Lonely Planet Sri Lanka (Travel Guide)

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Lonely Planet Sri Lanka (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet Sri Lanka (Travel Guide)

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Covering the highest plateau in Sri Lanka, at an elevation of around 2000m (6562ft) above sea level, Horton Plains National Park is a magnificent magnet for birdwatchers and hikers. Whichever camp you fall into, it's worth following the trail from the park’s entrance to World’s End, a blow-you-away lookout with ethereal views, perched on the edge of an 880m (2625ft) drop.

As the financial capital, Colombo is a transport hub from which trains spring off across the whole country. They travel east to the city of Kandy and down into Nuwara Eliya – a town in tea country. Northbound trains reach the cities of Anuradhapura and Jaffna.Planning tip: Arrive early in the morning to beat the sweltering sun and get the best of this wonderful archaeological park to yourself. The Polonnaruwa ruins are crowded during weekends, school holidays, and on the full moon. 17. Get close to nature with a stay in a treehouse

Sri Lanka is one of the safest countries in Asia when it comes to petty crime. Violence against tourists is very rare, and theft and robberies are uncommon, though they do happen occasionally. As a precaution, wear a money belt and use your hotel safe. Sri Lanka's major cities and towns are extremely well-connected by train. Overall, it’s an easy, convenient and sustainable way to travel. Of course, sometimes the trains can be delayed – but isn’t that a risk almost everywhere? We suggest not giving in to cautionary calls on travel forums to avoid train travel due to delays, as you’ll absolutely be missing out. Trains offer some of the most efficient, relaxing and spectacular ways to get to a destination in Sri Lanka, plus they avoid pesky city traffic. The monsoon season is also a great time to explore the country’s east coast with sandy beaches, a vibrant surf scene, and abundant wildlife. The period between June and August offers world-class conditions for kitesurfing in Kalpitiya. Things get quiet during the shoulder season in October and November, but you’ll be able to find cheaper accommodation options when the south coast slowly opens up. Take the airport bus

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Most Lankan curries are based on coconut milk, with a blend of spices – including but not limited to chili, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, lemongrass, rampe (pandanus leaves), curry leaves, mustard, and tamarind. With numerous flatwater lagoons and plenty of steady wind, Sri Lanka’s northwestern coast offers some of the best kitesurfing in the world. A 3.5-hour drive north of Colombo is the lesser-explored Kalpitiya Peninsula, which is still relatively new to many overseas tourists. The region is home to sandy beaches and small fishing hamlets with droves of wild donkeys strolling around large grasslands. You can hire a car or a motorbike in Sri Lanka if you have an International Driving Permit, however it’s not a common choice for travelers. High traffic in cities and poor road quality in regional and rural areas mean it is safer for travelers to rely on public transport and local drivers, unless they are extremely confident and capable. If you are considering driving or hiring a motorbike, we’d recommend you do this in less traffic-dense areas. Weather conditions can slow road travel It also offers something other parks don't – a volunteer program run by the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, where you can observe the elephants in the wild and help with their conservation. Bundala National Park Best for seeing turtles, crocodiles, and flamingos Village buffalo curd: Sri Lanka’s go-to dessert, traditional village buffalo curd comes in clay pots and is traditionally topped with sweet, earthy kithul palm treacle. Goodfolks in Colombo sells kithul palm treacle in bottles.For the most part, Sri Lankans are socially conservative and deeply religious. Swimwear is fine for the beach, but not when wandering about town. Going nude or topless is not permitted on any Sri Lankan beaches. 10. Avoid public affection and disruptive behavior It’s possible to make bookings 30 days in advance for reserved first- and second-class seats and berths, as well as for the observation saloon carriages. Demand often outstrips seat supply during high season (December to April), so plan ahead if you can. Between May and September, the south coast and west coast of Sri Lanka are lashed by the southwest monsoon, which brings plenty of rainfall and choppy seas, while northern and eastern parts of the island are fine and dry. When the northeast monsoon hits Sri Lanka between November and March, the south and west are at their best, and it's the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka that see the showers. Cultural insightsgive you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, people, music, landscapes, wildlife, cuisine, politics The one rail journey that features on almost every Sri Lankan itinerary, the three-hour trip from Colombo to Kandy will whisk you away from the big-city sprawl to the genteel greenery of Sri Lanka’s spiritual capital. Some of the services on this line continue onto Badulla (see below), although it’s worth breaking the journey and exploring Kandy, home to the legendary Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, enshrining what’s claimed to be a genuine tooth of Buddha.

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