unexplored places in srilanka, ella, landscape

5 Inspiring Unexplored Places In Sri Lanka That We Love!

Sri Lanka or Ceylon is on Palk Straits in the Indian Ocean. This island paradise has many tourist trails that include beaches, hill stays, and tea plantations. Do you the unexplored places in Sri Lanka?

In this post, we will answer the following questions:-

  1. Where is Sri Lanka and what are the visa requirements to enter the country?
  2. What is the first language in Sri Lanka?
  3. Where are the unexplored places in Sri Lanka?
  4. Where is the coldest place in Sri Lanka?
  5. What is the famous food of Sri Lanka?
  6. Is Sri Lanka worth visiting?

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Where is Sri Lanka?

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is in the Indian Ocean. The island is southwest of the Bay of Bengal. This island has two monikers which are “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” and “Teardrop of the Indian Ocean”. For a complete guide to this nation, I recommend Lonely Planet’s Guide to Sri Lanka.

Names of Sri Lanka

In Mahavamsa, the island was Tambapanni. The nation’s first king was Prince Vijaya. The term “Lanka” means an island. This widely used term of the aborigines specifically belongs to the Central and Eastern Indian tribes. In Hindu mythology, the term “Lanka” appears.

The ancient Greeks referred to the island as Taprobana whilst the Persians referred to it as Sarandip. Portuguese named the island Ceilao. The name evolved to Ceylon once the British arrived.  

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History of Sri Lanka


The Iranamadu Formation places Sri Lanka’s history back 300,000 years before the present (BP). Tools made from quartz indicate that there was a pre-historic settlement in almost all regions of Sri Lanka. Once Balangoda Man was identified, the link between the Veddha’s was confirmed. The earliest evidence of human civilization on the island is Fa Hien Cave where ancient fossils were found.

Local legends mention a Buddhist monk named Fa Xian was a resident here. The Travels of Fa-Hien are the only link to these legends. A burial site in Fa Hien Cave in 1968 and further comparative studies indicated that the earliest occupants of the cave lived during the same period as Europe’s Cro-Magnon Man.


The ancient history of Sri Lanka is divided into pre-Anuradhapura and the Anuradhapura period. The political history of the pre-Anuradhapura period began in 543 BC when Prince Vijaya established the Kingdom of Tambapanni.

The House of Vijaya is the first and only recorded Sinhalese royal dynasty. The monarchs from this house ruled Sri Lanka for 609 years. The Vasabha Dynasty of Anuradhapura defeated this dynasty.  If you are curious to know more about the list of Sri Lankan monarchs, read The Kings of Sri Lanka.

The Pali Chronicles of Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Thupavamsa, and Culavamsa provide written historical records of Sri Lanka from the 6th century onwards. The Anuradhapura period began in 377-1017 BC during the reign of Pandukabhaya who established the Anuradhapura Kingdom.


It was Vijayabahu I who successfully drove out the Cholas in 1070 and reunited the country as a whole. However, it was Parakramabahu I reign that the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was at its greatest. 

The founder of the Jaffna Kingdom, Kalinga Magha invaded Polonnaruwa in 1215 intending to loot, ransack and destroy everything. It was during his reign that there was a massive migration of the Sinhalese to the mountainous interiors.

Do you know that Admiral Zheng He installed the Galle Trilingual Inscription stone tablet as offerings to Buddha, Allah, and Hindu God Vishnu?


Modern Sri Lanka is divided into three which are Portuguese Ceylon, Dutch Ceylon, and the British Ceylon periods. The transition from the British Empire towards an independent nation succeeded on 4th February 1948. Ceylon was Dominion of Ceylon after it received independence from the British Empire.

On 22nd May 1972, the island officially became a republic and was renamed the Republic of Sri Lanka.


Visa Requirements

Sri Lanka’s visa policy with regards to tourism states that tourists must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before arrival. There are four types of visa services available from the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka. The ETA is the official website and is an online system.

Once your visa is approved, an ETA Approval Notice is sent to the applicant. The Approval Notice is needed when you arrive in Sri Lanka.

What is the first language in Sri Lanka?

Several languages are spoken in Sri Lanka with Sinhala being the official language. The other languages include Tamil and English. Sinhala is spoken by the Sinhalese people who are the largest ethnic group in the country. The oldest record of Sinhalese Prakrit dates back to the 3rd century BC when Buddhism first arrived in the country.

Sinhala belongs to the Indo-Aryan group of languages. Tamil is spoken by 5 million people and is a Dravidian language. These people are descendants of the Jaffna Kingdom and mostly reside in the north of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Tamils have lived on the island since the 2nd century BC.

English is a link language between the two and is spoken by 24% of the population. English is used for official and commercial purposes and is spoken in cities. Sri Lankan Malay is a minority language spoken by Sri Lankan Malays. Sri Lankan Malays have full or partial ancestry to Indonesian and Malay Archipelago. 

The first wave of Malays arrived when Sri Lanka was a Dutch Colony during the 16th and 17th centuries. The second wave was between 1796-1948 when Sri Lanka was part of the British Empire. The Dutch brought them to Sri Lanka because of their bravery and loyalty. The Malays of Sri Lanka have retained their culture, for example, Tuan (Sir) is used within the community.

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How do you say hello in Sri Lanka?

With Sri Lanka’s ethnic diversity, there are three ways to say “hello”. The first is Ayubowan in Sinhalese. The second is vanakkam in Tamil and lastly, halo which is in English. Namaste as a greeting is recognized due to the nation’s proximity to India.

How do you say good morning in Sri Lanka?

Subha udhāsanak is how you say “good morning” while Subha dhavalak is “good afternoon” and Subha sandhavak is “good evening”. Check out the Useful Phrases in Sinhala and Learn the 30 Most Important Words In Sinhala.

How do you greet someone in Sri Lanka?

The accepted form of greeting someone in Sri Lanka is to press the palm of one’s hand together under the chin with the head slightly bowed down. It is customary that the younger one greets the oldest first.

Hugging and kissing as a greeting should be avoided unless one is familiar with the person. The culture of Sri Lanka combines modern and traditional in a mix of ethnic diversity.

Check out the 11 Things To Know About Sri Lanka’s Local Culture before planning your trip there.

What does ayubowan mean?

Ayubowan is a salutation that wishes the recipient long life. It is used as a greeting in Sri Lanka and is equivalent to “Namaste” in India.

Where are the unexplored places in Sri Lanka?

Just like any other country, there are many unexplored places in Sri Lanka. Many of these places remain unknown as the boom in tourism has led to over-populated beaches and accommodation in some parts of the country.

We will now explore the Top 5 least explored places in Sri Lanka that could turn your ordinary journey into an extraordinary one.


This city is 126 miles from Colombo is the capital city of the Northern Central Province of Sri Lanka. This city is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka and is known for its well-preserved Sinhalese ruins.

Anuradhapura together with Kandy and Polonurrawa make up the “cultural triangle” of Sri Lanka. These towns are host to four UNESCO Heritage Sites. In this post, we visit the three sites that should be on your itinerary for Anuradhapura.

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

unexplored places in Sri Lanka, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
Image Credit: TimeOut

The first in our unexplored places in Sri Lanka is Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. This fig tree is from a branch of the Sri Maha Bodhi in Bodh Gaya, India where Gautama Buddha attained nirvana.

A sapling was brought by Sanghamitta Theri. She was the eldest daughter of Emperor Ashoka who came to Sri Lanka. She planted the sapling in 288 BC and went on to ordain Queen Anula Devi who had already reached a high state of spirituality known as Sothapanna.


Jetavanaramaya Stupa

The second in our unexplored places in Sri Lanka is Jetavanaramaya Stupa. This stupa is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest ancient stupa in the world at 400 feet in height. 

Can You Go Inside A Stupa?

No, there are two methods of worship in a stupa. The first is a devotee would prostrate themselves in front of the stupa. Secondly, they would circumambulate in a clockwise direction. 

A stupa is a mound-like structure that contains relics or ashes or revered monks or nuns. The dome-shaped structure of a stupa represents a person seated in meditation. Circumambulation of a stupa brings one towards enlightenment.

Check out the Most Notable Buddhist Stupas Around the World to know more about these amazing structures. 


unexplored places in Sri Lanka, Thuparamaya Stupa
Image Credit: Exploreslk (Wikipedia Commons)

The third in our unexplored places in Sri Lanka is Thuparamaya. This is the first stupa in Sri Lanka. This stupa is within the grounds of Mahamevnawa Gardens. King Mutasiva built this park. Mahamevnawa means “Grove of the Great Cloud”. Lord Buddha’s collar bone here. This makes this place a pilgrimage site for Buddhists. This stupa is on Business Mirror, India.com, and Lonely Planet


Ambuluwawa Tower

unexplored places in Sri Lanka, Ambuluwawa Tower
Image Credit: Circle Ceylon

The fourth in our unexplored places in Sri Lanka is Ambuluwawa Tower. This tower is part of the Ambuluwawa Biodiversity Complex in Kandy. This multi-cultural complex houses a mosque, a temple, and a church. This complex reflects harmony and unity among Sri Lankans that exist today.

How Long Does It Take To Climb Ambuluwawa Tower?

It takes between 30 minutes to 2 hours to climb the staircase to the top. The climb depends on your fitness level.

How Tall is the Ambuluwawa Tower?

This tower sits on a hill and has a height of 48 meters above sea level. This attraction is on Death-defying Attractions That Should be Illegal to Visit


unexplored places in sri lanka, bentota lake
Image Credit: Hafiz Issadeen (Wikipedia Commons)

The fifth in our unexplored places in Sri Lanka is Bentota Lake. This lake is in Bentota which is about 38 miles from Colombo in the Galle district. The lake sits between the main coastline that separates the sea and the city.

The name is from “Bem” and “tota” which means city according to local folklore in this area. Hence, the name “Bentota”. Bentota is on the 5 Awesome Places to Visit in Sri Lanka, Forbes, and BBC Travel.

Madu Ganga

unexplored places in Sri Lanka, Madu Ganga, Mangrove Forest
Image Credit: Found in Sri Lanka

The sixth in our unexplored places in Sri Lanka is Madu Ganga. Madu Ganga is a watercourse that opens into Madu Ganga lake. This lake together with Randombe Lake forms the Madu Ganga Wetlands declared in 2003 as part of the Ramsar Convention.

Madu Ganga’s main treasures are its mangrove forests. This place is on Lonely Planet, Daily Mail, and Daily Express.

Laxapana Waterfalls

The seventh and last in our unexplored places in Sri Lanka is Laxapana Waterfalls. This waterfall is the 8th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. The name is derived from Sinhalese words “Laxa” which means “hundred thousand” and “pana” which means “rocks”.

The literal translation means a hundred thousand rocks. There are two local legends associated with these waterfalls. The first legend states that Buddha stopped by the waterfall and mended his robe while he was on the way to Sri Pada.

The second legend is that there is a receptacle that lives beneath its waters and that it brings rain to the area during droughts. This waterfall is on Things To Do In Sri Lanka, The Culture Trip, and Inspirock.

Where is the coldest place in Sri Lanka?

Nuwara Eliya

unexplored places in Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya, tea plantations, tea leaves
Photo by Yasasi Rajapakse on Unsplash

This hill station is known as “Little England”. The name of this hill station means “city on the plains”. Nuwara Eliya is the tea capital of the nation. This hill retreat was a favorite among the British elite who came here to immerse in their hobbies.

The buildings in this city retain their old-world charm. The homes are the Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, and Town Post Office which has stood the test of time. The architecture of these buildings is reminiscent of the past.

Read Sips From Sri Lanka to know more about the teas of Nuwara Eliya. Check out The Top Things To See And Do In Nuwara Eliya and the 10 Best Things To Do In Nuwara Eliya before planning your trip there.

For hotels in Nuwara Eliya, check out:

What is the famous food of Sri Lanka?

Fish Ambul Thiyal (Fish Curry)

unexplored places in Sri Lanka, Fish Ambu Thiyal, Sri Lankan Fish Curry
Image Credit: World Food Guide
fish ambu thiyal, sri lankan fish curry

Fish Ambul Thiyal is a sour fish curry that was originally from Ambalagonda. This dish is best made with tuna. Fish Ambul Thiyal can be preserved for a week because of the tamarind used when making this dish. The recipe for this dish is on Cookpad. This dish is not be missed in Sri Lanka.

Kukul Mas Curry (Chicken Curry)

unexplored places in Sri Lanka, Kukul Mas, Sri Lankan Chicken Curry
Image Credit: World Food Guide

Canadian-Sri Lankan chef, Ruwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama describes this dish as her “top five list of comfort foods”. The recipe for this dish is on Food.com.

What is Sri Lanka curry like?

Sri Lankan curry consists of caramelized onions, sour pickles, and spicy curries that instantly awaken your senses. Check out The Best Curries You Should Try In Sri Lanka and the 7 Dishes You Need To Know

Sri Lankan Crab Curry

sri lankan crab curry
Image Credit: The Flavor Bender

Kakuluwo uses mud crabs or blue swimmer crabs as its main ingredient. The crabs are marinated overnight and can only be made the next day. This means preparations have to be made earlier. This dish is an embodiment of Sri Lanka’s culture. The recipe for this dish is on SBS Food.


unexplored places in Sri Lanka, Lamprais, Dutch Burgher dish
Image Credit: The New York Times

It was the Dutch Burgher community in Sri Lanka that introduced this dish to the nation. It is important that the ingredients are wrapped in banana leaf. Banana leaf gives this dish a special flavor and fragrance. This dish consists of a three-meat curry which is usually beef, pork, chicken. Check out this dish is on Info Lanka.

Polos (Young Jackfruit Curry)

unexplored places in Sri Lanka, young jackfruit curry
Image Credit: Simply Lanka

This young jackfruit dish is Polos. Polos is a must-try when in Sri Lanka. During the British occupancy of Sri Lanka, it was this ‘vegan sensation’ that saved the nation from starvation. An Australian burger joint, Moo-Free Burgers has been serving jackfruit “pulled pork” in vegan barbeque sauce. The recipe for this dish is on The Flavor Bender.

What are the best hotels in Sri Lanka?

We will be exploring the 5 best hotels in Sri Lanka. From elephant stables, beach resorts and a sprawling bungalow in a tea plantation, these resorts are a perfect escape in Sri Lanka.

Ceylon Tea Trails

Situated in Bogawantalawa, the Golden Valley of Ceylon Tea lies 5 bungalows set amidst cool hills. Their latest bungalow, Dunkeld, has an infinity pool that drops onto the lake. Each bungalow has a butler and an executive chef who would assist with your meals for the day.

A review of this hotel is on Telegraph UK.

Kumu Beach

This hotel in Balapitiya is chic and refined and has 10 sea-facing rooms, manicured lawns, and a slim 23-meter swimming pool. This unassuming hotel boasts attentive and genuine staff. The downside is patchy WiFi throughout the property. A review of this hotel is in Telegraph UK.

Cape Weligama

This resort is a 40-minute drive from Galle and boasts magnificent views of the Indian Ocean. Although the views are to die for, there isn’t any beach here. The service at this hotel is superb with chefs constantly engaging with guests and wait staff are attentive to guests’ needs.

The resort caters to families as it has a separate family pool, spa villa, and a watersports center that offers whale watching, cycling, and diving activities. A review of this hotel is in Telegraph UK.

Chena Huts

This resort is at the boundary of Yala National Park and is above a beach. With wildlife at the doorstep of the hotel, guests can see eagles flying high above the resort and an occasional elephant on the property. The huts are a cathedral dome shape. This reflects the tree huts of farmers who keep a night watch.

This family-friendly and disable friendly hotel has interconnecting huts and a wheel-chair accessible hut. A review of this hotel is in Telegraph UK.

The Elephant Stables

This family-friendly hotel has six rooms and one luxury tent that boasts colonial era and contemporary style fittings. The hotel aims to keep a bright and airy feel with yellow tones pervading throughout the property. The service is top-notch and the facilities include a yoga teacher on request and an infinity pool.

Guests are provided with returnable mobile phones and sim cards upon check-in. This is so that they can contact the hotel for pick-up in and around Kandy.

Is Sri Lanka worth visiting?


With a welcoming tropical climate, stunning beaches, and mouth-watering food, Sri Lanka is a must-visit destination. Check out 11 Reasons Why You Should Visit Sri Lanka and 23 Reasons To Visit Sri Lanka. Rough Guides give you 9 Reasons to Visit Sri Lanka’s East Coast while Culture Trip gives 7 Travel Tips for First-Timers to Sri Lanka

I recommend The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka which gives you ideal places to eat, sleep and visit in Sri Lanka.


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