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.
National 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!