Why everyone is planning a trip to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka truly has something to offer everybody – from golden beaches and national parks teeming with wildlife to exciting urban sprawl, it’s no wonder that so many people are making this diverse island their destination of choice for a trip away. Expedia claim that over £6 trillion is spent in the travel and tourism sector every year, and the tourism sector in Sri Lanka is one of the fastest-growing in the world. Even when I decided to travel abroad after a long gap since my higher studies in London back in 2011, it was Sri Lanka that I decided to give a go.

But what’s driving the demand for trips to Sri Lanka? Let’s consider the following:

Stilt fishing unique to Sri Lanka. Photo by Daniel Klein

1) Weather in Sri Lanka is great for most time of the year

Unlike some destinations which are cold for at least 50% of the year or warm like most parts of India (except the Himalayas), Sri Lanka’s tropical climate lasts for months. However, monsoons do blow into the country at certain times of the year, with the strongest monsoon season occurring between October and December. This makes the start of the year a great time to get away and enjoy clear skies, sunshine and everything else the island has to offer.

planning a trip to Sri Lanka - Welligama-weather

Magical sunsets in Welligama

2) There’s plenty to experience in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is so full of activities, places of historical interest and areas of outstanding natural beauty that it can actually be quite daunting trying to organise what to do and see on your trip. It’s a good idea to plan your “must-see” itinerary around the length of time you’re planning to stay in the country.

First-time visitors should consider the highlights dotted around the Sri Lankan “cultural triangle”. These include the ancient kingdoms of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the beautiful cave temples of Dambulla. Those who wish to venture further south along the island won’t want to miss out on the Galle fort – a reminder of colonial times and a recognised UNESCO heritage site.

Of course, hitting the coast is also a must for all visitors to Sri Lanka. The entirety of the island’s coastline is made up of idyllic beaches which provide plenty of opportunities for relaxation. I’ll especially mention the south western coast dotted with popular getaways like Hikkaduwa, Bentota, Mirissa and Tangalle.

Read my complete guide on backpacking in Sri Lanka

Yours truly wandering around the Buddhist stupas in Anuradhapura

3) Travelling in Sri Lanka is pretty straightforward

With a bit of forward planning, getting around Sri Lanka is easy. Direct flights can be booked via Sri Lanka’s national airline, and these are relatively quick in comparison to other long-haul flights to Asia.

Upon arriving, it’s easy to journey from destination to destination via train, which provides ample opportunity to take in the stunning scenery the island has to offer (particularly in the ‘hill country’ comprising of Ella, Haputale, Nuwara Eliya and Kandy. Buses are fast and reliable, although they can be particularly busy. And one can even rent a bike or rickshaw 😀

A private chauffeur might set you back slightly more than the Sri Lankan national transport network. Although this is arguably the most stress-free, relaxing and comfortable option available, and will help you to see more of the country if you’re only intending on staying for a short period. But of course, this option will deprive you of the truly local experience you could have using public transport and interacting with friendly locals.

planning a trip to Sri Lanka - train journey in Ella

Train journey through the hill country of Sri Lanka passing through tea plantations. Photo by Egle Sidaraviciute

4) Accommodation in Sri Lanka is plentiful

Sri Lanka is home to a wealth of quaint and characterful boutique buildings that will make your trip extra special. From innovative modern apartments to renovated historic colonial homes, there’s plenty to suit all travel styles and budgets. And with such rich cultural heritage, you’ll get to experience properties from every era of the country’s history. I stayed in a beach facing hotel in Hikkaduwa, a lagoon house in Tangalle, a budget hostel in Kandy, a wildlife resort in Habarana and a home-stay in Jaffna. There’s literally no dearth of quality accommodation here.

Read my story on Sri Lanka: When people make places

planning a trip to Sri Lanka-homestay in sri lanka

When I stayed at this catamaran lagoon house near Tangalle

So what do you think? Is Sri Lanka on your travel list?


  • Check the latest accommodation prices in Sri Lanka on Booking.com or Agoda.
  • Looking for travel gear, packing essentials and books to read on your trip, visit Amazon
  • Need help planning your trip? I’m here to help. Write to me 🙂

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Edwina D'souza

Read write watch, 2 left hands and feet, recluse, gazer and occasionally suffer from wanderlust syndrome!!

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