My name is Michael and next month I'm visiting Sri lanka for 3 weeks
I could use some tips on what to visit/what to skip, i really don't want to spend to much time doing touristy stuff...
Anything i can skip + any idea what beaches are nice/not touristy and great for snorkling?
thanks a bunch!
I just spent one month in Sri Lanka and I can tell you now that you will love it! The landscape is beautiful, the people are super friendly and the food is good. Everything is pretty cheap except entrance to tourist sites, for foreigners. Things like Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and all national park entry fees are around $25-$30 each. These are nice but, especially for the price, I wouldn't recommend doing them all; lots of tourists at these spots.
I found Ella to be a very beautiful to hike in the surrounding areas - very touristic but I didn't care once I got to the viewpoints. There's many beaches to choose from, but if you want less tourists then I would avoid Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna - they felt more like Thailand than Sri Lanka. The beaches on the East Coast are very nice but they have a seriously litter problem in the region which is very disappointing.
The North is a great area to explore as there are very few tourists. Not much to see or do but it's very different to the rest of the country and well worth a look. The mangos are great in Jaffna too so give them a try!
Hi marcopolo Thanks for the info, great tips!
Are there any stops on my initerary that you would skip or add? I think i will add Ella :-)
Don't miss the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Afterwards, have a drink at the historic Queen's Hotel. In Anuradhapura, visit the offshoot of the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. For wildlife, visit Yala National Park near Tissamaharama. From there, continue to Tangalla for its gorgeous beaches. Enjoy the spectacular ocean sunset in Galle. Try the seafood. You'll have a great time.
Ella was my favourite part of the country and the train journey there (from Kandy) passes through some beautiful scenery. Try to stay in a guesthouse that overlooks Ella gap - it's a stunning view.
I also really liked Galle and thought it was an interesting and pleasant town to spend a couple of days.
I wasn't impressed with Unawatuna so i agree with marcopolo about skipping it.
What is your itinerary?
For accommodations, try The View in Ella. It's up a steep road, which can be difficult if it's raining. I'd also skip Unawatuna.
And since you're in the Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa area, try a safari in the Minneriya National Park - lots of bird life and deer but when we were there in July 2013, loads and loads of elephants - brilliant!
The elephants move between Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks, so check before you go. I saw them in Kaudulla. Lots.
Bundalla National Park is great for water birds. You'll find Malabar pied hornbill in Yala NP.
On the way from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and Ella, make sure you stop at a plantation to sample various kinds of tea.
Thank you so much for your tips!
Sri Lanka has some great beach life. Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Kosgoda are some popular beaches, but you can still find secluded beaches all along Sri Lanka’s coast. Some are eroding away, but others are pristine. Rent a bicycle or motorbike and get out there to explore the island. The beaches are the number one reason why people come to Sri Lanka and once you see them, you can understand why.