Sri Lanka: Welcome to the Land of Serendipity
For centuries, this beautiful tropical island in the Indian Ocean has drawn travellers from across the globe to its sandy, palm fringed shores. A land of golden beaches, misty mountains, mysterious old ruins and rare wildlife, Sri Lanka has long been a paradise for those seeking an idyllic holiday.
This green, magical island caters for all tourists, including the littlest visitor to the country. Despite being a relatively small island, the country’s abundant natural beauty and cultural diversity, ensures that it offers something for everyone.
By far the most popular destinations for tourists are the white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and turquoise waters of Sri Lanka’s beaches. With stunning sunsets in the evening, these beaches are not just for those seeking a relaxing time under the sun…it is also for the adventure seeking adrenaline junky to go surfing, waterskiing, windsurfing, diving or snorkeling. For those with a penchant for wildlife, a boat ride away is the largest animal on earth – the blue whale, along with several other species of whales and dolphins found in the seas of Sri Lanka. Divers have the opportunity of discovering ancient wrecks on the seabed or swimming with the colourful fish in coral reefs.
The coastline is also dotted with nostalgic buildings, harking back to the colonial history of the island. These include the beautiful forts of Galle and Jaffna, the heritage Dutch buildings, churches and quaint, winding streets lined with painted little houses that take you back to a different time and place.
West and South Coast: Negambo, Mt.Lavinia, Hikkaduwa, Beruwela, Kosgoda, Weligama, Bentota, Unawatuna, Galle, Tangalle, Mirissa
East Coast: Arugam Bay, Trincomalee, Pasikudah, Kalkudah, Uppuveli, Nilaveli
The mist shrouded green mountains of Sri Lanka rise from the centre of the country, reaching 2524 metres at its highest point. The mountains are home to lush green forests, rolling plains, tumbling waterfalls and acres and acres of tea plantations. Spend your time at a tea estate, understanding how this golden brew is made or take a hike in the Knuckles mountains or Horton Plains, where some of the most rare plants and animals are found. Bathe in many of the crystal clear waters of the rivers and waterfalls or visit a tiny village where some of the country’s oldest traditions are still preserved.
The hill country, as it is a called, is where you will find some of the most ancient sites in the country. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth of the Buddha in Kandy is also the venue for the breathtaking annual pageant called the Esela Perahera, that has been held unchanged, since the time of ancient kings. The ancient cave temple at Dambulla and the beautiful botanical gardens of Peradeniya are also sights not to be missed. The sacred mountain of Sri Pada or Adam’s Peak, is revered by all religions. Annually, pilgrims of different religions make the arduous climb to its peak, to receive blessings of the deities.
Places to go: NuwaraEliya, Horton Plains, Kandy, Dambulla
Located in the North Central area of Sri Lanka, the country’s most ancient cities dating back to thousands of years are found in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. Ancient stupas, rising into the clouds, gigantic statues, temples, palaces, royal gardens and huge lakes, astound modern historians and scientists alike with their architectural mastery. The magnificent rock fortress of Sigirya to the cave temples of Dambulla to the lesser known historical treasures such as the 500 year old wooden bridge at Bogoda, are some the many historic sites dotted around the country.
Places to go: Anuradhapura, Pollonnaruwa, Kandy, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Potuvil, Kudumbigala
Forests and Wildlife Parks
The country has several wildlife sanctuaries and parks, where the wild leopard, elephant, sloth bear, deer, buffalo and a host of other animals and birds roam free. The Yala and Wilpattu national parks are best for spotting leopard and bear, while Minneriya and Wasgamuwa parks offer the best places to see elephants in the wild. Tropical and migratory birds, such as flamingoes, could be seen in several wetlands in the country. The coastal seas that surround the island are home to many coral reefs and pods of whales, dolphins and turtles. Sri Lanka is a biodiversity hotspot and home to the “Sinharaja” rain forest, an ideal destination for hikers. Here you will find some of the most rare flora and fauna in the world, many of which are endemic to the island. The Horton Plains is also another spot to see some magnificent mountain scenery and some rare, endemic plants, as well as animals like sambur.
While Sri Lanka is proud of its wildlife and nature, it also is very conscious of protecting its environment and safeguarding the country’s unique biodiversity.
Places to go: Yala, Wilpattu, Wasgamuwa, Kumana, Udawalawe
Health and Wellness
Sri Lanka’s ayurvedic traditions date back to centuries and have been used by kings and ordinary folk alike. This holistic treatment offers not only cures to many ailments but it also rejuvenates the mind and body and alleviates the stresses of modern life. Traditional ayurvedic treatment is offered at several specialized hotels and resorts, especially in the South coast. In addition, for those seeking a spiritual experience and inner peace, meditation programames and yoga lessons are offered by specialized centres in some of the most scenic and peaceful areas in the country.
Sri Lanka’s lush, natural vegetation, bountiful sea and rich cultural diversity has given rise to a wonderful culinary experience for visitors to this island. The country’s cuisine boasts of some of the extraordinary ingredients the island is long famed for – the fragrant spices, the pure Ceylon tea and the aromatic Ceylon Cinnamon. Fragrant yellow rice, biriyani, lamprais and milk rice are some of the ways that the staple diet of the people is cooked. Try some hoppers, a crispy pancake, or soft noodle like stringhoppers, coconut roti or the exotic kottu roti, the making of which is a sight to behold. Prawns, crab and lobster, cooked to perfection and meats, grilled or cooked in a variety of ways, with wonderful vegetables and sambals are a must for those who wish to taste Sri Lanka’s cuisine. For those with a sweet tooth, traditional kevun, aluwa or thalaguli would be a delightful dessert along with tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple or papaya.
Sri Lankan’s participation at the “Holiday World 2014” International Travel & Leisure Fair, Prague, Czech Republic
The Embassy of Sri Lanka, supported by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), took part at the International Travel and Leisure Fair “Holiday World 2014”, in Prague from 20 – 23 February 2014.Read more...