Sri Lanka Travel Tips : Tropical Paradise in the Indian Ocean
Sitting in the Indian Ocean lies a beautiful island that is about the size of California, otherwise known as Sri Lanka. It is a magical place that is filled with jungle hiking, fields of tea plantations, rows of fruit trees, fields of elephants, and miles of stunning beaches. Sounds magical, amrite? Get ready to start a new pin board because we are sharing our favorite places in Sri Lanka that are a must visit.
Pidurangala rock in Sigiriya
Get your legs ready because you will be climbing many sets of stairs up to the top of Pidurangala Rock. At the summit you’ll gaze across the jungle valley to Sigiriya’s famous Lion’s Rock. If you are short on time (and budget) skip Lion’s Rock because it will cost around $30 per person — one of the most expensive experiences we had in Sri Lanka. Pidurangala Rock is free and will give you the same views :)
Geragama Tea Factory in Kandy
Time to immerse yourself in the most blissful aroma you will ever find. Geragama offers a free tour that guides you through their tea factory and shows you all the steps it takes to make quality tea. At the end of the tour you can sample their English Breakfast blend. Warning — you may never be able to drink pre-packaged tea packets again. This tea was spectacular.
Scenic train ride from Kandy to Ella
All aboard! The train ride to Ella is a must. This ride brings you through tea plantations, jungles, country sides, and waterfalls. For $15 you can get a first class ticket on the observation car, where you will have your own seat and chance to gaze out the window for the 7 hour train ride. Yes, you heard that right — 7 hours, but it is a beautiful journey. If the thought of being on the train that long is not your cup of tea, then hop on in Nanu Oya and ride to Ella which will be about 2 hours. This route is a great section that will give you a taste of Sri Lankan landscapes.
Nine arch bridge in Ella
When planning your trip, Ella is a must! The small town is set in the mountains and offers hiking adventures and great food. There are also a lot of hostels so if you are a solo traveler this is a great place to meet other like-minded companions. From the city center you can hike to the Nine Arch Bridge and peer over to fields of tea and beautiful greenery. Make sure you pay attention to the train times — there is plenty of room to stand on the bridge as the train comes (extremely cool Instagram photo op) but just remember to stay safe and stay off the tracks.
Little Adam’s Peak Hike
Many say to hike Little Adam’s Peak for sunrise but we actually enjoyed hiking it around 7am after the sun had rose. It was a beautiful warm light and wasn’t too hot. This hike has two lookout points so definitely climb to both of them. On your way down stop at the 98 Acres cafe for a buffet breakfast or a coffee.
Yala National Park
Get ready to channel your inner Eliza Thornberry on a Safari through Yala National Park. You’ll spot elephants, boars, alligators, many birds, and if you are lucky leopards! They offer half and full day trips but just keep in mind that Safaris are all about patience. You may or may not see the animals no matter if you are there morning, night, for 4 hours or 8 hours.
Head to Mirissa beach to soak in the sun, snorkel, dine with your toes in the sand, and buy the famous $5 harem pants from local vendors. Our advice is to spend the day in this beautiful beach town. You’ll want to stick around until sunset to climb up to the large Mirissa rock for amazing views and then head over to Zephyr for a passion fruit mojito.
Dress Palace in Mirissa
Fashion lovers, this one’s for you! Head on over to Dress Palace in downtown Mirissa to get a garment fit perfectly to your body. She can replicate about any piece of clothing for your size - so bring her your favorite garment and she will duplicate it in the fabric of your choice.
Sion Surf Camp
Sri Lanka is famous for their surf breaks so grab your suit and sunscreen and sign up for some surf lessons. The staff over at Sion Surf Camp are amazing and will help any level of surfer feel comfortable on the waves. Drop by for a day or sign up for a full week surf package that includes two surf sessions a day, breakfast and dinner and all while staying in a hut on amazing beach front property.
Dalawella beach is just a small town, but this palm tree rope swing makes it worth the extra stop. Head over to Dalawella guest house for a smoothie and spend $3 to hop on the rope swing and swing until you can’t swing anymore.
Weligama + Ceylon Sliders
Beginner surfers — this beach is for you! They have rolling waves that are easy to catch with a long-board and will make you look like a pro surfer. Across the beach is a great cafe called Ceylon Sliders that is filled with organic smoothie bowls and local specialties. This is a must!