After showing you last year a bit of beauties of Mauritius and some activities you can do there, I decided to do something similar for Sri Lanka. And to show some cool stuff to do in Sri Lanka. It is a small island, also in Indian Ocean, with capital called Colombo. Historically Portuguese, Dutch and British occupied it, but it finally got independence in 1948 as Ceylon, and then the name changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. If you ever wondered whether to go to Sri Lanka or not, maybe some of the info in this blog post will help you. I would recommend seeing this after you have seen some other islands in the Indian ocean first. I was not that amazed to go there again, but it is worth to see for sure.
Sri Lanka is a tropical country, so rain is inevitable – just depending on the side of the island. The rainy season is from October to January, and it predominantly affects the east coast, while from May to July it predominantly affects the west & south coast of Sri Lanka.
Good thing is that most people speak English in the capital Colombo and tourist areas, though not really in rural areas. Common languages are Sinhala and Tamil.
I had opportunity to stay in Colombo a few times for short times. And I also managed to go a bit around the capital, not too far from my hotel. The bad thing is that there are sometimes terrorist attacks toward Government (by Tamil Tigers) so it can be unsafe to go around the island when there is a threat announce.
Sri Lanka is beautiful for its nature, natural beauties and lots of vegetation. You will see below some of the cool stuff you can do while being there from what I experienced or heard. However, like on any tropical island, tourist resorts are usually nice and mostly clean (though I felt the humidity in my room every time and so my beds-heets were kind of sticky due to that – which I didn’t like ). But if you go along the roads and see the “real” people and life there, it is definitely as poor as hell. My food recommendation eat the local fish meals as they are delicious.
Kite-surfing is best to do in Sri Lanka from April to September and from December to March, when you can kite-surf eastern coast. Best place for the beginners is Kalpitiya (Sethawadi and Kappaladi lagoons), where you can find kite schools: Wind4Love KiteSurfing center Sri Lanka and best conditions in Asia.
There is possibility for scuba-diving in Sri Lanka and taking some of the certified PADI courses, due to the warm Indian Ocean water and 1600 km of coastline. This island had been a crossroad historically for many shipping lanes, the Silk Road etc, so there are some wrecks around to be discovered, as well as the beautiful marine world. For best diving spots in Sri Lanka check HERE.
>>> Elephant ride and bathing experience
Elephant ride is very popular on Sri Lanka. It is mainly available at Pinnawala which is close to the elephant orphanage, in Sigiriya, Minneriya, and Habarana areas. But riding elephants is more and more becoming controversial, and many people judge this activity as animals are being kept in chains against their will and used for tourist attraction.
I was actually riding an elephant and it was an amazing experience. The interesting thing was that I was sitting closer to its head, so could feel the texture of its skin and how sharp its hair is. It felt a bit unstable to sit up there, but thrilling and exciting all in all.
However, I alsovisited Millennium Elephant Foundation (MEF), a family run non-government organization – mainly relying on volunteers and tourism, which is dedicated to improving the welfare of domestic elephants throughout Sri Lanka. They provide and fund food, medical care, and other costs. This is where you can do an Elephant walk experience – which is alternative to riding option for tourists. And they are freely walking around.
I visited the elephant orphanage in Pinnawalla, where you can see abandoned elephant babies or injured elephants who can not live on their own in the wild. And the animals seemed calm and well taken care off. You can feed the baby elephants with milk bottles there or just watch how the professional staff does it.
You can also visit the river area close-by, where elephants get bathed and then go to a place where you can ride them. COOL TIP is to go down to the river about 15 minutes before the bathing time and sit in the restaurant in Ralidiya hotel with a drink to watch them coming up and see it up close.
>>> Tea factory and herbal garden
If in Sri Lanka, it is nice to visit some tea factory. Tea represents one of the main export products for Sri Lanka, so takes big portion for the country’s economy. It also employs a big amount of population. Tea is in high supply due to the climate of the island – lot of humidity, rainfall etc.
I saw how the whole production of tea goes, and the fresh tea leaves smell throughout the place was amazing. I visited also one of the spice and herbal gardens called Nilwala in Morawaka region.
Hope you enjoyed my post and I intrigued you to visit Sri Lanka. People are nice and friendly, and there are interesting activities you can indulge yourself in. Nothing fancy but worth the experience.