Sri Lanka is one of the few tourism rich countries that have opened up to international travelers since December 2020. With travel being such an essential part of our lifestyles, the fact that it was brought to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic is difficult for many across the world. Now that the new normal has been adapted and air traffic is gradually increasing, more and more people are shortlisting countries that they can travel to. However, very few countries have opened up for tourists, and fortunately, Sri Lanka is one of those. All you need is a negative covid-19 test report and you can board your flight. So, don’t think twice, go ahead and plan your travel to Sri Lanka and you will undoubtedly enjoy an exciting, adventurous and memorable holiday!
If you are wondering about the restrictions within the country, don’t fret it. All tourist destinations and shopping outlets are now open to everyone in Sri Lanka. After the onset of the pandemic, the tourism industry has observed new trends in travel. Many tourists prefer sustainable and off-the-beaten track destinations, to steer away from the crowds and enjoy whilst being safe and secure at the same time. Read ahead to find out more about the possible things to do in Sri Lanka post covid.
1. Wildlife Safaris and Nature Parks
This is an absolutely safe adventure that you can pursue during your holiday in Sri Lanka. With about 26 Sri Lankan National Parks, you are sure to find a few that are less popular but yet offer splendid treasures of the wild. National Parks in Udawalawe, Bundala, Kaudulla, Wasgamuwa and Mannar Island are few of the lesser visited ones. Even if you do want to visit popular ones like Yala National Park, high levels of covid protocols are followed because the jeeps that take you on a safari are well sanitized, and open to air hence well ventilated, and each jeep only takes the group you are travelling with. Furthermore, a game drive at any of the wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka does not entail any contact with other tourists.
All you got to do is sit back in your jeep and keep an eye out for animal spotting while the driver takes you around the best of wildlife in Sri Lanka. Leopards, deer, sambar, water buffalo, elephants, crocodiles, and a whole host of other mammal, reptile, and bird varieties can be seen. Stay alert with your binoculars and camera ready in hand to capture unforgettable memories!
Nature Parks such as Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve and Horton Plains National Park are just what the latest tourism trends are moving towards – admiring the beauty of Mother Nature. And the best part about visiting these destinations is that they completely open-air and very spacious, so even if there is a crowd, there is always social distancing maintained while each group of tourists enjoys their encounter with nature.
Arugam Bay on the East Coast, Weligama and Mirissa on the Southern coast, and Kalpitiya on the West coast are the most popular destinations for surfing in Sri Lanka. If you are new to the sport, don’t stress. Each of these destinations have surf schools where a local surfing expert will lend you a surfboard and provide training sessions as per your request and help you experience this adrenaline rush as you beat the waves of the Indian Ocean.
Surfing is an individual activity, which is encouraged in the covid-era. There is no concern about virus transmission possibility as you are in the middle of the ocean, very much spaced out with other surfers, with the heat beating down on you and wind whizzing past you, which is definitely an environment that does not count as high covid transmissibility.
Apart from its serene landscapes, Sri Lanka has been in the limelight for its exotic snorkeling spots ideal for exploring the underwater world. Gorgeous reefs in Passikudah and Pigeon Island in Trincomalee, wreck diving sites in Colombo, and reefs in Hikkaduwa are just to name a few snorkeling destinations that you must visit in Sri Lanka.
During the pandemic era, we highly advise to carry your own snorkeling gear for hygiene purposes. But if you are unable to bring your own, locals in each area have adapted to properly washing the gear with soap after each use, before passing it onto the next person. Don’t miss out on this exciting water activity as you will have the chance to explore beautiful fish species and other marine ecosystems.
4. Exploring the history and culture of Sri Lanka
Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura are the two most ancient cities of Sri Lanka, having experienced the eras of ancient Kings of Sri Lanka dating as far back as the 5th Century BC. Visiting Sri Lanka’s historical ruins such as Temples and Buddha Stupas in these cities is an interesting activity to include into your holiday in Sri Lanka. You could either go sight hopping with your group of family/friends or if you wish to stray away from crowds, you could rent a bicycle and cycle around the cities while exploring the attractions yourself.
Kandy is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, and a visit here would expose you to authentic Sri Lankan traditions such as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandyan dances, and so on. If you happen to visit during the months of July/August, you will be able to witness the epic Esala Perahera – a procession exhibiting traditional local dances and amazing talents!
These are ideal things to do in Sri Lanka post covid because those who are very concerned about health and well-being can observe these attractions from afar, without having to mingle with the crowds, and yet have great experiences of these tourist destinations.
Colombo is the hub of shopping in Sri Lanka and all retail outlets maintain high levels of covid-safety protocols – hand wash and sanitize before entering, recording contact details, and also regular sanitization of items displayed in the showroom.
So, you are free to go all out with your shopping list when in Sri Lanka. In the recent past, there are a lot of small businesses in Sri Lanka trying to come up with sustainability and green products that protect the environment. Tourists trying to keep up with those trends would love to visit malls such as Colombo City Center and One Galle Face where these organizations put up kiosks or small stores to display their products.
For those interested in high end brands such as Clarkes, Nike, Adidas, Basics, Mango, Jockey can also visit these malls for a one-stop-shop to find products of their liking. Local retailers such as Cool Planet and Odel are also popular amongst tourists shopping for clothes and other accessories.
6. Wellness Tours
In 2021, The Global Wellness Institute ranked Sri Lanka amongst the top five Wellness Tourism Destinations!
After the stress brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, holidays focusing on physical and mental wellness have become increasingly popular. More and more international travelers are inquiring about destinations that offer isolation from the hustle bustle of the real world, are focused on indulging with Mother Nature, and offer pampering Ayurvedic rituals to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. The tourism industry in Sri Lanka has been catering to this market with several wellness holiday resorts being introduced in different parts of the country:
- Santani Wellness Resort – Kandy
- Amaranthe Bay – Trincomalee
- Tri – Koggala
- Siddhalepa Ayurvedic Resort – Wadduwa
- Kalundewa Retreat – Dambulla
- Water Garden – Sigiriya
- Double Tree By Hilton – Yala
- Anantara Peace Haven – Tangalle
- Ulpotha – Kurunegala
- Talalla Retreat – Matara
Whether covid is around or not, the Sri Lankan tourism industry is committed towards welcoming more and more tourists to visit this beautiful island nation. The government of Sri Lanka has worked hard to vaccinate over 90% of its local population so that they could keep locals as well as tourists safe from the virus. Sri Lanka tourism is taking steps to revive the industry that was blown behind as a result of airport closures and the coronavirus pandemic. After studying trends and adapting to the new normal, we have come up with several exciting and adventurous things to do in Sri Lanka post covid, thereby guaranteeing a memorable holiday for tourists!