The Beauty of the Indian Ocean, The Mystery of Sri Lanka
The Indian Ocean islands are simply stunning, with blinding blue seas and amazing beaches to kick back and relax on. However, despite the beautiful beaches, many of these islands offer a true lesson in culture, and one perhaps more than most, is the idyllic island of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has gained a difficult reputation over the last few years, due to fighting and political issues, however the country is safe to visit if you heed travel advice, and especially when travelling as part of a guided tour.
Before you head off to Sri Lanka, be sure to apply for your online visa, which lasts for three months, and you can stay for 30 days within this time. That being said, check out your specific country of origin visa rules, in case of any changes. You also need to consider when to visit, and be aware that Sri Lanka experiences two specific monsoon seasons, and October is the rainiest month overall, so perhaps avoid this time of year.
So what is there to do in Sri Lanka?
Other than kicking back and relaxing, because let’s face it, we all need to do it at some point, there are many more active activities a visitor to this beautiful natural habitat can take part in. It all depends on what you want to see and do, but as a general rule, nature and religion/spirituality are extremely high up on the list.
I guess the most famous place to visit when researching Sri Lanka is Kandy. This is where you will find the famous Temple of the Tooth, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa. Located in the city of Kandy, which was formerly the Kingdom of Kandy, this is where you’ll find the tooth of Buddha, deep in the royal palace grounds. Stunning, majestic and strangely peaceful, you can’t visit Sri Lanka and not head here.
Sticking with the religious route, Dambulla Cave Temple is another must-do. Not only is this a World Heritage Site, for obvious reasons when you see it, but it is also extremely well preserved, with its stone Buddha statues. You can’t help but feel peaceful and at ease.
Aside from religion, Sri Lanka is known for its exquisite nature, and perhaps the most famous of all is the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. A nursery of baby elephants, orphanage and breeding ground, not only will you go ‘awwww’, but you’ll also learn all about important conservation of these majestic creatures. Sinharaja Forest Reserve will show you more in the way of biodiversity in its natural habitat. Add to that Sri Pada, a sacred monument near the mountain summit, teeming with wildlife along the way, and you’ll understand how important nature is in Sri Lanka.
Of course, nature doesn’t only exist on land, and Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian Ocean after all. Whilst you’re in the area, why not gain a qualification – PADI courses are plentiful, and you’ll see stunning marine-life along the way. You could of course stay dry and dolphin and whale watch at Mirissa and Kalpitiya, if that sounds preferable.
Sri Lanka is hugely diverse and ecological, however you’ll find more in the way of the modern in the capital, Colombo, with shopping centres and markets. You simply must buy some traditional Ceylon tea whilst you’re here – the perfect souvenir.
As you can see, Sri Lanka is more than a beach, and by the end of the holiday, you will certainly feel like you’ve been touched by another land entirely.