The pearl of Asia has endless wide soft-sanded beaches, dense rain forests with refreshing waterfalls, numerous wildlife parks, astounding mountains, ancient ruins, hill county tea plantations and colorful Hindu and Buddhist temples. The friendly and smiling inhabitants make you feel immediately welcome and its spicy cuisine is something to challenge your taste buts. For surf and yoga lovers Sri Lanka’s coastline has many laid-back (beginner-) surf spots and yoga retreats. Everything packed on one tropical island, which is definitely among our favorite Asian destinations.
Highlights Sri Lanka
Sigiriya – Located deep in the middle of Sri Lanka, this small town is known for its massive rock named Lion’s rock, one of the most historical monuments of Sri Lanka. A little less overpriced is the alternative little Lion’s rock with great views on Lion’s rock.
Ella – A small hippie backpacker village on the southern edge of Sri Lanka’s hill country surrounded by tea plantations. Walk up little Adam’s peak for stunning valley views.
Wildlife National Park – Sri Lanka is a wildlife lover’s paradise with leopards, elephants, buffalo’s, sloth bears, crocodiles and birdlife.
Train ride – Take a magnificent ride through the tea growing regions from Kandy ( 7 hours) or Newara Eliya (3hours) to Ella. It is one of the most beautiful scenic train journeys you’ll ever experience.
South coast – Some of the prettiest palm fringed bays in the country are found on this stretch of the island. The tropical south coast is all about surf, yoga, snorkeling, long beach days and some of the island’s finest nightlife.
Jaffna – Decades of war have deeply damaged the historic Tamil town. The impact is evident, with ruined homes and bombed churches but the city is looking to rise again with beautiful temples, sacred pools and churches. For those who wonder about India, this is your first ‘light’ introduction.
Trincomalee – Situated on the north east coast, Trincomalee is home to Maldive like white-sanded beaches and crystal clear waters. Pigeon Island is one of the many great spots for diving and snorkeling.
Arugam Bay– The small fishing village is famous for its point break, that many regard as the best surf spot on the island. During low season (November-April) it gets very quit.
Best time to travel Sri Lanka
The island has two separate monsoons. The main southwest monsoon starts in April/May to September. The northeast monsoon hits the east coast from November to March. The best time to visit the west and south coasts and hill country is from December to March, while the best weather on the east coast is from April to May.
The cheapest way is by local bus. They go frequent to many places, but it is crowded and uncomfortable. Tuk-tuk’s are literally waiting on every corner. Use your bargaining skills before getting in, or choose one with a meter. For a more comfortable trip you can hire a car and driver for a fixed price. The railways are a great way to cross the country. Although they are slow, some routes are beautiful. Tickets in all classes are cheap. Check the train times and key routes here.
The official languages spoken on Sri Lanka are Sinhalese and Tamil.
For the Dutch; you need a passport, which is still valid for at least six months upon arrival and a Visa which is valid for 30 days. When entering Sri Lanka you need to be able to show your booked flight out of the country.
Extending your visa during your stay is possible in Colombo at the Department of Immigration. It takes about 4 hours.
Sri Lanka has many sweet places to stay from budget to midrange and comfy backpackers hostels to peaceful villa’s and boutique hotels.
Yellow fever is obliged if you come from a country or have been to a transit with a high risk on yellow fever. DTP and hepatitis A and typhoid are recommended when traveling in Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka you pay in Sri Lankan rupee. Check the up to date rate of the ruppiah here.
Compared to Holland, in wintertime there is a 4,5 hour time difference and during summer it’s 3,5 hours later.
In Sri Lanka you’ll need an adapter for “Type D ” Indian BS-546 or the European CEE 7/16 Europlug.
You can’t drink water from the tap. Always check if the bottled water you buy is sealed. Save the environment and buy only five litre packages to refill your small bottle.
Before booking a ticket always check the up to date travel advice (Dutch).