destination: Sri Lanka
Most of the foreign guests of our motherland will tell you: they enjoyed their holidays in Sri Lanka very much and fell in love with its people.
However, in some cases of disappointment you will quickly understand, that those who complain went to touristed places crowded with pushy souvenir sellers and even some scammers - or they had bad luck booking a tour with locals only interested in getting the quick money by showing them as many shops as possible, for their own benefit, commissions. But this is not a specific Sri Lankan problem, it is similar at tourist hotspots in developping countries all over the world.
Why holidays in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka has neither the hugest nor the most ancient temples of the world, neither the largest wildlife parks nor the deepest jungles, neither the highest mountains nor the most picturesque beaches, neither the best fun nor the best shopping facilities. - But what Sri Lanka has is a lovely and interesting little bit of everything. Actually, it's the density and diversity of attractions that makes Sri Lanka an amazing and delightful place for all lovers of holidays in a tropical country or in a nation of a rich cultural heritage.
Oh, in fact there are some superlatives to be mentioned: the longest uninterrupted Buddhist tradition, the largest brick monuments of Asia, the most spectacular annual Buddhist procession, the most ancient animal sanctuary, the enourmous density of leopard population in Wilpattu and Yala, the largest herds of Asian elephants, the best blue whale watching opportunities, doubtless the very best cinnamon, the unsurpassed quality and variety of gems and, of course, the best cricket team (though it is sometimes beatable).
But again: It is the amount and variety of places worth visiting on our island that makes the difference. For example: We do not have the highest waterfalls, but 200 of them. We are not the tea producer number one, but no country has a larger percentage of its area covered with tea plantations. There may be much more exciting trekking opportunities in the Himalayas, but not within only a few hours driving distance from the beach.
World Heritage Sites
Lovers of cultural journeys are impressed by the dagobas of Anuradhapura, the rock-cut Buddha statues of Polonnaruwa, the spectacular ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya, the painted rock caves of Dambulla, the charming hill capital Kandy and the best preserved colonial fortress of Asia, Galle. That's the list of our cultural World Heritage site. Don't miss to visit at least some of them in case you arrive in our country for the first time.
There are two very different natural World Heritage Sites on our island, the tropical lowland forest of Sinharaja and the montane moist forests of Peak Wilderness, Horton Plains and Knuckles Range. And believe it or not, their core areas are situated in just 50 km distance from each other, as the crow flies!
The reason is: The southern edge of the central highlands - its vertical drop is more than 1500 m - marks a drastic borderline between those two extremely contrasting vegetation zones.
climate and biodiversity
Tropical regions are well-known for biodiversity in general. But there is something special about Sri Lanka, that "triples" the normal tropical biodiversity: There are three completely different climate and vegetation zones on this not very large island.
The reason for this is the monsoon rainfall in front of the central higlands, making the south-west of the island a warm and humid typical tropical biosphere with two seasons, a rainy season, starting in May and sometimes continuing until October, and a dry season during the rest of the year. But be aware, short and heavy showers also occur during dry seasons, otherwise the tropical area could not be that luxuriant green.
But the cool highlands have precipitation and fog throughout the year. And the tea loves it, some tourists don't. But there is blue sky in the highlands every week, too. The weather can change abruptly and does it quite often in our hillcountry.
But in the lee of the highlands there is no precipitation during the summer monsoon months at all. Actually, in the northern and eastern parts of the island it's just the other way around: Highest rainfall occurs during the same period that is called dry season in the southwest. Indeed, travelling from coast to coast in Sri Lanka means: changing the season!
However, compared to the south-west, the north and east receive much less rainfall during their "rainy season" (with a peak in November), because that's the period of the so-called anti-monsoon not coming across the open Indian ocean but from mainland Asia across the smaller Bay of Bengal.
Sinharaja rain forest
Kanneliya small rain forest
Pinnawela elephant orphanage
Dry zone south
Yala NP camping-safari
Bundala NP bird watching
Kumana NP birds and wildlife
Okanda village life and beach
Rufus Kulam remote lake
Lahugala NP with heritage site
Gal Oya NP lakeside wildlife
Udawalawe NP wild elephants
Ussangoda serpentine rock
Dry zone north
Minneriya NP elephant gathering
Kaudulla NP elephant gathering
Habarana oxcart excursions
Nelumpure authentic village life
Mihintale ancient sanctuary
Namal Uyana ironwood sanctuary
Rasvehera monastery and wildlife
Tabbowe lake near Wilpattu NP
Horton Plains trekking hotspot
Bambarakanda 240 m waterfall
Adam's Peak pilgrim mountain
Hakgala Botanical Garden
Kitulgala white water and birds
Peradeniya Botanical Garden
Meemure village life and trekking
Knuckles Range trekking highlight
Randenigala NP alternative camp
Private Cooking Classes
Anyone interested in small private introductory cooking classes will be welcome in Nelumpure. Learning Sri Lankan style cooking in a similarly familiar manner can be offered by Team Sightseeinglanka at many more locations, for example on Kalpitiya island in the west, which is well-known for water sports and dolphin-watching and within day-excursion-distance of Wilpattu National Park, or in Tissamaharama near in the deep south of the island, close to Yala and Bundala National Parks.
recommends truly authentic holiday stays among locals in the hill country village Meemure, far away from any tourism hurly-burly. The remote hamlet Meemure is situated in the breathtaking landscape of Knuckles Range and a perfect starting point for trekking. Read more...