Sri Lanka is a wonderful island country in the Indian Ocean and makes for a scenic and affordable holiday destination; whether you are visiting with family, on a romantic getaway with your spouse or looking for some peaceful time alone.
But no matter where you go, the tranquillity is often marred by throngs of tourists and local crowd flocking to every beach and every cave. This often puts a damper in your plans of having a quiet, relaxing vacation.
Here we have a list of offbeat places in Sri Lanka that are known only to a few and visited by even fewer. Of course, if you prefer more touristy destinations, check out these 8 popular places to visit in Sri Lanka instead.
From snorkelling, surfing and exploring coral reefs to lazing around on the beach, Hikkaduwa offers visitors an idyllic beach holiday.
You can explore the coral reef and see the vibrant, colourful fish in the waters. Hikkaduwa also has four shipwrecks that take diving experiences up a notch. North of the town, you can find the Hikkaduwa Turtle Hatchery that protects this endangered species.
Situated close by is the Tsunami Museum as well. To the South are beautiful inland lakes and eco-gardens that are worth a visit.
Nestled within the foothills of Ahangama, lies the Handungoda Tea Estate, probably the world's only tea plantation so close to the sea. The estate is known for producing the world-famous 'Virgin White Tea' using traditional Chinese methods where no bare hands touch the tea leaf at any point during processing.
Visit Handungoda for a unique tea tour experience where you can taste the delicious varieties and end with a slice of cake!
Another mesmerizing spot for nature lovers is Haputale, in Badulla district. The Lipton Seat is a famous spot for watching the sunrise and taking in the green expanse in front of you turn golden.
But the highlight of the place is the magnificent 863 feet high (Sri Lanka's tallest) waterfall, that can be found about 16kms from Haputale. You can make a trip to this less-visited tropical paradise which is as picturesque as can be.
An exotic destination, full of beautiful lagoons, museums, churches and forts; Batticaloa is a great place if you want to relax and laze around.
A visit to the Batticaloa (Dutch) Fort and Museum will give you a chance to see some rare colonial artefacts and manuscripts. The Batticaloa Gate-the point of loading and unloading cargo that reached the port can also be seen nearby.
The biggest attraction of Batticaloa though is the Kallady Beach and 'Singing Fish'. It is believed that a particular type of fish in the waters of Kallady emanate a singing sound at night, in certain seasons. Since olden days, Tamil fishermen have claimed that they navigate the lagoon using this mysterious sound.
Mannar, located in the Northern Sri Lankan Province is the perfect combination of natural beauty, history, culture and wonderful architecture.
The Mannar Fort, also known as the Dutch Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1560 AD. Taken over by the Dutch in 1658, the Fort got an additional four parapets. A beautifully carved entrance, the remains of a dungeon, a bell tower and a chapel is what you can explore here.
The Ketheeswaram temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Our Lady of Madhu Church are places of religious importance to Sri Lankan Tamils and Catholics. The temple is said to have been mentioned in the Ramayana. The Church has seen destruction during the Sri Lankan Civil War but still stands today, a witness to history.
The massive Baobab Tree here which is locally known as the 'elephant tree' was planted by Arabs about 700 years back and has a 20 metres wide trunk.
For those who are looking for some self-pampering, head to Beruwala, a quiet town in the Western Province, famous for its 'Golden Mile' beach, Yoga retreats and Ayurvedic Spa centres.
Beruwala was the first Muslim (Moor) colony and houses Sri Lanka's oldest mosque. Established by the British in the early nineties, the Beruwala Lighthouse is 34 metres tall with 150 steps to get to the top. It is a 10-minute boat ride away from the main town and gives you a magnificent aerial view of the surroundings.
The gem trading area of Beruwala is China Fort. The Moors of the region have engaged in coloured precious stone trading for many decades. So, while you are here, you can indulge in sight-seeing, water sports and shopping.