Images of sun, palm trees and the ocean are widely associated with Sri Lanka. But what did I like most during my three weeks journey accross the tropical island state?
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Hiking in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is not only beautiful, but also offers diverse landscapes. The mountains are surprisingly high. You can find many different plants and animals there. You also will enjoy magnificent views.
Sunrise in the Highlands
The morning looks on the misty mountains are like a dream. But on the terrace of your guesthouse you can have wonderful moments, too. There we heard monks singing from a close Buddhist temple. In addition the view of Ella Gap covering the whole island. Fantastic.
This atmosphere is perfect for meditating or doing yoga. If you are interested in attending a yoga class in Sri Lanka, you don’t need to spend the whole vacation in a retreat. It’s possible to book single lessons, for example in hotels or special places like temples.
Cultural Diversity in Sri Lanka
I haven’t been in a country with such a cultural variety before. This surprised me most about Sri Lanka. I already knew before my trip about the colonial legacy, but I did not realize how much this still affects daily life. You can see this for example in West Sri Lankathe west of the island, where catholicism is widely spread. During Christmas this became obvious. We found lots of Christmas cribs beside the roads. Generally, there are many beautiful churches, mosques and temples in Sri Lanka.
The colorful mix of people and architecture in the lively capital Colombo was very impressive. Travel bloggers tend to advise their readers to avoid hectic Colombo and go straight to the stunning beaches of the south or to the Highlands. I do not share their opinion. If you like Asia’s colorful and vibrant big cities, this is the place to go. Plan extra time! Colombo is full of interesting colonial architecture. The location at the Indian Ocean is another strength. The locals take their sea bath just in the city center. What is more, most picturesque railway tracks lead along the shore.
Travel Sri Lanka by train or bus
A ride on a slow train through tea plantations is a cliché. But don’t miss it on your trip! I liked best the journey between Nanu Oya and Ella. The train comes up to 2,000 meters there.
I can also recommend a ride along the west coast – from Welligama to Colombo. But be aware that a train ride (except from 1st class) or a ride in a local bus is an exotic experience with all pros and cons.
Going by bus is probably not the safest way, but also very exciting. In each of the old local buses you will listen to loud Sri Lankan music. Buses are less hyped than the trains in Sri Lanka. But I enjoyed bus rides journeys the same, as it was fun.
Watching a leopard in the wild was a great gift and exceeded my expectations.
But you don’t have to join a safari to be surrounded fascinating animals. In Sri Lanka, the fauna is extremely rich. When I got up in the morning, I already heard palm squirrels chirping and rare bird species singing. This complimented the tropical feeling perfectly.
If you liked this article, you might perhaps also be interested in my article How to travel the Maldives on a Budget.