Painted with verdant tea plantations, azure blue waters, dazzling white beaches, and earthy UNESCO world heritage sites, the tropical island of Sri Lanka is a land of colours. What makes it even more irresistible is its prime location and the fact that it is incredibly cheap. Thanks to this, tourism in Sri Lanka is at an all-time high. But, here is the catch – while most of the travellers make it a habit to visit all the important attractions in Sri Lanka, there is still lots to be discovered.
Here is a compilation of 10 offbeat things to do in Sri Lanka that will make you fall in love with the country. And don’t forget to go Pickyourtrail!
1. Indulge in fishing with the locals
Fishing finds an important place in the culture and the tradition of Sri Lanka and is a way of living in the country. For most of us, fishing is something that we have seen only on television sets.
Hold on, roll your sleeves, it’s time to catch it in real.
Laden with a massive coastline, inland lakes, and rivers, there are a lot of fishing spots in Sri Lanka that you can go to. So picking a spot is not at all an issue.
For the best experience, make friends with the local fishermen and go early fishing in the morning. Who knows, you might get a chance to fish sitting on the stilts. For all those, who are not comfortable with the idea, looking for fishing tours.
2. Go on a scenic train ride from Ella
Most travellers prefer going on a trip to Europe. Do you know why? Yes, Europe is beautiful. But, it is also well connected by railways and getting around Europe is so much easier.
While Sri Lanka doesn’t have that big a railway system, it will definitely offer an experience that you will never forget.
Talking about train journeys, the best place to start is at Ella. Regardless of where you are going from Ella, the scenery that you will come across is so beautiful that you will forget you are in Sri Lanka!
And on your travel don’t just sit all the time. Stand by the open doors just like the locals and get one step closer to the panoramic views. Be careful about the balance though!
3. Get enough of the authentic Sri Lankan cuisine
It is often very easy to get carried away by the mesmerizing beauty of Sri Lanka without even experiencing much of the country. Food in Sri Lanka is one such thing.
Dominated by a lot of locally grown spices, food in Sri Lanka is a burst of flavours. Be it Vegetarian or non-vegetarian, Sri Lanka has a special something for everyone. Surprisingly Sri Lanka also has fast food chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, & other western outlets operating in the major cities. But sticking to the local food for an authentic experience.
Stop at the eateries by the highway for the delicious combo of ‘curry and rice’, binge on the coconut sambol, and don’t forget to taste the naturally sweet Kiri Pani. You can also go one -step further and enrol in a cooking class.
4. Surf at Arugam Bay
Fringed by the Indian Ocean, Arugam Bay is a sleepy fishing town in Sri Lanka, set away from all the buzz. But, there’s more to the village than that meets the eye. The sunny and the sandy shores of Arugam Bay is also the famed surfing point destination in Sri Lanka.
Come during the time of April to October and you can catch International Surfing Competition live! Not into surfing? You can still enjoy at Arugam Bay. Stay by the waterfront guesthouses, dine at the oceanview restaurants, and just relax in the breezy vibe.
Alternatively, you can also visit Arugam Bay during the low season of November to April. The place is so serene with very little tourists.
5. Sleep in the midst of a refreshing tea estate
Owing to the tremendous growth in the tourism industry, Sri Lanka has definitely upped its game when it comes to accommodation. From luxury villas to budget-friendly accommodations to hostels, there is a wide range of options which you can choose from.
On your next trip to Sri Lanka, try something different and stay in a tea estate. Nestled amidst the tea plantation, your stay at the tea estate will bring you closer to nature and what’s a better way to wake in the morning than the refreshing aroma of tea.
On your free time, take a tour of the tea plantation, pluck your own tea leaves, and indulge in tea tasting.
6. Shop at the Ratnapura Gem Market
So Sri Lanka is amazingly cheap and you still have money left that you can spend? Go on a shopping spree at the Ratnapura Gem Market. Regarded as the heart of the mining industry, Ratnapura – the city of gems offers the best quality sapphires.
Calibrated to its finest, the fancy cut gems come in a whole exotic range of colours – blue, red, purple, gold, pink, yellow, and what not.
The vibrant city of Ratnapura also provides an opportunity for the visitors to get a closer insight into the gem mining and gem cutting operations. You now have a cool thing to brag about to your friends. The price of the gemstones is comparatively cheaper.
7. Get around Sri Lanka on a bicycle
The ideal way of getting around Sri Lanka is in tuk-tuks or government-operated public buses. While both of them sound good, there is one other offbeat way to explore Sri Lanka. Rent a bicycle.
Costing way lesser than rental scooters, bicycles are a great way to get every bit of Sri Lanka. It gives you the opportunity to explore even the remotest of locations.
Oh sorry, I forgot to tell you that riding a bicycle around Sri Lanka is a great way to lose that extra pound gained during your vacation. Go pedalling!
8. Book a Spice Plantation tour
I am sure that you would have come across this phrase that constantly asks us all to ‘spice up our lives’. To all those who have been struggling to find the answer as of how to do it, book for a spice plantation tour in Sri Lanka.
Find your way through the spice plantation observing the different kinds of spices, understand their medicinal properties, be uplifted by the intriguing aroma, and stock a plenty of them in your bags.
Home to an array of spice gardens, your tour of the spice plantation will definitely be memorable.
9. Taste some locally-made Arrack
The USA has bourbon, Europe has wine, and Australia has beer & wine. Likewise, it’s common for most countries around the world to have their own form of locally made alcohol. In Sri Lanka, it is arrack.
Produced from the fermented sap of coconut flowers, sugarcane, grain or fruit, depending upon the origin, Arrack is a distilled alcoholic drink that you should definitely try during your trip to Sri Lanka. When I say try, it doesn’t mean you have to get totally drunk, make a ruckus and blame it on me. No, I don’t mean that!
And please don’t confuse arrack with arak, which is usually consumed in Eastern Mediterranean and African countries.
10. Befriend a turtle at Kosgoda
A lover of animals? I have the best thing for you to do during your vacation in Sri Lanka. Volunteer in any one of the sea turtle conservation projects and raise the awareness of the sea turtle issues.
Kosgoda Sea Turtle conservation project is really good. Operating since 1988, the organization aims to monitor local sea turtle activity and takes effort in conserving their local nesting sites.
Volunteer in the project to learn about turtle conservation, get your hands on beach conservation work, feed the turtles, and go on tours spreading the word!
Have you tried any of these before? Share your experiences below.