10 of the Most Instagrammable Places in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has an abundance of lush green jungle, beautiful beaches, and stunning historical landmarks – it is an instagrammer’s paradise. But Sri Lanka is so much more than just that; with an incredibly rich and diverse culture it is a wonderful melting pot of different religions, customs and lifestyles. With 4 main religions being practiced and 3 languages spoken around the country, there is so much to discover and understand. Not to mention, it is an absolute foodie’s heaven! With all this in mind, we’ve picked out 10 of the most instagrammable places in Sri Lanka for the most breath-taking photos. (All of which are included in our 12 day Sri Lanka tour, because there’s no way we could let you miss out on the best photo ops).
10) COCONUT TREE HILL
Coconut Tree Hill is one of the most popular spots in Mirissa, and for good reason. A short 10 minute walk up the hill brings you to the towering coconut trees that overlook the golden sands of Mirissa Beach and the glistening blue ocean beyond. No trip to Mirissa is complete without a sunset snap of this stunning spot.
PHOTO TIP: It can get real windy up here, if you’re using a tripod be sure it won’t blow away! Our favourite time to take photos is of course, sunset. It can be a little busier at this time of day as it’s an epic sunset spot, so wake up early if beating the crowds is important to you.
9) DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE
Dambulla is the largest and most well kept collection of cave temples in the whole of Sri Lanka and is a sacred pilgrimage site for many buddhists. There are over 153 statues depicting Buddha, as well as remarkable Buddhist murals adorning the cave walls. It is an incredibly impressive sight of massive historical importance.
PHOTO TIP: Be aware that if you are taking any photos of the statues, do not take any photos of yourself turning your back to Buddha as this can be seen as disrespectful.
8) TEA PLANTATION
With 996 tea estates it’s no surprise that tea is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest exports, and thanks to the favourable weather conditions in the central highlands, Sri Lanka is the world’s 4th largest producer of tea. The tea estates span over miles of sloping Sri Lankan countryside, covering it in an abundance of leafy green tea plants as far as the eye can see. It is definitely one of the most picturesque places for your next insta shot.
PHOTO TIP: Picking tea leaves is how many people in Sri Lanka make their money, often only earning up to £2.50 a day. The women in the fields may like to show you how to pick the leaves, or even ask if you want to take photos with them. If this is something you’d like to do, remember to take a little bit of cash with you into the fields so you can tip them to say thanks.
7) THE BAHIRAWAKANDA VIHARA BUDDHA STATUE
Nestled peacefully up on a hill, this enormous Buddha statue is just a stone’s throw away from the lively and bustling UNESCO world heritage city of Kandy and is one of the largest Buddha statues in Sri Lanka.
PHOTO TIP: The Buddha looks magnificent with the phenomenal purple tones of the Kandy sunset as its backdrop. Try and plan your trip to end up here at sunset and take a walk up the temple stairs to look over the Buddha’s shoulder for the most incredible view of the entire city!
6) GALLE FORT
Once Sri Lanka’s biggest spice trading port, and now a trendy seaside town on the South Western coast of Sri Lanka, Galle Fort was built by the Portugese and modified by the Dutch and British; so it’s no surprise that it has a distinctly European feel.
PHOTO TIP: From the iconic Galle Fort Lighthouse to the European style architecture inside the fort, the photo opportunities here are endless. For the sunset chasers among us, be sure not to miss the sunset from the fort walls – the perfect way to end off a day in this charming town.
5) SIGIRIYA ROCK
Sigiriya Rock is an enormous ancient rock fortress, rising an impressive 200 metres above the ground. It is thought to be the site of a 3rd century buddhist monastery and later, King Kasyapa’s 5th century palace designed in the form of a huge lion; giving Sigiriya its name. The term Sigirya originates from the word Sihagri, in English, Lion Rock!
PHOTO TIP: There are a couple of different angles you may like to consider with Sigiriya – one being on top of Sigiriya Rock itself, with phenomenal views of Sri Lanka for as far as the eye can see. Equally as magnificent, is the view from the Buddhist monastery of Pidurangala, with Sigiriya Rock protruding in the background. Both require a steep but achievable and incredibly rewarding climb.
4) LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK
Not to be confused with the 2243 metre high mountain named Adam’s Peak, Little Adam’s Peak is another incredible spot that you’ll have to put a little work in to get to! Starting in the small backpacker town of Ella, the path is well trodden and marked by signs so it’s very easy to follow. A short, steep hike through lush green tea plantations will bring you 1141 metres above sea level, with unrivalled views of Ella’s mountainous landscape.
PHOTO TIP: Remember to pack some water and something to mop up the sweat before you get that perfect insta shot. The final part of the climb is short but pretty steep and the Sri Lankan sun beating down is hot hot hot!
3) RAVANA FALLS
The stunning Ravana Falls is an incredible 25 metres high and is the widest waterfall in Sri Lanka. Located in Ella, it is super easy to get to but as a result is usually quite busy so we would recommend getting there early for an undisturbed Instagram photo shoot.
PHOTO TIP: Ravana Falls has its own viewing platform, which is great for a shot from the very bottom of the waterfall. However a short walk up the road takes you slightly further up the waterfall where there are no bars or barriers obstructing your photo!
2) NUWARA ELIYA TO ELLA TRAIN JOURNEY
Described as one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys, for very good reason! This 5 hour train ride passes endless spectacular scenery – tea plantations, mountains, waterfalls, at some points you’re so high up in the hills you’re literally passing through the clouds. With carriages packed with curious backpackers and locals alike, no words can quite describe the beauty of this magnificent train journey – you have to see it for yourself!
PHOTO TIP: Never fear if you don’t manage to grab yourself a window seat for the iconic insta shot, you can find a window for you to look out of from the toilet!
1) NINE ARCH BRIDGE
Continuing with the train theme, the Nine Arch Bridge is a massive viaduct that connects the Demodara and Ella Railway stations. The bridge was commissioned by British colonists and completed by Sri Lankan engineers. It is made entirely out of brick, rock and cement and has stood since 1921 without any steel to support it. Not uncommon for Sri Lanka, the impressive structure is surrounded by thick jungle and tea plantations. Watching the sun rise, while the famous blue train passes through here is a sight not to be missed and of course, is an excellent opportunity for the perfect insta shot!
PHOTO TIP: There are so many angles to work with here for incredible photos. Before you reach the actual bridge itself, there is a gap in the trees which makes for the perfect shot of the train passing through, or you can venture down into the bushes for a stunning shot showing off the height of the bridge. The possibilities are endless!
We hope that you enjoy your trip and that these tips help you to get the most amazing photos, we would love to see the results! Tag us @onelifeadventures or #OneLifeAdventures on Instagram so we can check them out, and do let us know if we missed out any of your favourite instagrammable places in Sri Lanka. For more information on our 12 day tour of Sri Lanka and how to book, click here. Or if you still need more convincing, click here for our blog post on why Sri Lanka is one of the world’s best holiday destinations.
WRITTEN BY: Kayla Becher