6 Sri Lankan Sunset Spots

Whilst the travel industry is slowly lifting restrictions please remember to stay safe during your upcoming trip, check the local guidelines on COVID-19 regularly. Images used on this post are all courtesy of Shutterstock.

Sri Lanka is home to white sand beaches, colonial architecture and thousands of tea plantation terrain, making it the perfect location to watch the sun go down after a day of sightseeing and travelling. Whether it’s a backdrop of elephants or an urban jungle, here’s where to stop, catch your breath and  experience nightfall like never before.

6:33pm, The View from Demodara to Ella Train Station

Nine Arch Bridge, Ella

‘The Bridge in the Sky’ as it’s known to locals is a beautiful example of Sri Lanka’s colonial heritage, with vast views across tea plantations and rainforest terrain.  Located exactly between Ella and Demodara stations, the 12 minute journey on the limited evening service will take you across the 91m Viaduct and watch the sunset in a second class carriage with the comfort of air-con.

For a small fee, local guides and tuk-tuk drivers will take you on a bumpy journey off any sort of beaten track to witness this attraction, or opt to sightsee the local way by walking along the train tracks, using the same route that Sri Lankan children use to get to school.

7:02pm, The Elephant Bay Hotel, Pinawalla

Pinawalla Elephant Orphanage, Kegalle

The only thing that can make a beautiful sunset even more surreal is watching elephants taking their evening bath at the same time. Two hours from the capital of Colombo, lies the small village of Pinawalla, taking tourists off the beaten path to witness the ethical care of Sri Lanka’s iconic animal. Between 4 and 6pm, 25 elephants stomp their way down the streets to enjoy time playing in the lazy river as the sun goes down: a sight you need to get on your bucket list.

The small handful of hotels in Pinawalla all have balconies and outdoor catering areas that overlook the elephant river, making it the perfect family friendly way to see these beautiful creatures up close: you don’t have to step out your dressing gown or stop eating your evening meal to enjoy a sundown that you certainly won’t forget.

6:13pm, View of Kandy Lake from Bunk Planet Hostel

Kandy Lake, Kandy 

Kandy Lake or Kiri Muhuda, ‘the Sea of Milk’, is one of the most recent man-made lakes to have been built in Sri Lanka. King Sri Wikrama Rajasinghe commissioned the build in 1807 to overlook the Temple of the Tooth, but now acts as a lakeside with a surrounding path for locals and tourists to enjoy with respective interest. With 3.4km of rocky terrain to explore, it’s easy to see why the clear blue water dominates the cityscape.

Many visit in search of finding rumoured of secret palace tunnels, believing the cloud shape of the lake, only visible from aerial view, is far too suspicious to exist purely for design purposes. For treasure-seekers and leisure strollers alike, the reflective waters offer stunning sunset, particularly during the rainy season (April to November), despite the risk of being a little damp and cold, the cascading raindrops bouncing off the lake’s surface is a spectacular sight.

Please note women travelling alone are discouraged from leaving their accommodation after nightfall due to safety risks.

5:48pm Dondra Head Lighthouse

Dondra Head Lighthouse, Matara 

At the most southernmost point of Sri Lanka, Dondra Head Lighthouse or ‘Lighthouse to the City of the Gods’ provides a comical exclamation point from an aerial view.  South East Asia’s tallest lighthouse and its octagonal tower can be seen even 1km inland, with a well-kept garden exterior acting as a natural backdrop to many aspiring social media influencers’ photoshoots.

Although the lighthouse itself is usually closed off to visitors, its 196 steps can be climbed if the port authority give permission, making it an exclusive and intimate spot to witness sundown: to watch the sea meets the sky and day turn to night.

8:15pm Sigiriya Rock Basecamp

Sigiriya Rock,Dambella  

A potential candidate for the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, this ancient palace and ex-monastery lies 370 metres above sea level with a panoramic view of the jungle below. Formed from an extinct volcano and inhibited for thousands of years, Sigiriya acted as a royal residence from the fifth century before housing hundreds of Buddhist monks. Many of the remaining statues and paintings remain for visitors to explore on their 200m ascent.

Most travellers choose to complete the 1-3 hour hike at either sunrise or sunset, in hopes of catching the first and last rays of sun. Although this means climbing amongst the crowds, it simply offers an increased level of safety and communication amongst other travellers.

7:23pm, Colombo Fort Pier

Fort, Colombo

In the heart of the city, colonial influences live on in the wall carvings and beautiful architecture, accompanied by true Sri Lankan velvet tones of colour: offering art, music and food inside their hospitable walls making the capital, Colombo a city retreat for those missing modern home luxuries. Set on the beautiful backdrop of the Indian Ocean, it’s difficult to imagine a better city skyline to watch the sunset.

Watch from a local guesthouse and witness man-made and natural beauty collide from a rooftop bar, or wander down to the Fort Lookout for an evening with the locals, indulging in a fragrant combination of spices and curries and in the company of exotic, but friendly pet snakes and monkeys.

Please note women travelling alone are discouraged from leaving their accommodation after nightfall due to safety risks.

 

 

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