Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavourful food make Sri Lanka irresistible.
You might say Sri Lanka has been hiding in plain sight. Scores of travellers have passed overhead on their way to someplace else, but years of uncertainty kept Sri Lanka off many itineraries. Now, however, all that has changed. The country is moving forward quickly as more and more people discover its myriad charms. Lying between the more trodden parts of India and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka’s history, culture and natural beauty are undeniably alluring. It’s the place you haven’t been to yet, that you should.
Few places have as many Unesco World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area. Sri Lanka’s 2000-plus years of culture can be discovered at ancient sites where legendary temples boast beautiful details even as they shelter in caves or perch on prominent peaks. More recent are evocative colonial fortresses, from Galle to Trincomalee.
Across the island, that thing that goes bump in the night might be an elephant heading to a favourite waterhole. Safari tours of Sri Lanka’s pleasantly relaxed national parks encounter leopards, water buffaloes and all manner of birds. Under the gaze of a tropical sun, the exquisite sand beaches and placid blue waters of Sri Lanka unfold. The flavours of coconut and abundant seafood conspire with ever-friendly locals to shape the most exquisite beach holiday destinations. Add stopovers at the seaside colonial fort city of Galle, and whale and dolphin watching tours down the coast.
Variety is the spice of this island nation. Further east, in the rainforests and open grasslands of Yala national park, you’re sure to spot elephants and crocodiles, among numerous other birds and beasts. A little to the north is the hill station of Nuwara Eliya, a place of swirling mists and verdant tea estates, memorable with every cup of Ceylon tea you will ever consume. In the mountains at the centre of the country, Kandy is Sri Lanka’s cultural capital, and home to one of Buddhism’s holiest temples. Before heading back north to the capital Colombo, stop and climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya, the Lion Rock rising from forested plains.
The best time to visit Sri Lanka depends on which part of the country you are planning to visit. As the country is close to the equator, the country experiences a warm and humid climate with plenty of rainfall. The weather in the plains and the coastal region is hot an humid, with an average temperature of 27°C. The humidity is between 70% during the day, and 90% at night, but the refreshing sea breezes reduces the heat. The central highlands are cool and pleasant with an average temperature of 20°C. January is the coldest moth and May is often the warmest month.
There are two monsoons on the island:
Southwestern monsoon, which rains from May to October in the southwestern part of the
Northeast monsoon, which rains from December to March in the northeast of the island.
The driest and best season for a tour of Sri Lanka to the west coast, south coast and highlands is from December to March. The best time for visiting the country’s many historic cities, and the east coast is from April to September.
The best time to travel to Sri Lanka varies from region to region.
West and south coast, hills (Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Yalla)
Beaches of the North Coast (Negombo and Trincomalee)
Beaches of the south coast (Negombo, Tangalle, Galle and beaches in the south-west)
East Coast, North and Central Region (Anuradhapura, Trincomalee)
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