Must-See Sites in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has pretty much everything – culture, great food, fantastic beaches, wildlife, and misty jungle interiors. Whatever you are into, Sri Lanka is likely to have something to interest you.
See the Wildlife
Sri Lanka has wildlife that almost rivals that to be found on the African continent. You can see leopards, elephants, monkeys, deer, jackals and countless bird species, all in their natural habitats in the wild.Sri Lanka has a number of national parks and protected areas – over 100 in fact. It’s tough to choose a “best park”, as it depends on what you want to see. Yala National Park, though, is a favourite with visitors, as it’s here that you get the best chance to see a leopard.
For elephants, you need to check the time of year as they migrate, but Minneriya National Park is a fantastic place to see these animals, particularly in September or October, when hundreds of them are in the park simultaneously for the so-called “elephant gathering”.
Sri Lanka has a history of Kings going back for centuries, and one of the best places to get a feel for this history is at Sigiriya, also known as the Lion Rock.This towering ediface looms 200 metres above the surrounding plains, and the top of it was the site of the palace of Kassapa I., then the King. He built his palace atop the rock after murdering his father and taking power from his brother, thinking it would be the safest place to reside in case his brother wanted revenge.
He was wrong, as his brother came along in 495 and captured the castle, retaking power and causing the usurper to take his own life.
Nowadays, the main palace is largely destroyed, although there are plenty of walls, rock sculptures, art and water cisterns. Plus the view is magnificent.
Scale Adam’s Peak
Another mountain worth visiting is Adam’s Peak, or Sri Pada. This is important to a number of religions due to the footprint shaped mark up at the top, believed variously to be the footprint of Adam, Buddha or Shiva.
As you can imagine, this makes it an important place for pilgrimage, with the main aim being to get to the peak to witness the sunrise, after following a lantern lit path. Whichever belief you ascribe to regarding the footprint, you won’t fail to be awed by the view of the sunrise from the top, which is well worth the multi-hour trek!
Down on the southern coast of Sri Lanka is the sea side town of Galle, fourth largest city in Sri Lanka. This is particularly notable for its fortified city area, originally built by the Portuguese, and then finished off by the Dutch, who in fact still play a large role in oversight of this part of the city even today.Wandering the old cobbled streets and massive walls of Galle, the largest remaining fortress of its type in Asia, is quite an experience. Don’t miss the lighthouse!
Kick back on the Beaches
If all of the above just seems like too much hard work, don’t worry. Sri Lanka has countless gorgeous beaches, capable of rivalling any beach destination in the world. You can happily while away your whole trip on these, or just use them as a place of recovery after you’re all explored out!