Sri Lanka – Buddhism, Beautiful Nature, Beaches and Ceylon Tea

The 9 Most Beautiful Places in Sri Lanka

Europeans are best known to Sri Lanka for its huge tea plantations, which look like green waves shimmering in the sun. But travelers come here not only to see these vast fields, similar to the sea, and to learn about the techniques of tea making. They’re drawn to the other side of the island: the famous nine-arch bridge, walks through the streets of the port city of Galle, Mount Sigiriya, Ravana Falls, the Golden Temple of Dambulla, and dozens of other attractions. We tell you what to make sure to include in your itinerary.

Would you like to swim in a waterfall? In Sri Lanka, you’ll have that opportunity. In the heart of Sri Lanka’s mountainous landscape is the 25-meter-high Ravana Waterfall. The waterfall is surrounded on all sides by mountains: it looks majestic. There are local cafes and restaurants everywhere, so you won’t go hungry. In general, in Sri Lanka it is almost impossible to die of hunger, everywhere coconut trees, which will be glad if you take off a couple of pieces and thus facilitate their life. The only thing left is to learn how to climb the coconut trunks, which are only five or six stories high. Any Lankan will tell you it’s a cakewalk: all you have to do is use a strap.

How to get there? The waterfall is located near the town of Ella. You can get here by taking a local tuk-tuk transport or by booking a tour with the Lankans. You need to bring warm clothes, because the waterfall is located in the mountains and the temperature is lower than on the coast of the island. At the highest points, it can reach only +18 degrees.

Tea lovers are right here. The island is hectares of tea plantations. There is so much of it that everywhere you look in the mountains of Sri Lanka, everywhere you see a tea plantation. All this goodness is in private hands, not public. Tea is harvested every day and exclusively by women – 10 kilograms of tea before lunch and 10 kilograms after. The colorfulness and scale of the tea plantations and mountain ranges will be remembered for a lifetime.

How to get there. Take the train at Nuwara Eliya in central Sri Lanka. Ticket prices are $2-$10.

3. tea factory

Once you’ve seen enough of the tea beauty, you’ll probably want to try the drink itself. Then you go to the tea factory. Here you can learn all about tea-making techniques and buy yourself a bag or two of green, black, or white tea.

While you walk around the factory and think about what kind of tea to buy, the Sri Lankans assiduously go through the tea leaves in huge containers, helping them quickly get rid of moisture, and the guide will tell you that there are strong tea and loose tea, how to distinguish them, from what leaves white tea is made, and why green tea is better than black tea.

How to get there? The tea factory is also located in Nuwara Eliya, surrounded by mountains of tea plantations. Book a tour with the locals. Other factories can be found listed.

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In the small village of Gotuwala, at 945 meters above sea level, rises a 30-meter nine-arch bridge, also called the “Bridge to the Sky. Construction began in the twentieth century, when Sri Lanka was a British colony. The bridge is unique in that it consists entirely of dense rock, brick and cement. The bridge was built without the use of iron, and therefore the cost of such construction was so low that the British were not confident in the reliability of the structure. Local people tell the legend that after the bridge was fully built, the British forced the builders to stand under it before the first train ran over the bridge. The train moved and the bridge remained in place.

How to get there. The bridge is located in the village of Gotuvala. You can get here from Demodara town by tuk-tuk or by train from Ella to Demodara and from there walk to the bridge.

The peak is named after the sacred Adam’s Peak (the mountain where the Buddha’s imprint is preserved) because of its external resemblance. The height of the mountain is 1141 meters above sea level. You can just admire the mountain, or you can climb it. On many websites can find information that the mountain is quite easy to climb, but take into account the 30-degree heat, searing sun and humidity. You should bring a liter or two of drinking water and be prepared for the ascent to take a couple of hours. At the top stands a figure of Buddha and guards the small peak of Adam, and the view offers spectacular views of waterfalls and mountains – so a little inconvenience with the local climate is worth the ascent. For the thrill seekers on the mountain, there is a small boulder at the edge of the cliff, a favorite spot for photos. You can stand on it, sit down, lie down or jump up, whatever you are brave enough to do.

How to get there? The mountain is not far from the Ninear Bridge in the small village of Ella. Little Adam’s Peak can be reached on foot from the Nineyear Bridge, by tuk-tuk, or by booking a tour.

Another great place to climb is the Sigiriya Rock Plateau. The mountain is 370 meters above sea level.

In the 5th century AD King Kassapa built a fortress on the mountain. On top led lion’s feet, preserved to this day. Around the mountain was a whole complex of pools and gardens, where almost the first fountains in the world beat from the ground. Some of them still work today.

Before you go up, you can see all the pools, fountains, and structures that have survived to this day. From the information sign at the entrance you will know what animals you can meet here: crocodiles, monkeys and varans. Do not go near the monkeys if you have any belongings with you or if you wear glasses.

After walking around the entire complex, built under King Kassap, you have to climb Sigiriya itself. It is done by a metal staircase and leads through the famous lion’s paws. There used to be a lion’s head on the mountain whose open mouth served as the main entrance to the king’s palace. The ascent lasts about 2 hours, after which the conqueror of the mountain offers an incredible panorama of Sri Lanka. Also at the top of the mountain is preserved throne of King Kassap. In general, the climb is also difficult because of the local climate – don’t forget to bring enough water.

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How to get there? To visit Sigiriya, you can book a tour with local guides. It is most advantageous to buy a tour with visits to several sights at once, such as Dambulla, Royal Botanical Gardens, Little Adam’s Peak and Sigiriya. But if you’re traveling on your own, you can stay at any hotel in Dambulla and from there take a bus or a rented scooter to Sigiriya. The entrance fee for a foreign adult is $30, for a child $15.

Locals are proud to tell visitors about the Royal Botanical Gardens. After all, here is just an incredible number of plants – about 4000 species. These are medicinal plants, spices, flowers and various types of trees. The garden is also famous for its collection of orchids and palm trees. There is an alley of memorial plants planted by prominent personalities. For example, there is a tree that was planted by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on the grounds of the garden.

How to get there? The garden is located 5.5 kilometers west of the city of Kandy. Since the garden is very large, many travelers order electric cars that take them around the garden itself and stop at the places where the most valuable or interesting plants grow. The garden is open daily from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. The cost of admission is $10.

Sri Lanka is considered a country of Buddhism – 70% practice Buddhism, 13% Hinduism, 9% Islam, and 7% Christianity. There are many Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, which can be visited by Buddhists as well as anyone else. One of the most famous is the Dambulla Temple, carved into the rock. It has the largest collection of Buddha statues, many more than 2,000 years old. The walls and ceiling of the temple are decorated with frescoes in which the viewer can observe key moments from the life of the Buddha. There is a golden Dagobah, a 30-meter statue of Buddha, and a history museum on the temple grounds.

How to get here? You can get here by settling in the town of Dambulla, and from there come by tuk-tuk or book a local tour. The cost to visit the temple is $10 per adult and $5 per child. The temple is open from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.

When the Dutch set foot in Sri Lanka in the seventeenth century, they built in the city, owned by the Portuguese before Galle Fort. On the territory of the fort also built a lighthouse, temples and a prison. Halle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the main attractions of the island. Walking through the ancient stone-lined streets of the city, make your way to the Grote Kerk Reformed Church. The church was built in the 18th century by Gertrude Le Grande, wife of Commander Gasparus de Jong, as a token of gratitude for the birth of a long-awaited child. The decoration of the church is modest: directly above the central entrance is a small organ, and there are tombstones on the floor at the entrance. At that time, wealthy Europeans could buy a burial place in the church. In addition to the massive fortress with high walls, there is a lighthouse, one of the symbols of Galle, on the coast of the city.

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How to get there? Getting to the city is not difficult – by local train or bus. The price of the ticket depends on the place of landing. If you go from Hikkaduwa, for example, one way will cost less than $ 1.

Visiting all the sights will not give a complete picture of this beautiful and colorful island. Take a couple of days to walk the streets and visit the local markets, bus stations, and supermarkets. Don’t miss a ride on local transport – a bus ride will be memorable for a lifetime. Local buses run so fast you’ll practically have to jump in at every stop. Such a fast ride in general is quite surprising, because many Lankans are very slow. There are practically no traffic signs, no traffic lights, and everything is honking, creating a cacophony on the road. And you’re terrified and pray to Buddha, a statue of which is in every bus near the driver, to have mercy on you and help you get off the bus in this life, not the next. It is also worth a ride on the local electric train. You don’t have to hop on, but you can jump off at any time – the doors are always open. More travel tips for Sri Lanka can be found here.

Beaches, tea, elephants and other advantages of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a mesmerizing place for beach lovers, tropical lovers and budget travelers. The first time you think of this country, you think of endless tea plantations and elephants wandering one after another.

But the advantages of Sri Lanka, which attract hundreds of thousands of tourists, of course, do not end there. Let us take a closer look at them.

Beaches

Amazing Coast of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a tiny island country surrounded on all sides by ocean. It has one of the most pristine coastlines in Asia. Endless beaches with palm trees and turquoise waters seem truly magical. And tourists here have a great opportunity to choose a place for your liking: with gold or soft white sand, exhausted by wind and waves, or hidden in the depths of the island and well protected. For example, the beach of Mirissa is recommended for those who want to tan in the sun, and Unawatuna – who is in the mood for beach parties. For adrenaline lovers, Bentota with its water sports is great. Other favorites include Hikkaduwa, Talalla and Arugam Bay. If you’re lucky, you might spot turtles on the beach. If not, recline on a lounge chair with a coconut and enjoy life. In addition, almost all the coast of the country offers excellent opportunities for snorkeling and surfing.

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Holidays will be even more enjoyable if you spend it in a good hotel. And yet not to make a mistake with the choice, we recommend to pay attention to the best hotels in Sri Lanka :

    (Tangalle) (Veligama) (Hikkaduwa) (Ahungala) (Bentota) (Hikkaduwa) (Veligama) (Unawatuna) (Dikwella)

Tropical climate all year round

Sri Lanka can be visited almost all year round

Sri Lanka traditionally experiences two monsoon seasons, which come to different parts of the country in different months. This means that you can catch sunny weather here at any time of the year. All you have to do is choose the right direction. The southwest monsoon falls between May and July. During this time, sunny weather is usually in the north of the country, and the rest of the country is rainy. From October to January comes the northeast monsoon, which makes for an ideal stay in the south of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a tropical country, so in general there is plenty of sunshine and clear skies almost all year round. Keep in mind that the central part of the south of the island is usually cooler than the coastal areas, so it’s worth grabbing some warmer clothes.

Wildlife and national parks

Excellent opportunities for dolphin watching

Another advantage of Sri Lanka is its unique wildlife. This is evidenced by the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the many national parks. One fantastic place is Yala National Park, where you can see monkeys, water buffalo and elephants. Another is Maracolla Beach, where you can watch turtles come ashore in the middle of the night to lay their eggs. The Mirissa area provides incredible opportunities for whale and dolphin watching. In Minneria National Park, tourists have the opportunity to track leopards in the jungle or watch the unprecedented annual elephant migration.

The railroad tracks follow scenic routes and are just as popular

The first thing that comes to mind when mentioning Sri Lanka is Ceylon tea. It was Ceylon that officially called the country until 1972. Today, lovers of indulging in a cup of delicious tea in Sri Lanka will be in their element. In the cooler part of the country, the hills are covered with tea plantations on almost every available slope. This allows the country to produce 300 million kilograms of Ceylon tea a year. A must-see excursion here is to visit the local plantations on one of the many hiking trails. It is worth bearing in mind that unlike the rice terraces in Bali, the tea grounds are not tiered. Here the fields have no steps, and the tea bushes are scattered in no particular order, often layered, creating unusual patterns on the mountainsides.

Elephants

The main symbols of the country – elephants.

One of the main characters of Sri Lanka, of course, are elephants. You can meet them almost everywhere in the country. However, most of them are domesticated. To see a wild elephant is much harder, but it is quite possible. Between May and September, for example, the 1,700-year-old reservoir in Minneria National Park becomes one of the most amazing attractions in Sri Lanka. About 400 elephants gather at the lake to drink plenty of water. It is the largest gathering of these giant mammals in the world. The spectacle traditionally attracts crowds of tourists who hope to see hundreds of elephants in one place.

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Cultural Heritage

Galle Fort.

Sri Lanka has gained fame as a culturally and historically rich country thanks primarily to its many ancient sculptures, 2,000-year-old monasteries, stupas, and centuries-old statues. The island is literally filled with world heritage sites that are worth a trip to. One such is the holy city of Kandy, a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site with many historical sites. Another gem is the ancient fort of Galle, which was founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese at the southwestern tip of the island. Tourists should also see the Golden Temple of Dambulla. It is a cave monastery with Buddhist frescoes and 157 statues, which was considered a sacred place of pilgrimage for 22 centuries. We should add that Sri Lanka was a Dutch, Portuguese, and British colony from the early 1800s until the 1900s. Therefore, echoes of European influence can be found throughout the country in architecture, food, drink, and a passion for cricket.

Climbing: Adam’s Peak

The best time to visit Adam’s Peak is at dawn

It is also worth highlighting the most spectacular hike in Sri Lanka, the climb to the top of Adams Peak or Sri Pada. It is one of the country’s most striking natural attractions and one of the most famous pilgrimage sites, towering over the surrounding hills. According to Buddhist legends, Sri Paka is the footprint of Buddha himself, although Christians claim that it is the footprint of Adam, who is said to have first set foot on earth after being expelled from heaven. If one begins the ascent of Adam’s Peak at night, the summit will not be reached until dawn. But those who dare to hike at night are virtually guaranteed views of the surrounding landscape without clouds, as well as a chance to see the famous shadow of the peak.

Curry

Popular Spices

Sri Lanka is famous for its delicious food whether you’re having breakfast, lunch or dinner. And one of the main ingredients in local dishes is curry. Many people associate this particular mixture of various spices ground into a powder with India. But it also plays a key role in Sri Lankan cuisine. Curry on the island is used to cook chicken, fish, various vegetable dishes and even fruits. Curry is always served with lots of rice and tortillas. Pay special attention to pumpkin curry, you won’t regret it. Don’t forget that most of the spices in Sri Lanka are so intense in flavor that you’ll probably need a mug of tea or beer to bring your taste buds back to normal.

Believe me, it is worth visiting Sri Lanka at least for one of the above-mentioned highlights of the country. A separate incentive for Russian tourists is that from August 1, 2019 to February 1, 2020, a visa to the country for Russians is free right at the airport.

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