In spite of all its problems, with lush vegetation, tropical, paradisiacal beaches and the legacy of a centuries-old culture, Sri Lanka certainly deserves its name as "the Splendid Country".
A land surrounded by mystical blue waters from all sides, tall palm trees that symmetrically line the beautiful beaches, refreshingly dewy mornings and mellowing deep evenings – it's all there in Sri Lanka, the epic country in South Asia, which has successfully risen from an unknown piece of land to one of the most favored tourist destination in the world. This Sri Lanka travel guide is dedicated to providing tourism and travel information about the country, to make your vacation in Sri Lanka an enjoyable one.
Sri Lanka is an island located in the Indian Ocean in South Asia. It neighbors India to its north and was formerly known as Ceylon. Owing to its proximity to India, the country has a vast influence of the Indian culture and finds mention in the great Indian epic – the 'Ramayana'. The history goes like this: this country was ruled by the evil-minded, ten-headed king 'Ravana', who abducted Sita, Rama's wife, from India. Ramayana describes the story of how Rama rescued his wife with the help of 'Hanumana' and his team, who built a stone-bridge across India and Sri Lanka. Today the Palk Strait is referred as being the same mythological stone-bridge in Ramayana. In the recent past of the country, there have been foreign invasions from the Portuguese, the Dutch and finally the British rulers. The country became independent in 1948 and its nomenclature was changed from Ceylon to Sri Lanka.
The country's official capital is Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, but Colombo is considered as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. No wonder, Colombo is the largest city in the country and it is strategically located close to the official capital. Sri Lanka is a country with an alluring combination of natural surroundings and historical remnants. In the city called Kandy, you could have the opportunity to see a tooth of Gautam Buddha, well preserved since centuries and hence this city has a unique spiritual air around it. In Anuradhapura and Polannaruwa, you can get to see the ruins of ancient cities being restored to a certain extent by the archaeological board. Some other Sri Lankan cities of tourist importance are Galle, Kurenegala, Jaffna, Ratnapara, Nuwara Eliya and several others to name. Don't forget to see Peradeniya & Sri Dhalada Maligawa Gardens in Kandy and the spectacular tea estates in Nuwara Eliya. Also don't miss to have a look at the giant elephants of Udawalawe, exotic birds in Kumana & elegant whales at Kalpitiya & Mirissa.
Sri Lanka has many a number of places to visit. The places of religious and ethnic importance top the list of famous tourist destinations. The country has a pleasant, wet climate, which makes for some delightful experience in tourism. The Sinharaja Rainforest, Adam's Peak, Horton's Plains, Haputale hill village and World's End are some of the best natural attractions offered by the country. The fine sand beaches at Trincomalee, Beruwela, Unawatuna and Robolgoda are hotspots for all travelers. White water rafting at Kitulgala and a national park at Yala are also a must visit on a tourist's list.
The Sri Lankan cuisine is almost very much like the food you get in South India. The chief constituent of a culinary platter over here is Rice, accompanied with a host of different types of curries, especially 'pol sambol'. Sea food is fabulous, the Sri Lankan way, as also street food like 'Kottu Roti' and fresh coconut water 'Thambili'. One thing you would definitely notice is that the food served in this country is very cheap, albeit the good taste, with a regular meal costing around just a few dollars (1-10 $ only).
Staying in Sri Lanka has enough options to choose from. Earlier, quaint beach hotels were largely available, but today you can stay in villas, rented houses and boutique hotels, depending on your individual choice. You can land at Colombo's international airport from most major cities of the world.
A visit to Sri Lanka is a very promisingly enchanting experience. Sink in the luxury of the dusky beaches and roam inside the ancient temples to learn more about theories. Once you travel on this part of the planet, you would not fail to say that it really is 'God's Own Country'.
For more information on Sri Lanka transportation, accommodation, maps, etc., you can consult any of the tourist offices in the country, operational in different languages.