Backpacking is the freedom of traveling without the hassle of itineraries, excess baggage and being able to experience the moment without having to keep up with schedules. First-timers take note; every trotter was once a novice and nothing teaches better than experience. However, that doesn’t mean that you must leave unprepared.
Heading towards the island nation of Sri Lanka, you ought to know that the country has been through every kind of turmoil to have the symbolic florae of grandeur budding from its soil. You can take transit stays at Anuradhapura guesthouses or stay at one of the many hostels maintained by the most gracious people you’ll ever meet. Don’t miss out on the following destinations when you heed the call of your heart and the choice of chance with a pack on your back:
The most dominant and beautiful topography in the nation is its beaches. And Tangalle is it! The water changes colour with the sunlight. Get lost amongst the palm trees and rest assured that you won’t find a soul bothering you on the pristine sandy beaches.
If you happen to land on this part of the country in the first half of the year, you will be privy to a glimpse of the various species of sea turtles laying eggs on the beach.
The Sigiriya Rock
We feel that a backpacker’s maiden voyage is incomplete without a trek and the Central Province of Lanka has just the place. The Lion Rock is the chief attraction for trekking in the area and you’ll be standing in awestruck wonder when you reach the monolith carved all around with ancient artwork.
Alternatively, head towards the Buddhist meditation caves decorated by giant boulders of the Pidurangala Rock from Dambulla hotels or hostels.
#YohoTip Here are some tips on how to climb Sigiriya.
Trincomalee and Pigeon Island
To the North-East and we promise you that you wouldn’t have seen so many colours together. Ocean lovers take note – that Trincomalee is your paradise; the coral reef at the Pigeon Island is the closest you’ll get to heaven. You may take tours to explore the magnificent whales and dolphins of the area as well. Go diving and snorkeling to witness the majestic wonder of the water world here.
The relatively cooler central highlands are calling and you must heed the summons. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese kingdom back in the early 19th century; reason enough to indulge in the architectural splendor of the country. ‘The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic’ and the general preservation of Bus shim in the city is worth witnessing.
Another destination that is the unofficial backpacker’s settlement is Ella. You will find some of the best Western food out there if you have a taste for them after the varied and flavor-packed Lankan dishes. Book hostels in Ella and hike to spots that offer great views of the hill country.
You will most likely land in Colombo in the first place; don’t miss out on the busy city life that makes up the famous capital of the country. And remember, first-time backpacking is only as good or great as you make it.