If lately you’ve realised that you haven’t had the time (or the money) to plan a trip within the country, then feed your wanderlust as we round up our favourite destinations in the motherland that you need to visit this this year.
Whether you want to sit by a pool (or better yet the ocean) or are dreaming of an extravagant getaway to an exotically remote locale—there’s something here for everyone. That trip you’ve been pining for is a simple click away.
Uda Walawe National ParkWith herds of elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards, Uda Walawe National Park is the Sri Lankan national park that best rivals the savannah reserves of Africa. In fact, for elephant-watching, Uda Walawe often surpasses many of the most famous East African national parks. The park, which centres on the 308.2-sq-km Uda Walawe Reservoir, is lightly vegetated but it has a stark beauty and the lack of dense vegetation makes game-watching easy. It’s certainly the one national park in Sri Lanka not to miss.
Five kilometres southeast of Galle, the ever-expanding village of UNAWATUNA is now firmly established as Sri Lanka’s most popular resort for independent travellers and remains a pleasant spot to while away a few days, even if rampant commercialization and ever-growing hordes of visitors have now significantly eroded the village’s former sleepy charm.
If you don’t mind the increasing hustle and bustle, there’s still plenty to enjoy, including a decent, if heavily developed, stretch of beach, a good selection of places to stay and eat, plus varied activities ranging from surfing and diving through to yoga and cookery classes, while in recent years Unawatuna has begun to compete with Hikkaduwa as Sri Lanka’s beach-party capital, with noisy discos thumping out beats along parts of the beach during the season. The resort also remains busy all year round, making it a good place to visit if you’re on the west coast during the monsoon.
Easygoing Arugam Bay is by far the most engaging of the east coast’s resorts. A-Bay, as it’s often known, has long been popular with the surfing fraternity, who come here to ride what are generally acknowledged to be the best waves in Sri Lanka. It’s also a good launching-pad from which to explore the gorgeous surrounding countryside and its varied attractions, from the elephant-rich Lahugala National Park and the little-visited Yala East National Park to the atmospheric forest hermitage at Kudimbigala.
The soft sandy beach and the shallow waters makes it a must see for visitors from all over. Pasikuda is known to have one of the world's longest shallow coastlines. Since the water current is relatively weak you can walk around 250 meters out into to the sea. Use caution while swimming, however, since there are no lifeguards around the public beach area
The bay has one of the best-known reef systems in eastern province of Sri Lanka and has been declared as a Marine Sanctuary by National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA)
Apart from beach activities you could also visit places of interest located in close vicinity of the bay.
Coconut cultural park (1/2 Km from the beach)
Valachchenai fisheries harbor (3Km from the beach)
Valachchenai Public market (4Km from the beach)
If you are a diving enthusiastic, here are some excellent diving spots nearby
Pasikuda Reef- 5 min by boat from the shore
Boiler Wrecks - 10 min by boat from the shore
British Sergeant - 25 min by boat from the shore
Kayankerni Reef- 25 min by boat from the shore
Vandalous Point- 20 min by boat from the shore
Diving depth very from 3 to 30 meters in these spectacular diving spots
Kitulgala is the adrenalin-sports capital of Sri Lanka. For the moment most visitors are the young and energetic of Colombo, but more and more foreign visitors are starting to discover the delights of white-water rafting, jungle trekking, birdwatching and cave exploration.
The town’s other main claim to fame is that David Lean filmed his 1957 Oscar-winning epic Bridge on the River Kwai here. You can walk down a pathway to the filming site along the banks of the Kelaniya Ganga. The pathway is signposted on the main road, about 1km from Plantation Hotel in the direction of Adam’s Peak. It is virtually impossible to head down the path without attracting an entourage of ‘guides’ who expect a few rupees for their troubles. If you know the film you’ll recognise some of the places. Apparently the actual railway carriages used in the movie now lie at the bottom of the river, after being sunk in an explosive conclusion. You’ll have to bring your own scuba gear if you want a look.
A few kilometres from Kitulgala is a large cave system where the 28,500-year-old remains of early humans were discovered. Many hotels in the area can arrange a guide to the caves.