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Updated by Catalina Forbes on Mar 09, 2015
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Things to do in Sri Lanka - Experience the island haven

Sri Lanka is truly a fascinating country, if you visit it once you will keep coming back – for more! The colonial heritage, dining, shopping splendor, religious and historical sites, beautiful culture, friendly locals, crazy drivers, crowded public transport and the laid back way of living can be highly appealing.

1

Explore Colombo

There is much to do and see in Colombo and these places will vary according to your personal preferences. You can visit the National Museum, walk along the Galle Face Green, take photographs at the Independence Square and walk on the streets of Pettah. As the most developed city in the country you can expect some of the best fine dining spots, exciting nightlife, lot of shopping and urban buzz here. You find an eclectic mix of everything Sri Lankan in Colombo and discovering these will be an interesting adventure altogether.

2

Head to the beach

In terms of beaches Sri Lanka has it all! The southwest and northeast boasts of the best beaches for swimming and water activities. It's common for locals to head to the beach with family and friends during holidays and many tourists come here especially to enjoy the deep blue sea. Towards the south Kalutara, Bentota, Beruwala, Galle, Hikkaduwa, Mirissa, and Matara are the top beaches to visit. Mirissa is a top whale and dolphin watching spot and the Kalpitiya beach is known to attract blue whales and spinner dolphins. Arugam Bay and Passikudah beaches are top surfing spots that bring together surfers around the world.

3

Go back in time

The ancient cities of Sri Lanka reflect the extraordinary civilization of the time. Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla and Sigiriya are some of the prominent historical sites and cities to visit. All four of these sites are recognized UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are top tourist attractions. Most of the historical sites are religious temples and palaces that reveal the advanced technology, architecture and artistry during the respective eras.

4

Check out Kandy

The second most developed city in the country is Kandy. The Temple of the Tooth or Dalada Maligawa as known locally is one of the most significant sanctuaries in Buddhism. The temple houses the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha and it is considered as a blessing to the whole country. Kandy is also highlighted for the age old customs, arts, crafts, rituals and way of life which is still preserved in many ways. Kandy too is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5

Taste the Food

The food in Sri Lanka is simple marvelous. Although rice and curry are the staples for day to day to meals there is a host of other local dishes you must taste. 'Kottu' is one the best street foods you can taste. A mishmash of rotti, veggies with a choice of meat are all mixed together using blunt metal blades. This is not only a dish but also a cultural icon in Sri Lanka. 'Hoppers' are next on the list. It is a type of crispy pancake made using rice batter and coconut milk usually tastes better with a sambol and curry. If you are picky about street food, you have the liberty to find the same food served in five star hotels and plush restaurants specializing Sri Lankan food.

6

Travel on public transport

The buses can get a bit crowded but you can book in advance to get comfortable seats. When you are travelling to Kandy and Bandarawela a train ride would be one of the best methods to appreciate the scenery. You can also find a Sri Lanka Rent a Car and drive your way through the country. However the roads can get pretty congested and the drivers are unruly at times. You can find a vehicle with a driver to take you around at Malkey Rent a Car services.