I travelled quite a bit in Asia. But I must say - Sri Lanka was by far my favourite country on the Asian continent.
For many reasons.
First of all of course photo wise. For my liking it has the most beautiful landscape in Asia. Green and versatile, hills, fields, tea plantations. But it has also a lot of wildlife (mainly of course elephants, the symbol of Sri Lanka).
And as a female solo traveller - I felt safe in Sri Lanka. People are welcoming and friendly.
I had a private driver during the trip. They are not particularly expensive in Sri Lanka and it is well invested money. Many locals don't speak English and he was able to arrange a lot of special moments for me, talking to the locals and showing me places I would have never known as they are not mentioned in any travel guide.
To sum it up - a trip in Sri Lanka offers you a good range of many photo opportunities. Wildlife, landscape, street, traditional life, and people.
Travel expenses are rather low, food amazing, weather and light almost always good - many reasons to go there. I hope I can return one day.
pHOTO SPOT 1: NEGOMBO
A good start for your trip in Sri Lanka would be Negombo. It is close to the airport and you are right in the middle of real life in Sri Lanka.
Go early morning and discover the traditional fishing boats going out and the fish market at the old harbour.
Discover the water canals in the old town and enjoy beach life.
Best time is indeed as early as possible, with the first light. Before the tourists come and while the fishermen are doing their job.
PHOTO SPOT 2: PINNAWALA
For every fan of elephants the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a must.
You can feed little elephant babies with a bottle and watch them bathing in the river.
But most impressive - elephants walk through the town and you better step back, they won't stop for you...
PHOTo spot 3: SIGIRIYA
Sigiriya is the probably most photographed and visited spot in Sri Lanka, still I didn't find it too crowded. Especially because you have so many alternatives for photos than only the "main path"
up the fortress. If you rent a tuk tuk driver or a motor bike, you can discover the little rural roads around the rock fortress and will get amazing views of the "eighth wonder of the world", as
the locals refer to the fortress. And you will be more or less on your own.
Also a great experience: to climb up the Pidurangala Rock for sunset with great views to the fortress of Sigiriya! But it is not the easiest of climb. First steep stairs and the last bit free rock climbing. You need good shoes and a bit of fitness.
photo spot 4: KANDALAMA LAKE
Kandalama Lake is a hidden gem, not really known amongst the tourists.
It is a reservoir and if you have a long lens, you can capture the dead trees in the water. It is almost surreal.
They are a bit in a distance from the shore, so make sure you have at least 200mm, better 300 with you.
photo spot 5: ADAM'S PEAK
The area Maskeliya around Adam's Peak is the most beautiful landscape in Sri Lanka. Tea plantations everywhere, lakes and rivers, mountains, gorges... Take your time and stay in one of the lovely home stays in that area. They are really affordable, offer great food (even better tea) and you can discover the landscape by foot.
photo spot 6: NUWARA ELIYA
Nuwara Eliya is the area of tea.
It is a great adventure to watch the tea pluckers with their colourful traditional clothes in the middle of the green, in the backdrop most impressive landscapes like the waterfall St. Clairs.
I was told that due to the all-year-round warm weather in Sri Lanka, they harvest in every month. I was there in January and it seemed to be a good month to watch the harvest, I saw plenty of ladies.
I think it was the region where I shot most photos.
Please don't forget to give a few rupees to the ladies when you want to shoot. They don't earn too well and it shows a bit of respect that you appreciate their cooperation. In return you will be very welcoming to join them in the fields and to accompany them from picking to weighing.
photo spot 7: ELLA
The Nine Arches Bridge in Ella with the old trains passing by is the Hogwart Express spot of Sri Lanka!
Climb on the hill South East from the bridge and take your long lens. It is certainly the best view.
And be sure to have a time table of the train. They only come a few times per day.
For sunset a climb up to Little Adam's Peak will offer you great views of the mountains.
photo spot 8: AHANGAMA
In Ahangama you can meet the traditional fishermen on stilts.
Unfortunately - this is nowadays mainly a photo opportunity. I was told that there are still a handful of fishermen fishing in this old style, but most of them do it to earn a few rupees from the tourists.
If you talk to them the night before, they will come early in the morning, before the crowds want to do their selfies and fish for you. Shoot with the first light, it is the best.
But the area of Ahangama has more to offer. There are some lovely traditional villages, gorgeous secluded (and not so secluded) beaches, great waves to surf and fantastic romantic sunrises over the sea.
PHOTO SPOT 9: DONDRA
Dondra is great if you want to see some really nice beaches. Also the Dondra Head Lighthouse is worth a visit with your camera.
But be aware of (very venomous) snakes. I met quite a few in that area, even a cobra - also at the beach where I didn't expect them. Ask a local beforehand how to react if you have an encounter with them. It might become important... (What I did - I didn't move at all, I was frozen to a stone statue until the snake was out of reach - better said I was out of reach for the snake.)
photo spot 10: GALLE
Galle and the area around it like Unawatuna is certainly a "must" for your Sri Lankan trip.
Most tourists stay at the beach which is quite crowded. So is the old town with its lighthouse and the fort.
But if you dare to go a bit outside of the town - you find the most beautiful beaches with literally no one on it. And that for many miles!
I really loved the Japanese Peace Pagoda in Unawatuna.
But be aware that you cannot take a tripod with you. A guard told me to leave it outside the pagoda. Still a beautiful place for a sunset shoot.
I hope I was able to give you a small impression of this beautiful country.
I travelled so much - but this was certainly amongst the best trips of my life. I would not hesitate to do it again.
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SRI LANKA PHOTOS FINE ART
Editorial photos of SRI LANKA you can see here:
SRI LANKA PHOTOS EDITORIAL
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