While Singapore is a tiny red dot on the map, its residents hardly have to feel caged in despite its small size. With dozens of delightful destinations just as a short (and cheap) flight away, it is the perfect bounce-off point for travel lovers who want to explore colourful Southeast Asia and the many wonders it has to offer.
When you think of tropical islands and beautiful beaches in the region, chances are that Bali and Phuket would be among the first names to come to mind. However, for those who enjoys walking off the beaten track (or want to avoid throngs of tourists), Sri Lank presents itself as an attractive under-the-radar option—lush greenery, mountains, sun, sea and even baby turtles, this island country has it all.
Here are five not-to-be-missed things you have to tick off your Sri Lanka to-do list.
Visit The Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery At Koggala Beach
Established in 1986, the Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery is a non-profit organisation committed to the conservation of the magnificent marine animals. Located in the Galle District near Koggala Beach, it offers visitors a rare opportunity to get up-close with the elusive sea turtles—in fact, you can even touch them! In addition to educating people about the need to protect these endangered creatures, the farm also actively rescue, treat and rehabilitate injured turtles. Once they are well enough to survive on their own, they are released back into the sea. You can even sign up to release baby turtles, an experience that would undoubtedly be memorable and meaningful.
Snap Pictures Of The Epic View At Nine Arches Bridge
On your way to Ella (more on this later) on the train, you should make a stop at the stunning Nine Arches Bridge. A relic of the country’s colonial past, this is a great piece of early 20th century British architecture. Located in Demodara, it has become a popular tourist destination for its stunning view of the picturesque hillsides around it. To get to the bridge, most people choose to walk, but you can also opt for a rented motorbike. However, for that spectacular shot of a train crossing the bridge, you may have to wait for a while, as the train schedule is notoriously unreliable.
Climb Little Adam’s Peak At Ella
Even for those who are not experienced hikers, Ella—reachable by a 3-hour train ride from Nurwaraeliyais—is a must-visit spot in Sri Lanka. The small town is situated in gorgeous hill country and offers trekking options of varying difficulty levels. If you are looking for a relatively easy climb, take the path for Little Adam’s Peak—the entire hike would take two to three hours, and you would be able to take in breath-taking views of the surrounding landscape the entire way. On the way, you would also come across rustic tea plantations and hard-at-work tea picking ladies.
Step Into The Wild With A Safari Tour At Yala National Park
Contrary to popular belief, the safari experience is not limited to Africa. The Yala National Park in Sri Lanka offers exciting safari tours that let you observe wild animals in their natural habitats. As the most visited and second largest national park in the country, Yala offers a thrilling glimpse into the animal kingdom—making your way through the park in a rugged jeep, you could encounter a wide variety of animals, from elephants and water buffalos to the iconic Sri Lanka Leopard. The full-day safari and special 5-12 safari are recommended.
Learn How To Surf At Weligama Beach
After a few days of trekking through mountains and animal watching in the wild, it is time to get back to the beach and the sea. For lovers of water sports, the Weligama Beach is an ideal place to catch some great waves while cultivating a sun-kissed tan. If you have never surfed before, fret not, because there are many surf schools to choose from—many of the instructors are very experienced and have a good knowledge of the local waves. More advanced surfers would be able to find suitable spots nearby, such as Mirissa (3km south) or Gurubebila (3km north).
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