[D]escribed by many travel writers as a ‘magical place’ Sri Lanka lives up to expectations and often surpasses them.
The Sri Lankan climate is a major factor to consider when you are making your plans to visit this island, the country boasts not one but two monsoon seasons, though having taken this into account, be prepared to explore and enjoy.
The driest times of the year to embark on your Sri Lanka holidays are between April and September especially if you plan to take in the awe-inspiring historical wonders of the ‘Cultural Triangle or the stunning east coast beaches, including the amazing Trincomalee beach, famous for its whales, or the surfer’s paradise at Arugam Bay.
Alternatively, escape the cold and the damp of the Northern Hemisphere from December to March and take advantage of Sri Lanka’s other dry season and head for the sun and sea on the island’s West coast.
The hippies of the 1960's/70's first brought this part of the island to fame and if you head off from the capital Colombo moving down the west coast to the port of Galle you’ll be able to take in the esoteric charms of this former Dutch colonial city.
Expect The Unexpected
The Hill Country is also dry between December and March but a mellower climate can produce a greater influx of other travellers and tourists, you have been warned.
The Sri Lankan Hill country tends to have a more temperate climate in general than the rest of the island but even this area isn’t spared the odd torrential downpour or ten.
The colonial masters of yore built their tea plantations here and there are trains that can transport you from one plantation to another while enjoying the stunning mountainous landscaping and sipping a refreshing cup of tea.
If you want to take your breath away, why not visit World’s End where a flat plateau suddenly makes way for a sheer drop of 880 metres.
Alternatively you could always go to the beginning of the bible and visit ‘Adam’s Peak,’ known locally as ‘Sri Pada’ where you can see the footprint of the Buddha on the mountain summit, this famous sight has now become a multi-religious shrine.
Be prepared for an energetic 2,243 metre climb and consult local guides about the weather at the top of the mountain on the day of your visit.
Having a limited budget does not mean missing out on any of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, admiring the ruined ancient temples of Anuradhpura in the Cultural triangle or trekking through the Sinharaja National Park.
Many of these areas run schemes whereby you can sample authentic Sri Lankan life by staying with a local family through the ‘Home Stay Accommodation’ scheme.
The South and Western regions offer a wide selection of hostels but make sure that your bed is provided with a mosquito net.
95% of Sri Lankan youth is said to travel by backpacking so, when in doubt ask a local traveller.
Disclosure: This post was written by Celina Bledowska, a journalist and author who is familiar with traveling on a shoestring both overseas and in the UK, and brought to you by SelectiveAsia.com.