Sri Lanka is definitely a place of contrasts, no doubt about it. If you are searching for a place that is intriguing, beautiful and welcoming at the same time, you came to the right place. It has everything that is needed for a great backpacking adventure. Still, do not be fooled by the size of the island and do not expect that you will be able to cover it in a couple of days. Sri Lanka is a backpacker’s paradise so take your time and enjoy its action packed destinations.
This city is a gateway to Sri Lanka for the majority of the visitors. The capital is a place of contrast, to say the least and a cause of mixed feelings with exclusive malls, mansions and lush gardens on one side and slums, street markets and congested streets on the other. One thing you absolutely need to do is take a train ride along the coast line and visit Mount Lavinia and Talangama Wetland, try Kottu at Pettah market and by all means take a tuk tuk ride.
Ancient City of Sigiriya
Also known as the ‘Lion’s Rock’ is an ancient palace that offers a unique experience. The view spreads for kilometers on all four sides and is definitely a place that should not be missed. However, since this is fact known by many, make sure you arrive at the foot of the hill as early as possible. It opens at 7AM and the earlier you get there the better experience you will have. It takes some time and effort to reach the top so you will avoid both the heat and the crowd by starting early. Once you are up, take your time, enjoy the view and the breeze and explore the ruins. It will soon become clear why it was included in the World Heritage List.
Now, this is a paradise spot for all backpacking wildlife admirers. Once you entered the park, in a matter of minutes a vast grassland space will open up in front of you. Animal migration is allowed throughout interconnected Srilanese parks so make sure you have a good HD wildlife camera on you to capture both animals and scenery. Minneriya is particularly interesting during September when water buffalo, elephants and cranes gather there to find water. This is a popular and at the same time a large park, too. What this means is you will meet other tourist exploring it but it will never feel overcrowded.
Although the backpackers are usually loners, there comes a time when meeting likeminded people and sharing experience is desired more than exploring another area. And, there is no better place for this in Sri Lanka than Unawatuna. Even though it once was a peaceful cove it is now filled with backpackers’ restaurants and accommodation. This is where you will be able to meet people from all over the world, find out about the places you missed and should visit while in Sri Lanka, and above all have fun.
If exotic places are something you are interested in exploring and learning about first hand, Sri Lanka definitely deserves a place at the top of your list. Untouched nature and wildlife, the beaches, the food, tradition and culture are just some of the things that will make you wish to come back and do this all over again. And do, there will always be something new to experience and be surprised by. Meeting fellow backpackers is another good reason to visit this beautiful country. Finding about their discoveries will be another inspiration for sure.