Situated off the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is an island paradise, perfect for gap year travel. Compact, beautiful, hot and very friendly, it offers a broad range of experiences, from extreme action to utter relaxation, in surroundings that, whether manmade or natural, are uniquely beautiful.
For those in search of adventure travel in Sri Lanka, there’s no shortage of options. The island has a wealth of wildlife, and more than its share of national parks. You can go leopard spotting in Yala, track elephant in Uda Walawe, tackle the rainforest reserve of Sinharaja or make a night pilgrimage up Adam’s Peak (a sacred site for at least two religions) to watch the sunrise. And then hit the surf in Arugam Bay…
Sri Lanka has the goods to entice any student traveller. For a start, its beaches rival those of anywhere else in the world, but there’s also an exceptionally easygoing atmosphere – particularly remarkable considering the island has a long and recent history of civil war. Still, you’ll feel only peace in the lakeside city of Kandy, when wandering among temples and through tea plantations, or visiting the ancient Sinhalese royal cities and the former Dutch colony of Galle.
There are many projects offering volunteer work in Sri Lanka. They range from conservation work for elephants or sea turtles, to community groups, assisting with people suffering effects of the 2004 tsunami or coaching sports.