Looking for a holiday with gorgeous beaches, stunning natural scenery, exotic wildlife and fascinating cultural heritage? Look no further than Sri Lanka! Nestled between India’s well-traversed southeastern coast and Southeast Asia’s tourist hotspots, this modest-sized country is oft overlooked by holiday-goers. But Sri Lanka’s nickname—“pearl of the Indian Ocean”—is well-deserved. Although it harbours a turbulent past, its myriad charms make it an ideal vacation spot. Here are five reasons to check out this underrated Asian holiday destination.
Discover Sri Lanka, Asia’s up-and-coming holiday destination
Fascinating cultural heritage
From the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura to the sedate streets and Dutch-era villas of Galle, the country’s most perfectly preserved colonial townscape, there’s plenty of history and heritage to discover, including a whopping eight UNESCO sites packed within the borders.
Dazzlingly white, soft sandy beaches ring the island and are far less crowded than many of Southeast Asia’s beach destinations. Adventure-seekers can explore their breadth depths with water sports and world-class dive sites (without world-class crowds).
Wildlife in action
From herds of elephants gathered at a favourite watering hole to leopards, water buffaloes, crocodiles and monkeys, Sri Lanka’s national parks are great places to spot cool creatures in their natural habitats. Travellers can also look to the skies to spot wildlife in action, as the island is home to an enormous array of brilliantly coloured birds, making it one of Asia’s top spots for bird watching.
Green and serene
If you want to beat the tropical heat, just head for the hills. A cool climate and rolling landscape will leave you seeing plenty of green in the form of verdant tea plantations and rainforests. It’s the perfect place for trekking, or just enjoying the view on a scenic train ride.
It’s inexpensive and uncrowded
Since it’s still undiscovered by the masses—for now!—Sri Lanka is affordable and often uncrowded, which means you’ll be able to pack even more into your holiday.
Know Before You Go
Sri Lanka has two major monsoon seasons: October to January in the north and east, and May to July in the south and west. The climate can change dramatically depending on elevation: Coastal Kalutara hovers consistently between 25° and 30°C, while Nuwara Eliya, in the hills of central Sri Lanka, ranges from -5°-20°C.
Citizens of all countries except Singapore and Maldives need a visa to enter Sri Lanka, and this Tourist ETA visa can be obtained online. This is a double-entry visa valid for three months from the date of approval, and permits two entries with stays of a maximum of 30 days each.
Sri Lanka is virtually smoke-free. Smoking in public places, including buses and trains, is prohibited.
Experience Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches, cultural hotspots and extraordinary wildlife at Anantara Vacation Club Escapes at AVANI Kalutara Resort. Perched right on the coast and within easy reach of Galle and Colombo, it’s the perfect home base for experiencing all Sri Lanka has to offer.
What would make for your perfect Sri Lankan vacation? Ancient temples or colonial charms? Splashing in warm waves or exploring national parks on safari? Share with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Weibo.