About Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an incredibly peaceful vacation destination, where you can completely refresh your mind and body. From the beaches to the tea gardens and historical remains, Sri Lanka is a fascinating island in the Indian Ocean located just under the Indian subcontinent and to the South West of the Bay of Bengal. Its diverse landscapes range from rainforest and arid plains to highlands and sandy beaches.

Although having a mix of graciously warm people, exotic, spice-infused cuisine and intriguing ruins, Sri Lanka surprisingly remains a hidden gem often overlooked by travellers. A perfect mix of history, culture and modernity, Sri Lanka today thrives through its deep-rooted traditions and a personality that draws so many back time and again. Sri Lanka has more than 2,500 years of written history and is the place where the soul of Buddhism flourishes.

With eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, picturesque landscapes, a warm culture and endemic wildlife, sunny gold and white sanded beaches, mysterious and ancient cities, finest handicrafts, world famous gems, and colourful festivals, few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a little geographical space.

Sri Lanka doesn't disappoint when it comes to what you'd expect from an island vacation. An island of magical proportions, Sri Lanka truly is Wonder of Asia!

Official Site: http://www.srilanka.travel/

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Best Season:December to April
Popular Location: Anuradhapura, Galle, Kandy
When to Visit

Most visitors arrive Dec–Apr, when the weather is warm and mostly dry. Monsoon rains affect the country May–Aug (west and south) and Oct–Jan (north and east), but the climate remains temperate and warm year-round.

Travel Info

Languages: Sinhala, Tamil

Currency: [LKR] Sri Lanka Rupee

Timezone: GMT +5:30

Airports: Bandaranayake International Airport [CMB]

Annual Number of Visitors: 2.05 million (2016)

VISA: http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/

Travel Tips

Sri Lanka is an extremely safe place to travel with your family. Private taxis provide the best transport option. The climate is generally wet and warm, so cotton clothing is recommended. Hotels are available in all budget ranges.

Best Known For

Spa, Beaches, Mountains, Forest/Jungle, Island, Peace and Quiet, Scuba/Snorkeling, Sunbathing, Zoo/Wildlife, Dolphin Encounters, All Water Activities, Family Friendly, Party/Nightlife, Bars, Dance Clubs, Surfing, Boating, At Sea, All Inclusive, Zip Line, Kite/Wind Surfing, All Active/Outdoor, Off the Beaten Path, Romantic, Fishing, Hiking/Camping, Horseback Riding, Local Cuisine, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing, Landmarks/Sights, All Arts, Bus Tours, Walking Tours, Road Trips, Museums

To Do

Sun & Beach

This entire island is gifted with shining blue water. Thus, Sri Lanka is most popular for beaches among tourists.


Sri Lanka is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Its written history exceeds 2,500 years and consists of planned cities, magnificent palaces, stunning temples and monasteries, and hard to believe monuments.

Adventure Sports

With varying climates and geography packed into a small island, Sri Lanka offers a range of adventures from the top of the mountains to the depths of the oceans. There’s everything from surfing to paragliding to hiking to be done while in Sri Lanka. With many an adventures packed within few miles of each other, Sri Lanka is an adventure itself waiting to happen.


One of the worlds oldest forms of healing, Ayurveda originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and soon spread to Sri Lanka. With many, including in the West, turning from medicine which treats only the body, towards a more holistic approach, Sri Lanka has become an important destination for those seeking solace in the Ayurvedic principle of body, mind and soul.

Spice Gardens

Enjoy Sri Lanka’s world renowned spices at their source. Visit a spice garden, where smells of cinnamons, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg and mace overwhelm the senses and the visitors are provided an insight into an age old industry of spice production, which attracted many a European and Asian merchants to the ports of ancient Sri Lanka.

Reasons to Visit


Sri Lanka’s cultural depth is recognized by UNESCO, which has declared six archaeological World Heritage Sites in the country. Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Yapahuwa, Dambulla cave temples, Sigiriya are some of the few of the historical attractions that will add unforgettable moments to your holiday in Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka possesses a high degree of biodiversity with 13% of Sri Lanka conserved as national parks, reserves, sanctuaries and jungle corridors. From mighty elephants, elusive leopards to exotic birds, Sri Lanka is a haven for animal enthusiasts.


Sri Lanka’s ancient civilization endows the island with a legacy of colourful festivals relating to the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian religions. Furthermore, these festivals are commemorated with the flair for pageantry and ritual.


Sri Lanka has always been a place that refreshes not just the mind and body, but also the soul and spirit. And for thousands of years, the most popular method used to restore and rejuvenate tired
bodies and weary souls has been Ayurveda.


The vibrant and unique culture of Sri Lanka is a beautiful mingle of several cultures including Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Christians. The 2,500-year-old history and influence of several religions, invasions and colonization of three different nations have strengthened the identity of Sri Lanka’s culture. Rituals and traditions play an important role in declaring the identity of the culture while unique aesthetics such as traditional dancing, music, arts and sculptures enhance the beauty of it.


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. The staple food of the island is rice and curry, which is the number one dish you should try in your visit to Sri Lanka. Apart from that, Hoppers, Pittu, String Hoppers, Koththu Roti and Wade are some of the must eats you should try, to catch the true tastes of Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka is an island that promises all kinds of adventures. This little nation of the magnificent vistas and awesome adventures has something for all the adventurers that go seeking their adrenalin fix to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has something for everyone in terms of adventure – be it surfing, diving, snorkelling, white water rafting, canoeing, skydiving, bungy jumping, trekking or hiking – Sri Lanka has got you covered.


With nearly 1,600 kms. of palm fringed coastline baked to perfection surrounding the country, Sri Lanka is the ideal destination for beach bums worldwide. The two monsoon winds providing rain to the two corners of the country at various periods makes Sri Lanka’s beach holiday a year round prospect. Lush green mountain ranges enveloped with mist, cascading waterfalls with rainbows, tea plantations blanketing lands that run till your eyes can see, the cool climate of the hill country screaming mysteriousness, beauty and serenity at the same time, makes another great reason to visit Sri Lanka.


Shopping in Sri Lanka can take many forms: haggling with a handicraft-seller while sunbathing on the beach; choosing fruit from the traditional village store, checking out the bargain-priced latest international fashions while enjoying the ambience of a luxurious shopping centre in Colombo or admiring longingly at craftsmanship of the Noritake Lanka Porcelain company’s porcelainware that has earned a reputation in international market for standard and quality.


Sri Lanka is known for its rich Buddhist culture and history and offers many places of religious and historic significance.


Sri Lanka was considered the lost paradise by many a globe trotters who fell upon the country, because it is filled with romantic landscapes, with pictures of stirring mountains carpeted with lush green tea gardens, roaring waterfalls mingling with the clouds and highlands shimmering in sunlight and disappearing under the rising mist.


Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It’s set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city’s heart is scenic Kandy Lake, which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth shrine, celebrated with the grand Esala Perahera annual procession.


The dusty little town of Dambulla is famous for its remarkable cave temples. Five magical, dimly lit grottoes crammed with statues and decorated with fine murals, offer a picture-perfect snapshot of Sinhalese Buddhist art at its finest. Dambulla’s cave temples are cut out of an enormous granite outcrop that rises more than 160 m above the surrounding countryside.


Around 15 km northeast of Dambulla, the spectacular citadel of Sigiriya rises sheer and impregnable out of the denuded plains of the dry zone. Sitting atop a huge outcrop of rock towering 200 m above the surrounding countryside. The shortest-lived but the most extraordinary of all Sri Lanka’s medieval capitals. Sigiriya (“Lion Rock”) was declared a World Heritage Site in 1982 and is the country’s most memorable single attraction – a remarkable archaeological site made unforgettable by its dramatic setting.


The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in AD 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site. Currently the new Polonnaruwa is under going a major development project. Known as the “Awakening of Polonnaruwa” under the concept of President Maithripala Sirisena.


Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was the third capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata, following the kingdoms of Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara. The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the center of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries.


A World Heritage Site, this historic city is a delight to explore on foot, an endlessly exotic old trading port blessed with imposing Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient mosques and churches, grand mansions and museums. Wandering its rambling lanes you’ll pass stylish cafes, quirky boutiques and impeccably restored hotels owned by local and foreign artists, writers, photographers and designers. Built by the Dutch beginning in 1663, Galle’s core is the Fort, a walled enclave surrounded on three sides by the ocean.


From a shabby sprawl, to be skirted enroute the beaches of south, Colombo has become a confident Cosmopolitan. It is no longer that boring city that you simply had to get away with it when on your way to the Southern Beach but is rather a worthy holiday destination in its own very right that demands a definite visit when in the country. City’s major sections are the old area of narrow streets and colorful market stalls; modern commercial and government area and a wealthy residential and recreational area. The tourist places in Colombo include some of the historic Buddhist temples, monuments and places that showcase the socio-cultural richness of the place.

Yala National Park

The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. Yala harbors 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilisations. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.

Yala National Park
Minneriya National Park

May to October is the best time to visit the Minneriya National Park in preparation for the famous wild elephant rally. The vegetation of the park consists of mixed evergreen tropical forests, abandoned oaks, grasslands and wetlands. Among the 24 species of mammals residing in the park are elephants, leopards, lazy bear, spotted deer, deer, wild ox, wild pig, gray leopard, purple leaf monkey, three species of mongoose, the porcupine and the Indian pangolin. Minneriya National Park has registered more than 170 species of birds. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephants dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts.

Minneriya National Park
Nuwara Eliya

Often referred to as ‘Little England’, this genteel highland community does have a rose-tinted, vaguely British-country-village feel to it, with its colonial-era bungalows, Tudor-style hotels, well-tended hedgerows and pretty gardens. Indeed, Nuwara Eliya was once was the favoured cool-climate escape for the hard-working and hard-drinking English and Scottish pioneers of Sri Lanka’s tea industry. The surrounding countryside is dotted with waterfalls, including the multiple cascades of St. Clair’s Falls. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns, and shelters monkeys and blue magpies.

Nuwara Eliya

Negombo is a city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, north of the capital, Colombo. Near the waterfront, the remains of the 17th-century Dutch Fort now house a prison. Negombo Lagoon, lined with fishermen’s huts, feeds into the Dutch-era Hamilton Canal. The canal leads south to Colombo. Just north of the city, Negombo Beach is lined with coconut trees and mangroves. It offers opportunities for diving, with coral reefs and a 20th-century shipwreck offshore.


Trincomalee is a port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is home to the fine beaches of Nilaveli, Uppuveli and the off-shore Pigeon Island. Recently, Trincomalee has become popular as a whale watching destination as well. The dive centres at Nilaveli and Uppuveli offer tourists the opportunity to enjoy their holidays in diving, snorkeling and swimming. Trincomalee is studded with a multitude of ruins and is considered a major Buddhist cultural site.


Temple of the Tooth, Kandy

Large temple featuring rituals and services around the sacred Tooth Relic, the canine tooth of Buddha.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Pinnawala

Animal orphanage for abandoned & maimed elephants, with feedings & river bath events for the public.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Sigiriya

The ruins of a 5th-century city, anchored by a towering rock fortress accessible by steep stairs.

Dambulla Cave Temple, Dambulla

Temples built into 5 caves under overhanging rock, containing paintings, statues & wall murals.

Ape Gama, Colombo

Ape Gama presents the traditional industries, the village lifestyle and the way Sri Lanka’s old society functions at the time. In here, all houses are built in a circular shape with a “meda midula” or a garden in the center. This is where the children gathered to play while the village was protected along its periphery by the houses. The folk women of Ape Gama are busy making and selling Sri Lankan sweetmeats. There are people who live in this “model” village and take care of the daily tasks for visitors to observe. You can see the artisans work in their outlets selling jewelry, masks and statues, paintings, sewing lace and more. It is not too far from Colombo, situated at the Jana Kala Kendraya in Battaramulla.

Peace Pagoda, Rumasalla

Built with the help of Japanese monks, the peace pagoda on Rumasalla Hill is one of the Buddhist stupas in Sri Lanka. Stupas are monuments that serve as beacons of peace for people of all nationalities and creeds, and the clean, rounded design of the Unawatuna pagoda exemplifies this. Visitors can walk or drive the shaded path to the Peace Pagoda and they will be rewarded with a towering, white bell-like structure surrounded by gold-painted statues. Sets of steps also lead to a walkway encircling the shrine which offers a 360-degree view of the jungle and bay. There are four Buddha Statues around it and they indicate the birth of prince Siddhartha, His Enlightenment and the attainment of Parinibbana.

Flag Rock, Galle

Flag Rock, at the southernmost end of the Fort, was once a Portuguese bastion. Today it is easily the most popular place to catch a sunset. During the Dutch period, approaching ships were signalled from the bastion atop Flag Rock, warning them of dangerous rocks – hence its name. Musket shots were fired from Pigeon Island, close to the rock, to further alert ships to the danger. Later, the Dutch built a lighthouse here; since removed, the nearby street name survives.

Dutch Reformed Church, Galle

Originally built in 1640, the present building dates from 1752. Its floor is paved with gravestones from Dutch cemeteries, while other impressive features include the organ and an imposing pulpit made from calamander wood and topped by a grand hexagonal canopy. You may encounter the friendly caretaker who will likely point out the carved wooden memorial dedicated to a former Commander of Galle, Abraham Samlant – the tiny cotton shirt is said to be the one he was baptised in.

Old Gate, Galle

A beautifully carved British coat of arms tops the entrance to the Old Gate on the outer side. Inside, the letters VOC, standing for Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company), are inscribed in the stone with the date 1669, flanked by two lions and topped by a cockerel. A section of the fortifications here also served as a spice warehouse.

Meeran Mosque, Galle

Facing the lighthouse, this beautifully maintained whitewashed building is a highly unusual construction combining eclectic architectural features that include a dash of baroque, British Victorian and Islamic detailing. Its facade is more reminiscent of a Portuguese cathedral than a mosque. Inside there’s a wonderful little mihrab, complete with small decorative domes.

Amangalla, Galle

The Amangalla was built in 1684 to house the Dutch governor and officers. Later, as the New Oriental Hotel, it was the lodging of choice for 1st-class P&O passengers travelling to and from Europe in the 19th century. During much of the 20th century, it was in a decades-long slow decline. The hotel has a comic role in Paul Theroux’s iconic ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’. It was completely restored and reopened as the Amangalla in 2004. Public areas such as the bar, lobby and restaurants are open and worth a look.

Marine Archaeological Museum, Galle

This spacious maritime museum occupies a colossal old spice warehouse built by the Dutch and dating back to the late 17th century. The structure was originally part of the main gateway to the Fort and it still forms part of its ramparts. An introductory video presentation sets the scene and there are interactive displays that illuminate the city’s maritime past, including the many shipwrecks in Galle’s surrounding waters. It covers two levels that snake through the city walls.

Galle Fort, Galle

This fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a fort of enormous proportions, so much so that it sustained almost no damage during the 2006 tsunami. Built by the Portuguese and then captured by the Dutch, this fort offers an excellent insight into the history of Galle.

National Museum, Galle

This museum is housed in what’s thought to be the oldest Dutch building in Galle, dating back to 1686. Displays are somewhat dusty and dated but include information on the lace-making process, traditional masks and religious items, including a relic casket.

Galle International Cricket Stadium, Galle

Once a racecourse for wagering British colonials, Galle’s cricket ground was established over 100 years ago. Since 1998 it has been used for international matches. There’s a great perspective of the ground from the Sun Bastion to the south.

National Maritime Museum, Galle

Nestled in the old walls, this small museum is worth a quick look for its skeleton of a Bryde’s whale and a very useful model that explains how tsunamis occur. There are also some dusty displays demonstrating old fishing techniques and examples of local boats.

National Museum, Colombo

If you are a history lover, the National Museum is probably one of the first few places that you need to visit, when you come to Colombo. Established during 1877, this is the biggest museum in the island nation and is undoubtedly the pride of Sri Lanka. The place houses some of the best and personalised collections of the ancient Kandyan dynasty rulers.

Galle Face Green Beach, Colombo

Situated in the middle of the busy stretch of Galle Road and the Indian Ocean, this open space, established during 1859, is a huge hit among tourists of all age groups. During weekends, the place is abuzz with vendors who attract kids with their bright toys. While you are here, do not miss to taste the lip-smacking delicacies that are prepared by street vendors.

Tours in Sri Lanka

An island of magical proportions, Sri Lanka truly is Wonder of Asia
Trekking in Highlands of Sri Lanka

    Trekking in the highlands

    8 Days

    With multitude of roads winding through expanding mountains, lush green forests, paddy fields, parks and sleepy villages, Sri Lanka offers a plethora of opportunities to the keen hikers and trekkers. The highlands of Sri Lanka with virgin rain forests, sacred…

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    Ayurveda in Sri Lanka

      Ayurveda for Body & Mind

      8 days

      Pink frangipani flowers float in terracotta bowls, their sweet fragrance a counterpoint to the earthy herbal notes of the oil being gently massaged into your feet and body. As you lie on a neem wood table, with dried neem leaves…

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      Air balloons at Dawn

        Hot Air Ballooning

        15 days

        Roam the skies of Sri Lanka enjoying the sights from the heavens above. Floating at heights of 500 to 2,000 feet on an average, effortlessly drift over the treetops, wildlife, lakes & rivers, cultural sites, local urban homesteads & landmarks…

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        Diver Among Shipwreck

          Diving among shipwrecks

          8 Days

          Surrounded by the Indian Ocean with its coral gardens, multitude of exotic fishes and ancient wrecks, Sri Lanka offers one of the best diving experiences in the world. The colorful coral gardens along southern coasts and old and new ship…

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