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MUST-TRY Experiences For A First Time Traveller To Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has recently become a very popular tourist destination and with so much to offer from golden sandy beaches, rolling green hills, and a diverse variety of wildlife, it is not surprising the island has become the new ‘it’ spot. If you haven’t been to Sri Lanka yet and you’re wondering where to start from, this article highlights a few of the places you should visit.

Weligama

The town is situated on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, and the direct translation of Weligama literally means ‘sandy village’– a testament to its wonderful beaches. Weligama has become one of the best surf spots on the island, perfect for novice surfers. There are a number of surf schools dotted along the beach and after a few classes, you will be a pro surfer! While you’re there you can also explore some of the coves along Bandrawatta Beach which are great for swimming. You could also visit the islet called Taprobane, which is just offshore and you can walk there during low tide.

Hikkaduwa

Arguably the best-known beach in Sri Lanka, Hikka has become a staple holiday spot for locals and tourists alike. It is a great beach for swimming, but if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous you can always visit Hikkaduwa National Park, one of the two marine national parks in Sri Lanka. The park is home to a variety of colourful coral and fish, and you can rent snorkelling gear for Rs. 600 for 2 hours. Hikka also has many beach bars and cafes, really adding to that beachside vibe.

Kalpitiya

Kalpitiya is set between the Puttalam Lagoon on the east and the Indian Ocean on the west. It is made up of 14 islands and has a diverse variety of habitats from reefs (Bar Reef is the country’s largest coral reef), saltpans, mangroves and large sand dunes. Kalpitiya is one of the best places for dolphin and whale watching; large dolphin pods are here year-round, while the season for whale watching is from December – April. In Kalpitiya you will most often see Sperm Whales, but with some luck, you may spot a Blue Whale!

Polonnaruwa

This is a must when you visit Sri Lanka; with a mixture of history, culture, and wildlife, Polonnaruwa has something to please everyone. One of the first things you should do here is to visit the ruins of the ancient kingdom; declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has some of the best-preserved ruins. We recommend you take a bike and cycle through the ancient city’s grounds and visit the Sacred Quadrangle and Gal Vihara. Polonnaruwa is also just a half an hour drive to Minneriya National Park where you can watch the largest wild Asian elephant gathering in the world, this occurs during the dry season from June – September.

Kitulgala

Kitulgala is a small town on the west of Sri Lanka bordering a forest. Kitulgala is the perfect place for an adrenaline junkie. There are many outdoor activities to do here from jungle trekking to cave exploration, but Kitulgala’s main attraction is white water rafting. There are adventure camps which organise a well-rounded tour for you, giving you a challenging but rewarding experience.