Surrounded by the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a tropical island nation, located at the southeastern tip of India. The island's shape has been likened to that of a teardrop and hence it is sometimes referred to as the teardrop of India. A chain of limestone shoals (sandbars just below the ocean surface) run between mainland India and Sri Lanka, separating the Gulf of Mannar to the south from Palk Bay to the north and this was apparently once a land bridge that united the two countries. The submerged structure is known as Rama's bridge or Adam's bridge and some even believe it to be man-made, in accordance with Indian mythology.
Sri Lanka is a country that attracted about 2 million tourists in 2016, but it really deserves more visitors because it is an extremely diverse and culturally rich island for its size. Because of its lovely quiet beaches, it used to be a very popular destination for hippies but these days it is also attracting a more upscale type of tourist and that can sometimes reflect in the high standard of accommodation at many guesthouses and high level of development along the beaches of the southwest coast.
People mostly come to Sri Lanka for the pristine beaches of the south and southwest coasts, excellent surfing on the beaches of the east coast, national parks full of elephants and leopards, old Buddhist temples and monasteries, the beautiful tea plantations and breathtaking waterfalls of the central highlands and the many splendid ancient ruins scattered across the country. Transport is extremely inexpensive in Sri Lanka and food is normally very cheap too. Budget accommodation can still be found if you shop around a bit, but you should try to avoid peak seasons for tourist visitors.
We travelled across the country for three entire months, beginning our journey in Colombo, the capital city. From there we headed south to check out the beaches of the southwest and south coasts and then ventured inland, into the central highlands to do some hiking, witness dramatic waterfalls and visit a few tea plantations. We then descended to the hot central plains to explore the country's most important ancient ruins in a region known as the 'cultural triangle'. After that it was time to investigate the wilder east coast, where we tried out the surfing and gradually made our way south, enjoying various towns and beaches along the way. We then slowly made our way back to the west coast, briefly stopping in three more towns before flying out of the country from Colombo.
The following videos document our journey in the exact order it occurred, beginning from Colombo, although we didn't do any exploring of Colombo or record any footage there, as we generally dislike big Asian cities.