Why Sri Lanka should be the first international destination for your parents!

“Each day of their lives, they have made deposits in the memory banks of their children.”  – Anonymous

Now when your memory banks are overflowing, it’s time for you to flood their memory banks with the rarest of experiences, times of togetherness and loads of affection. I believe all of it can be shared by travelling far and near. Having traveled “near” quite a bit, it’s time to take them far and foreign.

Since the time I set off for my first foreign travel, I have been thinking to take my family for their first international vacation. For their first time, I need to make sure that they get the flavor of local culture, cuisine and context of the country. At the same time, most important thing to ensure is that they feel comfortable and not too alienated from their general style of living. I would definitely not want my parents to feel out of the place and not be able to enjoy their most awaited vacation.

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On travelling to Sri Lanka recently, I realized that the country certainly fits in all my criteria for an international vacation for my folks. Read on to know why Sri Lanka should be the first foreign destination for your creators too. Trust me Sri Lanka has something for all sorts of parents.

Choose what suits best for your parents and plan a trip for them:

 Religious folks
Chilled out ones
Adventurous folks
History and art buffs
Food lovers

For Religious Ones:

Sri Lanka is loaded with Hindu Mythology. It’s every nook and corner has hidden trails of Ramayana. As we all know, the climax location of Ramayana is Sri Lanka and thus it connects to India culturally, historically, geographically and spiritually. It is believed that Sri Lanka is one of  the 10 kingdoms of King Ravana where he brought Sita after abducting her.

Here are few places of religious interest which will keep your folks hooked.

Sita Kotuwa – A place where devi Sita was held captive initially and thus named after her.

Sita Eliya – Ravana moved Sita from Sita Kotuwa to Sita Eliya. She was kept captive at Ashok Vattika which is Hakgala gardens today. Hakgala gardens are located at the base of Haklaga Rock and are a common tourist attraction today.

Sita Eliya houses the only Sita Devi temple in the world which is called Sita Amman temple. It is said that Sita used to bathe in a stream and thus later the Sita temple was built close-by. You can also witness Hanuman’s footsteps (boundaried in yellow)  near the stream which is the backside of the temple. The temple is very well ornated with splendid carvings. Also, the pictures from Ramayana epic are drawn over ceilings and walls transporting you to that era. You must speak to the Pandit there who are more than excited to narrate some stories to you.

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Sita Amman temple

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Dunuwila –  It is a place from where Lord Rama fired the Brahmastra at king Rāvana and then Ravana got killed.

Yahangala – Rāvana’s body was kept here for the country men to pay their respect for their departed King.

Divurumpola – It is this pious place where Sita met Rama after the war and where she under went the “Agni” test and proved her innocence and purity to Rama. Divurumpola means the Place of Oath in Sinhalese.

Other than Hindu mythology, Sri Lanka offers Buddhism saga to be explored.  Temples like Gangaramaya temple, Temple of Sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, Dambula Cave Temple and many more.

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Sri Gangaramaya Temple, Colombo

With so many stories to relate to, your parents are definitely going to have a great time feeling one with the new country.

For chilled out ones :

Sand, Sun, Beach and beer in abundant quantity will not only relax your originators to every bit but they will also have a splendid time to remember all through their lives.

Sri Lanka is a country of pristine beaches and soft sand which soothes your feet and makes you feel alive while you watch the sun play with clouds.  With a mug of beer and sight of sun coloring the sky with shades of orange, pink and purple, your folks are definitely going to cherish this time out with their loved ones.

Few of the beaches which you can’t miss taking your parents to:

Bentota A stunning beach outlined by a string of alluring hotels is a perfect destination for family vacations as the water is quite shallow and families can chill out there. The dense mangroves alongside the beach will give your folks goosebumps on witnessing the nature’s wonder.

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Mangroves by the beach
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The famous beer of Sri lanka – Lion beer

Unawatuna – This beach is close to Galle, the most beautiful city of Sri Lanka. While a stroll on Galle streets studded with pastel colored houses with wooden patios will transport them to streets of Europe, a leisure walk at Unawatuna beach will prove the beach to be one of best beaches in the world. It is one beautiful wide curving beach which otherwise is quiet but tourists hustle here in the nights.

Read A train journey which unveils contrast- Colombo to Galle to know more about a train journey with contrasts!

Mirissa – If you really have decided to show your folks things they haven’t witnessed till now, make sure you head to this beach. Spending time watching whales in pristine blue waters of this calm beach will surely revive the child in them and will put a smile on their faces.

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Mirissa Pic credit: http://mirissawhalewatchinglk.com

Other gorgeous beaches include Hikkaduwa, Arugam Bay, Yala, Trincomalee , Negombo and so many more. All these beaches are spectacular in their own way.

For adventurous folks:

When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say, “Wow, that was an adventure”, not “Wow, I sure felt safe”. 

For your folks who aren’t scared to try something new and want to step out of their comfort zones, Sri Lanka just fits in right for their adventurous vacation. The country offers an array of adventure activities from trekking to wildlife safaris to surfing to snorkelling and so many more.

There are a plethora of easy to moderate to difficult level of treks on offer in the country.

Adam’s Peak – The difficult ascent for Adam’s peak through the lush green forests will look all worthwhile after you will immerse in the sight of clouds giving way for sun to rise.

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Knuckles Mountain range – This is no less than a paradise offering trails that take you across clear rivers , waterfalls,  tea plantations , dense forests and terraced paddy fields. The numerous trails can be followed depending on the fitness level of your folks.

Other hikes which are quite satisfying can be Little Adam’s Peak, Ella Rock, Namunukula Mountain Range and Sigiriya Rock climb.

You should definitely head to one of these safaris to brace the wildlife love of your wellsprings:

Yala National Park- It is home to about 32 species of mammals, 125 species of birds, along with many reptiles and fauna species. As you drive through the open patches of grasslands, enliven yourself and witness the Sri Lankan leopards strolling silently hunting for their next meal, huge elephants trumpeting through the short grasses of the land, peafowls in their own dream world.

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Leopard Spotting in Yala National Park      Pic credit : http://ombralanka.com

Minneriya National Park – As all of you enter the park, your folks will breathe a new life on seeing the large herds of elephants busy in their daily chores of bathing themselves with splashes of water from the lake, playing with the baby elephants, chewing grass and gazing at the tourist jeep safaris as if they just encountered some weird species.  The elephant gathering is a thrilling spectacle which will leave you with amazement.

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Bundala National Park – To witness the pink lagoon, this national park is a must visit. A thousands of flamingos stock together here turning the Bundala lagoon pink. It is most famous for migratory water bird watching and has also been declared as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

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Flamingos at Bundala National Park    Pic credit : http://www.srilankaguidebook.com

Alternatively, you can also head to other national parks like Udawalwe, Wilpattu , Wasgamuwa or Kumana national park based on your itinerary.

Surfing is a common water sport in Sri Lanka where tourists undergo formal surfing classes and get certified. The most famous surfing destination is Arugam Bay at south-east cost of Sri Lanka and the season for surfing there is from May to October. If your plan doesn’t include going to south east cost, other beaches where you parents can try their hands at surfing are Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna Bay and Weligama. Don’t let your parents resist their inhibited dreams and set them out to explore what they had always dreamt of.

For history and art buffs:

To explore the crucibles or early Sinhalese civilization, take your folks to the world famous cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. The three historic capitals of the island – the hill capital – Kandy, the first Sinhalese capital – Anuradhapura and the medieval age capital – Polonnaruwa mark the points of triangle on the Srilankan map.

Kandy – Even after the island had been conquered by Dutch and Portuguese, Kandy was the last city to keep its culture, traditions and customs intact. It is considered as cultural capital of the island country as it houses the most important Buddhism shrines which are considered really sacred for Buddhists.

The local cultural dance forms are put up as an elaborate show in Kandy which will leave your folks in awe of the uniqueness and perseverance of the locals to keep their culture intact.

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Temple of the sacred tooth relic

The local cultural dance forms are put up as an elaborate show in Kandy which will leave your folks in awe of the uniqueness and perseverance of the locals to keep their culture intact.

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Anuradhapura – The ancient city of Anuradhapura is in ruins today and these magical ruins surely flips the stories of the country’s illustrious history. The important monuments are housed in complexes of three main monasteries. At the center of Anuradhapura is the extremely important and sacred tree of Sri Maha Bodhi, which is believed to be the oldest living tree in the world and the site where Buddha received Enlightenment.

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Shri Maha bodhi tree Pic credit : http://keywordsuggest.org

Polonnaruwa- It took over from Anuradhapura as the capital of the country in the medieval times. Polonnaruwa is based along the shallow reservoir of Parakrama Samudra. The remains of the city have been very well-preserved and attracts a lot of tourists to impart an idea of how a royal palace complex with citadel, royal baths and chamber of council would have looked like in that era. Even after so many centuries, you can spot the fine craftsmanship of those times in the rock carvings of Buddha statues.

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Chamber of council in ruins
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Royal palace

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Royal bath

The other cities relevant to the cultural triangle and are a must to explore are Sigirya, Dambulla, Mhintale and Yapahuwa.

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On a leisure stroll on Colombo streets, you can’t miss spotting the paintings done by local students. Let your parents fall for the art which they have not been able to immerse in years now.

Read A day in Colombo – Things to do to know how to spend a day in Colombo.

Now when they have discovered the history of your own country during all the gone by years, Sri Lanka will fuel them up with some really intriguing history.

For food lovers:

If your folks’ vacations revolve around food, then they will be blessed like never before. Make your fountainheads indulge in the exotic Sinhalese delicacies which will taste so familiar yet so unique to them.

The most common delicacies in Sri Lanka are made of concoction of varieties of curry and rice, it being their staple food. When I say curry, I do not at all mean the regular curry, the varieties of curry I am talking about are filled with sumptuous flavors and aromas  to bits.

Few of the enticing curries popular in Srilanka are : Srilankan chicken curry, Sweet and Sour fish curry, Chilli Fish curry, dal curry, egg plant curry, squid curry, jackfruit curry, beetroot curry and so many more.

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Steamed Rice with 10 different varieties of curry and we managed to finish it all

Kottu is another speciality which is made with stir frying the pieces of giant parantha with other meaty or vegetable accompaniments and assortment of local spices. The variations of kottu are vegetable kottu, egg kottu and cheese kottu and this goes without saying that all the varieties are so mouthwatering.

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Veg Kottu      Pic Credit : www.houseofcurrymn.com

The iconic food of Srilanka which you will find almost in all parts of the island is Hopper also called as “Appa”. It’s a delight to watch Appa getting cooked in a small rounded pan. It also comes in varieties of Plain hopper and Egg hopper.

Srilankans make sure that even their garnishes are done right. You  will not be able to stop yourself from falling in love with their sambols like Pol Sambol, Onion Sambol and Gotukola Sambol. All these are spectacular contributions of Sri Lanka to world which you cannot find in any another country.

While in Sri Lanka, do not miss going to one of the women community set up who sell vast variety of specialty snacks.

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These food stalls are run by women communities to enable employment for women

My food list and recommendation will go on and on as I have hardly missed trying any speciality of this country.  Sri Lanka is a bliss for all food lovers, so make sure you and  your folks hit this country of spices and indulge in the most local authentic delicious food.

My folks generally look forward to a blend of activities on their vacation , so I can easily cook a Sri Lankan itinerary for them with a base of history, a topping of food love and some real heavy garnishing of chill.

How about you? Where are you taking you parents for their first International destination?

I will be happy to answer your queries / doubts for your trip to Sri Lanka. Comment below if you have any questions!

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23 thoughts on “Why Sri Lanka should be the first international destination for your parents!

Add yours

  1. This is a fascinating post as my situation is so different, my parents travel more than me and are the reason I love to travel myself. We have always travelled through my childhood and that continues today. So I don’t have to consider the things you have thought about for first time international travellers. But all the beautiful attractions you’ve outlined for Sri Lanka are of interest to us too, love that you split by interest – religion, wildlife, food, architecture and so on.

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  2. My parents took me to Sri Lanka when I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted to return. I didn’t get to see elephants or as many temples as I’d love to explore, and there’s so much more to see.

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  3. Sri Lanka looks amazing! I’d love to visit it with my family – including my mom. It’s a different culture that we’d love to learn more about! Wonderful photos!

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  4. Saakshirajat, SriLanka is so beautiful, so many places of wonder to fill the senses. Your post is more like a small book than a blog post. All the images and descriptions. Certainly makes me realize how much I am missing by not going there. However, it is now too late for me to bring my parents since they have been long gone from this world. But it is so sweet and special that you want to take your parents to enjoy a special trip.

    Warmly,
    Dr. Erica

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  5. Wow, this is like a mini book, not just a blog post. Amazing with all the colors and images. Such wonderful places to visit and something new to experience at each turn. However, at this point it is too late for me to bring my parents to see these wonders since they have been long gone from this world. So special that you want to take your parents to help them enjoy a special adventure.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica

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  6. This kind of travel (for parents) hasn’t been on my radar yet, but Sri Lanka certainly has! I’m a teacher and one of my students has family from there, and her presentation really highlighted a lot of the cultural and tourism gems of the country. By the way, your photos are splendid. In particular, the one of the man walking on fire = GORGEOUS.

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  7. Wow I didn’t know there was so much wildlife on Sri Lanka. I knew there were elephants, but I would love the wale and leopard spotting. So would my parents, I hope they visit a country outside of Europe one day 🙂

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  8. Great post! Even I felt the same while traveling in Sri Lanka. It is surely an awesome place for parents to travel because the food & culture is not that different and the places are beautiful too.

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  9. Fantastic post Saakshi. I too find Sri Lanka interesting and do plan to go there someday. Your post is a wonderful guide for first time visitors. Wonderful captures too for the visual lure 🙂

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  10. Wow! What a journey! I loved seeing the images of the culture and landscape. The buildings are beautiful and incredible to see … must be amazing to see in real life. Also liked how you honor parents and taking them on a journey as well …. wonderful

    Liked by 1 person

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