TOP DESTINATION FOR SO MANY TRAVELLERS FOR LOADS OF REASONS
This Island off the coast of India has long been a top destination for so many travelers for loads of reasons. Like having few of the best safaris in the world, boasting eight UNESCO world heritage sites to explore and lots of lovely gorgeous beaches complete with idyllic white sand and crystal clear water that's perfect for surfing. In fact, for an island about a quarter of the size of the UK, there's load to see and do depending of course on what you want out of your trip.
In this blog, we are going to describe following things.
1) Getting here
2) Some tips on transport
3) Few awesome popular places to visit
4) Some stuff about food
5) Few things about money
Colombo is Sri Lanka's capital city. Flights arrive at Bandaranayake International Airport, which is 30km north of the city. Getting a car or any sorts of vehicles that you want is not a problem and that can be the easiest, and certainly quickest way to reach your destination from the Airport. If you are heading to Colombo, you can catch the express bus which takes about 25 minutes, but to be honest we prefer a vehicle for this. Considering the amount you have to pay the bus, and the level of comfort you get in it, hiring a vehicle gives the best value for your money.
PREPARE THE GROUND FOR AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE
To enter the country, you gonna need a visa. Now this can be done when you get here, But, but after many hours in the air, why bother with the extra admin? Get it done before you leave. Applications cost $35 and take around 24 hours to process. Also, you gonna need to make sure that your vaccinations are up to date, like your tetanus and typhoid. Check your GP beforehand. Again, we can get it done for you. But why ruin even a bit amount your excellent time in Sri Lanka by having to visit a doctor? What do you need to know about public transport in Sri Lanka? Well, in all honestly, quiet a bit. Public transport conditions aren't great, but are popular with locals as it's very cheap. Busses tend to leave when they are full, so for anyone on a schedule you'd give them a miss. Also, trains are often slower and less efficient than simply getting a vehicle. We advise you to take anything described as luxury or express with a generous pinch of salt. But that's of course, if you have to find that on your own. We actually can and will arrange and handle you all of that as in the way you want them to be. The key thing in Sri Lanka is that your money goes a long way, For example, two and half hour taxi from Colombo to Unawatuna cost about 9000 rupees. Which is actually about 57.50 USD. So for this reason, we highly recommend getting around with private hired vehicles. Hiring a driver to chauffeur you around is surprisingly affordable. Way more luxurious! It's also a big timesaver which is a massive bonus.
ROADS AND TRAVEL MEDIUMS
You might not expect. But the roads in Sri Lanka are in very good condition. Just watch out for the tourists, the cyclists, the buffalo, stray dogs, and massive lizards. They all make it a little hair-raising at times. We also find most of our tourists are enjoying tuk tuk rides for quick journeys. There are couple of things you need to know before you start off with a tuk tuk. Number one, always agree the price before setting off and number two, be direct about where you want to go, don't settle for any detours or any other places they might want to take you. And with us, you are safe. We will handle these things for you.
Here are few things most tourists liked to do in Sri Lanka.
1) Unawatuna Beach
Unawatuna is loved by locals and tourists alike, and with palm trees white sands and blue waters it's easy to see it's why one of Sri Lanka's most popular beaches. Right behind the beach, is a small shopping strip for souvenirs and restaurants.
SCENIC ELLA AND UDAWALAWE ELEPHANTS
2) Udawalawe National Park
Sri Lanka has one of the Best Safaris in the world. Country has one of the highest rates of indigenous plants and animals in the world. Udawalawe National Park is a home to some 200 different species. If you're looking Elephants it's the best place to see wild ones. Especially early in the morning and later afternoon, when they are avoiding the midday heat.
If you are looking for stunning views, and clichés about breathtaking scenery, you gotta visit Ella. Ella is gorgeous. Really take the time to explore the area's natural and ample vista points. Of course, no trip to Ella would be complete without stopping by NINE ARCHES BRIDGE for a selfie! The trains are super loud. Take the iconic 6 hour train journey from Ella to Kandy. You don't get trains for speed and convenience, it's all about the views. Fares are cheap and upgrading to first class, with allocated seating and ceiling fans gennuinely won't make an impact on your budget. We handle these things. You can always check these things with us. We gotta admit that the trains aren't comfortable. You gotta take certain precautions avoid frustration when you travel on trains. But they are certainly an Experience and we're sure, you don't want to miss those beautiful scenic views. And we'll make sure you face no disappointment.
SRI DALADA MALIGAWA AND DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE
4) Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic)
When you get to Kandy, visit Sri Dalada Maligawa (The temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic). It's a beautiful, sacred temple that houses a tooth which belonged to Lord Buddha. To enter the site, you need to cover up appropriately and remove your shoes.
5) Dambulla Cave Temple
Dambulla is most famous for it's epic rock cave temple which is filled with huge Lord Buddha Statutes. Here's some stuff you need to know about visiting this important holy place. Posing for picture with Lord Buddha Statutes are frowned upon because it's custom never have your back to him. As with all temples, Buddhist or Hindu, guests must be appropriately dressed. Take off your shoes and any headgear and make sure that legs and shoulders are covered. We will arrange these things for you. It's not that hard as it might sound. You can wear socks if you want. There are good amount of Monkeys over there in Dambulla. These cheeky chaps will swipe even the most well-hidden snack from your bag. So don't leave your bag unattended.
SIGIRIYA, PIDURANGALA & POLONNARUWA
6) Sigiriya & Pidurangala
Sigiriya and Dambulla are pretty close. Sigiriya is an ancient temple at the top of a mountain carved out of the bedrock. It's also called Lion Rock because of the giant paws that guard the entrance way. Now if tourists aren't your thing, they can be quiet annoying. You might want to check Pidurangala instead. Pidurangala is less well known but offers stunning views of the main attraction. Though we'll say the climb is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Go around 4.30 in the afternoon and make it for sunset.
Polonnaruwa is divided in two parts. The new and the old, and it's the old town which is made up of the ancient ruins of the royal city, which will put you in a mind of a Sri Lankan equivalent to the Roman Forum in Italy. It's a great place to pretend to be Lara Croft and spend the day exploring the hundreds of ancient tombs, temples and statutes.
CITY OF COLOMBO AND AUTHENTIC FOOD RESTAURANTS
What you need to know is, it's big and it's busy. There's lots of things to do in here. There's fast food restaurants that you might recognize from home. By experience, we understand that fast food isn't for everyone. You might want to taste something more authentic. There are many good places where you can dine fully authentic food. Food is always an interesting part in a journey. We understand that. And there's plenty of it here in Sri Lanka. Almost every tourist traveled with us liked egg hoppers very much. Another delight was the street food in Kandy.
In Sri Lanka, meal get bigger as the day goes on. And in Sri Lanka, we use our hands to eat. Well, you might like it, not like it, but worth a try isn't it? Besides, you should only touch from your fingertips. If you just spread everything in your hand and make it a mess, in Sri Lanka, that's a bad manner. You'll understand how difficult it is to eat with only touching from your finger tips and follow the good manners. And if you are a right hander, you can eat from your right hand. And that's ideal even if you are a left hander. But if you can't manage it with your right hand, it's ok to use your left hand. But still, a not the best manner of eating of course. You can mix and match anything in your plate. And eat. Sri Lankan food are really spicy. We love spices.
LANGUAGE, MONEY, CURRENCIES & WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOU LEAVE
English is widely spoken in Sri Lanka and will be used in most public or commercial environments. Currency here is the Sri Lankan Rupee. It's a closed currency, which means you can only get money when you're here. Now you'll have to change it up. One thing to remember is that your cash is much more useful than your bank card. Particularly, when you are in more rural areas. Always use bottled water. And the bottle must be sealed. And definitely don't drink from the tap. When visiting free religious sites, we suggest you make a small donation. But that of course can be a very small amount of what's in your mind. If you're planning to spend your remaining rupees in duty free, bear in mind that they only accept American Dollars. so make sure you change them up before going through security. Enjoy your holidays in Sri Lanka. Make it the best holiday you have ever spent in your life.