Sri Lanka is to many an untouched paradise that has escaped the heady commercialisation of many places in South Asia. There are some amazing places to be seen in Sri Lanka and the best way to get around is by road. It is easy to hire a car and take a journey through this outstanding country to experience the beauty for yourself.
The mountains of Sri Lanka are places like no other. Luscious green valleys and mountains ideal for hiking. Ella is one of the most popular little towns along the mountain side with a 1000m elevation you will experience a very different climate to the heavy heat of the beaches. Along the mountains you will find farmlands where locals grow produce and of course the famous Sri Lankan teas are everywhere to be seen. If hiking is your thing then try the hike up to Ella rock. It is a challenging 4 hour trek but well worth the exertion.
There are some very high end hotels around the mountains offering spectacular views of the wildlife, just ideal to sit on the balcony with a cup of local tea and see the monkeys in the distance. There are also some resorts and budget rooms available in the area but they tend to get booked up very quickly, make sure you plan ahead where you want to go.
The most popular beach in Sri Lanka is Unawatuna. Obviously this is more of a tourist trap than other areas but still has the appealing nature of Sri Lanka. There are very high end hotels surrounding the beach and adequate budget accommodation further inland. The beach itself is a wonderful cove surrounded by palm trees and a spectacular Buddha statue that overlooks the beach. If you go during the monsoon season, it might be cloudy but there are still many things to enjoy and visit in the area. There is some great swimming to be had on the beach but watch out for the jelly fish as they can come very close to shore in the rainy season.
Of course no trip to India or Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to a tea plantation. Sri Lanka is world renowned for its tea and visiting one of these places will be an experience to remember. One of the best places to go is the birthplace of Ceylon tea in Kandy’s hill country. The Kandy tea is a strong vibrant tea with its high elevation in the hills, take home a packet or two when you leave. Other places worth a visit are Nuwara Eliya, Uda Pusselawa and Uva, all with excellent plantations for you to look around and taste the delicious tea on offer.
All in all, Sri Lanka is a destination that offers something different from the rest of South and South East Asia. A visit there any time of the year will be truly adventurous and exciting. The best time to visit is the later or early part of the year as the monsoon rains can be unbearable at during rainy season.