intricate water gardens that adorn its slopes.


Don’t miss the chance to visit the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, where you can explore the well-preserved ruins of palaces, temples, and statues. With its intricate carvings and impressive architecture, Polonnaruwa offers a glimpse into the grandeur of Sri Lanka’s medieval past.


Sri Lanka’s cultural richness is also evident in its temples. The Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, which houses a tooth relic of the Buddha, is a major pilgrimage site and an architectural masterpiece. Witness the mesmerizing rituals and ceremonies that take place here, and gain a deeper understanding of Buddhism’s influence on Sri Lankan culture.


Another notable temple is the Dambulla Cave Temple, comprising five caves adorned with stunning Buddhist murals and over 150 intricately carved statues. This sacred site is a treasure trove of art and history, offering a glimpse into the country’s religious and artistic heritage.


Beyond the ancient cities and temples, Sri Lanka’s culture can be experienced through its traditional arts and crafts. Visit the workshops in Kandy to witness the intricate process of creating Kandyan dance costumes, wood carvings, and traditional masks. Take the opportunity to attend a cultural performance, where you can witness the vibrant costumes, music, and dance that are an integral part of Sri Lankan culture.


Exploring Sri Lanka’s rich culture and history is not just about visiting historical sites; it’s about immersing yourself in the experiences and stories that have shaped this country. Engage with the locals, learn about their customs and traditions, and participate in festivals and celebrations to gain a deeper appreciation of Sri Lanka’s heritage.


With every step you take, you’ll discover that Sri Lanka’s culture and history are not just relics of the past, but living, breathing aspects of the island’s present. The vibrant traditions and deep-rooted heritage of Sri Lanka are waiting to be explored, leaving you with lasting memories and a greater understanding of this captivating country.


Experiencing Sri Lanka’s Natural Beauty

Sri Lanka is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, showcasing a diverse range of landscapes that will leave you awe-struck. From golden beaches and lush rainforests to misty mountains and pristine lakes, this tropical paradise offers a stunning backdrop for unforgettable adventures.


Start your journey by exploring the pristine beaches that line the Sri Lankan coastline. Whether you prefer the bustling shores of Mirissa, the palm-fringed beaches of Tangalle, or the secluded coves of Arugam Bay, there is a beach for everyone. Relax on the soft sand, bask in the warm tropical sun, or take a dip in the clear turquoise waters. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing are just a few of the exhilarating activities that await you in this coastal paradise.


Venture inland to discover the lush rainforests and nature reserves that dot the island. Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a biodiversity hotspot teeming with endemic flora and fauna. Embark on a guided trek through the dense jungle and marvel at the cascading waterfalls, vibrant birdlife, and elusive wildlife that call this place home.


For a truly awe-inspiring experience, head to the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Here, you’ll find rolling hills carpeted in emerald-green tea plantations as far as the eye can see. Take a scenic train ride through the mist-covered mountains, passing by cascading waterfalls and picturesque villages. The hill town of Ella offers breathtaking viewpoints, such as the famous Ella Rock and Little Adam’s Peak, where you can soak in panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


Sri Lanka is also home to an array of national parks, where you can witness the majestic wildlife in their natural habitats. Yala National Park is renowned for its leopard population, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Spot elephants, deer, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species as you venture into the heart of these protected areas.


Don’t miss the chance to visit the enchanting Horton Plains National Park, where you can explore the unique World’s End viewpoint. Stand on the edge of this sheer cliff, overlooking a vast abyss and witnessing a breathtaking sunrise amidst the misty mountains.


As you explore Sri Lanka’s natural wonders, make sure to take the time to connect with nature and immerse yourself in its tranquility. Go on hikes through the picturesque landscapes, have a picnic by a glistening waterfall, or simply find a quiet spot to meditate and recharge your senses.


With its diverse and captivating natural beauty, Sri Lanka offers a world of discovery for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. From the stunning coastlines to the lush rainforests and misty mountains, this tropical paradise will leave you in awe at every turn.


Indulging in Sri Lankan Cuisine

Sri Lankan cuisine is a gastronomic delight that combines flavors, spices, and techniques from various cultures, resulting in a unique and mouthwatering culinary experience. From fiery curries to fragrant rice dishes and delectable street food, Sri Lanka will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


One of the staples of Sri Lankan cuisine is rice and curry, a flavorful combination of rice served with an assortment of curries made with vegetables, meat, or seafood. Each curry is bursting with aromas and spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and curry leaves. The curries range in spiciness and flavor, offering a blend of sweet, savory, and tangy tastes.


Don’t miss the opportunity to try the quintessential Sri Lankan dish known as hoppers. These bowl-shaped pancakes made from rice flour and coconut milk are crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. They are typically served with a variety of accompaniments, such as dhal, coconut sambal, or a spicy chili paste.


Kottu roti is another beloved street food in Sri Lanka. It is made by stir-frying chopped roti bread with a mix of vegetables, spices, and your choice of meat or seafood. The rhythmic clanging of the metal blades as the kottu roti is prepared adds to the vibrant atmosphere of the streets, creating a sensory experience like no other.


If you have a sweet tooth, Sri Lanka won’t disappoint. Treat yourself to a plate of sweet, sticky, and aromatic coconut pancakes called pani pol. These mouthwatering treats are made with jaggery (a traditional cane sugar) and a filling of grated coconut, honey, and spices. They are a favorite during festive occasions and will leave you longing for more.


Sri Lanka is also renowned for its tea production, so don’t miss the chance to sample some of the world-famous Ceylon tea. Take a visit to a tea plantation in the central highlands and witness the tea leaves being hand-picked and processed. Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed tea while taking in the scenic views of the vast tea estates.


As you indulge in Sri Lankan cuisine, be prepared for an explosion of flavors, a symphony of spices, and a journey of culinary discovery. Immerse yourself in the local food markets, explore the street food stalls, and savor the delicious flavors that showcase the rich heritage and cultural diversity of Sri Lanka.


From the fiery curries to the sweet delicacies, Sri Lankan cuisine is a true reflection of the country’s vibrant culture and culinary traditions. So, don’t hesitate to embark on a gastronomic adventure and discover the delectable flavors of Sri Lanka.


Engaging in Adventure and Outdoor Activities

Sri Lanka is a playground for adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of thrilling activities that will get your adrenaline pumping and make your heart race. From water sports to hiking and wildlife encounters, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this tropical paradise.


If you’re a water lover, Sri Lanka’s pristine beaches and turquoise waters beckon you to try out a variety of water sports. Surfing is particularly popular along the southern coast, with spots like Arugam Bay and Hikkaduwa attracting surfers from around the world. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, you’ll find waves that cater to every skill level.


Snorkeling and scuba diving offer a chance to explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful coral reefs and diverse marine life. Head to Pigeon Island, Mirissa, or Trincomalee to witness the rich biodiversity and swim alongside turtles, rays, and a plethora of tropical fish.


For those seeking a more challenging adventure, whitewater rafting in Kitulgala is a must-try. Navigate through roaring rapids and conquer the mighty Kelani River as you enjoy the thrill of this adrenaline-fueled activity. Don’t forget to take in the breathtaking scenery as you paddle through the lush rainforest.


The diverse and picturesque landscape of Sri Lanka is perfect for hiking and trekking enthusiasts. The Knuckles Mountain Range, located in the central highlands, offers a range of trails that will take you through misty forests, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic viewpoints. Make your way to the summit of Adam’s Peak to witness a breathtaking sunrise that will leave you in awe.


Wildlife enthusiasts will find their paradise in Sri Lanka, with plenty of opportunities for wildlife encounters. Yala National Park, with its leopard population, provides a thrilling safari experience as you track these elusive creatures through the rugged terrain. Seek out the gentle giants of Sri Lanka by visiting Udawalawe National Park or Minneriya National Park, where you can witness herds of majestic elephants in their natural habitat.


If you’re looking for a unique outdoor adventure, why not try hot air ballooning? Float above the picturesque landscapes of the central highlands or the cultural triangle as you take in breathtaking aerial views and create unforgettable memories.


Engaging in adventure and outdoor activities in Sri Lanka allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the country while getting your heart racing and creating unforgettable experiences. Whether you prefer watersports, hiking, wildlife encounters, or a combination of everything, Sri Lanka offers a world of exhilarating adventures waiting to be explored.


Immersing in Spiritual and Wellness Pursuits

Sri Lanka is not just a destination for sun, sand, and adventure; it also offers a serene and spiritually enriching experience for those seeking inner peace and wellness. With its abundance of temples, meditation retreats, and natural splendor, Sri Lanka is the perfect place to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.


Embark on a spiritual journey by visiting ancient Buddhist temples scattered throughout the island. The Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy is a significant pilgrimage site for Buddhists, and witnessing the rituals and ceremonies that take place here can be a deeply moving and spiritual experience. Meditate in the tranquil surroundings of Buddhist monasteries and learn from experienced monks about mindfulness and the practice of Vipassana.


For a more immersive spiritual experience, consider joining a meditation retreat in Sri Lanka. There are numerous centers and retreats that offer various meditation techniques, from Vipassana to mindfulness and yoga. Find solace in the peaceful surroundings as you embark on a journey of self-discovery and inner reflection.


Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine in Sri Lanka, is another way to achieve wellness and balance. Indulge in Ayurvedic treatments, such as herbal oil massages, steam baths, and detoxification therapies, that not only rejuvenate your body but also promote overall well-being. Many spa resorts and wellness centers offer Ayurvedic packages tailored to individual needs.


Surrounded by lush landscapes and breathtaking scenery, Sri Lanka provides the perfect backdrop for practicing yoga. Join a yoga retreat or take classes in yoga studios located in scenic locations across the island. Engage in yoga and mindfulness practices to cultivate inner peace, flexibility, and strength.


Sri Lanka’s beautiful coastline also offers the opportunity for wellness activities such as beach yoga and meditation sessions. Practice sun salutations as you listen to the sound of the crashing waves and feel the gentle sea breeze on your skin, creating a harmonious connection between nature and your inner self.


Immersing yourself in the spiritual and wellness pursuits of Sri Lanka allows you to find harmony, restore balance, and reconnect with yourself. Whether it’s through meditation, yoga, Ayurveda, or a combination of these practices, Sri Lanka provides the perfect environment to nurture your well-being and embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery.


Interacting with the Warm and Hospitable Locals

A trip to Sri Lanka is not just about the stunning landscapes and rich history; it is also about the warm and hospitable locals who will welcome you with open arms. Interacting with the people of Sri Lanka is a key part of the travel experience, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the local culture and fostering meaningful connections.


The Sri Lankan people are known for their genuine warmth and friendliness. From small villages to bustling cities, you’ll find locals who are more than eager to engage in conversations, share their stories, and offer a helping hand. Don’t be surprised if you are invited into someone’s home for a cup of tea or a homemade meal – hospitality is deeply rooted in Sri Lankan culture.


Engaging with the locals provides a unique opportunity to learn about their customs, traditions, and way of life. Strike up conversations with shopkeepers, tuk-tuk drivers, and street vendors, and you’ll be rewarded with fascinating insights into the local culture and daily routines. Whether it’s discussing the best local dishes or learning about traditional craftsmanship, these interactions will enrich your travel experience.


Attending local festivals and celebrations offers a deeper glimpse into Sri Lankan traditions and customs. From the vibrant processions of the Kandy Esala Perahera to the colorful festivities of Sinhala New Year, immerse yourself in the joyous atmosphere and join the locals in music, dance, and merriment.


Don’t forget to explore the local markets, where you can interact with vendors and experience the vibrant energy of everyday life. Negotiate prices with a smile, try your hand at haggling, and indulge in the flavors and aromas of local street food. The marketplaces are also a great place to shop for handmade crafts, spices, and souvenirs, supporting local artisans and taking a piece of Sri Lanka home with you.


For a truly authentic experience, consider staying in a homestay or guesthouse run by locals. This allows you to not only support the local community but also immerse yourself in the day-to-day lives of Sri Lankan families. Share meals together, participate in cultural activities, and learn about their traditions firsthand.


Interacting with the warm and hospitable locals of Sri Lanka will leave a lasting impression on your journey. Their genuine kindness, welcoming nature, and willingness to share their culture will make you feel like part of the community. So, take the time to connect with the locals, create meaningful connections, and experience the true essence of Sri Lankan hospitality.



It’s time to pack your bags and embark on a journey to Sri Lanka, a destination that has so much to offer. From exploring the rich culture and history to experiencing the natural beauty and indulging in the delectable cuisine, this enchanting island is a treasure trove of unforgettable experiences.


Discover the ancient cities and temples that whisper tales of a bygone era, transporting you back in time. Immerse yourself in the vibrant traditions and customs that have shaped Sri Lanka’s unique cultural heritage.


Marvel at the diverse landscapes that range from pristine beaches to lush rainforests and misty mountains. Engage in thrilling adventure activities, encounter wildlife in their natural habitats, and find serenity and inner peace in the spiritual pursuits that Sri Lanka offers.


But beyond the stunning sights and activities, it is the warm and hospitable locals who truly make a visit to Sri Lanka special. Interact with them, engage in conversations, and embrace their genuine hospitality. These connections will deepen your understanding of the local culture and leave a lasting impression.


As you venture through Sri Lanka, let the spirit of the island captivate you. Allow yourself to be entranced by the breathtaking landscapes, amazed by the rich history, and inspired by the warmth and kindness of the people.


So, what took you so long to discover the wonders of Sri Lanka? It’s time to heed the call and embark on an adventure that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime. Get ready to dive into the beauty and charm of Sri Lanka, and let this tropical paradise ignite your senses and ignite your soul.