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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top Destinations for a Road Trip in Sri Lanka – A Country of Diverse Environs
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Top Destinations for a Road Trip in Sri Lanka – A Country of Diverse Environs

A road trip in Sri Lanka is very rewarding, especially as the environs keep changing. Start from the sunny coast and drive uphill for chilly climes and misty hills, while further north you are treated to rugged out-backs, savannah-like scrub jungles and vast open plains.

1

Explore the Mountains

Explore the Mountains

This is one of the most scenic routes on the island; keeping Colombo as your starting point, you cover Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains – Ella and Kandy. This tour is a fine example of Sri Lanka's bio-diverse environs for on this tour you go from tropical heat to 'Little England' where sweaters are a necessity. Now, the roads in Sri Lanka are not all perfect, but that makes the journey all the more exciting; besides, you don't have to drive! Head over to a car rental Sri Lanka has to offer and hire yourself a comfy vehicle cum driver. Many like Casons Rent a Car Sri Lanka, are flexible, offering a variety of vehicles to choose from, even for a self-drive tour. Spend your first night in Nuwara Eliya just 4 hours from Colombo, hike in Horton Plains and head out to Ella. Explore the falls and beautiful surroundings before driving down to Kandy, the hill capital, and heading back to Colombo.

2

Absorb the Cultural Triangle

Absorb the Cultural Triangle

The cultural triangle covers Sri Lanka's heritage cities in the north-central district. This route comprises of; Colombo – Kandy – Anuradhapura – Polonnaruwa – Sigiriya and back via Kandy. On this drive you are treated to the marvels of ancient kingdoms, explore ruins of palaces, vintage shrines, rock fortresses and Buddhist heritage. Most of the cities are either UNESCO World Heritage Sites or house artefacts deemed heritage heirlooms. Anuradhapura is a sacred city, where Buddhism was first born in Sri Lanka; there you can witness the world oldest recorded tree, the Maha Bodhi, believed to be a sapling of the tree the Buddha attained nirvana under. Each destination has its own allure and you can map out a route to attractions after researching online.

3

Check Out the Beaches

Check Out the Beaches

One of Sri Lanka's biggest allures, the gorgeous coastline which frames the island is legendary. On this route, you will be treated to some exotic beaches, from huge sandy embankments to wild boulder strewn beaches framed by lush jungles. Map out your route from Colombo to Kalutara –Hikkaduwa – Galle – Weligama – Matara – Yala and Arugam Bay; the drive will take you from the south-west coast to the eastern coast. Arugam Bay is a world renowned surfing destination while Yala is home to the islands most popular wildlife sanctuary and the wild beaches are favourite haunts for herds of elephants. Galle a former colonial stronghold offers diving and loads of local culture while Hikkaduwa a vibrant resort town formed by the hippy community of the 60's is loved for its party atmosphere, snorkelling allures and lush coral reefs.

4

Tour the National Parks

Tour the National Parks

The national parks of Sri Lanka are pretty awesome, home to a wide range of exotic flora and fauna this route runs from Colombo – Singharaja – Horton Plains to Gal Oya. The Sinharaja rainforest is the largest in the country, and can be explored only by foot; the forest is shaded by a canopy of trees and is a wealth of flora and fauna. Horton Plains in the chilly Nuwara Eliya district will make you feel you are on another planet for some of the foliage there is not present anywhere else on the island. The place is home to Worlds End lookout point, Bakers Falls and wide open plains. Gal Oya is very tropical, there you will be treated to sights of wild elephants, beautiful peacocks and maybe a leopard or two skulking around the forest.

5

Explore the North

Explore the North

The north is a change from the rest of island, as the area is home to a huge Tamil community. Ruggedly beautiful cities like Jaffna, framed by palm trees are now accessible and fast recovering from the ravages of a civil war. You can explore the equally beautiful west coast as you go, starting from Colombo – Negombo – Anuradhapura - Wilpattu – Mannar to Jaffna. Negombo is steeped in colonial history while the Wilpattu wetlands are nothing short of stunning. The coastal town of Mannar is rugged and simple in its beauty while Jaffna treats one to traditions, culture and local food that's spicy, aromatic and very inviting.