Destination Review By Cox & Kings: Sri Lanka
“Sri Lanka is a very special island that travellers, from Sinbad to Marco Polo, dreamed about. A place where the contours of the land itself forms a kind of sinewy poetry.”
Sri Lanka, A Vibrant Island With Fascinating Culture
Sri Lanka – an ancient land, which has been the cradle of myths and legends for centuries now – is a delight for any history buff. With cave temples and monasteries dotting its landscape , many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the country becomes a stage where folklore comes to life. It holds a promise of exploration and discovery for the avid traveller with its safari parks, picturesque mountains, tropical forests and rambling tea gardens. Long walks, sighting a herd of elephants, or spending a languid afternoon on the dazzling white beaches- this tropical paradise has something in store for everyone!
The Best Time To Visit
If you love to chase the monsoon, then there is no better place for that than Sri Lanka. With the coastal areas and the hills facing lashing rains between May and August, it’s best to head to the north. A visit to the country at this time would also be easy on your pocket as the prices would be at their lowest. For those who want a glimpse of the vibrant Sri Lankan celebrations, visit in April to catch the New Year fiesta. However, due to crowds thronging major cities like Colombo, public transportation might be filled to the seams. Hence, best to opt for private vehicles. December to March is the busiest season in Sri Lanka, when the country turns into a tourist hub. Its verdant hills, ancient cities and pristine beaches serve as a huge draw for travellers from all corners of the world.
Can I Afford It?
A trip to Sri Lanka can be customised to suit all pocket sizes. A simple guesthouse can cost you anything between Rs. 1,500 and 4,000, while a room at a high-end hotel is priced at Rs. 12,000 upwards. The best way to see the countryside is on bus, the daily fare of which is around Rs. 300. Meals — be it at curry houses or at a fine-dining restaurant — would cost you between Rs. 400 and Rs. 3,000. Cox & Kings has some great packages for Sri Lanka that start at Rs. 18,434. Not only do they offer a quintessential Sri Lankan experience, but also value for money!
For Whom Is This Destination Best Suited?
Be it the lone traveller looking to embark on a journey of self-exploration or big fat Indian families wishing to the go the touristy route, Sri Lanka has something on offer for everyone. Every turn in the country springs a surprise on you with unexplored beaches, welcoming villages, ancient temples, hillsides carpeted with wildflowers, a morning welcome by an elephant herd, and more. There are cozy walks for couples that open up into heavenly vistas and lovely dive sites to discover the marine life.
The Type Of Accommodation Available
Sri Lanka is a choice of destination for different kinds of travellers. You have the adventure-seekers, the family guys, the honeymoon couples, the wedding guests, and the solo travellers. The island nation has accommodation types available for all of them. You have your star hotels- from one star to five stars, rooms in family homes, beach-side resorts and shacks, private villas and mansions, guesthouses, hostels, inns, and apartments from Airbnb.
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Cox & Kings Recommends
#1 Ramayana Tour
For those interested in Indian mythology, a visit to Sri Lanka is like stepping into the epic. One of the most popular landmarks on a Ramayana tour is the Seetha Kotuwa where Queen Mandodari’s palace once stood, and the Ashoka Vatika where Sita was held captive. One may even see the place where Hanuman’s tail was set on fire at Ussangoda, and also the Ravana caves — a honeycomb structure within the hills — which served as a quick means of transportation.
This ancient city was once the political and economic powerhouse of the country for nearly a thousand years. Today, its ruins serve as a huge attraction for tourists. The complex is peppered with gigantic dagobas, brick towers, pools and temples. Some of these places of worship serve as a site for important rites and rituals even today. One can book ahead to stay at the guesthouse and enjoy a walk down the leafy avenues, right up to the ruins.
#3 Uda Walawe National Park
Sights of elephants frollicking in the water or leopards sunning themselves take your breath away at this beautiful park. Located in the middle of the Uda Walawe Reservoir, it is home to sambars, monitor lizards, crocodiles, 30 types of snakes and 210 species of birds. Often compared to the famous Savannah reserves of Africa, this is one place where you can watch the wild at its natural best. Regular half-day-long safaris are organised, with services of the park guide being included in the ticket fee.
#4 Sigiriya Rock
A trip to Sri Lanka is incomplete without a climb up this iconic rock, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. The walk to the top is a visual delight with vibrant frescoes visible along the way. Not that the sight of Sigiriya Rock itself is not a treat to the eyes. Also known as the Lion Rock Fortress, it is easy to make out the face of a lion hidden on the rock face. Once you have braved the climb to the top, this famed landmark reveals ruins of the ancient civilisation of Kassapa, complete with moats and water gardens. There is also an excellent museum, which features a treasure-trove of information and artifacts, along with a famous mirror wall.
#5 Surfing & Walks On The Beach
There are several areas on the Lankan coast, which offer great surfing and diving opportunities. However, there is nothing like Arugam Bay, which is considered as the best surfing spot in the country. If you don’t want to indulge your adventurous side, then simply enjoy a laid back day on the hammock at this soft-sand beach, while enjoying a hearty meal at any of the shacks dotting the area. Yet another landmark in Sri Lanka, which is a huge favourite with families, is the Batticaloa Lighthouse dating back to 1913. Surrounded by lagoons and inlets, this is an idyllic swimming spot and is quite popular with kids.
Food & Drinks
#1 Sunshine Beach Inn, Mirissa Beach
The dhal curry here is a classic example of humble food going gourmet. It bursts with flavours and stands out for the creamyness. Seafood is quite a hit at this inn, with whole grilled red snapper and coconut prawns being favourites. The unique coconut prawns taste even better with chilli sauce and lime.
#2 Mettha’s Home Cooked Meals, Unawatuna
On the main strip behind Unawatuna island is a small restaurant called Mettha’s which is unlike the other touristy places. The host is sweet and makes sure that you like what you see and taste. The rice and curry served here is tough to beat, and the papaya curry intrigues most guests. Portions are huge, so bring your appetite to this cozy place!
#3 Siesta Guesthouse, Tangalle
Siesta Guesthouse is where you need to be if breakfast is your favourite meal of the day. They go all out on a full Sri Lankan breakfast to make you feel like gorging on breakfast for lunch as well as dinner!
#4 Nihonbashi, Colombo
This Japanese-centric restaurant beats all to get the freshest seafood and fish. Why go to a fancy starred restaurant in the West when the food served here matches that standard? A Sashimi Teishoku set lunch is famous here. Nihonbashi is quite a treat in terms of taste as well as value for money.
#5 Barefoot Garden Café, Colombo
Located in the heart of Colombo, this café is an ideal place to relax with friends or by yourself. The WiFi is free, but the more popular home-made pies have a price, of course. The Spinach Quiche is a winner for many. Local artists find solace in the set up while Sunday afternoons attract the jazz lovers for a quartet.