fot. by Liudmila Sokolova
Serendib. That is the ancient, Arabic word for Sri Lanka, and also the original root of the word Serendipity. A retreat in Sri Lanka is sure to leave you with vivid memories of a colourful culture and diverse landscape. So, here we go: five reasons you need to make sure your next retreat is in Sri Lanka.
1. Temple in the Clouds
Fancy a walk in the woods? How about barefoot? How about up 10,000 steps to the top of one of Sri Lanka’s most stunning sites: Adam’s Peak. A sacred site for three religions, millions of people make a pilgrimage every year to the temple on the top of Sri Pada, as it’s known locally, to venerate religious relics in a temple and catch the first rays of the sunrise from the top. Tip: make the trek in the off-season if you can: the cooler weather makes for an easier climb with thinner crowds and the thicker clouds give the forest a mystical feel.
2. Stunning Surf Spots
Arugam Bay, Mirissa or Tallala, to name just a few, are world class surfing spots. So why not complement your yoga practice with some surfing? Both advanced and beginner surfers can hit the waves here. Local instructors are friendly, knowledgeable and always ready to help, so make use of their hospitality. Besides, it’s been proven that being in the water can have a deeply relaxing and rejuvenating effect for the body. And it feels so good to ride the waves! Not that much into surfing? No problem, you can still enjoy visiting the surfer towns to fully immerse yourself in the chilled vibes that they exude. Stroll down the beach and see if you can spot anyone surfing while doing a headstand… yes, they do that here!
3. Two Words: Veggie Roti
Sri Lanka offers a varied and delicious cuisine, and there is one yummy thing that you can get anywhere at any time: the vegetable roti. It’s a small triangular shaped pancake filled with vegetables. It’s finger licking good! You will love it! Its best quality is being absolutely universal, you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just as a snack. However, be warned, the roti is dangerously cheap: only 30 Sri Lankan Rupees (that’s less than a quarter!) so it’s easy to overeat. You’ve been warned!
fot. by Liudmila Sokolova
4. Mind-Blowing Wilderness
What better way to get in sync with the rhythm of Sri Lanka than by spending time in the natural world, particularly in the south and eastern parts of the island, where elephants roam the land, leopards lounge, and peacocks float gracefully from ground to perch. Even the busiest mind will be stunned by the kaleidoscopic colours and exotic shapes of our avian friends, and soon find themselves engrossed by the meditative quality of quiet observation. While you’ll definitely see signs for Yala National Park, more adventurous options are to be found when you get off the beaten track.
5. Kandy Land
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Sri Lanka in mid to late summer, be sure not to miss Pera Hera, the “oldest and grandest” Buddhist festival in Sri Lanka. You’ll find smaller, but still impressive, festivals all over the island, but they all lead up to the big show in the ancient city of Kandy. Have a walk around Kandy in the afternoon hours before the evening parade, and you’ll see elephants of all sizes being walked, bathed and adorned with lights and splendid robes for the festivities. Legions of poi dancers, drummers and flag-bearers from neighbouring villages all make their way to Kandy to join the elephants for the largest of these traditional, late summer celebrations.