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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Best Ways to Enjoy Sri Lanka – Rustic, Modern, Thrilling and Enchanting
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Ways to Enjoy Sri Lanka – Rustic, Modern, Thrilling and Enchanting

Sri Lanka has it all; sunny beach vibes, misty mountains and scrub jungle wildlife reserves. Enjoy this diverse land as you ride the rails, walk around markets, trek to mountain tops and explore.


Riding the Rails of Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka rail network is excellent, not to be forgotten are the extraordinarily low fares. The rail network covers most of this beautiful nation's best locations, from lush paddy fields and tea estates to sandy coastlines and rugged out-backs. If you are an avid photographer make sure to explore the most scenic lines, which are; the routes from Kandy to the beautiful tea plantations of Ella, Colombo the commercial hub to coastal Galle and Colombo to Kandy in the central hills. These lines meander along coconut palm framed beaches, lush waterfalls, verdant valleys, long tunnels build by colonists and utterly beguiling scenery you will fall in love with. Beach resorts in Sri Lanka are extremely popular and if you are trying to reach one like The Blue Water Hotel and Spa in Wadduwa, you can take the scenic Colombo to Galle route, and get off at the sunny resort town of Wadduwa, just an hour and a half from Colombo.


Enjoy an Insightful Walking Tour of Pettah

A typical Asian open air market scene greets you in the busy precinct of Pettah. One of Colombo's most iconic neighbourhoods, Pettah is home to a number of vintage buildings and sites, harking back to the colonial era of Sri Lanka. For a real taste of local culture, start your walking tour of Pettah from the Main Street Market. This is a central hub for Muslim, Sinhalese and Tamil merchants, competing amongst each other for sales. A very popular trade centre, the Pettah Market is a hotbed for obtaining just about anything from exotic spices to colourful textiles. From the market, jostle your way along the crowded pavements and head towards the jewellery shops of Sea Street. Satisfy the culture buff in you with a stop at the Wolvendaal Church built in 1749 by the Dutch and the vintage Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque from 1909.


Head Out to the Rock Temples of Dambulla

Dambulla located in the north-central dry zone of the island is home to the Rock Temple also called the Golden Temple. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this temple is more than fabulous. Located within a network of over 20 caves found at the summit of a gargantuan rock, the temple occupies five of these caves. Inside are murals, statues of the Buddha, ancient kings and Hindu Gods, dating back to the 1st century. The rock which towers over the town of Dambulla is a beautiful lookout point, home to a cheeky lot of monkeys not too shy to beg you for a snack. From Dambulla, you could head over to the ancient town of Sigiriya, where another UNESCO World Heritage Site the Lions Rock Fortress, will beguile and stun as one of the wonders of the ancient world.


Explore the Heritage City of Galle

A stop in Galle is a must for a taste of Sri Lanka's colonial past. The most iconic attraction there is the Old Dutch Fort, built in the 16th century. Started by the Portuguese, enhanced by the Dutch and fortified by the British, this fort is a well-preserved link to the past. Enjoy walking along the cobblestone streets, stop at the roadside cafes, discover well maintained Dutch bungalows and explore the fascinating maritime museum.


Indulge in Some Beach Hopping

Beach hopping is a must when touring Sri Lanka, the beautiful coastline which protects the land is undoubtedly stunning. While the east coast is still pristine, rustic and beautiful the south-west coast is popular modern and offers plenty of hippy vibes. Sail, snorkel, surf, fish and swim to your heart's content in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.