Sri Lanka has a wide range of natural attractions to offer travellers looking for a refreshing holiday that is easily accessible to GCC residents. There are so many attractions to choose from and we highlight some of the best ones we have come across from past and recent visits to this beautiful country.
During a recent business trip, we headed to Negombo, a city on the west coast of Sri Lanka and north of the capital, Colombo. It is peaceful near the waterfront and Negombo Lagoon is lined with fishermen’s huts and boats of many colours. The lagoon feeds into the Dutch-era Hamilton Canal and along the journey, you get to see interesting buildings and the bustling life of the locals.
Late summer is the ideal time to witness the biggest wildlife spectacular that the Emerald Isle offers, the Minneriya Elephant Gathering, the largest coming together of Asian elephants at any one time in the world. Minneriya National Park is in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, close to Habarana, the Cultural Triangle and the Sigiriya Rock, all of which are top attractions for tourists, and have a range of accommodation and dining options.
Get spa products and a massage at Spa Ceylon
One of the nicest things I did for myself last month was get a massage at the famous Spa Ceylon that is dotted across Colombo City. There are also retail shops both in the city and the airport offering an amazing range of spa products to relax, rejuvenate, detox and generally feel good.
Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple (Golden Temple)
Known as the Rock Temple of Dambulla, the Dambulla Golden Temple is situated about forty-seven miles northwest of Kandy, the last capital of the Sinhalese kings, on the main road to Anuradhupura. It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160m over the surrounding plains. There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area and major attractions are spread over five caves, which have statues and paintings.
Royal Botanical Garden
The Royal Botanical Garden is Sri Lanka’s largest garden in an elegant and spacious space, perfect for strolling and checking out nearly 4,000 different species of plants at Peradeniya Gardens. The 10,000 or so trees are mature, lofty giants and many of them are tropical timber trees. The gardens showcase all of Sri Lanka’s flora and representative species from around the tropical world.
White water rafting in Kitulgala
Adventure lovers can have fun white water rafting in the picturesque Kelani River, covering five major rapids and four minor rapids. The activity comes with safety gear, modern rafts, and there is a comprehensive safety briefing beforehand. The 5km distance covered for rafting and the surrounding offers a memorable experience.
Visit a sea turtle hatchery
Animal lovers can head to the Turtle Care Centre at Kosgoda beach, which is one of many turtle hatcheries along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The centre is located in the South Western coastal village of Kosgoda and was establised in 1981. It houses all five species of turtles that visit the Sri Lanka nest in Kosgoda.