Sri Lanka, nestled just off the tip of India’s most south easterly point, is one of Asia’s richest treasure troves made up of both natural and man-made wonders. Sri Lanka’s turbulent past has long since simmered down to a serene calm and Sri Lanka is looking up.
Sri Lanka is an island of beautiful citadels, sacred cities and golden sands. The island boasts many perfect golden sand beaches and shimmering seas whilst the interior boasts vast plantations of tea and spices, floristically rich forests, stunning beaches, important archaeological sites and amazing bird and animal life.
Few places have as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sri Lanka has eight (8), crammed into such a relatively small area. In addition there are a number of ex-British colonial forts and rail tracks for you to see. Sri Lanka’s 2000-plus years of culture can be discovered at ancient sites filled with mystery. Legendary temples boast beautiful details crafted by artisans through the centuries.
The Cultural Triangle, including the sacred city of Anuradhapura and the cave temples of Dambulla, comprises a succession of ancient capitals and Buddhist sites where intricate carvings and towering stone monuments are scattered throughout the forests.
In the fortified coastal town of Galle the Portuguese walls defend Dutch churches and the former homes of British merchants. Galle is home to the gloriously gilded, palm fringed beach of Unawatuna Bay, where the sea is reef protected.
The busy lakeside city of Kandy still attracts thousands of devotees to the Temple of the Tooth. Deep in the heart of the island and in perfect proximity to explore Adam’s Peak, which brings together four separate strands of religious beliefs. It’s well worth the climb to explore its green slopes and holy summit.
Sri Lanka’s rich colonial legacy can be seen in Nuwara Eliya, in the inner Hill Country, which is carpeted in rich tea plantations and has a strange sense of home in the aged bungalows and croquet lawns that adorn the area.
Sri Lanka has a number of national parks. Diverse flora and fauna thrive in the plains, wetlands and rainforests, and are often protected. Wild elephants are frequently sighted in the parks while the forests and scrub of Yala National Park, which could have been the setting for Jungle Book, provide a habitat for one of the world’s densest leopard populations.
Sri Lanka is the perfect marriage between a luxurious beach holiday spot and a wonderful safari r a cultural tour destination for those who want to escape to somewhere a little off the beaten track, but with the beach still very much in reach.