Avurudu season is just around the corner and for many of us, it’s a chance to get away from the city, spend time with our loved ones, and unwind before the next financial year really kicks in.
Whilst trips to the Southern Coast or Nuwara Eliya are the norm for the April season, Sri Lanka is a bountiful country, full of nooks and crannies often forgotten. Keeping in mind the challenge of sourcing fuel and, in turn, affordable transport, here’s a list of lesser explored holiday destinations less than five hours away from Colombo.
This little town located in the Ratnapura district will make you go off the grid and reconnect with nature. Udawalawe has water-front eco-retreats and unintrusive river safaris that let you get up-close and personal with bathing elephants and migrating storks.
The town is also home to a number of unique attractions and activities. Take a safari at the Udawalawe National Park, feed elephants at the Elephant Transit Home, take a warm bath at the Mahapelessa Natural Hot Springs, explore the archaeology at the Ussangoda National Park, or revel in the lush greenery of the Ramba Buddhist monastery located on the banks of Walawe river.
A point in the Truly Sri Lankan Cultural Triangle, Anuradhapura is a sacred city, home to massive stupas and well-preserved ruins. What once used to be an ancient Sinhala civilisation now plays host to luxurious properties nestled amidst the lush greenery of the North Central Province.
Teeming with activity, Anuradhapura has countless attractions to explore including the Ruwanwelisaya stupa, the Ritigala Forest Monastery, the Wilpattu National Park, Mihintale Mountain Peak, and so much more. You can even take a village cycle tour, kayak on the local lake or try horseback riding.
Whilst Negombo’s beaches are often on the radar for a quick getaway, its lagoons are often forgotten. Pamunugama is home to some magical lagoon-front properties that exude serenity, peace, and relaxation.
Take a boat ride through the diverse mangrove ecosystem of the Negombo Lagoon or check out the colourful boats on the Dutch Canal, the main channel for transporting goods in the Dutch era. Purchase fresh fish for a hearty meal at the Main Fish Market, explore Negombo’s countless churches, and marvel in the architecture of the Negombo Fort. Pamunugama is both close to Colombo and filled with tons of activities.
Dotted with cloud forests and tea plantations, Haputale is a town in the Badulla District known for its rich biodiversity and extensive variety of flora and fauna. Perfect for those who love to get off the beaten path, the town’s cool climate and lush greenery make Haputale perfect for both serenity and adventure.
Take a dip in Sri Lanka’s tallest waterfall Bambarakanda, or the second-tallest Diyaluma, take a tour of the Dambatenne Tea Factory, watch the sunrise from Lipton Seat, or indulge in fresh strawberry jam at St. Benedict’s Monastery Adisham – the possibilities are endless.
A coastal wetland area that is especially rich in biodiversity, Kalametiya is located in the Hambantota district and is full of little coves, lush lagoons, and pristine private beaches.
Book a rustic villa for a quiet family getaway and reconnect with nature by going bird-watching at the Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary, sunbathing on the Kalametiya beach, or enjoying some much-needed down time in the comfort of your chosen property.
Located in the Matara district, Deniyaya is surrounded by the Sinharaja forest with a relatively cool climate to escape to, especially during warm Colombo days. It’s an ideal place to breathe in some fresh air, trek through a rainforest, or chase down waterfalls.
One of the most fascinating things to do in Deniyaya is visiting the Fatna Point, a nature preserve with natural water slides, created by gentle water flow on smooth rock surfaces. You can also take a dip in the Gin ganga or Sathmala Ella waterfalls, explore the Sinharaja forest, or have a cuppa at the Dalu Tea Centre.
With a number of exciting new places now on your travel bucket list, you can say goodbye to the same old holiday destinations this Avurudu season, and go forth and explore!
This Avurudu season, Pan Asia Bank, the Truly Sri Lankan Bank, has partnered with some of Sri Lanka’s most breathtaking hotels and resorts, bringing to you special discounts and offers at properties across the island!