Mike’s Meanders: Sri Lanka Chapter 2
Missed the first chapter? Click here to read Mike’s Meanders: Chapter 1.
It’s quite hard to pinpoint exactly what Sri Lanka is most famous for. There is such a variety of activities one can easily make a case for each different niche. The most visited attractions are sure to be the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Even these have variety! Ranging from ancient cities depicting Sri Lanka’s rich history to National Parks which contain it’s unique biodiversity and sacred Buddhist sites that showcases it’s deep faith and spirituality. With 8 different UNESCO sites in such close proximity, it makes an ultimate bucket list destination for the intrepid traveler looking to add to their iconic site visits. It’s entirely possible in one day to visit up to three of these remarkable areas and still have time for a delicious curry or five.
The most well known of these sites is The Sigiriya Rock Fortress. In a feat of astounding ancient engineering and urban planning, this imposing rock outcrop was chosen in the 5th century AD as the destination for a reclusive King’s Royal Palace. It’s astonishing even by today’s standards that such a grandiose palace of gardens, pools, and pavilions could be erected in such an inaccessible and remote area. A climb to the top of this rock fortress rewards viewers with panoramic views of jungle, lakes, and mountains as far as the eye can see.
If strolling the palace grounds of Sigiriya is not enough to transport one back in time then a walk around the ancient capital cities of Anuradhapura (4 BC- 11th Century AD) and Polonnaruwa (11th- 13th Century AD) are sure to capture the imagination. Both of these ancient capital cities offer a glimpse of these once powerful cities through their wonderfully preserved ruins and rich cultural heritage. Your client’s dedicated guide will take them on a journey through historical findings, oral history, tales and fables pertaining to these ancient kingdoms that will have them envisioning the thousands of monks who once roamed and occupied these streets and monasteries. For those who are not historically inclined, there is no denying the intricate carvings and massive stupas are simply a work of art that even the most temple wary traveler will appreciate.
After visiting such awe inspiring works of archeological wonder there is no better place in the world to let the brain relax than Sri Lanka’s white sand beaches. Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” Sri Lanka finds itself surrounded on all sides by beautiful blue water and is home to some of the most stunning and underdeveloped beaches in the world.
On the East Coast of Sri Lanka one of the best areas to catch some sun and spend your days lazing away in paradise is Trincomalee. This area which was highly coveted by Ancient, Colonial and modern Day powers due to it’s remarkable natural harbor is now notable as spot to relax, go surfing, scuba dive in WW2 era Ship wrecks, whale watch or snorkel at Pigeon Island National Park. The opportunities are endless and the crowds are much more sparse than you’ll find in beaches of the same caliber in other destinations. Some of the most beautiful beaches to visit in this area are Uppuveli and Nilhaveli.
On the South Coast we find just as beautiful of beaches in areas such as Tangalle and Mirissa. In addition to beaches honeymooners dream about, they have the added benefit of being so close to some of the most prolific whale watching in the world. From the South Coast of Sri Lanka it’s possible to see Sperm Whales, Orcas, Fin Whales, Dolphins and the worlds largest creature, the Blue Whale. An excellent combination with whale watching is visiting many of the turtle hatcheries where they are hard at work preserving endangered or threatened sea turtles. 5 out of the worlds 7 sea turtles can be found laying eggs on Sri Lanka’s pristine beaches and clients can set up visits to many of these conservation projects which makes for a fun, educational and heartwarming addition to any trip. These once in a lifetime activities make the South Coast of Sri Lanka an outstanding family destination as well.
For the nature and wildlife lover Sri Lanka is an absolute must see. For some, the marine life off the coast is just a prelude to the real stars of Sri Lanka…. It’s National Parks teeming with Elephants, Leopards, Wild Boar, Crocodiles and more. Stay tuned for the next update and we’ll learn about Sri Lanka’s fascinating terrestrial wildlife.