Legend has it that after Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden, they found refuge in Sri Lanka. The small island nation may not be paradise – but it’s as close as the intrepid traveler can get on Earth! Beautiful scenery, tropical weather, vibrant culture, and an endless array of activities, festivals, and sites to discover make Sri Lanka the ideal destination for your next journey.

If you want adventure, you will find it. If you want relaxation, it will find you. Whatever you need from your vacation, Sri Lanka obliges.

Culture

Sri Lanka is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, each offering a unique experience for the visitor. Of particular note is the sacred city of Anuradhapura. The well-preserved ruins date back to 900 BC, and within the city is one of Sri Lanka’s most revered sites: the Sri Maha Bodhiya. This temple honors the Bodhi Tree which grows near it, said to be a cutting from the Buddha’s Tree of Enlightenment. The tree was believed to heal illness and wounds; and it remains a sacred site for Buddhists. Exploring the ruins is a wonderful way to experience the culture and history of Sri Lanka.

Food, Festivals, and Fun

If you time your visit right, you can experience the exciting Esala Perahera festival in Kandy. Held in August, the Buddhist festival features elaborate dances, including the exhilarating fire-dances, intricately decorated elephants in rich garments, and processions. After five days, the festival ends with diya-kepeema’, or the traditional water cutting ceremony. The lights, revelry, and pageant are not to be missed!

You might not be able to make it to Kandy in August, but there is no excuse to miss out on the food. Complex and multi-faceted, you will marvel at what Sri Lankan chefs can do with rice, vegetables, meat, and curry. The cuisine is known for its invention and disregard for recipes, meaning you can taste the “same” dish in new ways throughout your adventure!

Adventure

Up for some rapids? Too tame? How about canyoning, in which you rappel, jump, and slide down waterfalls and rock ledges. If that’s a bit much, a canoe ride through some of the most stunning scenery in the world should be a great fit. Sri Lanka is an adventure traveler’s dream, with plenty of opportunities for water sports, hiking, diving, cycling, and much more.

Which side of Sri Lanka appeals to you? Better yet, don’t choose. Experience it all – you just might have to extend your vacation a bit!

Enid Glasgow