Why Sri Lanka is Hot Right Now!
According to travel writers, travel magazines and bloggers, Sri Lanka is one of the hottest travel destinations on the planet right now. We thought we should do our own research and check out the goss with our lovely tour guide (who is beyond passionate about Sri Lanka) why she loves it so much and why it should be on your travel bucket list. Here is what Zoe has to say!
Sri Yoga Shala
I first came to Sri Lanka as a volunteer to teach English to children, following the Boxing Day Tsunami. I quickly fell under the spell of the island and moved over here to live full time in Colombo over 5 years ago.
As soon as I stepped off the plane I was entranced with the colours, friendly people, cuisine and vibrancy of the island’s life, and I have never looked back.
I invite you come and explore this beautiful country with me….
Sri Lanka is a tropical and incredibly diverse island off the southern tip of India that offers travellers everything from pristine sandy beaches to ancient Buddhist temples, lush green hills dotted with tea plantations to wildlife safaris. It suffered major setbacks from the 20 year civil war, which ended in 2009, as well as devastation from the Tsunami in 2004, however it is firmly back on the map as a ‘must-see’ destination!
It gets lots of rain, which keeps it lush and jungly and although it is the size of Tasmania, it’s so diverse it’s like several countries rolled into one. Sometimes you feel as if you are in Africa, sometimes in India and sometimes in the Lake District in the UK… Then, amid the jungle and rivers, there are ruins of cities once as great as Rome or Carthage.
Here are some of the key reasons you should visit the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’ in 2016.
Sri Lanka has a blissful tropical climate that offers winter sun to us all year round. It’s also quite varied, so you can go from sunbathing in the dry heat of the southern beaches to the cool breezes of the Hill Country, all within the same holiday!
Known unofficially as the ‘Sri Lankan Riviera’ the beaches are a majestic golden-tan colour, fringed with swaying palm trees and backed by orchards, rice paddies and lowland tea plantations. The southern beaches around the colonial town of Galle are the most paradisical!
The Sri Lankan people are an incredibly kind, smiley and welcoming lot – travellers often return home saying they are hands-down the nicest people in the world. Every man and his dog will talk to you on the street just to have a chat, but you won’t be hassled like in nearby India – it is very social!
In the capital of Colombo – which is well worth staying a night in – you can buy label Western clothes at a discount as well as bringing home tea, spices and brightly coloured clothes. It is also a fantastic place to pick up precious gemstones.
You’ll go wild for the food, which has been shaped by its colourful historical and cultural past. Must-east include: curd and treacle, a dessert made using buffalo milk curd and dusted with coconut; hoppers, which are like a battered pancake, cradling everything from eggs and veggies to sweet treats; and of course, Sri Lankan curries, seafood and King coconuts.
The Cultural Heritage
Sri Lanka is jam-packed with world heritage sites that you should make time to visit if possible. These include the Sacred City of Kandy, a famous pilgrimage site for Buddhists in the centre of the country, set on a plateau surrounded by mountains; the old fortified town of Galle, which was founded int he 16th century by the Portugese on the south-western tip of the island; and the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a cave monastery with Buddhist mural paintings and 157 statues that has been a sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries. In short, anyone with a historical inclination will find Sri Lanka, which was colonised by the Dutch, Portugese and British, fascinating.
Sri Lanka is one of the best places in Asia for seeing wildlife, and Yala National Park is one of its finest reserves. Resident Leopards happily oblige visitors by offering frequent viewing opportunities, and there is a wealth of wildlife including Indian Elephants, Wild Water Buffalo, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Crocodiles and many species of birds.
The Tea Country
Lovers of a good cuppa will be in their element in Sri Lanka! The cool Hill Country is covered with tea plantations on every available slope. For those feeling energetic or wanting to immerse yourself truly into the culture, you can even tea pluck amongst the tea plantations, under the supervision of one of the beautiful locals!
So there you have it from the tour guide’s mouth. Zoe’s love affair continues with this amazing country and doesn’t look like ending anytime soon!
I hope you’ve enjoyed her amazing overview and make sure you put Sri Lanka on your list for this year. We have two great escapes that will immerse you to the max in this gorgeous destination and tick every box for the ultimate women’s luxury travel escape, whether travelling solo or with another Diva!
Have a great weekend and chat soon.
Zoe Thomas is tour guide extraordinaire and resident expert in Sri Lanka. She is responsible for the very cool concept of ‘Searching for Serendipity’ and ‘The Rejuvenation Retreat’ taking place in September 2016!