Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is famous for golden sandy beaches, rising waves, misty mountains, sunshine, tropical weather, ancient ruins, mighty elephants, stealthy leopards, giant whales, lovely tea, warm smile, cricket etc …it is a compact island of 65,610 sqkm where a tourist can travel the length and breadth of the country within a few days. Diversity of the tourism products in the country is unparalleled.
With many sites and scenes bottled up in to a small island, you could be riding the waves in the dawn and admiring the green carpeted mountains by dusk. Holiday destinations in Sri Lanka provide an array of holiday experiences from sun kissed beach holidays to a marathon of wildlife watching, adrenaline pumping adventure sports and pilgrimage to some of the oldest cities in the world.
Spicy food, exotic fruits and array of sweetmeats found nowhere in the world. With so many cultures living next to each other life in Sri Lanka continues among a series of festivities throughout the year, an ideal recipe for fun and leisure.
As an island, Sri Lanka is surrounded by sea and a perfect destination for a beach holiday. When the seas are rough on one side of the island there is calm waters on the other side. So it is a year round BEACH DESTINATION. Main Beaches are as below:
With a recorded history of more than 2500 years Sri Lanka has a rich heritage. There are 8 world HERITAGE SITES in the country which include; The hill capital Kandy, The sacred city of Anuradhapura, The Dutch fort of Galle, The ancient city of Polonnaruva, The rock fortress of Sigiriya, The golden rock temple of Dambulla, The beautiful Horton plains and The Singharaja rain forest.
For a small island the biodiversity of the country is most impressive. Sri Lanka is home for a wide variety of mammals, birds, fish, butterflies and snakes. The big five SRILANKAN WILDLIFE are the elephant, the leopard, the sloth bear, the blue whale and the sperm whale.Some of the majorwildlife parks in Sri Lanka are:
Due to varying climate conditions and geography Sri Lanka is an ideal destination for SPORTS TOURISM. Some of the popular sports include Golf, Surfing, Diving & Snorkelling, Hot Air Ballooning, Rafting and Canoeing, Scuba Diving, Fishing, Cycling, Hiking, Trekking and Rock Climbing.
ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDEN, Peradeniya is situated about 5.5 km to the west from the city of Kandy and attracts more than 2 million visitors annually. It is renowned for its collection of a variety of orchids. It includes more than 4000 species of plants, including of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. Attached to it is the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka.
HAKGALA BOTANICAL GARDEN is situated on the Nuwara Eliya - Badulla main road, 16 km from Nuwara Eliya. The garden has a cool temperateclimate because of altitude is 5,400 feet above the sea level.
HENARATHGODA BOTANICAL GARDEN is situated in Gampaha-Minuwangoda main road. It is about 29 km far from Colombo. The altitude of garden is about 33 feet above the sea level. It has a tropical low-country climate.
ANURADHAPURA: The ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura is famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka until the beginning of the 11th century AD. City is considered sacred to the Buddhist world& today surrounded by monasteries. Anuradhapura is also significant in Hindu legend as the fabled capital of the Asura King Ravana in the Ramayana. The city is now UNESCO World Heritage Site.
POLANNARUWA: The second most ancient cities of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
BENTOTA: This coastal city famous for golden beaches. Bentota is situated on the southern coastal part of the island. City hosts a handful of world proclaimed hotels.
GALLE:A town situated on the south western tip of Sri Lanka, 119 km from Colombo and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
HIKKADUWA: Hikkaduwa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka. Place is located about 20 km north-west of Galle. City is famous for its beach and corals. The place is on the way from Colombo to Galle on the famous Galle road. It serves as a great beach with options to surf, snorkel and enjoy the sun.
COLOMBO: Due to its large harbour and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. However it was only made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation became independent in 1948. In 1978, when administrative functions were moved to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo was designated as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.
NEGOMBO: Negombo is a town located about 37 km north of Colombo. It is located at the mouth of the Negombo lagoon, about 7 km from the Bandaranaike International Airport. Negombo& has a small port. Its economy is mainly based on tourism and its centuries-old fishing industry, though it also produces cinnamon, ceramics, and brass ware.
PINNEWELA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE: It is situated halfway between Colombo and Kandy. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka wildlife department in a 25-acre coconut property near the Maha Oya River. The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungle.
KANDY: Kandy is the capital of the Central Province. It lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy Valley which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea.
Major sightseeing places in Kandy are –Temple of the Tooth, Kandy Lake & Royal Botanical Garden of Peradaniya etc …
DAMBULLA: a UNESCO World Heritage Site and major attractions of the city include the largest and best preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka, and the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, famous for being built in just 167 days. The city also boasts to have the largest rose quartz mountain range in South Asia, and the Iron wood forest, or Namal Uyana. Ibbankatuwa prehistoric burial site near Dhambulla cave temple complexes is the latest archaeological site of significant historical importance found in Dambulla, which is located within 3 kilometres of the cave temples providing evidence on presence of indigenous civilisations long before the arrival of Indian influence on the Island nation.
SIGIRIYA (Lion's rock): This is an ancient rock fortress and castle/palace ruin situated in the central Sri Lanka, about 18 kms away from Dambula. Place is surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. It is also known for its ancient paintings (frescos), very similar to those in the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.
KALPITIYA: Despite its natural beauty, the western peninsular area of is remarkably untouched by tourists. But for those who visits, there's plenty of things to see and do! With the small night fishing community dominating the lives of the local people, visitors can get a real insight into working life away from the city. After watching the night fishing boats return in the morning, a visit to one of the fish markets offers the opportunity to choose the evening meal direct from the fresh catch! The Dutch Fort and St Peter's Kerk church in the town itself are interesting examples of Sri Lanka's rich history and colonial past. Leisurely boat rides up the lagoon and canoe trips down the river are a pleasant way of exploring the coastline, whilst 4WD jeep rides along the deserted sand dunes between the ocean and the lagoon offer a unique way of watching the colourful evening sunset.
NUWARA ELIYA: It is located at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) in the central highlands and is considered one of the most important locations for Tea production in Sri Lanka. The town is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the highest mountain in Sri Lanka.
Major sightseeing places in Nuwara Eliya are –Haggala Botanical garden, Gregory lake, St. Clairs Tea Factory etc …
YALA NATIONAL PARK: It was established in 1894 as a Game Sanctuary. Much of the reserve is parkland, but it also contains jungle, beaches, freshwater lakes and rivers and scrubland. The latter zone is punctuated with enormous rocky outcrops. The range of habitats give rise to a good range of wildlife.
CAPITAL: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, but Colombo is the commercial capital.
CURRENCY: Sri Lankan Rupee
POPULATION: Just above 2 Crores
LANGUAGE: Sinhala (officiallanguage). English is widely used.
CLIMATE: Since Sri Lanka is a tropical country, you can expect the rain anytime of the year in most parts. However, the two major rainy seasons are North-East monsoon (October to January) and South-West monsoon (May to July).Being an island, the climate of Sri Lanka changes dramatically from one part of the country to another. For example at Nuwara Eliya, in the hills of Central Sri Lanka, has a temperature around 5-20 C throughout the year, whereas Hambanthota, located in the dry zone, has a temperature consistently around 30-35 C.
FOOD: Sri Lankan cuisine is one of the most complex cuisines of South Asia. Due to its proximity to South India, the cuisine of Sri Lanka shows some influence, yet is in many ways quite distinct. As a major trade hub, it draws influence from colonial powers that were involved in Sri Lanka and by foreign traders. Main meals such as Rice and Curry which is consumed daily, can be found at any occasion, while spicy curries are favourite dishes for lunch and dinner. Breakfast dishes such as Hoppers (Appa) and String Hoppers (Idi Appa). Special Occasion and Festive dishes such as Milk Rice (Kiribath) and Sweet meats (Kavum, Kokis, Asmi etc.) Fast food- Kottu.
This island country has a wide array of restaurants, however finding good vegetarian restaurants is somewhat a big deal. Still with the help of our experienced chauffer / guide, we could stop at some good veg restaurants in each tourist cities.
DRINK: Ceylon Tea is world famous for its high quality and has remained a major contributor to the island’s economy for generations. A very popular drink is Faluda, a mixed cold drink with syrup, ice cream, jelly pieces and basil seeds. Fruit juices are popular in Sri Lanka, especially passion fruit juice Toddy, is a mildly alcoholic drink made from palm tree sap. Arrack is considered the de facto distilled national drink by many.
SHOPPING IN SRI LANKA: This can take many forms: haggling with a handicraft-seller while sunbathing on the beach; choosing fruit from the traditional village store, the kadé,while side-stepping sacks of rice or checking out the bargain-priced latest international fashions (Sri Lanka is a major garment exporter) while enjoying the ambience of a luxurious shopping centre in Colombo.
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