Initially left to languish for decades, the railways of Sri Lanka have been given a new lease of life in recent years. Now a compelling tourist attraction, Sri Lankan train journeys are affordable and amazing in equal measure.
Defined as sites possessing a cultural, historical or scientific form of significance, Sri Lanka is home to an incredible eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites – not bad for a little island. Many of the UNESCO sites feature prominent landmarks from the Buddhist religion, are ancient, or usually both.
The beaches in Sri Lanka are as good as they sound – long swathes of golden sand backed by thick groves of palm trees make for one heck of a holiday background. Many of Sri Lanka’s best beaches are along the southern and eastern coasts where a lot of the most popular resorts are, though you’ll have your pick of coastline no matter where you go. Here’s a quick look at some of Sri Lanka’s most much-loved beaches.
A trip to Sri Lanka is a feast for the senses, and you can bet that includes plenty of culinary treats on both the sweet and savoury side. Although they’re neighbours on the map, Sri Lanka’s food and drink is more different from that of India or Thailand than you might expect, although there are plenty of common flavours that link those destinations together.
Just a quarter of the size of the UK, Sri Lanka has managed to pack in 22 strikingly green national parks across the island, where visitors can experience some of the best wildlife encounters in Asia.
Of the seven different species of sea turtles that grace the ocean’s waters, nearly all of them are classified as endangered. Sri Lanka is home to five of these ancient breeds – green, leatherback, hawksbill, loggerhead and olive ridley turtles – which have roamed the shallow seagrass beds of the Indian ocean for over 100 million years.
Elephants are a sort of national symbol in Sri Lanka, and with good reason – it’s estimated that Sri Lanka has the largest concentration of elephants in all of Asia. The islanders are incredibly serious about preservation, and have been setting aside protected land for thousands and thousands of years, which means there’s ample opportunity to see elephants in their natural habitats, especially the native Sri Lankan elephant, one of the three subspecies of Asian elephants.
As well as its scenic landscape, beaches and fascinating history Sri Lanka is renowned for its tea. Although it’s a relatively small island, Sri Lanka is one of the biggest growers and exporters of tea in the world. In places as far afield as the Middle East, Russia and the UK, Sri Lankan tea has been enjoyed for over a century.
As well as being home to the world’s largest land mammal – the elephant – Sri Lanka is also one of the best places in the world to spot the to the planet’s largest creature – the Blue Whale – along with many smaller whales and dolphins.
Sri Lanka is one of the most westernised countries in Southeast Asia, with a large tourist infrastructure and English speaking population. It’s also extremely culturally rich – far beyond our associations of cricket, tea and cinnamon.
When embarking on a holiday, all we want is the fastest route to the beach and certainly not extra time spent at border control. That’s why knowing what visa you will or won’t need when travelling abroad is crucial.