Sri Lanka being an island nation of 65,610 square kilometers, offers a visitor most of the attractions that most other countries could similarly offer within the shortest possible time span. This is the most unique feature about Sri Lanka apart from being one of the most diverse in providing attractions and having some of the most authentic features in her heritage, culture and people.
What is listed out below gives a clear indication as to what this thrilling package of wonders and delights offers its visitors.
There is a wide array of choices and options available to a visitor to experience the diversity in many attractive ways…
- Sri Lanka is one of the top five bio-diversity hotspots in the World and the highest in South Asia.
- Boasts of its varied ecosystems,
- Panoramic highlands with breathtaking waterfalls,
- 16 Wild life National parks and over 100 protected areas.
- Variously-shaped sublime beaches, from straight expanse to rocky cove.
- The uniqueness of this compact island nation is that all this bio diversity is well within reach of a one day’s travel.
- The diversity of Sri Lanka’s many cultures, religions and traditions include indigenous Veddas
A truly authentic experience is what promises the visitor who is made to discover pleasant surprises – the very essence of serendipity…
- Veddas, Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Malays and Chinese, and those of Portuguese, Dutch and British descent.
- Find Sri Lankan essence in;
- The world’s finest “Ceylon Tea”
- Variety of Sri Lankan spices – cinnamon, cardamom, cloves; – and vanilla.
- Fantastic bargains on clothes and shoes; apparel manufactured for export.
- Traditional handicrafts of Brass, wood, leather, cane, pottery.
- 45 of world’s 80 gems and some of the world’s best sapphires.
- Contemporary arts; paintings, literature, music, film, drama.
Sri Lanka is a small miracle partly due to the compact physical diversity of this pearl-shaped island
The uniqueness of a package consisting of sun, sand, sea, nature, wildlife, adventure, scenery, landscapes, culture and heritage reachable within the span of one day.
the golden sun kissed beaches, the lush green forests with a wide variety of species, both flora and fauna and the rich heritage of a bygone era are reachable within the span of a day is the most unique thing that this island nation can offer a visitor.
Fringed by variously-shaped sublime beaches, from straight expanse to rocky cove, the island possesses a coastal plain containing a host of geographic features such as lagoons, wetlands, rivers and various types of wildlife-rich jungle. The plain ends in the central area where the land starts to ascend into mist-shrouded mountains, covered in forests of wind-stunted trees (in fact there are seven different types of forest in Sri Lanka), plains known as patanas, and rolling tea plantations. In addition, the hillsides are invariably punctuated by dramatic waterfalls. For its size Sri Lanka has perhaps the largest number of waterfalls of any country. The island consists mostly of flat-to-rolling coastal plains, with mountains rising only in the south-central part. Amongst these is the highest point Pidurutalagala, reaching 2,524 metres (8,281 ft) above sea level.
- Heart-warming smiles and genuine hospitality of Sri Lankan people is the unique selling proposition of the island nation.
- With outstretched closed palms held in front of one’s chest, a Sri Lankan welcomes a guest with a traditional greeting – Ayubowan ! (which basically means may you live longer)
- The majority Sinhalese, and the minority communities the Tamils, Muslims, Malays and Chinese, and those of Portuguese, Dutch and British descent.
Sri Lanka’s cultural depth is recognized by UNESCO, which has declared six archaeological World Heritage Sites in the country:
- The sacred city of Anuradhapura
- The ancient city of Polonnaruwa
- The golden temple of Dambulla
- The ancient city of Sigiriya
- The sacred city of Kandy
- The old town of Galle and its fortifications
- (The seventh and eighth World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka are ecological areas – The Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve and the Peak Wilderness)
Stupendous monuments of a bygone era are as attractive and interesting as the pyramids of Giza and Mayan Temples. The technology used to build these structures is believed to be in par with these ancient civilizations. The geometry and alignment of the 3 great dagobas (dome-shaped structures) in Anuradhapura are co-incidentally very similar to that found at the 3 great pyramids in Giza.
There has definitely been an advance technology which assisted in the formation of these elegant structures, the massive irrigation systems and the in the intricate sculptures and artwork that is still displayed in most cultural sites around the island nation. With a view to preserving this cultural heritage, 6 of these cultural areas have been designated as 6 of Sri Lanka’s 8 world heritage sites.
Ayurveda & Spas
Ayurveda is fast becoming a household name Sri Lanka with therapies made available for visitors virtually at every destination. The therapies range from massage, hydrotherapy, herbal baths, reflexology and beauty treatments. For those seeking spiritual nourishment, meditation courses are also available at spas conveniently located at tourist hotels and shopping areas.
Meditation and Yoga retreat centers have mushroomed providing a more spiritual healing in comparison to Ayurvedic healing which concentrates more on physical healing. Visitors have the opportunity of booking an all-inclusive package amalgamating all 3 aspects of wellness and can combine this with a standard tour package or exclusively book a wellness holiday in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka boasts of one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world whether in plants or animals and is included among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world.
- Flora and fauna conserved in 16 national parks and over 100 protected areas.
- Home to 92 mammals -16 of them endemic.
- Largest mammals on land and sea.
- 10 per cent of the Asian elephant population (the biggest gathering outside of Africa is in Minneriya).
- The highest density of leopards in the world.
- Ornithologists’ paradise with 482 bird species (23 endemic).
- 244 species of butterflies.
- Multi-hued underwater gardens and its colourful habitat.
- 26 species of cetaceans rule the waters surrounding the country, making it one of the best locations for whale and dolphin watching
- The rarest mammals of Sri Lanka are the red slender Loris, Toque Macaque, and Purple-faced Langur.
- One of the highest amphibian species density in the world with a high concentration in the Sinharaja rainforest.
Adventure and Special Interest Sports
Sri Lanka is a rollercoaster ride of fun and action. There will never be a dull moment. From the most sedate but captivating train ride across the hill country or an adrenaline pumping white-water rafting expedition – visitors to Sri Lanka are always kept enthralled at a pulsating rate.
Some of the most popular adventure activities available at various resorts in Sri Lanka :
- White-water rafting
- Hot air ballooning
- Whale and dolphin watching
- Scuba diving and snorkeling
- Kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing
- Surfing, wind surfing and kite surfing
- Cycling and mountain biking
- Hiking, trekking and mountain climbing
Sri Lanka has an assortment of accommodation options.
- Modern luxury hotels
- Eco-rustic resorts sort by hideaway holidaymakers.
- Iconic colonial-era hotels with the charm and romance of a bygone era.
- The coastal areas, especially the west and south, have innumerable beach resort hotels,
- Geoffrey Bawa (1919-2003) whose original work has defined Sri Lankan architecture has been the architect of many famous hotels in Sri Lanka.
- Bawa’s vision encompasses a style referred to as ‘tropical modernism’ in which forms of modernism are beautifully softened and enriched by traditional influences and surrounding landscapes.
- An increasing number of boutique hotels on the west and south coast, mainly centred at the Galle Fort.
- Hill country towns such as Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Bandarawela feature colonial era hotels,
- Beautifully converted colonial homes,
- Tea and rubber plantation buildings,
- Jungle cabins, tree-houses and eco-lodges as well as camping under canvas.
- Or Experience an authentic Sri Lankan hospitality with a home stay in a traditional setting..
The cultivation of many types of rice, spices, vegetables and fruit, coupled with past foreign influences, ensures that Sri Lanka enjoys a varied and select cuisine. As a staple, rice is consumed with an assortment of colourful curries (eggplant, potato, green banana, chicken, fish) that range in potency from delicately-spiced to near-dynamite. Other Sri Lankan staples include hoppers (a pancake-like snack), string hoppers (steamed rice noodles) and pittu (a mixture of flour and coconut). Lamprais – rice and accompaniments baked in plantain leaves – is a legacy of the Dutch. Seafood lovers will rejoice at the fresh fish, prawns, crab, squid and crayfish available. Desserts include buffalo curd eaten with palm-honey, and the Malay-derived caramel-like wattalapam.
Sri Lanka has a wonderful array of snacks, known as short eats, named cutlets, patties, malu pang (fish bun), and kimbula bunis (crocodile-shaped bun!) that are excellent for trips. Delectable fruit includes the popular mango, pineapple, banana and papaya, but also many lesser-known but distinctive examples such as sapodilla, mangosteen, rambuttan, woodapple, custard apple and beli.
Shopping in Sri Lanka can take many forms: Some popular forms that a tourist experiences in Sri Lanka would be:
- Enjoying the ambience of a luxurious shopping centers in Colombo, Kandy or Galle
- haggling with a handicraft-seller while sunbathing on the beach;
- choosing fruit from the traditional village store,
- Visiting a handicraft shop and familiarize yourself with traditional designs such as makara (a mythical animal, lion, swan, elephant and lotus which are most evident in brasswork (boxes, trays, lanterns, vases) and silverware (ornately carved and filigree jewellery, tea-sets) that make excellent souvenirs. In addition, ritual masks, lacquer ware, batik and handloom textiles, lace, and wood carvings are popular.
- And last but not least Sri Lanka has the widest variety of precious stones among the world’s gem producing countries – blue sapphires, star sapphires,rubies, cat’s eye, garnets, moonstones, aquamarines and topazes being just a dazzling handful. What’s more, Sri Lanka naturally has a tradition in jewellery-making, so you can bring your gems to life.
The tropical and warm climate of Sri Lanka is appealing to most travellers to Sri Lanka. Its position between 5 and 10 north latitude endows the country with a warm climate moderated by ocean winds and considerable moisture. The mean temperature ranges from about 16 °C (60.8 °F) in the Central Highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of approximately 35 °C (92 °F) in other low-altitude areas
The rainfall pattern is influenced by monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal: as the winds encounter the mountain slopes of the Central Highlands, they unload heavy rains on the slopes and the southwestern areas of the island. Some of the windward slopes receive up to 2,500 millimetres (98.4 in) of rain each month, but the leeward slopes in the east and northeast receive little rain. Periodic squalls occur and sometimes tropical cyclones bring overcast skies and rains to the southwest, northeast, and eastern parts of the island.
Between December and March, monsoon winds come from the northeast, bringing moisture from the Bay of Bengal. Humidity is typically higher in the southwest and mountainous areas and depends on the seasonal patterns of rainfall, and places like Colombo experience daytime humidity above 70% all year round, rising to almost 90% during the monsoon season in June. Anuradhapura experiences a daytime low of 60% during the monsoon month of March, but a high of 79% during the November and December rains. In the highlands, Kandy’s daytime humidity usually ranges between 70% and 79%.