Pearl of the Indian Ocean
Why Sri Lanka
Venture into the heart of Sri Lanka, an island nation exuding an irresistible blend of diverse landscapes, rich history, and warm-hearted people. This South Asian jewel invites you to bask in the elegance of its sun-kissed beaches, explore UNESCO World Heritage sites that echo ancient civilizations, marvel at scenic tea plantations, and embrace its wildlife in verdant national parks. As you meander through vibrant markets, savor delicious cuisine, and witness age-old traditions, experience a luxury journey that extends beyond the ordinary in Sri Lanka.
Most international travelers need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before visiting Sri Lanka. Tourist ETAs are usually issued for 30 days, and online applications are typically quick and straightforward.
Citizens of most countries can obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) online before their trip. The ETA costs $35 and is valid for 30 days.
Citizens of some countries, including India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, can stay in Sri Lanka for up to 30 days without a visa.
To apply for a visa in advance, you can visit this website https://www.eta.gov.lk/
Sri Lanka experiences a tropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year. The island’s weather is characterized by two monsoon seasons and two inter-monsoon seasons.
The Yala monsoon season (May to August) brings rain to the south and west parts of the island, while the Maha monsoon season (October to January) affects the north and east. Despite this, showers are typically brief, and the sun is quick to return.
The two inter-monsoon periods are from March to April and from August to September. During these periods, convective thunderstorms, often severe, can occur anywhere on the island.
The central highlands are cooler with temperatures dropping to 16°C at night. The coastal regions stay warm with average temperatures hovering around 25-30°C.
Therefore, the best time to visit Sri Lanka would largely depend on the regions you’re planning to explore. The period from December to March is ideal for visiting the west and south coasts and the hill country, while the period from April/May to September is the best time to explore the east coast.
1. Sigiriya and Dambulla: Climb the magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress, an ancient palace and fortress complex, and discover the cave temples of Dambulla, housing hundreds of Buddha statues.
2. Kandy: Immerse yourself in the spiritual ambience of the Temple of the Tooth, a sacred Buddhist shrine, and experience a traditional Kandyan dance performance.
3. Galle: Explore the charming Galle Fort, a colonial-era fortress with a vibrant blend of architectural styles.
4. Ella: Revel in the panoramic views of the ‘Nine Arch Bridge’ and Ella Rock, while traversing one of the most scenic train routes in the world.
5. Yala National Park: Experience a thrilling safari, spotting leopards, elephants, and diverse bird species in their natural habitat.
1. Jaffna: Steeped in rich history and unique Tamil culture, Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka boasts of ancient Hindu temples and Dutch colonial architecture. The remote Delft Island is a must-visit for its wild horses and the old Dutch fort.
2. Mannar: Known for its baobab trees, birdlife, and donkey population, Mannar offers an untamed landscape and a peek into Sri Lanka’s history including the 16th-century Mannar Fort.
3. Arugam Bay: Apart from surfing, explore the nearby Kumana National Park, home to an array of wildlife, and the ancient ruins of the Buddhist temple Magul Maha Viharaya.
4. Kitulgala: The adventure capital of Sri Lanka, Kitulgala offers whitewater rafting experiences on the Kelani River and a chance to explore the Belilena cave where prehistoric human remains were found.
5. Haputale: Nestled in Sri Lanka’s highlands, this town provides breath-taking views of the lush tea estates, including Lipton’s Seat, the favourite lookout point of tea pioneer Sir Thomas Lipton.
Sri Lanka is a country rich in customs and traditions that reflect its diverse cultural heritage and deep-rooted values. Respect for elders is highly esteemed in Sri Lankan society, with younger generations showing deference and seeking guidance from their elders. When greeting someone, a gentle bow or placing the palms together in a prayer-like gesture, known as “Ayubowan,” is a customary way to show respect. Sri Lankans are known for their warm hospitality, and offering guests a cup of tea or a plate of delicious homemade food is a common practice. The concept of “collective responsibility” is deeply ingrained in the culture, where communities come together to support one another during important events, such as weddings, religious ceremonies, or even during times of hardship. The art of traditional dance and music plays a significant role in Sri Lankan culture, with intricate performances showcasing the country’s rich artistic heritage. Additionally, religious customs, such as visiting temples, making offerings, and participating in religious festivals, are important aspects of everyday life for many Sri Lankans. These customs collectively create a unique cultural mosaic that defines the warm and welcoming spirit of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a land of vibrant festivals that celebrate the country’s diverse cultural heritage and religious traditions. One of the most important festivals is Sinhala and Tamil New Year, known as “Aluth Avurudu,” which marks the traditional New Year in April. This joyous occasion is celebrated with a series of rituals, including the lighting of the hearth, making traditional sweetmeats, and engaging in games and festivities. The Esala Perahera, held in the sacred city of Kandy, is a magnificent Buddhist procession featuring beautifully adorned elephants, traditional dancers, drummers, and fire performers. This grand spectacle commemorates the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha and attracts both locals and tourists alike. The Vesak Festival honors the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of Lord Buddha, with brightly lit streets, illuminated temples, and acts of charity. Additionally, the Hindu festival of Deepavali (Diwali) and the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr are also celebrated with great enthusiasm across the country. These festivals offer a glimpse into the vibrant cultural tapestry of Sri Lanka and provide a unique opportunity to witness the rich traditions and spiritual fervor of the island.
Sri Lankan cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors, spices, and aromatic herbs that will tantalize your taste buds. One must-try dish is “Rice and Curry,” the quintessential Sri Lankan meal that consists of steamed rice accompanied by an array of curries. From spicy chicken or fish curry to vegetable curries bursting with flavors like jackfruit, brinjal, or beetroot, each dish showcases a harmonious blend of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and curry leaves. “Hoppers” are another culinary delight, resembling a thin, crispy pancake with a soft center. They can be enjoyed plain or with various accompaniments, including egg hoppers or string hoppers. “Kottu Roti” is a popular street food made by stir-frying chopped roti bread with vegetables, egg, and a choice of meat or seafood, creating a deliciously satisfying dish. For seafood lovers, “Ambul Thiyal” is a must-try, featuring tangy and spicy fish curry made with goraka (a sour fruit), curry leaves, and spices. To satisfy your sweet tooth, indulge in traditional Sri Lankan desserts like “Watalappan” (a creamy caramel custard) or “Kiri Pani” (sweetened milk rice). Don’t forget to accompany your meal with a refreshing glass of “King Coconut Water” or enjoy a cup of aromatic Ceylon tea, renowned globally for its quality and distinctive flavor. Sri Lankan cuisine promises a delectable journey of flavors, spices, and culinary traditions that will leave you craving for more.