Travelling within Sri Lankan borders is a fairly easy task, though commercial flights are limited to daily flights between Colombo and Jaffna. Buses and trains are therefore the most popular mode of transportation between cities, with pros and cons to each. There is one option that is often overlooked, but it’s the perfect way to enjoy seeing important sites and cities in Sri Lanka. Take a tour of the country via bike and you’ll be able to cycle around historic sites and make your own schedule. Use our sample itinerary to help you plan distances and places you’ll be able to see in just 9 days on the road.
It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s vegetarian, it is, really whatever you want it to be. Kottu is the food of Sri Lanka, and you would be crazy to leave without taking a bite. Also known as kothu or koththu Roti, this dish is made primarily of Godhamba roti, spices and fried vegetables, with optional add-on ingredients of egg, meat, fish and cheese.
Colombo is Sri Lanka’s largest city and the commercial capital. As such, there will be much to explore here, but if there is one destination you shall not miss, it is the Pettah Market. Arranged in traditional bazaar layout, you will find each street devoted to a different type of good. Merchandise is piled high in tiny shops and laid out for purchase along the pavement. Whether you are looking to stock up on traditional goods, purchase fresh produce for the day’s meal, or just ingest the sights and sounds of Colombo, the Pettah Market is the place to be.
When headed off to Sri Lanka, depending on where you go, it can either be easy to communicate or hard to understand how much your daily purchases might be. Though many tourist areas will be privy to the English language, it may still come in handy to learn a few phrases or words in case of trouble or at the very least, to lend a respectful tone. The language to know is Sinhala and these phrases or words will help.
Anywhere you choose to dine in Sri Lanka is going to be a great experience. The cuisine of this island country is unlike any other, and with a wide assortment of places to choose from, you’ll have a hard time picking just one place for lunch or dinner! Cuisine from the Cultural Triangle tends to be based off meals and traditions from Kandy—the most populous city in the Triangle. Kandyan cuisine has a distinct flavour and traditional Sri Lankan food is a wonderful mix of taste, colour and aroma. The island’s location made it a popular stopping off point for foreign traders so indigenous spices such as cinnamon and cloves have been enriched by diverse culinary influences from around the world.
Northern Sri Lanka has been known as the Rajarata, or “The King’s Land” for millennia. Nowadays, this traditional name for this region has been surpassed in popularity by a more modern name--the Cultural Triangle. The origins of the name date back to the 1970s and the Sri Lankan government’s attempt to restore and promote the region’s great ruined monuments for the modern tourist industry – perhaps inspired by the “golden triangles” of Thailand and India.
While the capital city and coastal towns have clear enticements, don’t forget about the smaller cities, towns and villages in Sri Lanka that can capture your imagination and show you the natural beauty this country is known for. Head for the hills (literally) to experience a different economic environment, friendly, approachable people and an easygoing, relaxed culture of work and life.
In a country with so much to offer, you may find it hard to pack so much into your holiday. You may be wondering what you should start with first, how you should plan out that initial day in Sri Lanka, where is best to go. Depending on your length of stay, it’s usually best to use a bell-curve to plan your trip. Begin your trip with a slow start and then work up to the more action-packed or busiest days in the middle and reserve time to take it easy towards the end.
Sri Lanka may be a small island country, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in seriously incredible history. There are ruins, temples, monasteries, cityscapes, mountains, plains, viewpoints and endless wilderness areas. These spots are so unique that they are considered to be of utmost global importance. There are a grand total of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka, and all of them can easily be touched on during a two-week holiday in Sri Lanka. If you hit all eight sites, you’ll experience the incredibly diverse range of what Sri Lanka has to offer the world. By the end of your holiday, it’ll be the perfect time to rest and unwind—maybe on any of Sri Lanka’s fabulous beaches? Get planning, pick your favourites and head to Sri Lanka for a historical holiday you won’t soon forget.
In case you didn’t know, Sri Lanka exports a lot of tea. Like, a lot a lot – 340 million kilograms in 2012, to be exact. From Lipton leaves to micro-brews, Sri Lanka produces some of the world’s finest tea. Beyond being responsible for 2.5% of the country’s $60 billion AUD GDP, tourism surrounding tea and tea plantations is taking off. The experience is a good option for tourists and if you’re in the area, be sure to check out Cover-More’s top spots for an amazing cup of tea.