Sri Lanka is a fascinating destination with an abundance of culture and opportunities for wildlife encounters.
If your idea of an intriguing getaway involves getting to know the local culture and losing yourself in an unspoiled wilderness, Sri Lanka should be on your bucket list now. It is one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia for culture and wildlife lovers.
Although Sri Lanka has had troubles in recent history, the country is currently a safe and welcoming place to visit. It is rich with history and during your visit you can explore colonial towns, ancient temples, stone forts and much more. If you can, tour these sites with a knowledgeable local guide who can give you some insight into the history and religious significance of the structures and help you to better appreciate what you are looking at.
Visit the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa, close to Sigiriya & Dambulla. It is filled with Buddhist remains such as monasteries and temples and you can spend an entire day exploring and still not see it all. The Dambulla Rock Cave Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is filled with incredibly Buddha images and paintings from the 2nd century BC.
Dambulla Rock Temple
The Dutch fort of Galle, located on the southern coastline, is home to plenty of intriguing historic colonial homes along its narrow cobblestone streets. You can also visit Anuradhapura, which is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It was founded in 380 BC by Prince Pandukabhaya.
The Sacred City of Kandy is also a culturally significant destination, a gorgeous city surrounded by spectacular mountains. It is home to the Sri Dalada Maligawa, where the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha can be found.
If you are looking for an unspoiled paradise of natural beauty, where you can spot wild creatures in their natural habitat – then Sri Lanka will delight you. Sri Lanka is blessed with a number of fantastic National Parks, including Yala, Bundala, Udawalawe and Horton’s Plains. These wilderness areas are home to a wide range of fascinating animals, from leopards to Indian elephants to rare bird species such as green-billed coucal.
Sri Lanka is also a superb destination for whale watching, as it happens to be in the middle of the migration route for blue whales. You may also be able to spot sperm whales, spinner dolphins, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and much more. Be sure to choose a company that follows eco-friendly practices when taking you on whale watching journeys, so that these gentle giants can be saved.
The best park for wild elephant spotting is Uda Walawe National Park – there are around 500 living within these tea-plantation covered hillsides. Elephant sightings are very likely and you might also see hawk eagles and grey-headed fish eagles.
When it comes to culture and nature, Sri Lanka is a rich and rewarding travel destination – so why not start planning your trip today?