Our criteria to pick a holiday destination this year was two-fold
- somewhere close by and
- not very expensive.
SriLanka came highly recommended by friends who had already been there and it checked both the boxes for us!
I didn’t do any research and went with not very high expectations but I was totally blown away by this amazing country!
We went for a 10-day trip (detailed itinerary with MUST do things and WHERE to stay -coming soon, so stay tuned), but for now let me give you 10 reasons why Sri Lanka should be on top of your bucket list!
The climate in SriLanka is tropical and the country gets two monsoons in a year, which makes it the perfect destination to visit at any time of the year. It’s because of these two monsoons, while half the country is wet – the other half is dry!
2. Diversity of Landscape
Sri Lanka has such a diverse landscape in such a small country… The scenery changes from beautiful lush gardens to country hills and tea trails, from dense jungles to pristine sandy beaches within a few hours of driving distance.
SriLanka is a very tourist friendly country with extremely nice and welcoming locals who are always there to offer help. Another amazing thing about them is that you would hardly see anyone littering around… I was super impressed with how clean the entire country is!
SriLanka has accommodations that cater to everyone’s budget. It offers affordable luxury accommodations. In-fact SriLanka has some of the most beautiful luxury resorts that I have ever been to!
What I also find absolutely amazing is that if you are travelling with a guide or a driver (who is driving you around the country), every hotel and restaurant will offer FREE accommodation and food for him! (Isn’t that amazing!)
Talking about affordability, Sri Lanka is very budget friendly overall – from food to accommodation to transport.
On top of that, some tourist spots (like Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Temple of the Tooth Relic Kandy etc.) also offer tickets at half price for SAARC Countries (which includes Pakistan!)
Sri Lankan food is delicious (different from our desi cuisine but very flavourful). It can be very spicy (even for us desis) but they will always ask you for the preferred spice level. And if you don’t fancy Sri Lankan food at all, no need to worry because usually the restaurants also carry other cuisines like Indian, Chinese & Italian items on their menu.
And of course the yummiest and the freshest King Coconut Water ever!
Sri Lanka has a lot to offer to the wildlife and nature enthusiasts. You can spot Elephants, Leopards, Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards, Monkeys, Bats and many many more. It is also a paradise for bird watchers with more than 400 species of birds. In fact, 13% of Sri Lanka is conserved as national parks, reserves, sanctuaries and jungle corridors where you can spot these animals in their natural habitats.
You can also go dolphin and whale watching along the Sri Lankan coast.
For everyone who has a phobia of lizards and geckos (like me), stay tuned for my next post for recommendations on which hotels to avoid (coming soon)
Another animal that you will find everywhere are dogs (stray and pets).
8. Adventure Sports
Sri Lanka is an ideal location for water sports like surfing, water-skiing, sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling etc. (But since I stay over land and not a big enthusiast of adventure and water sports, I don’t have any pictures)Other than that there are several lakes and lagoons where kayaking, canoeing and other such activities can be done.
9. Culture and Heritage
Buddhism is the major religion of Sri Lanka, however, there are a number of other religions and ethnicities living in the country like Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
SriLanka also has six archaeological World Heritage Sites as declared by UNESCO.
10. Travel Convenience
Colombo is an almost 4 hours direct flight away from Doha and about the same distance from Karachi. The visa for SriLanka is fairly easy and you can apply for an Electronic Visa online which takes about 2-3 days (even for Pakistani Passport holders).
There is a LOT that this small (in area, but big at heart) country has to offer to cater to the varied interests of the entire family.
Stay tuned for the detailed itinerary post with the MUST do things and WHERE to stay – COMING SOON!