After the long civil war that rolled on through the last few decades, the teardrop island of Sri Lanka is back on the map, especially for us Hong Kong holiday-seekers. With its pristine beaches, verdant tea plantations and rolling hills, Sri Lanka is fast becoming THE destination to visit in Asia and it’s the perfect escape for those needing a tonic for the soul. The ideal balance between nature and culture, Sri Lanka has something for everyone, offering all the wonders of a growing urban city, as well as ancient ruins, unspoilt national parks and a killer surf!
CRUMBLING TEMPLES & LOST CITIES
Discover the rich history of Sri Lanka by visiting the ancient cities and archaeological sites in an area called the Cultural Triangle.
Kandy: Forming the tip of the triangle is the beautiful city of Kandy, considered the epicentre of Sinhalese culture. Stroll around the peaceful Kandy Lake and admire the mist-shrouded hills surrounding the city. Just north of the lake is the sacred site of the Temple of the Tooth; this important Buddhist site houses the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha brought to Sri Lanka in the 4th century.
Polonnaruwa: En route to Polonnaruwa is the ancient fortress of Sigiriya, one of the most remarkable archaeological and geological sites in Sri Lanka, where a palace was built on top of a towering boulder. Often considered the eighth wonder of the world, the Sigiriya Rock draws all kinds of travellers to it.
Once in Polonnaruwa itself, go explore the Polonnaruwa Quadrangle – a compact group of fascinating ruins and unique structures. The archaeological treasures of the city will give you a pretty good idea of how the city looked in its heyday.
Anuradhapura: The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Anuradhapura was the royal capital for over 100 Sri Lankan kings. From enormous stupas (locally known as dagobas) to crumbling temples and well-preserved ruins, Anuradhapura has a rich collection of archaeological and architectural wonders so be sure to take a couple of days to explore one of the most evocative sights in Asia.
BEACH BABES & NATURE LOVERS
Sri Lanka has a plethora of stunning beaches and national parks that can easily rival those in Thailand. Consider staying in Negombo instead of Colombo upon arrival; just half an hour’s drive from the airport, Negombo is the perfect destination to chill before starting your whirlwind trip in Sri Lanka.
On your way to the East Coast, visit Kitugala for some white water rafting and jungle hikes – it’s fast building up a reputation as the “adrenaline-sports” capital of the country. Fun fact: the movie Bridge On The River Kwai was filmed in this town.
Next, head to the East Coast and straight to Arugam Bay, a surfer’s paradise. It is home to a point break that many surfers regard as the best spot in the country. From April to September, you will find surfers riding the waves; even if you’re not a surfer, there’s something captivating about the place that will make you stay for days.
After a few days of nothing but pure laziness at the beach, hop along the south coast to Mirissa. While Mirissa is not as developed as other nearby beaches like Hikkaduwa, the biggest draw of this sleepy shore is the possibility of spotting blue whales, believed to be the biggest living creatures on Earth.
How to get there: You can fly to Colombo from Hong Kong via a quick stopover in Bangkok on SriLankan Airlines.
When to go: Sri Lanka is pretty much a year-round destination. The perfect time to visit the southwest half of the country is from December to March when it’s dry and stunning. On the other hand, the best time to visit the northern and eastern sides of the country is from May to September.
Getting around: It’s best to hire a private driver and vehicle to take you around the country – you’ll pass through stunning scenery along the way.
Check out more of our must-visit spots in Sri Lanka here!
For assistance on your travels, visit www.flightcentre.com.hk. Flight Centre’s team of travel consultants can help you book everything travel-related, as well as make excellent recommendations.