The small island of Sri Lanka is home to golden beaches, misty mountains and warm smiles. If that wasn’t enough to convince you check out this list of the best reasons to visit Sri Lanka this year.
Disclaimer: My trip to Sri Lanka was supported by the National tourist board. As always, all words and opinions are my own. This article may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to yourself. This helps towards the upkeep of this website for which I am grateful.
Is Sri Lanka Open To Tourism?
Yes it is open to fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.
I visited from the UK in February 2022, and spent 12 days travelling around the country. Nothing was closed or restricted, but we did wear masks in crowded spaces. Other than that if felt as much like a pre-pandemic holiday as possible, making it a great idea for 2022.
Fully Vaccinated Passengers – What Will You Need?
—Correct as of April 2022—
From February 27 2022, you no longer need a pre-departure PCR or antigen test to enter the country.
However all visitors need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) online.
You will also need to purchase COVID-19 travel insurance and fill in a health declaration form.
Unvaccinated Passengers – What Will You Need?
–Correct as of April 2022—
You must stay in a Tourism Bio Bubble for a duration of 7 nights/8 days. You will have all facilities of the hotels made available to you and will have the ability to visit approved tourist sites.
11 Best Reasons to Visit Sri Lanka
1. You Can Visit All Year Round
The ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ has an average year round temperature of 25-30°C in the coastal regions and 15-18°C in the highlands.
Despite the small size of the island, Sri Lanka experiences two monsoon seasons.
However they affect different sides of the country at different times, so it’s possible to visit all year and still experience good weather.
The southwest monsoon is usually between May and July, and the dry season for this region of the country is December to March.
The northeast monsoon is between October and January, and the dry season is between May and September.
This means the peak season for Sri Lanka runs from December to mid-April, but do consider the shoulder seasons if you prefer to travel when it’s less crowded and better value for money.
2. Incredible Food
No matter what your food preferences are, you’ll be able to find something to suit you.
From fragrant wholesome curries, fresh seafood and unique street foods, they are plenty of options in Sri Lanka to fit any palette and budget.
Some of my favourites include kottu (a diced roti dish served with vegetables, eggs, lamb or chicken) and the famous egg hoppers which are perfect for breakfast (or dinner to be honest).
3. Abundant Wildlife
Sri Lanka is considered one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the world.
There are 26 National Parks and two marine parks, which are home to leopards, elephants, bears, deer, monkeys, mongoose, wild boar, water buffalo, peacocks and many other beautiful species.
Sri Lanka is one of the best places to see Asian elephants in the wild, visit Hurulu Eco Park (December to March), Minneriya National Park (May to September) or Kaudulla National Park (October to November).
There are still 800 leopards found in Sri Lanka, your best bet is Yala National Park between March and October.
Whales and Dolphins
Between November and April, you can spot the world’s largest mammal, the blue whale off the coast of Mirissa (we were lucky to see a baby one and dozens of spinner dolphins on our half day whale watching tour in February).
Five different species of turtles (green, hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback and olive ridley) live in the waters around Sri Lanka, and they come ashore to lay their eggs.
From January to March you can visit Kosgoda to see hundreds of newly-hatched sea turtles scurrying across the white sand beaches towards their new lives in the Indian Ocean.
You don’t need to visit a National Park to see wildlife, there are countless monkeys that reside at the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of Sigiriya also known as The Lion Rock.
4. Golden Beaches
Sri Lanka has some of the most pristine coastline in Asia.
Whether you’re seeking solitude, nightlife, surfing or snorkelling, Sri Lanka has it all.
The west and south coasts are where the best beaches in Sri Lanka are located.
Head to Mirissa if you’d like to soak up the sun in peace, visit Weligama if you want to go surfing, or for the more adventurous, Bentota has plenty of adventure activities such as paramotoring, kitesurfing and even a river boat safari.
5. Plenty Of Things To Do
Whether you just want to kick back or would love an adventure in Sri Lanka, there are plenty of things to do to suit any type of traveler, including surfing, hot air ballooning, hiking, wildlife watching, snorkeling, temples, scuba-diving, epic train rides, and beaches.
6. Tea Plantations
Sri Lanka is the world’s fourth largest producer of tea, so you can’t explore the country without visiting a tea plantation!
Head to the scenic mountains of Nuwara Eliya, and visit one of the tea factories for a tea plucking tour.
Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle is a trove of ancient cities, relics and religious monuments showcasing early Sri Lankan civilisation.
The triangle consists of the area between three cities – Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.
The most visited attraction in the Golden Triangle is Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress and significant historical site.
Visitors can explore the ruins of the King’s palace, they can wander through the surrounding gardens and climb the 1,200 steps to the summit of the rock.
Other popular cultural spots in the Golden Triangle include:
- The cave temples of Dambulla, which is the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka
- The ancient city of Anuradhapura
- The Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy
8. Amazing Range of Accommodations
Sri Lanka has something to fit every budget, from hostels to 5 star resort hotels and everything in between, from glamping tents to unique treehouses.
On our tour of the island we stayed at several different hotels, but my favourites have to be:
9. Easy To Escape The Crowds
Sri Lanka has been an up and coming travel destination for awhile and was even named Lonely Planets Number 1 Country to Visit in 2019.
As popularity grows the crowds also follow, but in todays climate more and more travellers prefer heading off the beaten track to less visited destinations or parts of the country that are considered hidden gems.
10. Small But Diverse
Sri Lanka is just over a quarter of the size of the UK, meaning you can visit most of the island in only 10 days.
The cultural triangle is only a few hours away from the lush tropical rainforests, the mountainous highlands and miles of pristine beaches, meaning you can see and do a lot in a relatively short trip to this island.
11. Proximity to the Maldives
For some reason (I clearly need to improve my map skills), I didn’t realise until I was already in Sri Lanka, that the Maldives are only a 2 hour flight away!
I met several travellers who had combined the cultural highlights of Sri Lanka with the barefoot luxury of the Maldives.
Planning a Trip to Sri Lanka?
Here are some related posts that will help you plan your trip: