Sri Lanka is an island paradise with something to suit even the most demanding of tourists. Here at icelolly.com we love a tropical climate and Sri Lanka has just that, making it an ideal destination all year round. Oh and there’s elephants too, lots of elephants.
Sri Lanka’s main draw is its unbelievable array of scenery. From white sandy beaches to dramatic rocky highlands, you’ll be blown away by what the island has to offer.
Sri Lanka’s coastal retreats are perfect for those wanting to soak up some tropical sun, particularly in the more established resorts around the capital Colombo. The place to head for truly unspoilt paradise is the east coast. Previously inaccessible due to the country’s long running civil war, the east is now a burgeoning, friendly, and great value tourist destination.
Though don’t be fooled into thinking that Sri Lanka is just a country for sight-seers and beach bums. Adrenaline junkies are well catered for with mountain climbing, diving, windsurfing and white water rafting.
It is predicted that Sri Lanka’s tourist industry is to undergo a massive boom in the next few years, so now is the perfect time to beat the crowds!
Sri Lanka is curry mad. Everywhere you look you’ll find a new and exciting flavour. It’s probably possible to eat curry three or four times a day. This might sound like a great idea until you realise that the local’s sense of what constitutes a spicy curry would probably be illegal in the UK.
Still, if you stick to the touristy dining outlets, there will always be a milder mix to cater for pathetic Western taste-buds.
If you do find yourself sampling the hot stuff, then be sure to stop off at a stall selling Thambili (King Coconut) to soothe the fire in your mouth. The local Thambili vendors will bring out a rather scary looking machete and skilfully cut a square into the top of the coconut. He’ll then give you straw to suck out the sweet milk before once again hacking the coconut in half (hopefully not as you are still holding it). You’ll then be able to scoop out the juicy flesh and be on your way, with any curry based fire duly extinguished.
In coastal areas you may encounter Sri Lanka’s famous stilt fishermen, who perch on strange tree-like stilts in the shallows for hours at a time. Why not sample the fruits of their labours by trying some fresh curried fish wrapped in a banana leaf and smoked over an open fire. Gorgeous.
Sri Lanka is famous for its wildlife. The country’s diverse landscape is home to a vast range of different species, many of which are completely unique to the island. Icelolly’s top tip is to head to the Kaudulla National Park where you can take a safari and see herds of magnificent Asian elephants in their natural environment.
If big grey pachyderms aren’t your thing then why not explore one of Sri Lanka’s eight UNESCO world heritage sights. The ruined city of Anuradhapura in the ‘Cultural Triangle’ of the North is truly awe-inspiring. Ornate temple ruins rise out of the jungle floor and provide a tangible link to Sri Lanka’s ancient civilisations.
One ancient site that you’ll have to work for is the ‘Sri Pada’ or ‘Adam’s Peak’. This pointed mountain stands at over 2000m and can only be scaled with an 8 hour trek. However, at the summit you will find a magnificent temple and outstanding views as far as the eye can see. The site has become a popular pilgrimage for several religions, due to a shared belief that the first human was cast down from heaven on to the mountain; leaving his footprint etched into a rock at the peak.
If all of the wildlife, culture and hiking sounds like it would leave you exhausted, then take comfort from the fact that you will always be able to find a pretty palm-fringed beach to help recharge your batteries.