Move over India, there’s a not so new kid on the radar known as Sri Lanka that we’ve fallen in love with. Here is why you need to visit this Emerald Isle.
#1: Ultimate paradise
There are beautiful beaches everywhere in Sri Lanka, making it a popular destination for travellers and particularly surfers. Head down south towards Marissa Bay or Arugam Bay. I met a bunch of lovely humans from Hangover Hostel in Marissa but never made it far enough to Arugam Bay. Word on the street is Rangers Beach Hut is the place to be!
#2: The spectacular 6-hour train ride from Kandy to Ella
Be sure to reserve early if you can which can be done at the station or through your hotel/host. My lovely AirBnB organised my train ticket for me as it can sell out pretty quickly. Try to get a window seat too if you can. Bring reading material and some snacks to keep you occupied or simply soak up the view.
#3: Safari in the wilderness
There are two major safaris in Sri Lanka depending what you’re after. The Yala National Park is the largest and most visited towards Arugam Bay (popular for leopard spotting, although not guaranteed) and then there’s the Udawalawe National Park that’s towards the South coast. I went for the latter and did a sunrise safari on my own. If you’re travelling solo, try and do this one with some friends as it brings down the costs significantly.
#4: Go hiking
This one was a relatively easy hike through Horton Plains National park, where the main vantage point is ‘The World’s end’ which offers some jaw-dropping views of the central highlands. However, if you’re an avid hiker, Adam’s Peak is known as one of the more challenging hikes.
#5: Tea plantations for days
#6: Perfect place to unwind, relax and de-clutter our minds
If you’re a solo traveller looking to get into your head and write, Sri Lanka could not have been more perfect.
#7: Delicious curries
No holiday is complete without tasting the local cuisine. There’s the very popular hoppers (Sri Lankan pancakes) and kottu roti (stir fried shredded roti) and curry, of course. One of the best meals I’ve had to date was in Ella, at Cafe Chill!
#8: An interesting touch of history
Galle fort surprised me greatly with its quaint charm & fascinating history dating back to the 17th century. It’s been deemed as a UNESCO world heritage site and was first built by the Portugues in 1588, before it was taken over by the Dutch and then the English soon after. Galle is a very popular place to buy original moonstones and gems. I did a tour of the city in a tuk-tuk and watched the sunset from the Fort.