Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka lies just off the south-east coast of India. Its southern tip is barely 30km from the equator. Known as the “pearl of the orient” this tropical island has attracted people for centuries.

Much of the island is covered by forest displaying a diversity of plant and animal life that is breathtaking. Wild elephants inhabit many areas and you can still see big cats, snakes and deer roaming the countryside.

With over 1000 km of palm fringed sandy beaches (including Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ambalangoda, Bentota, Hikkaduwra, Mt. Lavinia and Unawatuna) the island is a sun and sea paradise.

The teardrop-shaped island is filled with cultural and natural treasures. Indians, Portuguese, Dutch and British have all left their mark here, making for a delightful mix of ancient cities, monuments and colonial architecture. This is most obvious in the island’s capital, Colombo, a bustling city displaying a blend of old and new.

Tourists flock to marvel at the ancient ruins that can be found on Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and many other relics of antiquity draw fascinated visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of an ancient society that was counted among the most sophisticated in the world of its time. Sigiriya Rock Fortress is regarded by many as the eighth wonder of the ancient world.

In 2004 the country was devastated by a tsunami which killed more than 30,000 Sri Lankans and wiped out many east coastal communities. The capital Colombo and the west coast was largely unaffected however the devastation was, and still is, felt by the islanders.

The currency in Sri Lanka is the Sir Lanka Rupee. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted and also American Express. The major cities have ATMs but they don’t all accept international cards. If you are taking travellers cheques you are advised to take US dollar or Sterling.

Sri Lanka offers tourists many leisure and pleasure opportunities at a gentle pace; this is not a package holiday destination but one to be savoured by discerning travellers who enjoy discovering their own diversions.


See & Do

The island of Sri Lanka has a vast amount to offer tourists. Listed below are just a few of the highlights that you can enjoy during your stay on the island:

·         Anuradhapura – ancient city and first capital of Sir Lanka

o   Sri Maha Bodhu

o   Great stupa

o   Brazen Palace

o   King Mahasen’s Palace.

·         Thuparamaya – Sri Lanka’s oldest dagoba

·         Jetavanaramaya – the largest stupa and second biggest monument in the world

·         Mihintale

·         Kandy and the Temple of the Tooth

·         Peradeniya Botanic Gardens

·         Cobra Pool

·         Polonnaruwa – second capital of Sri Lanka (between 11th and 13th centuries)

o   “Cave of the Spirits of Knowledge”; Royal Palace of King

                          Parakramabahu I

·         Colombo – Capital city with a mix of old and new Sir Lanka

o   National Museum

o   Fort (Commercial Centre)

o   The Pettah (Historical Heart)

o   The Dutch Period Museum

o   Temples

o   Mosques

o   Kovils

o   Churches

o   Viharamahadevi Park

o   National Art Gallery

o   National Museum of Nature

·         Galle – Capital of the South Coast

o   Dutch Fortress

o   National Maritime Museum

·         The East Coast – home to the finest beaches. The main resorts are:

o   Trincomalee

o   Batticaloa

o   Arugam Bay

o   Lahugala and Gal Oya wildlife reserves

·         Nuwara Eliya and the tea planatations

·         Adam’s Peak (Sir Lanka’s highest point at 2243m)

·         Beaches – the best being:

o   Beruwela

o   Hikkaduwra

o   Bentatoa

o   Mt. Lavinia

o   Negombo

·         Diving, surfing, windsurfing, snorkelling, water skiing, yachting etc.




Popular items to buy in Sri Lanka are gems (especially sapphires), jewellery, woodcarvings, batik, brass ornaments, leather, silverware, spices, and tea. 

Ratnapura has been the main source of gems for many centuries and most of the Country's gem dealers are located in this town. Gems are also available at jewellery shops around the country.

Kandy is the best place to buy most of the handicrafts produced in Sri Lanka. At Kundasale, about 4km from Kandy, a village has been established recently to settle local craftsmen and their families. Here, visitors can watch artisans at work and purchase their products on site.

Colombo is a major attraction for serious shoppers. Being the capital it caters for just about everyone. The shopping areas are divided in to 3 main sections: the Fort (international goods, large organised stores), Pettah (small stores providing a rather chaotic shopping experience) and Galle Road which offers a finer shopping experience with many western style malls and international names.  

Food & Drink

Rice and curry dominate Sri Lankan menus. As well as vegetable, chicken and fish curries are very popular but you will also find beef and mutton. Unlike Indian curries, coconut milk feature heavily in the Sri Lankan version. However, in many of the large towns, cities and resorts you will find other international dishes.

The national drink, as you would expect, is tea. But you may also like to sample a toddy (sap of the palm tree) or Arrack (fermented toddy).

Here are a few restaurants that you might like to try during your stay:

·         Spoons, Colombo

·         The Gallery Café, Colombo

·         Chea Swiss, Colombo

·         La Rambla, Colombo

·         Navaratna, Colombo

·         Sun House, Galle

·         Kahanda Kanda, Galle

·         Amangalla, Galle

·         Lunuganga, Bentota

·         Tara Villas, Bentota

·         Tea Trails, Bogawantalawa



Sri Lanka isn’t renowned for its nightlife and most of what is available is limited to what is offered by hotels. Colombo has a few venues that may be worth checking out:


·         The Library Lounge and Night Club

·         Clancy’s

·         Capri Club


There are theatres in Colombo (e.g. Elphinstone Theatre) and a cinema multiplex. A more recent addition to Colombo’s night scene is the introduction of casinos. There are three in the city if you fancy a flutter – Bally, Ritz Club and Bellagio’s.

February sees Colombo’s greatest outdoor parade, Navam Perahera, which commemorates the country's independence on the 4 February 1948. Here you will see many displays of Sri Lanka's traditional forms of art and dance. 




Depending on where you stay on the island, there are a number of attractions to give you an insight in to the many facets of this amazing country. Many of these have been listed in the about see and do section.


Health & Safety

You should avoid drinking the tap water; you will find bottled water widely available.

Seek medical advice before travelling regarding Malaria, Typhoid and Hepatitis B treatments/vaccinations. Also ensure you have comprehensive travel health insurance.

Crime is rare on the island but you should still employ the usual precautions with your valuables when travelling.


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