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9 Reasons to Visit Sri Lanka

9 reasons to visit Sri Lanka in 30 pictures from Lasith Lansakara of Discovering Serendipity

1. Where the Elephants Roam

Sadly not as much anymore.  Over hunting during the British colonial period has left the Sri Lankan Asian Elephant endangered.  Recent conservation efforts attempt to rebuild the local elephant population and visitors have several opportunities to see and interact with these majestic animals.

sri lankaNational Parks like Wasgamuwa allow you to capture a glimpse of these animals in the wild, while conservation centers like the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, the worlds largest heard of captive elephants, give you a chance to get up close and personal.

sri lanka

sri lanka

2. Magnificent Remains from Ancient Times

Sri Lanka’s documented history dates back over 2,500 years to 543 BC when King Vijaya became Sri Lanka’s first monarch.  Remains of architectural wonders from ancient Sinhalese kingdoms are still present today.  Most notable are those of the 5th century rock fortress “Sigiriya” built in the shape of a crouching lion.

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

3. Rich Colonial Heritage

For over three centuries parts of Sri Lanka had remained under the rule of various colonial powers.  Beginning with the Portuguese in the 16th century, followed by the Dutch in the 17th and the British in the 18th and early 19th centuries, they have each left behind their legacy.  From the Dutch Fort in Galle to British architecture in Nuwara Eliya, remnants of Sri Lanka’s colonial past are found dotted across the country today.

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

4. Golden Sands and Sunny Beaches

As an island nation, Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian Oceana.  A trip to Sri Lanka is not complete without surfing, body boarding or just laying under the sun on its golden beaches that have been a tourist mainstay for years.

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

5. Explore Nature and Wildlife

A fast growing destination for eco-tourism, Sri Lanka’s 22 national parks, including 2 marine, are home to several indigenous species of flora and fauna.  Trek through national parks in Horton Plains to see some scenic waterfalls and blossoming flowers or Wasgamuwa to spots deer or leopards.

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

6. Land of Buddha

Although a largely diverse population, nearly 70% of the country is Buddhist.  Since the introduction of Buddhism to the country by King Devanampiya Tissa of the 3rd century BC, it has been an integral part of the country’s culture.  A tour of the country is not complete without a visit to some of the ancient and modern, life sized Buddha statues and temples.

The Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy is revered by Buddhists worldwide and is said to hold a relic of the Buddha’s left canine tooth.

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

7. Colorful People

The locals pride themselves on their Sri Lankan hospitality.  This is not just something you taste in the spicy curry dishes, but also in the beaming smiles.  During my travels I chatted with several locals, such as Laal the rock fisherman, who was happy to chat and share his life with me.  During your visit, I certainly recommend taking a little time to meet some of the people you pass by.

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

8. The Home of Tea

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest tea exporters with over 20% market share by volume.  “Ceylon Tea” is also one of the few commodities that command a premium, fetching about 50% more than competitors at auction markets.  Surprisingly however tea is not native to Sri Lanka and was a gift by British colonists such as the famed tea grower Sir James Lipton.  Today, Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka’s highlands is the world’s tea capital.

sri lanka

sri lanka

9. A Photographer’s Paradise

Be sure to pack your favorite camera during your visit – A combination of sunny, yet cloudy skies and lush green landscapes, truly makes Sri Lanka a photographer’s paradise!

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

sri lanka

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Beautiful pictures as always! I’d love to visit Sri Lanka; Laura used to work out there, but sadly I have yet to go! ;)

Don Faust says:

Nice post and photos. I have worked with a few Sri Lankans in the past and have heard some really great things.

Great post and photos – I’m sold!

Andrea says:

Very interesting. I’ve actually never thought of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination…don’t know why. But these are all attractions that appeal to me to visit now!

Lauren says:

Wow! I wanted to go to Sri Lanka before, but now I REALLY want to go!

Jade says:

Great list and gorgeous shots! I can totally see why it’s a photographers dream!

Leigh says:

I hear over and over again from travelers that Sri Lanka has been one of their favourite countries. I can see why. What a beautiful set of photos too.

Neil says:

My favourite country i visited when travelling by far. The train from Colombo down to Galle is just amazing, the beaches arent bad either. I spent 6 weeks football (soccer) coaching at a school just outside of Colombo in Ja Ela. Best 6 weeks of my life! I’m currently typing up my journal entries from my time there, happy memories.

Your photo’s more than do this amazing country justice. Great article.

Amy says:

It’s funny, Sri Lanka is a country I just started to consider visiting with our children and now I seem to be running into blog posts and conversations about it! Not sure if i just my mind being more aware or if it is fate giving me an extra nudge! Your pictures certainly do entice!

Jason says:

Whatever it is Amy, it means Sri Lanka is in your future!

I’ve never really thought of visiting Sri Lanka before, but you have made it really enticing. Brilliant photos

Philippine Tourism says:

I’m seeing so much wildlife! I really love nature and this is enough for Sri Lanka to be on my list of Travel Plans.

Lola says:

Wow, amazing pictures. I would like to plan a trip to Asia at the end of the year but I haven’t decided the route yet. Sri Lanka sounds great but I’m also interested in Vietnam, Laos or Thailand. What do you recommend me? Thanks!

Ops and… I’m also travelling as a couple!

Lasith says:

I’d say Sri Lanka, but I am biased :-) Maybe twobackpackers or someone else whose visited the other three countries could chime in. I have also been meaning to visit Nepal, heard there are a lot of undiscovered spot to explore out there and quite low budget.

If you visit Sri Lanka, remember to stay tuned to my blog to learn about things to do and see in Lanka: http://discovering-serendipity.com

Great!! We’ve been thinking of heading over there soon, but then there was the flooding earlier this year.. Do you know what it’s like there at the moment?

Lasith says:

Hi Sofia,
The weather is a lot better now (don’t know how long it will hold). We had a few showers today, but nothing like the down pour we had the past few weeks. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is all behind us now :-)

If you do vist, pls check out my blog to find things to-do and see in Sri Lanka. http://discovering-serendipity.com

Safe travels!

Hi Lasith!

These pictures of Sri Lanka are really great. Sure makes me want to head over there. How do you find their food by the way?

Lasith says:

Glad you enjoyed the post, Wangering Trader!

Traditional Sri Lankan food is generally quite spicy and not for the faint of heart :-) However most places are now very tourist friendly and tone down the level chilli and spice. In cities like Colombo and Kandy you will also find options for other cuisines — See my article on Colombo restaurants for some reviews: http://http://discovering-serendipity.com/restaurants-and-stays/colombo-gastronomic-tour/

Truly appreciate your reply :D Generally spicy, I see. I’m not so much of a fan of spicy food but I am very interested with tasting new things :D Colombo and Kandy… will take note of this. Maybe someday I’ll be able to go to Sri Lanka! *fingers crossed*

Can’t seem to open the link you gave me :( Don’t know if it’s with my browser or if the site is just under maintenance or something.

Lasith says:

Sorry, think there was typo there: http://discovering-serendipity.com/restaurants-and-stays/colombo-gastronomic-tour/

Thanks! I’m reading it right now :) Might leave a comment there.

Tijmen says:

I don’t really know that much about the country, and I have never been there, but it does surely looks like a place worth visiting!

I’ve never been to Sri Lanka, but I recently had to include a resort there in a magazine round-up where you reached the island by ELEPHANT BACK. And of course now I am doubly intrigued and need to find a way there, stat. I was in the northernmost atoll of the Maldives a few years back and so close but so very far (I tried to get a boat captain to take me, but apparently there are these harrowing international waters laws to comply with!).

Erica says:

I love the set!

I really needed a beautiful set of pictures to lift my spirits and this has done precisely that. Thank you Lasith for sharing! :D

Beautiful. I actually don’t know anyone who’s ever been to Sri Lanka before. And I have to admit that I know very little of the country — this post definitely makes me want to learn more about it.

Lasith says:

Jack & jill, glad to ignite your curiosity. Please visit my Sri Lanka travel blog to learn more about things to-do and see. Hope you make the trip down!

Glen says:

Amazing photos, makes me want to go there!

You had me at elephants… and then your threw in ancient ruins and I was beyond sold!

Lasith says:

Christy, you must make a visit :-)

Pete says:

No kidding a photographer’s paradise. What a great set of photos. Funny, I was just speaking with a friend yesterday and she mentioned how I would love Sri Lanka, and then this post pops up in my RSS feed. Yep, definitely on my to see list now. Cheers!

Lasith says:

Pete, glad you enjoyed the pics. Stay tuned to my blog for things to-do and see in Sri Lanka when you come visit!

will support any cool list about a great country… save the “10″ ones ;) Great post.

Lasith says:

Thanks Michael, glad you enjoyed it!

Stephen says:

Awesome post! Great reasons to visit and nice photos too!

Kelly says:

Thanks so much for this post! Sri Lanka looks amazing. Those photos are stunning!

Lasith says:

Glad you enjoyed it Kelly, do come visit!

stella says:

Lovely, gorgeous pictures! I’m a sucker for a baby elephant!

Lasith says:

Glad you enjoyed them! If you love baby elephants, you should definitely visit the Pinnawela orphange. Check out the Pinnawela post on my blog: http://discovering-serendipity.com/nature/wildlife/pinnawala-elephant-orphanage/

these are gorgeous photos of srilanka, definitely a place to visit

Monica says:

Looks gorgeous! And you’ve got some beautiful photos too. I really really want to go!!

Lasith says:

Do come visit! Be sure to tune into my blog for things to-do and see during your trip to Sri Lanka!

Julia says:

I loved Sri Lanka when I was there and these pictures really do it justice. The elephant orphanage was a personal highlight

Lasith says:

Glad to hear you enjoyed Sri Lanka! I too love Pinnawela, could spend an entire day watching those elephants.

neha says:

Amazing set. I really want to find my way to Sri Lanka soon.

Lasith says:

Glad you enjoyed! Please do come visit, stay tuned to my blog to learn about places to explore and things to-do.

Safe travels!

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