Sri Lanka is one of the best tourist destination in the world. It has many attractions that include beautiful white sandy beaches, tempting water sports, spectacular landscapes with lagoons, fertile wetlands, rain forests, impressive mountains, abundant rivers and streams and waterfalls, rare or endemic wildlife. For discern traveller looking for unique culture and heritage, there are many heritage ancient cities, colonial fortresses, fine arts and crafts and grand festivals on offer. Above all, the Sri Lanka's people are charming, warm and friendly and hospitable with diverse ethnicity and religious beliefs.
The contemporary tourist attractions such as luxurious Ayurveda Spas and exciting shopping opportunities or expeditions have made Sri Lanka as one of the world's preferred destinations for newly married or enjoy a honeymoon.
The dense physical diversity of Sri Lanka covers virtually every phase of life. From splendid or gorgeous sandy beaches to rocky cove, the small island has a gorges coastal plain with lagoons, wetlands, rivers and many types of forests with diverse fauna and flora.
When you visit Sri Lanka you will realize how warm and friendly are the people of Sri Lanka with persistent smiling faces and willing to help. Don't be surprised, any Sri Lankan takes hospitality seriously. There are many attractions to offer for the discerning traveller looking for a memorable and an exciting visit.
Culture and Heritage
Sri Lanka has six archaeological World Heritage Sites recognized by UNESCO indicating the cultural depth. The World Heritage Sites in the country are:
- The Anuradhapura, the Sacred City
- The Polonnaruwa, an Ancient City
- The golden temple in Dambulla
- The ancient city fortress of Sigiriya
- The sacred city in Kandy
- The old Dutch town of Galle with giant fortifications
Don not miss the seventh World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka, The Sinharaja Rain Forest and Ecological Reserve.
The visitors can see enormous dagobas (dome-shaped structures), remnants of ruined buildings in the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, the spectacular stairway leading to the temple of Dambulla, and the world renown frescoes at the palace of rock fortress of Sigiriya. The wonderful thing is that the visitors can experience these World Heritage Sites within a confined area named the Cultural Triangle in a day or two. Another popular place among the tourist is the former Kingdom capital of Kandy, where the Dalada Maligawa or Sacred Temple of the Tooth located, where sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is housed. Kandy is the citadel of traditional culture depicting distinctive architecture, art and music.
If you are heading towards south or the coastal city of Galle, do not skip exploring the colonial heritage of the country, the mid-17th century Dutch Fort with a grid of crisscrossing streets and 14 massive bastions including unique ancient Dutch bungalows. It is definitely a unique attractions in Sri Lanka.
Conserving the natural environment was deeply ingrained in traditional Sri Lankan Buddhist Society. The Buddhist monarch in the Second Century BC had established the world's first wildlife sanctuary. Still this tradition continues as 13% of Sri Lanka's land area composed of national parks, reserves, sanctuaries and jungle corridors.
Sri Lanka has a high degree of biodiversity and the Conservation International has identified as one of the places of biodiversity hot spots. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve, one of primary tropical rainforest has been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. What is remarkable is, it's the habitat for many diverse endemic species of fauna and flora The wild life enthusiastic traveller, taking a safari in one of the 14 national parks, will certainly have a chance to see some of Sri Lanka's rare wild animals such as elephants, leopards, sloth bears, sambhurs, spotted deer, hogs, mouse- and barking-deer, wild boar, porcupines, anteaters, civet cats, loris, giant squirrels, and monkeys such as the macaque, purple-faced leaf monkey and grey langurs and many more.
Festivals and Events
Sri Lanka has many colorful festivals relating to the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian religions. Most of these festivals are celebrated with flair or pageantry and ritual.
The popular festival is the Kandy Esala Perahera held over 10 days in late July to early August. It's a magical parade of drummers, dancers, whip-crackers, acrobats and robed elephants. A decorated tusker carries the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha for the people to adore.
Adventure and Sports
Sri Lanka is blessed with spectacular, 1,600km long pristine coastal line. It's one of the best locations in the world for windsurfing, water-skiing, surfing, sailing, scuba-diving (including wreck-diving), snorkeling, speed-boating and banana-boating.
Most popular water sport sites are located in Negombo on the West coast, Wadduwa, Kalutara and Beruwela on the southwestern coast, and Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unawatuna, Koggala, Tangalle and Hambantota on the southern or southeastern coasts.
Additionally, tourists have plenty of sporting opportunities throughout the year, along hundred rivers, in lagoons and tanks (irrigation lakes). So, they can go for Kayaking, canoeing, combined with many camping and exciting trips. The most popular locations are Kalu Ganga and the Kelani Ganga (rivers). These locations have rapid headwaters ideal for white-water rafting during the season. Look for Virgin's Breast, Head Chopper, Killer fall, Rib Cage and Slot and Drop.
For adventure tourists can explore the varied landscape, wildlife, and archaeological sites that offer excellent opportunities for trekking. For nature lovers, they can select spectacular nature trails including the Sinharaja rainforest, the cloud-forests of Horton Plains, the
Knuckles (mountain range), and Hakgala Strict Natural Reserve. In addition, para-gliding, rock climbing, cave treks and mountain biking are possible.
It is impossible to explore all the Sri Lanka's spectacular attractions that are on offer in a single trip, there are many other attractions worth mentioning for the discerning traveller:
The Sri Lankan Authentic Food
Aurveda and Spas or Wellness
Visit to a Tea Factory
Visit to Adam's Peak