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Sri Lanka

Mesmerising landscapes, fascinating culture and gorgeous weather await in Sri Lanka, an island full of tradition, beauty and history.

The island, which is located off the south of India, boasts stunning Buddhist ruins, lush scenery and magnificent beaches. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoorsy type or someone looking for somewhere to put their feet up, this spot in the Indian Ocean is sure to provide an unforgettable adventure.

Sites such as the Citadel of Sigiriya, Pidurangala Rock and Little Adam’s Peak attract thousands of tourists every year. The mix of colourful fauna, jaw-dropping mountains and exceptional views make Sri Lanka a goldmine of gorgeous scenery.

On the other hand, if you’re hoping for a quiet day of relaxation, Benota Beach should be number one on your to-do list. The golden sands here are simply wonderful and provide a magically serene atmosphere.

Currency:  The money used in the country is the Sri Lankan Rupee, with 100 equating to around 54p at the moment.

Climate: Sri Lanka enjoys a tropical climate comprised of wet and dry seasons. Dry weather is experienced from December to April, while rainfall arrives between May and September.

Customs and etiquette:  Keeping face is a key part of Sri Lankan culture. The term, which really refers to dignity, means it is frowned upon to criticise people in public. Therefore, try to avoid confrontation while on the island.

Here’s what else you need to know about the wonderful island of Sri Lanka...

COLOMBO

Colombo, Sri Lanka

As the capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is one of the top tourist destinations on the island, continuing to attract visitors from across the world thanks to its fascinating culture, amazing weather and glorious scenery.

One of the top attractions in the city is the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, which is one of the most popular temples on the island. Based just seven miles out of Colombo in nearby Kelaniya, it is cherished by Buddhists and features paintings from Solias Mendis, portraying compelling tales from the religion’s history.

Another fantastic attraction is Viharamahadevi Park, a perfect place for a relaxing picnic in the Sri Lanka sun. The World War Memorial within the park is a beautiful area, featuring a magnificent cenotaph and tributes to fallen soldiers. There’s a play area for kids, too, making it a great space for families.

Must see:  Mount Lavinia Beach is one of the most idyllic spots on the island. Stunning ocean views, golden sands and wonderful shops mean visitors simply cannot miss it.

Shopping: Majestic City is the place to be for shoppers, with 96 retailers and a cinema, it’s a fantastic place to pick up some bargains or simply relax.

Getting around:  Colombo has an extensive bus map, linking the centre of the city to the outskirts and services run regularly through the day.

Kandy and Pallekelle

Kandy, Sri Lanka

Situated in central Sri Lanka and surrounded by breathtaking scenery, Kandy looks completely out of this world, while nearby Pallekelle is the sports hub of Sri Lanka.

In Kandy, the Temple of the Tooth in particular makes for an astonishing day trip. The landmark, which is a key Buddhist site, holds three daily services, giving visitors a compelling insight into the importance of the religion in Sri Lanka. It also features the historic tooth of the buddha, which is kept in a gold casket in a guarded room.

What’s more, the World Buddhism Museum is located close by, boasting photographs, models and displays relating to Buddhism across the world. The Kandy View Point is the best place to see the town’s astonishing beauty, offering extraordinary photo opportunities and a great vantage point for the 88ft Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha statue.

Seven miles away in Pallekele, sports are the primary tourist attraction, with the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium hosting some of the national team’s biggest games. Away from the stadium, the suburb is quiet and laid-back, with many tourists instead opting to visit nearby Kandy for its wealth of things to do.

Must see:  The Kandy Lake Club Show offers an extraordinary insight into Sri Lankan culture, featuring dancing, acrobatics and even fire walking.

Shopping:  Kandy City Centre is the most popular shopping area in the city, offering a great mix of international and local products.

Getting around: Buses are available across Kandy, covering all of the tourist areas for great value prices.

Hambantota

Hambantota, Sri Lanka

Following the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, Hambantota has turned into one of Sri Lanka’s fastest-growing destinations and is perfect for adventurous travellers, with plenty of awe-inspiring outdoor activities to enjoy.

Bundala National Park, in particular, should not be missed. Home to a stunning variety of animals, including elephants, storks and crocodiles, there are safari trips available that bring you up close to the beautiful wildlife.  

For something a little more relaxing, the Mahapelessa Hot Springs are a great option. These pools are deemed to have amazing healing properties and have been maintained brilliantly by the Ruhunu Tourist Bureau to ensure travellers can make the most of them.

Must see: The Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens make for a fantastic day out, spanning around 300 acres in size and showcasing a stunning variety of plants.

Shopping:  Hambantota is still very much in a developmental phase, with a new complex set to open in the next few years,  though there are some excellent local shops selling handmade wares.

Getting around:  There are buses available across the city, while taxis are advised for those rushing to reach a specific destination.

 

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