For a small tropical island, Sri Lanka is packed with a myriad of places to see, things to do and experiences to be had. It is truly an island of DIVERSITY in every sense. The nature of Sri Lanka is as diverse as its other features.
Over the years the Island has been described as a lush paradise by many travellers, some even comparing it to the Garden of Eden. The inviting turquoise blue, warm tropical waters of the Indian ocean form a coastline of more than a 1000 kms of golden beaches. Misty mountains rise to the skies in the heart of the Island from whose bosoms spring hundreds of breathtaking waterfalls. Wet jungles alive with the symphonies of birds are fed by crystal clear rivers while man-made lakes riddle the vast plains giving sustenance to man and beast alike.
Not idly did the sailors of old call this Island ‘Serendib’. One may get lost here, only to find themselves!
Many who visit Sri Lanka do so mainly with the idea of relaxing on a golden sand beach in their mind. The Island is in fact bordered by many such beaches, ranging from busy beaches that are world famous to remote beaches where one can bask in solitude. Negombo, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Mirissa and Unawatuna are busy beach hubs with bars, restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. Nilaveli and Pasikudah in the East and Tangalla in the South are much quiet compared to the former and are ideal for chilling. Furthermore, there are the dream spots like Kalpitiya and Arugam Bay which are famous for kite surfing and surfing respectively. Whichever kind of beachgoer you may be, rest assured, Sri Lanka has the perfect beach for you!
The hill country in the middle of the island offers plenty of sightseeing with rolling green hills and peaks that breach the clouds. Misty mountains of the Knuckles range and the high altitude savannah at Horton Plains National Park are so iconic that together they form a UNESCO heritage site. Splendid hiking opportunities can be found in the scenic town of Ella with its temperate climate. Thrill seekers will find the mountains to their liking as well. Hardcore mountaineering challenges can be found in the likes of the jagged peaks of ‘Lakegala’ and ‘Kodiya Ara Malai’.
Waterfalls are also a main attraction of the mountains. While some of these beauties lie close to the windy roads as you head into the mountains, others remain hidden gems amidst dense jungles. You can do a bit of trekking to get close to the likes of ‘Bomburu Ella’ and “Dunhinda Falls’ and the effort will certainly be worth it.
The forests and jungles of Sri Lanka are as ancient as the land itself. They provide ideal escapes from man’s cacophony and allow you to get lost in a sea of green amidst the melodies of songbirds and howling choruses of monkeys.
In the Southwestern part of the island which receives the highest rainfall are the tropical rainforest. Here, dense tropical rainforests like Singharaja, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, exhibit the highest bio-diversity in all of Asia. The North and Eastern parts of the country form the dry-zone. This area has an extensive cover of deciduous forests, scrub forests and dry grasslands. The dense forests here are home to large beasts such as the Sri Lankan Elephant, Sri Lankan Leopard and the Sloth Bear. Together these wilderness areas provide one of the best reasons for nature lovers to visit Sri Lanka.
Over a hundred noble rivers descend from Sri Lanka’s mountains and feed the Indian ocean. Where ever they go they give life and beauty to everything they touch. Many of these rivers and their tributaries offer plenty of bathing spots like Kithulgala on the beauteous Kelani river.
Many other wetlands such as lakes, mangrove forests, lagoons and salt marshes around the country offer soothing getaways and also ample chance to see aquatic birdlife.