Sri Lanka travel tips
The ruins of Anuradhapura are one of Sri Lanka’s and South East Asia most impressive sights. The enormous complex contains a rich collection of architectural and archaeological wonders: large stupas, ancient pools and crumbling temples, built during Anuradhapura’s thousand years of rule over Sri Lanka. Well worth a few hours exploring this area.
Safari at Minnriya Tank:
Book a safari and see the Elephant gathering at Minnriya Tank. Large numbers of Sri Lankan elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season. It is amazing how close you get to these majestic creatures, whilst adhering to the strict rules and conservation of this area.
Sigiriya (Lion Rock) is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern district near the town of Dambulla, Sri Lanka. This site was selected by King Kashyapa for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes, and created a grand entrance to the place.
The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death, but still remains one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning and running fountains. When going to this site remember to take your walking shoes and plenty of water, and the last leg to the top is not for the faint hearted.
Kandy Esala Perahera:
The first six nights are relatively low-key, but on the seventh night the proceedings escalate into a impressive parade. Thousands of fire twirlers, dancers, drummers, flag waivers and elephants parade the street in a colourful 4 hour plus procession.
The perahera is held in Kandy to honour the sacred tooth enshrined in the The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. It runs for 10 days in the month of Esala (July/August), ending on the Nikini poya (full moon).
We stayed at a local guest house who organised us our tickets, and you need to book well in advance. It’s also a dry zone during the festival, so those inclined for a little tipple, it’s time for a detox.
Nestled amongst the tea plantations its ‘Little England’ in the highlands and this town has a British-country-village feel to it. With colonial-era bungalows, Tudor-style hotels, well-tended hedgerows and pretty gardens and a much cooler climate it’s a must see on your trip to Sri Lanka. Stay a couple of days and explore the tea plantations and sample the fine quality tea. It’s an easy and scenic train ride from Kandy.
Galle is an exotic old trading port blessed with Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient mosques and churches, grand mansions and museums. Easy to explore on foot, and you will love wandering its lanes as you pass impeccably restored hotels, cafes, and quirky boutiques. In Galle you will also find amazing artists, writers, photographers and designers to pick up holiday trinkets.
Peter Daavid Hignett, creative director and owner of Peter Daavid.