Stephani Fernando - Travel Architect at ArTravele
Sri Lanka, an island destination holds much diversity moving from one part to another. Every destination has its own unique blend of beauty, be it the cultural heritage, fabulous landscapes of the misty hills, immaculate waterfalls, thrilling wildlife, the rich biodiversity, land full of glamorous gems and of course the coast which surrounds this tear drop shaped Isle and many more. Most often than not it’s this diversity that excites many, as you can find something exciting for any type of traveler. For me more than reaching a destination it’s the journey that’s inspirational. These rugged roads of Ceylon have left an imprint in my memory, which is worth sharing. Following are my top 5 picks of the must take Sri Lanka road trips which should be on your bucket list if you share a common passion as I do for scenic drives. Include these in your Sri Lanka Road Trip Itineraries.
1. Culture Drive
For all history buffs and anthropology enthusiasts, yearning to enjoy a road trip around Sri Lanka, visiting the cultural triangle in Sri Lanka is a must do! When driving up to the cultural hotspots one can be amazed at the change in landscape you will witness. Leaving behind the concrete jungle you will pass through curvy roads given the much-needed shade by the mighty trees by the roadside. A tunnel of shade with the sun peeking its shine every now and then is a warm welcome to the cultural tropics. One key highlight would be the old Sigiriya road which has its own rugged beauty of one narrow drive with mighty trees by its roadside almost reaching out to each other across the road from above creating a beautiful canopy of shade to all who drive through. The occasional Elephant and other wildlife may too meet you every now and then when their mood is just right, so be prepared to enjoy an experience of a lifetime
2. Coastal Drive
Living on an Island if there’s one thing I’d never get tired of it would be the ocean waves. A drive through the coastal belt of the country whichever the direction you drive is one which never fails to mesmerize me. Gazing into the horizon watching either the sunrise or sunset makes you wonder “is this real?”. Looking on into the horizon and noticing the palette of colors painted across the sky as the ocean reflects its beauty, while your attention is drawn towards the rhythmic dance of the ocean waves as the day goes by, is the best medication to soothe any soul. Passing through one destination to another you will also come across jetties dotted with colourful fishing boats, not forgetting the fishermen on stilts going about their daily lifestyle. The occasional moment where you will witness the beach-goers swinging away on the most instagram-able rope swings to pro surfers and learners both at sea fighting against the tide and also all the others who prefer to simply enjoy a day at the beach with family and friends.
3. 18 bends and Misty Hills
“Daha Ata Wanguwa” as famously known by Sri Lankans, was once considered a treacherous stretch to drive on. A drone image of this 18 bend drive most certainly showcases why one may think so. However, driving up or down through the 18 bends would leave you speechless for two reasons. One of course being the daring nature one must have to conquer this and the other for its scenic pleasures and cooling atmosphere.
Don’t stop there, make sure to reach the top of the island as you pass through the most scenic views any island could hold. The rolling tea estates, immaculate mountain terrain, graceful waterfalls, misty rainforests and chilly atmosphere will have your eyes hooked!
4. Road to Wilderness
Nothing could get more real than a drive to reach the entrance gates of the Yala National Park wanting to witness Sri Lanka wildlife. Most often than not hopping on board a safari jeep and a drive through this road will leave you with the feeling of bring teleported to a different world. Catching the sunrise or the sunset is one of my favourite moments to treasure. The straight road drive where you come in to contact with many critters roaming freely is the much needed colour added on.
5. Northern Trails
If you love an off the beaten path trail, I would suggest a drive up to the north of the Island. This rather time-consuming journey is worth every moment for its unique ruggedness with the change in atmosphere which you will encounter in every form. Dotted with palm trees, dry zone foliage and away from the concrete jungle would make you believe you just entered a different country. However, of course the smiling Sri Lankans is a constant that is very much something to look forward to. Its an adventure of its own. If you wish to know of things to do in north Sri Lanka there’s so much for every type of traveler.
There you go. My list of top 5 road trips worth taking, for all that beauty and uniqueness it holds. If you wish to explore any of the above, and want to know of things to do in Sri Lanka, do let us know and we’d be happy curate a holistic plan for you. A tear drop shaped Island with much diversity that could be explored through a little road trip for anyone who enjoys long scenic drives only to unearth the beauty trapped within.
To embark on a road trip in this magical isle