There’s a real buzz about Sri Lanka lately. The New York Times named Sri Lanka as one of the 52 Places to Go in 2016. Lonely Planet included it in the list of Top 10 Destinations to Visit in 2016. Condé Nast Traveler agreed by awarding this paradise island number two position in their 16 Best Places to Visit in 2016 recount. The endorsements continue in 2017 with Vogue naming Sri Lanka as the next hot wellness escape in it’s Top 10 Hottest Travel Destinations of 2017 predictions. That’s a lot of recognition for this tiny island nation and of course we agree with all of them!
Sri Lanka has it all: palm-studded beaches encompassing the island, rolling tea plantations, incredible wildlife, lush green jungles, wonderful food, charming people and a rich heritage featuring sacred ancient sites. This is paradise! We’ve come up with a list of our own reasons as to why you should plan a trip to Sri Lanka right now.
1. Those beaches
With white sandy beaches fringed with swaying coconut trees and backed by orchards, rice paddies and lowland tea plantations, Sri Lankan beaches are the definition of paradise. And the best news is most of them are secluded and untouched by tourism. Regardless of what kind of a beach bum you want to be, there’s a patch of paradise with your name on it.
2. All that history
For a small island Sri Lanka has an almost absurdly large number of manmade and natural marvels, ranging from colonial strongholds and ancient cities to rainforests and cave monasteries. Eight of these sites are considered to be of such significance to humanity that they are now established as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, rubbing shoulders with wonders like the Acropolis of Athens and China’s Great Wall. Anyone with a historical inclination will find Sri Lanka, which was colonised by the Dutch, Portuguese and British, throughly fascinating.
3. The glorious food
Sri Lanka is a country of tropical abundance. Indulging daily on mouthwatering fruit and flavour bursting curries is part and parcel of visiting the country. Have you heard the buzz that the Sri Lankan hopper is creating around the world? Everywhere from Australia to the UK it’s been dubbed as the hot new crepe—so go to Sri Lanka to get your hands on the real thing.
4. Baby elephants and roaming leopards
Your life really isn’t complete until you are metres away from a tiny, fuzzy baby elephant surrounded by it’s protective family, basking in their natural habitat in one of the many national parks in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is one of the best places in Asia for seeing wildlife with an abundance of elephants, leopards and birdlife. Pack your binoculars and sense of adventure because even if you only have the most casual interest in wildlife, you will be in awe of the variety found here.
5. The most charming people in the world
Sri Lankans are an incredibly kind, smiley and welcoming lot – travellers often return home saying they are hands down the nicest people in the world. Every man and his dog will talk to you on the street, but you won’t be hassled. Be prepared to talk about cricket and accept invitations to meet the family and share a meal though.
6. For the love of a good cuppa
Lovers of a good cuppa will be in their element in Sri Lanka with the cool Hill Country covered with tea plantations on every available slope. You can taste your way from one estate to the next, visit tea factories, watch tea pickers in action and get a real understanding on how much hard work goes in to producing that cuppa we take for granted.
7. Be a wellness warrior
Sri Lanka is fast becoming one of the most sought after wellness destinations in the world. Imagine morning meditation under the shade of coconut trees with a gentle ocean breeze comforting you. Picture yourself immersed in a gentle yoga practice to the backdrop of a jaw dropping sunset. Sri Lanka is breathtakingly beautiful and offers lush scenery and warm tropical sunshine all year around- perfect conditions for recharging your mind, body and soul while being at one with nature.
8. Delve in to Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a traditional medicine system derived from ancient India and Sri Lanka is one of the top countries in the world to experience this ancient practice. A trip to Sri Lanka can also be an opportunity to learn and delve into this branch of holistic wellbeing and depart feeling more rejuvenated in mind and body.
9. Learn to surf
If you are seasoned surfer Sri Lanka is probable already on you radar due to it’s ideal swells and wind conditions all year around. But if you’ve never tried surfing before, Sri Lanka is a great place to learn as the waves are gentle (if you know where to go), the surf is uncrowded and the water is warm.
10. Beat the crowds
The world is yet to fully discover Sri Lanka so when you visit one of the first things that will strike you is the locals to tourists ratio. Unlike India and most of South East Asia, you won’t find bus loads of tourists armed with selfie sticks here. Sri Lanka suffered from a civil war that went on for 30 years and at the tail end of that, the tragedy of 2004 tsunami hit the country hard. But this beautiful tropical paradise has rebuilt itself post-war and tsunami and it’s ready for tourism. So go now, before the secret is out.