Best time to visit Sri Lanka

Our best Asian vocation
Iryna DubenskaMay 4, 2020

Like any tropical and equatorial island, Sri Lanka has a rainy season. So what is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka flag

Best time to visit Sri Lanka

It was not my first tropical island, but the first in this part of the world. Ancient cultures, unknown religions, and animals from children’s books about Mowgli beckoned me and called me on an adventure.
Before the trip, I wrote a travel plan, the places I wanted to visit, and also printed out (in case there was no Internet) the history of these places. Then, on these notes, I conducted mini-tours, telling them what they are famous for.

sri lanka

Arrival

At the airport in Colombo, we, a company of 4, landed at half-past three in the morning. Around was darkness and terrible stuffiness, there was no talk of any night coolness. We decided that it is not the best time to visit Sri Lanka, but we were wrong. According to the plan, we had to get to the city, where to pick up two more people from the hotel and from there start our tour. However, it turned out that it was not so simple – there was no public transport at the airport at night, we didn’t get a taxi either, and therefore it was decided to rent a car with a driver for 2 days at once. After half an hour of searching, a small minibus with 8 passenger seats with a driver was at our disposal. The price is $100 a day and everything was already included here. But such a price at the airport, later we found out that, for example, in Hikkaduwa, such a minibus could be rented with a driver for $60 per day.

Colombo

With the first rays of the sun, we drove into the noisy Colombo and immediately plunged into a real Asian bustle – tuk-tuks and mopeds screeched horn, a huge elephant carrying a car rolled towards us .. we gaped our mouths from one window to another, looking at the houses, locals, incredible local transport and at the same time horrified by the features of the road. It immediately became clear to us that none of us would drive a car in this country. Besides the fact that the movement is left-sided here, it completely lacks the rules familiar to Europeans or Americans. And now we are at the first goal – a hotel with a couple of our friends. Quickly throwing their sleepy bodies into a minibus, we went to meet our adventures.
On the first day, according to the plan, we had elephant trekking, a visit to Sigiriya, and the temple complex in Dambulla.

Start

And now we rush into the interior of the country, towards Sigiriya, on the way looking for a place to ride on elephants. We had certain conditions – we wanted to ride in two, always on the back, and not in the basket and always all together, and not in turn. Finally, such a place was found. Three huge elephants with blankets on their backs carried us through the jungle and a small rivulet. I did not even imagine that it would be so scary and so exciting. I sat right next to the elephant’s huge head with sparse and stiff hairs and held on to a chain around her neck. With every step she took, I felt the movement of her mighty shoulder blades beneath me, and it seemed she was about to throw me off. This sensation was especially intensified when she began to descend to the brook, I held on to her with all my strength, but still, it seemed to me that now I would slip off her head and she would crush me with her huge paws. Fortunately, everything worked out, but for the future, we decided that it’s better to feed the elephants and bathe, but not ride. In conclusion, we were invited to a stream, in which a huge elephant lay on its side. Blissfully closing his eyes, he fanned himself with his free ear. They gave us a piece of coconut peel, and the elephant generously allowed itself to be washed. I then thought that it was very unfair, we rode on elephants, and I washed an elephant 🙂 As a result, all this pleasure cost us $ 30 per person and left an unforgettable experience.

sri lanka

Sigiriya

Further, our path lay in Sigiriya. The ancient city in which, according to legend, the prince of the father-killer hid. In the pictures, I saw that it was a huge hill, but there were pretty even jungles and no mountains around. And then she came before us – a majestic and lonely rock with a completely flat top. Having paid $ 30 per person for entry and teasing the local macaques, we began the ascent. I must say right away that people with poor health should not do this. the climb is quite tiring, many steps and tropical stuffiness make it difficult, even for young and healthy. But on the other hand, we were completely rewarded by the incredible cave paintings of the 5th century AD, the ruins of the ancient city, and the magnificent views of the jungle around.

sigiriya

After this ascent, we were extremely exhausted and asked to take us to eat before the next point of our trip. The driver brought us to a very nice restaurant somewhere off the beaten path, where huge portions of noodle soup awaited us. We understood this name on the menu as pasta soup, but in fact, it was huge portions of fried noodles with pieces of chicken or shrimp. The portions were so huge that we ate one each for two, and we packed the rest into convenient cardboard boxes. The food was simple but very tasty and cost only a $3.5 serving.

In Dambulla, we got closer to dusk and it turned out that the temple complex at the entrance is already closed, we were late. But we did not become upset, the day was really interesting and eventful, and there was a lot of everything beautiful and without going inside.

Kandy

Further our path lay in Kandy, the capital of the central province, famous for the Temple of the Tooth Relic. For overnight, I chose hotels on the side of the mountain and huge panoramic windows on the jungle and on the lake in the city center. I wanted to spend the night there and nowhere else. It took quite a while to get to the place, we reached it only at midnight, but it was worth it and none of the company regretted the journey. The view of our rooms was simply amazing, the jungle shimmered with the voices of their inhabitants, it was both exciting and frightening. Despite the fact that we were exhausted, we could only fall asleep in the morning due to the impressions that hit us. Here is a hotel link. It was the best time to visit Sri Lanka.

jungle

In the morning, we set off for the main goal of our trip to Kandy – the Temple of the Tooth Relic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is here that one of the two surviving teeth of the Buddha is stored. The temple is one of the most important places of worship for Buddhists around the world.

Getting there was not so easy, during the day there are several services during which tourists are expelled (in any case, they told us so). That’s why they imposed some local guide on us, but simply an ordinary local resident who showed us a short way to the shrine for $10 and explained how we could do everything before the service began.

We were unable to see the Buddha’s tooth itself; it is enclosed in 7 gold caskets enclosed one into the other, carefully guarded, and opened only on special occasions. But the temple itself, we carved gilded patterns to the full.

In addition to the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy, there are still waiting for you: the royal palace, the royal botanical garden, and the mass of less significant temples.

kandy kandy

Gemstones and jewels

In addition to cultural attractions, Sri Lanka is also known for its deposits of semiprecious and precious stones. Sapphires and rubies, moonstone, topaz, alexandrite, and aquamarine .. have your imagination already played? go to the Kandy gem store, here you can not only watch but also buy pebbles or jewelry for your memory. http://jewellerybytiesh.com. But if you are an economical tourist, then stop only on excursions, and postpone the purchase of stones and jewelry until your trip, for example, to Hikkaduwa. There you can do it many times cheaper.

Having walked along Kandy, we went to Hikkaduwa, on our first meeting with the ocean, on the road thoroughly bought all kinds of exotic fruits at ridiculous prices.

Hikkaduwa

We arrived at the hotel again by midnight and immediately rushed to see the ocean – majestic and grand. The first impression was deafening. There was a terrible noise in the darkness, the waves crashing against the shore and I had no idea how we would swim here. True, one of our friends did not understand my confusion, and enthusiastically ran towards the waves. The hotel staff rushed after him with horror and screaming, but it was too late, the guy dived into the wave and was immediately thrown ashore with shards of coral in the feet and hands. As it turned out, you can’t swim in front of our hotel, right from the beach there begins an old coral reef full of sharp corals and spiny sea urchins. We check our second night in Sri Lanka by picking out corals from a friend. At the same time, I sobbed periodically, because it was I who chose this place. So ended our second day on the island of Ceylon. In the morning, everything was not as scary as it seemed in the evening. In the morning there was a delight, tears of happiness, a lot of laughter, and joy.

hikkaduwa

We chose a budget hotel, rented it at booking for only a couple of days, with the intention of looking around and choosing the most suitable one. It was quite old, had 2 floors and a pool. The price is $ 30 per night from 2 people, included a continental breakfast. By the way very decent: tea, coffee, fried eggs, toasts, jams, butter and freshly squeezed juice or fruit slices to choose from. It was the best time to visit Sri Lanka.

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Stuff you must have in Sri Lanka.

Sunscreen for beach
Raincoat to fill dry under tropical rain.
Folding cup for travel
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In the morning we found a completely stunning view of the hotel from the ocean, as well as a fairly wide deserted beach with clean, golden sand to the right of the hotel. The beach brought us complete delight, it was completely ours, the small tourists from our hotel spent time somewhere else, and the neighboring hostels were not yet busy. It was the very beginning of the season – the end of October, and there were still very few tourists. It is the best time to visit Sri Lanka. Every morning, we consumed our breakfast at about 9 a.m. and went to the beach, where we sat on sun loungers near Mamba, where local natives supplied us with beer, water and entertained us with reggae music.

I want to note that Sri Lankans, especially in middle age, are mostly similar to Indians, but not these. These were thin, muscular, and dreadlocks. All-day they spent time near their establishment in absolute idleness. Occasionally, being distracted by teaching those who want to ride a surf or get someone from the gaping tourists out of the ocean.

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Be careful

Here is the time to note that you need to be careful in financial matters with the Sri Lankans. They are certainly very good-natured and nice people, but as far as finance is concerned, they will easily deceive you and will not feel guilty. My advice is – if you agree with the Sri Lankan about the amount – write it on paper, show it and keep it with you. Whatever it is about – learning to surf, massage, anything. This will protect you from negative experiences.

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Returning to the hotel I want to say that we did not change it, the small number of guests in this hotel and the empty beach turned out to be more important to us than the novelty and beauty of the hotel and rooms. Here it is Nippon Villa

What is interesting in Hikkaduwa is, first of all, of course, the beach and the ocean. In the place where we rested, powerful and beautiful waves, it’s dangerous to swim, just in case, we always bathed next to the local surfers, whom we were occasionally rescued from. But here you can learn to surf. If you want a calmer ocean, you should either turn your attention to another settlement or stop in the area of ​​the tortoise beach – there, surrounded by corals, the water is completely calm, you can swim without fear.

Turtles

Hikkaduwa is also a place where you can see turtles not on tortoise farms but right in the ocean, come to the tortoise beach in the morning, collect their favorite algae and they will enjoy them right from your hands, and you can take unforgettable photos for memory. If there are no turtles in place, ask the locals, for a small fee they will call you turtles.

NOTE!!! In addition, it is very inexpensive to buy precious and semiprecious stones as a keepsake. Find the shop that the owner of the digger holds, he will give you good discounts.

If you feel bored on the beach and want a new sensation, head to the lagoon for a boat ride. Huge bats, well-fed lizards, unknown plants along the banks will not let you get bored, and the Hindu temple, which will offer you a stop, will not leave anyone indifferent. Particularly impressionable, I would not advise him to visit.

Food

Food in Hikkaduwa will not be a problem, there are lots of cafes and restaurants that will offer you everything from seafood to steaks. A portion of shrimp or fish with salad and rice will cost $3.5 – 4.5, a portion of jumbo shrimp with the same side dish – $14. A glass of freshly squeezed juice starting from the dollar and above. A bowl of delicious tomato soup or soup with crab – $5. In addition, in the area of ​​the turtle beach there is a fish market for self-cooking.

Unawatuna

The week in Hikkaduwa flew by unnoticed, but it was time to change the situation. The next point of our trip was Unawatuna. A real resort village in the very south of the island.

As it should be in the resort village, the water here is completely calm, its entire beach is lined with sun loungers, and in the evenings the shore is lit with cafe lights. In addition, three times a week in the evening there is a beach disco. The place is very suitable for families with children, for a relaxing holiday for people aged, but as it turned out, we like the wild and free shore of Hikkaduwa. Prices here are also slightly higher.

What can be found here? Firstly, Galle, famous for its fort, is located very close by. Also from Unawatuna you can make a safari to the Yala reserve or go on an excursion to the rain forest.

Whatever you choose Sri Lanka will not leave you indifferent. This is a completely unique place, a stay in which you will never forget.
If your plans do not include car rental and you plan to travel by public transport, this site will come in handy

busbooking.lk – Reserve seats in long-distance buses across Sri Lanka.

railway.gov.lk Sri Lanka railways

srilanka.travel – WELCOME TO SRI LANKA

So, the best time to visit Sri Lanka is November and December. The very beginning of the season. There are still few people and you can fully enjoy this magnificent island.

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This is still an amazing nature that you can enjoy traveling with a tent and staying at the campsite. Here is a list of places where you can reserve your seats and stay. Here you can choose the best camping tent for this trip.
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