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6 Places You Must Visit With Your Friends In Sri Lanka

The island of Sri Lanka fondly referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean is a treasure trove of adventure; with golden sandy beaches, tall peaks and lush green jungle, it is as though the country lacks nothing. With something for everyone, Sri Lanka is the best place to go on a group holiday.

Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lankan kingdoms and it is one of the most beautiful places on the island, with a mixture of history, culture and wildlife. Visit the ruins of Polonnaruwa, which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site; The Sacred Quadrangle and the Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa is also very close to the elephant packed national parks of Minneriya and Kaudulla. Here, you and your friends can hire a safari jeep at the park gate and go on a game drive. The dry season (June -September) is when the largest gathering of Asian elephants occurs with about 200-500 elephants– it is truly a sight to see.

Tangalle

The south coast is home to some of the country’s best and most popular beaches, however, Tangalle is often overshadowed by more popular beaches such as Hikkaduwa and Weligama, but Tangalle is truly a beach you must visit. The beach here is a lot more rugged than the others with large rocks that emerge from the golden sand. You can also go see the Hummanaya Blowhole which is just a 20 minute Tuk Tuk ride from Tangalle town. Situated on the south coast, Tangalle is one of the best beaches on the island.

Matara

Close to Tangalle is Matara, the southernmost point of the island. The city is full of old crumbling ruins from the time of the Dutch, like the second most important Dutch Fort, after the Galle Fort. While you’re there you should visit Polhena Beach, which is the best beach in Matara, it is a small sandy cove that is sheltered by an offshore reef, and the occasional sea turtle makes its way to the shore. Matara is also home to the country’s oldest lighthouse, Dondra Head Lighthouse, while you cannot climb to the top of it, the surrounding area is very pretty and makes for a good photo op!

Trincomalee

Trinco is on the northeast coast of the island and it is a good place to watch a sunrise from. Unlike the south coast, the sea here is a lot calmer with not as many waves. One of the best places to visit here is Marble Beach which is actually more of a bay than a beach; the bay got its name from the clear blue-green waters that glisten under the sun like marbles and the beach is bookended by jungle making a very serene beach. While you’re here you should also visit Koneswaram temple, an important Hindu temple that is atop a rocky outcrop.

Arugambay

One of the best places to visit with your friends, Arugambay is, arguably, Sri Lanka’s most famous surfing spot. Although a popular tourist destination, Arugambay has still managed to retain some of the charms of a rustic beachside town without becoming too commercialised. The main road runs parallel to the beach which is dotted with seaside bars and surf schools but not to the same extent as the south coast.

Haputale

Haputale is a small town on the southern edge of the Sri Lankan hill country. The town is perched on a cliff surrounded by tea plantations and has a spectacular view of the hill country, although there isn’t much to do in Haputale, it is a great base for when you visit Horton Plains National Park. The whole trail is about 9.5km which is about a 3 hour long walk, where you will see the park’s two main attractions, Baker’s Falls and the World’s End; a steep slope which has a drop of 880m. It is a really pleasant walk since it is mainly flat ground but good walking shoes is recommended. A packed lunch or snacks will come in handy while you trek the park.