Best hiking trails in Sri Lanka

Hiking in Sri Lanka is a wonderful activity to do to help relax your mind and get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy metropolitan city! Here are some of the best hiking trails on the island that one must consider before going on a hike!

Little Adams Peak

A hiking trail in the mountainous town of Ella, the view from Little Adam’s Peak is of luscious tea plantations covered in fluffy white mist. The hike is not too hard and should take you approximately 2-3 hours in total. If you are looking to take up accommodation close by, many hotel offers in Sri Lanka can be taken advantage of including those offered by properties belonging to the famous Heritance Hotels and Resorts.

Rahubaddhah, Wondering while wandering, in Paradise, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ella Rock

About 1000 metres above sea-level, the Ella Rock is a day hike for those who are visiting the town and want to go on an adventure. They say it is best to leave your hotel in the early morning hours as afternoons bring in the rain on this part of the island. Once you are at the top its all about amazing views of the Badulla green valleys.

Horton Plains

A UNESCO national park in Sri Lanka, Horton Plains is a must-do hike if you are ever in Nuwara Eliya. Consisting of a rich plateau of thick forests and grasslands, the Horton Plains hike is a breeze even for beginners! Another important thing to see here is the World’s End which is a steep 800 metre fall overlooking the countryside.

Knuckles Mountain Range

Also located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, between Kandy and Matale, the Knuckles Mountain range is a camper’s haven! There are many options for hikers who wish to trek the Knuckles Mountain range. There is a day hike (done on one of the lowest mountain peaks) or the three-day, 2-night hike that includes overnight camping and nights under the stars. The choice is yours!

 

The Wildlife of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is surely a paradise for those who love biodiversity. Due to this same reason, the country has become so popular for wildlife safaris among tourists from all around the world.

Witnessing the Sri Lankan elephant

There are 26 National Parks in Sri Lanka and you can definitely spot Sri Lankan elephants at several of these parks. The Minneriya National Park and the Udawalawe National Park are just to name a few.

leopard sri lanka

 

Leopards – a rare scene

Tourists love to arrange most of their adventure tours in Sri Lanka around the Yala National Park. In Yala, there is an unmatched leopard density worth exploring, and this is in addition to the other wildcats such as jungle cats, civet cats, and rust-spotted cats.

Watching the blue whales

If you travel to Mirissa or Trincomalee in Sri Lanka with Walkers Tours, you will get this rare privilege of exploring the largest animal species on earth- the blue whale.

Bird watching in Sri Lanka

Peacefully engage in birding at national parks such as Kumana and Bundala. The Sinharaja Bird Wave is also another popular attraction among bird watchers who come from all over the world.

 

The Best Surf Spots in Sri Lanka

If you are hoping to catch a good surf wave in Sri Lanka, then here is a list of the best beaches and surf spots in the areas to help you plan your surf trip!

Hikkaduwa

Located on the south-west coast and about 120 km from Colombo the Hikkaduwa beach is an ideal spot to ride the waves. Those staying in luxury hotels in Galle Sri Lanka such as the Heritance Ahungalla can easily reach this destination in a mere 40-45 minutes. Initially just a surf-spot, it is now a party destination too. Some good surf spots here are Bennys, Main Reef and North Jetty.

Weligama

Ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers, the Weligama beach is also a good spot to surf. The tides are not very high and there are also many hostels and motels dotting the city that can put you up with some good accommodation. A few good surf spots here would be Weligama Beach Break and Midigama that you should definitely check out.

Unawatuna

The Unawatuna Bay is yet another popular surfing destination in the south-west coast of Sri Lanka. There a few secret good swells that the locals can point you to, so its just a matter of asking them! Some of the best surf spots in Unawatuna are Delwalla Beach, Bonavista Bay and Kalabana Beach Break.

Arugambay
Known as a surfers paradise in Sri Lanka, Arugambay is by far the most famous surf spot in the island. Frequented by a lot of tourists, this beach is located on the east coast. The best time to visit this beach would be from April to Sep. Some of the best Arugambay surf spots are Elephant Rock, Baby and Main Point and Pottuvil and Whisky Point.

 

Galle Dutch Fort of Sri Lanka

The Galle Fort or the Dutch Fort is one of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka because of its historical facts as well as its stylish looks.

 

Galle Fort Sri Lanka
calflier001, GALLE FORT SRI LANKA JAN 2013 (8580286004), CC BY-SA 2.0

 

The location
Needless to say or describe, the Dutch Fort is in Galle, Sri Lanka, and is, of course, the main landmark that the city has. It is, of course, one of the best places to visit in Galle according to what is mentioned on popular travel sites such as Truly Sri Lanka as well.

The significance
It is a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO and this very clearly depicts how important the Galle Fort is. According to a statement by UNESCO, it is one of the few amazing attractions in the world that show characteristics of both European and South Asian architectural styles.

A bit from the history
Although it was the Portuguese who started building the fort in the 16th century, the Dutch were the ones who made extensive modifications in the 17th century. When the British came in later, they too made some improvements here.

Important attractions inside
The Dutch Reformed Church, the Old Dutch Government House, The Residence of the Commander are also some important attractions you come across near this main attraction.

 

Blue Whale Watching Ahungalla

The warm blue waters off the coast of Mirissa, Sri Lanka harbour some of the largest creatures on the planet – gigantic blue whales. If you’re planning a vacation to this tropical paradise, whale watching should definitely be near the top of your to-do list!

Best Time to Visit

From April to November – the time of the North-west monsoons – is the best time to go whale watching in Sri Lanka, as massive herds of blue and humpback whales pass through Sri Lankan waters in search of warm waters to the West and South.

Image Credit: Heritance Ahungalla

How to Get There

Mirissa is a fishing village well known for its rather large fishing harbour. Still, it isn’t as developed as other beach destinations in the island, meaning it’s best to seek accommodation options in the surrounding areas. For example, there’s plenty of hotels in Ahungalla – which is around a couple of hours’ boat ride away – such as the Heritance Ahungalla.

About Blue Whales

The main characters of your whale watching trip will be majestic blue whales. Growing close to 30 metres in length and weighing over 150 tonnes, these are the largest living animals to have ever existed on the planet – that’s right, they even dwarf the largest dinosaurs! It’s ironic then that these behemoths feed on some of the smallest animals in the ocean – krill and plankton – with their specialised baleen mouth parts.

Whale Watching Practices

Unfortunately, like most large animals today, blue whales are under threat of extinction due to human activity – notably the (now mostly banned) practice of commercial whaling. As such, when whale watching, measures are taken to ensure that we don’t interfere with the whales’ natural behaviour. Notably, fewer passengers are allowed on board whale watching vessels, and these are always closely monitored by the Sri Lankan Coastguard.

 

Enjoy A Bumpy Yala Safari Ride to Satisfy Your Adventurous Thirst

Sri Lanka is often cited as one of the premier safari locations in Asia. The island has a number of national parks that harbour an array of fascinating wildlife – both big and small. Among these, Yala National Park is perhaps the most popular and with good reason too!

Where is Yala

Yala lies to the southeast of Sri Lanka and is bordered by the Indian Ocean. Specifically, it is around 300km away from Colombo, but the journey is relatively easy due to Sri Lanka’s highly-developed road network. There are several parks adjacent to Yala as well, all of these in tandem create a hotspot for some of the island’s wildest denizens.

Dan arndt, Wetland – Yala NP, CC BY-SA 4.0

When to Go on Safari

Most Yala hotels, such as the Cinnamon Wild Yala, always keep their guests informed that there are two peak times to go on safari – dawn and dusk. The cool air means that animals are more active during these times, so you’re more likely to spot Yala’s fascinating denizens.

Thilinakaluthotageකැලේ අයුතිකාරයාCC BY-SA 4.0

Interconnected Ecosystems

Yala National Park is made up of a number of unique ecosystems that all intertwine together. Habitats range from dense scrub forests, open grasslands, dense woods, and placid lagoons. Watering holes, in particular, are fascinating biomes that often attract a litany of different animals.

The Park’s Wildlife

By far, Yala’s most famous attraction is its leopards. In fact, the park has one of the highest densities of wild leopard in the world! Now, as you keep your eyes peeled for this elusive big cat, don’t miss out on all of Yala’s other iconic characters – there are the majestic Asian elephant, the ill-tempered buffalo, and skittish chital to name a few.

© Mahoora Tented Safari Camps (https://www.mahoora.com/) / CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons, Leopard in Yala National Park, CC BY-SA 4.0

A Handy Guide to Colombo

A cosmopolitan city beside the coast, Colombo is Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and offers plenty to see and do. Here are some of the best places to visit and fun experiences that await.

Key Attractions

When it comes to sightseeing, there’s plenty to explore while staying at hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka; those interested in history and art can visit the Colombo National Museum and the National Art Gallery. The Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple and nearby Seema Malakaya are two sacred Buddhist sites of interest, while the Independence Memorial Hall and the Viharamahadevi Park are popular attractions too.

AKS.9955Seema Malaka side view 01CC BY-SA 4.0

Beachside Getaways

For fun times by the shore, Mount Lavinia Beach in the city’s suburbs is a must-visit site. Located across from the property of Berjaya Hotels & Resorts, this beach is popular for relaxation and recreation. Also worth heading to are Wellawatte Beach and Galle Face Green, a large public park beside the ocean.

Image Credit: Berjaya Hotels & Resorts

Retail Therapy

The One Galle Face and Colombo City Centre malls offer lots of shopping and feature international brands such as Armani Exchange, Charles & Keith, Mango and Aldo. Majestic City and Crescat Boulevard are amongst the other popular malls in Colombo, while the Pettah market provides bargains galore.

Foodie Favourites

No trip to Colombo is complete without savouring delectable local cuisine. Here are some of the top dishes in Sri Lanka one can try;

• Rice & spicy curry (meats or veggies)
• Kottu roti (a stir-fried dish with cut up godamba roti)
• Hoppers (bowl-shaped crispy pancake)
• Samosa (deep-fried snack)
• Isso wade (deep-fried snack with prawns!)

Ji-ElleSri Lanka-Egg hoppersCC BY-SA 3.0

 

Dig into the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya

Once a safe haven for a king with an artistic turn of mind, Sigiriya rock fortress is an intriguing historical site.

Time your climb

You should plan to climb the rock as early as possible to avoid the heat of the day. Book a Sri Lanka resort nearby and make your way to the site early in the morning. For example, from Habarana Village by Cinnamon, you can reach the site under 30 minutes by car.

sigiriya

A little bit of history

King Kashyapa, who loved art and fine living, built his palace complex atop a monolithic rock pillar in the 5th century. He sought to escape potential enemies and live a life of indulgence. Engineering feature of the palace complex is just as fascinating as its art.

Explore the gardens

This amazing structure was once full of beautiful gardens. The water garden on top, in particular, had been laid out with immaculate precision to consist of various ponds and fountains.

Check out the frescoes

Subject to much controversy and dispute amongst archaeologist, Sigiriya frescoes depict exquisite, bare-chested damsels carrying bunches of flowers.

frescoes

The mirror wall and its poetry

In its heyday, the mirror wall would have been a gleaming surface for poets and visitors to scribble their snippets in admiration of the genius of the rock fortress.

Beach Travel in Marawila

Located around 30km away from Negombo Beach, Marawila is a secluded stretch of coastline that is perfect for travelers who appreciate a bit of seclusion and privacy. Take in the picturesque sights of pristine beaches, lush tropical plantations, and tranquil lagoons all in quiet comfort.

Relax at the Beach

Undoubtedly, Marawila’s white sandy beaches are its star attractions. As mentioned, most of the beach areas are secluded, letting you relax and bask in the tropical sun in peace. That being said, the area isn’t completely deserted by any means, you will find a number of cafes and clubs dotted around if you’re looking for some company.

Photo by form PxHere

Go Exploring

Marawila is located in close proximity to a number of exciting travel destinations – particularly some of the island’s premier natural hotspots. Sri Lanka’s largest national park the Wilpattu is only a couple of hours’ drive away, and then, of course, there is Negombo town to the south. Any reputed Marawila beach hotel in Sri Lanka will include these destinations in their itineraries – like Amagi Beach for example – so be sure to consult with them too!

Take a Dive

The calm blue waters that lie beyond Marawila’s beaches are home to an impressive array of marine life, especially in the coral reefs found in the shallows. Jump in the water and go snorkeling to get up close and personal with a fantastic variety of fish and other sea creatures.

Photo by form PxHere

Try Some Toddy

Marawila has a thriving community of local toddy tappers, often spotted atop coconut trees going about their business. Toddy itself is a mildly alcoholic drink that bears a similar taste to cider. So then, after a long day spent at the beach or exploring, why not relax, unwind and sip some freshly brewed toddy?

 

Most Thrilling Wildlife in Sri Lanka

From tropical rainforests to the coastal wilderness, Sri Lanka is teeming with wildlife, some species found nowhere else. Here is a destination for the avid bird watchers and pachyderm lovers alike.

Butterfly Sinharaja Rainforest| Img by: Kelum Chathuranga via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

 

Yala

When planning a trip to Sri Lanka, holiday packages that include a visit to Yala National Park should be given most consideration, especially if you wish to catch a glimpse of the elusive Sri Lankan leopard. Situated along the south-eastern coast of the island it’s a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.

Sinharaja Rainforest

Considered by many as the last home of the Sri Lankan lion, a diverse array of wildlife and plant species can be found here. Nestled in clouds it is only accessible by foot, a knowledgeable guide can be the decisive factor on this awe-inspiring trek. Tour operators such as Tangerine Tours offer comprehensive tour packages to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Udawalawa National Park

One of the three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant roams across the ranges of the island. But nowhere will you see such a concentration of these gentle giants as in Udawalawe National Park. It is truly a paradise for the Pachyderm lover.

Horton Plains National Park

One of the most unique eco-systems in the country, this plateau is teeming with herds of Sambar Deer and Wild Boar. Horton Plains is also home to the endemic Bear Monkey, Toque Monkey, and the Long-tailed Squirrel. No visit to the island is complete without a trip to this Shambala hidden in the highlands of Sri Lanka.

 

 

Intrigued by history, art and food, Lavinia Woolf is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary and writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+