Best Places to Visit for First-Timers during Holidays in Sri Lanka (2023)

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Sri Lanka (or the island of Ceylon) is a small island nation that is washed by the Lakkadiv Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Holidays in Sri Lanka are chosen by tourists who want stunning natural views, beautiful tans, diving in the clear sea and exoticism. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka is whale watching during the migration season.

Read this post about best things to do for first timers visiting Sri Lanka; we’ve tried to collect the most interesting places to visit during your holidays.

Where is Sri Lanka located:

Next to India




21.7 million people.

Language in Sri Lanka

Sinhalese and Tamil

Currency of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan rupee (one rupee ≈ 0.4 rubles).

The best season to relax:

Spring, winter and summer in different parts of the country.

Do I need a visa to travel to Sri Lanka?

Yes, regardless of the length of stay.

Holidays in Sri Lanka

Holidays in Sri Lanka: when to go swimming or whale watching

In Sri Lanka, the temperature is almost the same throughout the year. Both winter and summer air is heated to about +30 degrees Celsius, and the sea – up to +28 degrees. And even in the most unsuccessful month for tourism on the island nation can find a dry sunny beach.

But if you do not want to waste time trying to “escape” from the rain, then refuse to go to Ceylon in September, October and the first half of November. During this period, monsoons come to Sri Lanka. The air becomes very humid, the sky is gray, it rains often, and the sea has big waves.

Before you go to Sri Lanka, we recommend choosing a beach carefully. If you’re not looking for surfing spots, but you want to swim in clear ocean water, we’ve made you a selection of the best beaches in Sri Lanka without waves.

If you are interested in a budget holiday, then choose autumn tours, as they are the cheapest. If you are not afraid of the humidity and stuffiness, you can come here in the fall for sightseeing and exploring the island. If you are planning a vacation in Sri Lanka with children, it will be useful to know what parts of the country are most suitable for a safe family vacation.

If you are going for a seaside vacation in Sri Lanka, choose the drier seasons:

  • In the southwest of Sri Lanka is best to vacation in winter and early spring.
  • From May to August, the sunny weather, and with it the tourists, moves to the northeast coast.

The southwest and northeast contain the most popular resorts, such as the town of Tangalle or the resort of Veligama. In other parts of Ceylon, the infrastructure is less developed. Tourists who prefer “wild” recreation with tents go there. Regardless of where you decide to go on vacation, you must have all required vaccinations for travel to Sri Lanka.

Favorite resorts for a nice family vacation or a romantic honeymoon:

Holidays in Sri Lanka: Whale Migration Season

The island of Ceylon lies on the migratory route of whales to the Indian coast. If you want to see the sea giants, then plan your vacation in Sri Lanka from May to August or from November to March. At this time, whales pass near the coasts of the country, and local travel agencies take vacationers to see them in the open sea.

To admire whales in Sri Lanka, choose one of four resorts:

The first two resorts whale through the fall and winter, while Trincomalee and Batticaloa are in summer.

Whales in Sri Lanka

Local Culture: What Tourists Need to Know

Holidays in Sri Lanka: Traditions and Prohibitions

Sri Lanka is a multinational country. The general word “Lankans” here refers to the nationalities of Tamils, Sinhalese, Indians, and many others. Most of the locals are Buddhists. They treat their religion with reverence, which they demand from the vacationers. From here come some bans and rules for tourists in Sri Lanka.

To avoid getting in an awkward situation, follow a few rules:

  • Respect the local religion. Do not joke about Buddhism or the Buddha in the presence of Lankans. Don’t play with statues in the form of a Buddhist deity and never climb on monuments to take pictures. Even tattoos depicting Buddha are forbidden here. If you have one, you’d better hide it under your clothes. The Buddha tattoo is perceived by Lankans as a mockery. You could face deportation or imprisonment.
  • Do not wear open clothing. This applies to visits to places of cultural heritage, monuments, memorials, temple complexes. There are a huge number of them on the territory of Sri Lanka. You should definitely visit at least one of them, such as the Buddhist temple of Dambulla. Women should wear loose skirts or dresses below the knee, and men should wear roomy pants (shorts are not welcome). The shoes should have a closed toe. There is no dress code in tourist spots.
  • Don’t take pictures of soldiers. In Sri Lanka there was a long civil war. Now the political situation in the country has calmed down, but you can still find people in traditional military uniforms on the streets. The soldiers, though they look very unusual, are not part of the tourist program at all, like the sentinels in London. You can’t take pictures or film them. So you show your disrespect for the people who fought.
  • Don’t look strangers in the eye. The culture in Sri Lanka is very different from European culture. Here a man can approach a woman just because a girl looked him in the eye. At the same time acquaintance will be very persistent. To avoid this, do not maintain long eye contact with passersby.

Otherwise, Sri Lanka is quite tourist-friendly. Locals are always happy to give directions and even walk you to the right place. True, in return they will expect material gratitude for their help.

Holidays on the island of Sri Lanka

Often our vacationers find traditional local clothing unusual. Both men and women wear skirts here. The male population wears a variation of the female sari, the sarong. This saves them from the heat and keeps them from getting sunburned. You can buy such a piece of clothing at any clothing market. Generally in the market you can find souvenirs that come from Sri Lanka. Most often it is tea, spices, exotic fruits.

Food and cuisine in Sri Lanka

A vacation in Sri Lanka would not be complete without traditional food. The local cuisine is a mix of Thai, Indian and Chinese.

All the dishes in Lankan cafes are very spicy and spicy. If you don’t like spices, be sure to tell the waiter at the cafe to make a dish not spicy for you.

The main grain crop in Ceylon is rice. It is used in side dishes and soups, added to salads, served in desserts, and even put rice in ice cream. A lot of curry is almost always added to rice. Local vegetables and herbs – green beans, beans, wheat sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more – complement it. Lankans do not eat meat very often. Most of the country’s population is poor, so the dishes are prepared vegetarian.

Food in Sri Lanka

The main meat ingredient here is chicken. Lamb, pork and beef can also be found in local recipes, but much less frequently. This meat is very expensive.

But there is no problem with seafood in Sri Lanka. Octopus, squid, shrimp, mussels, clams and other sea creatures are waiting for you in each cafe. The main fish in Ceylon is tuna. It’s very hearty, meaty and inexpensive. For example, a large braised fillet of this fish with vegetables and spices, served with salad and potatoes, will cost $15. That’s enough food for two people.

Despite all the exoticism, the food in Sri Lanka is very tasty and healthy. You can safely order all the dishes you like as they are always cooked in Ceylon with fresh products. The fact is that only expensive restaurants can buy large refrigerators. It is cheaper for small café owners to bring in fresh vegetables and fish every day than to buy freezers and store supplies inside the establishment.

Attractions and Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country of absolute exoticism, unspoiled nature and historical monuments. Explore the island quickly, because the sights here at every step. Take at least the scenic waterfalls in Sri Lanka, the island has a huge number of them. The most interesting of them all:

  • Adam’s Peak. The sacred mountain is more than 2 kilometers high. There is a legend that Adam himself left his footprints on this mountain when he came down from paradise (Lankans believe that it is the footprints of Buddha). There is indeed a stone footprint at the top. But it is not worth going up here because of it, but for the incredible views at dawn, so be sure to include this place in the list of must-see if you are planning a vacation in Sri Lanka.
  • Sigiriya . The remains of an ancient fortress on a large rock. It is more than 5,000 years old. The fortress can be viewed from the nearby Pidurangalu Rock, which overlooks the entire structure.
  • The Nine-arch Bridge . The most Instagrammable place in Sri Lanka. The old stone bridge over the tea plantations, on which trains still run. It is located in the north of Ceylon, near the town of Ella. There are other tourist train routes in Sri Lanka.
  • Nuwara-Elia . They come here for the spectacular mountain views and huge tea plantations. If you love this drink, come to Nuwara Eliya. You can buy tea to take with you. Tea connoisseurs can go to another tea resort in Unawatuna, Sri Lanka.
  • Temple of the Buddha’s Tooth , located in the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. A place where numerous Buddhist pilgrims come every year.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Yala National Park or Udawalawe, where wild animals can be seen from the car window. There are other national nature parks on the island of Sri Lanka where you can observe animals in their natural habitat and take part in a safari tour.

The Bridge of Nine Arches


Holidays in Sri Lanka is not the cheapest because of the long flight, but it is worth it. It is a country of the clearest sea, incredibly beautiful mountains and exotic culture. It brings together the traditions of India, Thailand and all of Southeast Asia. If you want an unusual vacation that you are sure to remember, then go to Ceylon.


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