Sri Lanka - 3 travel tips
When you are planning for a trip to Sri Lanka – 3 things I wish I had known before
Sigiriya Rock vs. Pidurangala Rock
When I went to Sri Lanka for the first time (2015) I missed out on Sigiriya Rock (also called Lion´s Rock – ancient rock fortress – a UNESCO world heritage site). By 2018, during my second visit, my prior fascination with Sigiriya Rock had faded a bit – due to various people telling me how overpriced and busy it is – that all you see while going up is the butt of the person in front of you.
But there is an alternative: Pidurangala Rock. Another rock – close to Sigiriya – with a much cheaper entrance fee – less crowded – and an actual climb for the last part of it. And you get the most amazing views of Sigiriya!
Beaches in the South/Southwest vs. Beaches in the East
Well, this one depends on the time of the year – the seasons across Sri Lanka vary. If you are planning for a trip during our summertime (June – Sept), it will be dry season along the East coast – Arugam bay it is – relaxed vibes, swimming and surfing.
If your travel time is during our winter (Nov. – March), the Southwest coast will be dry – here the tourism has arrived many years ago. There are a lot of beaches and towns to choose from – unfortunately some have been overrun by tourism and have lost some of their charm. But you can still find hidden gems in the South as well. My favourite being Hiriketiya – small beach, good for swimming as well as surfing, locals running most places (you can find some amazing homestays that once again show Sri Lankans genuine hospitality). From here also explore Dikwella Beach (you can get there by walking or take a Tuktuk) – very few people!
Obviously, you can also visit the beaches during wet season: You might be lucky, and it won´t rain all day – you will have the beaches mostly to yourself – but bear in mind, many places will also be closed.
Staying in Kandy vs. Staying in the mountains around Kandy
This one is very easy: Mountains. I´ve been to Kandy several times – and each time it seems to me busier and more crowded than the last. Don’t get me wrong, Kandy is still worth a visit – especially the ‘Temple of the Tooth’ (it is said that it houses the relic of a tooth of Buddha). But if you prefer the peace and quiet, I highly recommend choosing a place outside of town up in the mountains surrounding Kandy. I used to live and work in the Knuckles Mountains (about 1 hour outside of Kandy), which is the perfect starting point to really explore this part of Sri Lanka: Trekking, waterfalls, tea plantations, rice fields,…
Have you been to Sri Lanka?
What are your experiences?