Sri Lanka formerly known as Ceylon may be a small island in the Indian Ocean but that's the only thing small about it. Sri Lanka has finally embraced peace and has thrown its doors open to tourists from around the world. Most of its guests, though, come from its neighbor, India. With honeymooning couples, large families and backpackers visiting Sri Lanka by the dozens, Sri Lanka is fast emerging as India’s most favorite weekend getaway too. The country boasts an ancient civilization, golden sandy beaches with their swaying coconut palms, mountains, rubber and tea plantations. For centuries, Sri Lanka is a popular destination for travelers. Chinese traveler Fa-Hien arrived in Sri Lanka in the late 4th century. In the twelfth century, Italian explorer Marco Polo claimed that Sri Lanka to be the best island of its size in the world. It is also a land of great contrast and spectacular beauty due to its compactness. Along the coast, visitors can explore amazing beaches, safari tours, guided walks through ancient cities, experience the culture and bit of modern Sri Lanka. Visiting Sri Lanka is a unique travel experience. Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has classified Sri Lanka into several resort regions suitable for tourism development. The tourist attractions includes natural scenic beauty, primarily including mountainous terrains, agricultural landscapes, waterfalls, places with diverse climatic conditions, reservoirs (Wewas) and rivers. Among the most visited in Sri Lanka destinations are Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Jaffna, Nuwara Eliya, Unawatuna, Batticaloa and Negombo.
In brief Sri Lanka can be explained as an island of paradise full of unexpected surprises, the country provides an enchanting getaway that offers a whole new perspective. Destinations within the island are unique from one another, be it local traditions, natural landscapes, wildlife or even beaches, all offering one of a kind escapes that provide an insight into what has made this nation unique.
One of the few countries practicing Theravada Buddhism, a rich history and heritage that is very much a part of the culture. The Cultural Triangle where you will find three UNESCO World Heritage Sites namely the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the ancient kingdoms of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa with their stunning monuments, temples and palace ruins.
Pristine beaches that provide an idyllic getaway with plenty of fun in the sun, sand and surf. Guest can take part in thrilling water sports in South Coast beaches, catch magical sunsets along the West Coast and wake up to the sight of a captivating sunrise in the bewitching East Coast. Sri Lanka can offer a variety of adventure and activities like Kite Surfing – Kalpitiya, Paramotoring – Koggala, Hot Air Ballooning – Kandalama, Down South, Boat Safari, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Bird Watching, Shopping, Surfing, White Water Rafting, Nature Trekking, Camping, Cycling, Snorkelling, Walking City Tour, Safari, Turtle Watching, Canoeing, Kayaking, Ayurvedic Treatments, Elephant Back Safari, Tea Tourism, Buddhist Circle, etc. Some of the famous tourist places are Unawatuna Arugam Bay, Pasikudah, Uppuveli, Beruwala, Mirissa, Bentota, Tangalle and Negombo.
Enjoy its exotic wildlife which can be observed at the country’s National Parks like guests can enjoy leopard safaris in Yala, witness the famous elephant gathering in Minneriya and take part in some bird watching in Bundala. Nature lovers and thrill seekers have much to look forward to with everything from white water rafting in Kithulgala to trekking along the Knuckles Mountain Range.
The UNESCO has declared six archaeological and two ecological World Heritage Sites in the country namely Anuradhapura, Central Highlands, Dambulla cave temple, Galle, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Temple of the Tooth. Being a multi-cultural country there are some lively festivals celebrated by various communities like Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations, Vesak Festival, Christmas, Ramadan festival, Thai Pongal and the Galle Literary Festival are quite popular. The beauty of this tiny island is simply breath - taking. Known for its enchanting ancient ruins, endless soft-sanded beaches, imposing mountains, colourful festivals, tempting water sports, dense wild-life, diverse ethnical groups and off the top hospitality from the local residents, Sri Lanka is bound to make you come back again.
Archaeological Protected Monuments are in Nuwara Eliya, Matale, Kandy, Ampara, Trincomalee, Kegalle, Ratnapura, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Badulla, Monaragala, Colombo, Kalutara, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Kilinochchi, Mannar Mullaitivu, Jaffna, Vavuniya and Gampaha.
The Colombo and Greater Colombo Resort Region spreads along the Mount Lavinia in the south to Negambo in the north. Colombo city is the main part of the zone, and is the center for business activities, conferences and sport events in the country. Colombo serves as both a gateway and stopover point for international tourists. The south coast zone extends from Wadduwa to Tissamaharama. The zone has been divided into two main regions. The first region extends from Wadduwa to Galle. Coastal areas like Kalutara, Beruwala, Bentota, Dedduwa, Madu Ganga, Balapitiya, Ahungalla, and Hikkaduwa are included in this region. The second region, extending from Galle to Tissamaharama, includes Unawatuna, Koggala, Weligama, Mirissa, Matara, Tangalle and Hambantota areas as sub-points of the zone. The East Coast Resort Region extends from Kuchchaveli in the north to Pottuvil in the south. The main tourism zones in this region are Arugam Bay, Pasikudah, Trincomalee and Nilaveli. The West Coast Resort Region extends along Kalpitiya, Marawila and Waikkala areas. High Country Resort Region includes Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela and Maskeliya. Ancient Cities Resort Region have region has five world heritage sites, namely Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Kandy, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya. Other regions include Habarana, Giritale, Matale and Victoria.
National parks in Sri Lanka are Hikkaduwa, Horagolla, Horrowpatana, Horton Plains, Kaudulla,Adam’s Bridge, Angammedilla, Bundala, Somawathiya, Udawalawe, Ussangoda, Wasgamuwa, Wilpattu, Yala, Chundikkulam, Delft, Flood Plains, Gal Oya, Galway's Land, Kumana, Lahugala Kitulana, Lunugamvehera, Madhu Road, Maduru Oya, Minneriya and Pigeon Island.
Botanical Gardens includes Royal Botanical Gardens, Henarathgoda, Mirijjawila, Seetawaka, Hakgala, Ganewatta Forest Medicinal Herbal Botanical Garden. Zoological Gardens includes National Zoological Gardens, Pinnawala Open Zoo, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and Ridiyagama Safari Park
Sri Lanka has a well-connected network of transportation which covers road, rail and air. Both national transportation services and private transportation services operate within the island. International Airport in Sri Lanka includes Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo, Ratmalana Airport (RML) in Colombo and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI) in Hambantota. Domestic Airport includes Ampara Airport (ADP), Anuradhapura Airport (VCCA), Batticaloa Airport (BTC), Sigiriya Airport (GIU) in Dambulla, Koggala Airport (KCT) in Galle, Weerawila Airport (WRZ) in Hambantota, Jaffna Airport (JAF), Katukurunda Airport (KTY), Hingurakgoda Airport (HIM) in Minneriya, Palavi Airport in Puttalam, China Bay Airport (TRR) in Trincomalee. Iranamadu Airport in Kilinochchi, Palavi Airport in Puttalam, Vavuniya Airport (VCC) in Vavuniya and Kandy Airport are under construction. Air Taxi Service offers guests a quick and breathtaking journey across the island. The Air Taxi service is also available as a connecting flight from the international airport to your holiday destination. One can even charter a flight for a group of friends or your family. Roadways - There are many taxi services that operate in Sri Lanka. Roadway - By Bus - Buses are the country's main mode of transport. They cover most towns, are cheap and are often crowded. Only a few routes have air-con buses. Private buses may offer a bit more comfort than government buses. By Car - Guests generally can use a hired car with a driver for all or part of their trip. This allows maximum flexibility and is the most efficient way to get around. Most drivers are very helpful and founts of local knowledge. Railway - The improving railway network serves major towns and can be more comfortable than buses (excepting third-class carriages). Some routes such as Haputale to Ella and Colombo to Galle are renowned for their scenery. A train ride is almost always more relaxed than a bus ride. Costs are in line with buses: even 1st class doesn’t exceed INR 1000.