The island of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the Indian Ocean, seems like a tiny drop at the southern tip of the Indian continent. Although it is a very small country, it provides a wide range of experiences for the travellers that visit Sri Lanka from all over the world. The island is known as the wonder of Asia; Sri Lanka is packed with many attractions to visit and lots of amazing places to explore from golden beaches, UNESCO world heritage sites, amazing landscapes, national parks, flowery gardens, rain forests, wildlife and so many more. It is the destination that you should visit at least once in your lifetime. So, what are you waiting for?
A hill country town located in the central province called ‘Little England’ due to the similarity of the weather and to the British architectural monuments that can be found from the colonial period. This beautiful town is surrounded by misty mountains, lavish green tea estates and stunning waterfalls. From the distance, the mountains seem to be speckled with many colourful flowers. But, if you look closer, you could notice they are not only filled with colourful blossoms, but also with lush greenery tea bushes and tea-pickers, wearing rich-toned fabrics. Because of Nuwara Eliya’s ambience and moderate climate, it is famed as the most popular region for tea production in Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya produces the finest tea in the world; some of the most recognised brands are Dilmah, Mlesna, Zista, Lipton and few more.
Walk up or drive to the hills of Nuwara Eliya to witness green lands sparkling in the daylight and hiding in the mist. Visit a tea state and a factory to observe the tea making procedure and don't forget to entertain your taste buds with a a cup of high-quality Ceylon tea while exploring the green tea gardens.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was originally created in order to protect and look after wild elephants found wandering in and around the forests of Sri Lanka. The Elephant Orphanage is situated in the town of Kegalle, halfway between the Sri Lanka’s present capital city of Colombo and the ancient royal capital of Kandy. It was established in 1975 by the Wildlife Department in a 25-acre coconut property close to the Maha-Oya River. It is always a special moment when elephants come to bathe at the river.
The main purpose of the orphanage is to provide protection to orphan baby and adult elephants lost in the jungles. Most of the time the mother of the orphan baby elephant is killed or dies because of an illness, leaving her baby elephant lost in the jungle. Also, sometimes adult elephants are killed by farmers, who try to protect their paddy fields and crops, resulting in baby elephants being orphans.
Kandy is the capital of the last Sinhalese kingdom. It's set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and bio-diverse rainforests. With the UNESCO world heritage Temple of Tooth Relic, Kandy holds a special place among the Buddhist world. Every year and every day, thousands of Buddhist pilgrims visit this sacred land to follow their rituals from every part of the globe. Kandy is not only famous among the Buddhists, but also it attracts thousands of tourists who are visiting Sri Lanka due to its historical and architectural value. Kandy Esala Perahera (parade), organized by the Ministry of Cultural department, is one of the most important festivals that you shouldn’t be missing during your Sri Lanka holidays. It is the greatest Buddhist festival celebrated in Sri Lanka, lined up with traditional dancers, fire performers, colourfully decorated elephants, musicians and flag bearers.
Also, you could visit the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden, which is known as one of the best botanical gardens in Asia. You will walk through it by exploring the 300 varieties of orchids, a stately avenue of royal palms, the extraordinary, aptly named cannonball fruit tree and 40m-high Burma bamboo. Another big hit is the giant Javan ﬁg tree on the great lawn, with its colossal central trunk and umbrella-like canopy of branches.
Minneriya national park is located at the Minneriya reservoir catchment area in the North Central region, known as a wildlife forest. The Minneriya reservoir was built by former ruler Mahasen in the third century with historical importance. During the dry season, it is the feeding border for elephants living in the forests of Polonnaruwa, Matale and Trincomalee regions. The park hosts many different plant species, a huge amount of Sri Lankan elephants, monkeys, sambar deer, axis deer, sloth bears, great white pelicans, ruddy turnstones, grey herons, jungle fowls, hanging parrots, peacocks and amphibians.
It is one of the most beautiful national parks for wildlife enthusiasts, who love to visit and enjoy wildlife.
Galle is one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka, a well-preserved colonial town with Dutch and British influence. It is known that the Galle Fort was founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century and further developed by Dutch and British colonists. None of us will forget the “Boxing Day tsunami”; the ramparts of Galle withstood this disaster with minor damages and it is restored now. Hire a bike or walk along the streets to explore several spectacular locations in Galle. You will also pass by the coastline, filled with tourists enjoying their Sri Lankan tour and beach holiday. Take a moment to enjoy the astonishing view of sunset over the Indian Ocean.
The ancient city of Polonnaruwa became the capital of Sri Lanka following the decline of Anuradhapura. The ruins that you can find here showcase the glory of the Sinhalese and Buddhist civilization. An amazing irrigation network with reservoirs that look like natural in-land seas sustained the rice cultivation during the reign of king Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 A.D). In that era, Sri Lanka became prosperous in agriculture and it was well known as the Granary of the Orient.
Among the main tourist attractions in Polonnaruwa there are preserved ruins of magnificent royal palaces, enormous Buddhist temples, intact monumental sculptures of colossal statues carved from solid rock that once rivalled Anuradhapura in magnificence.
Today, Polonnaruwa is a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE, with its preserved ruins and restored ancient irrigation reservoirs, which are a “must visit” cultural destination for Sri Lanka holidays.
Yala National Park is the largest and most stunning national park in Sri Lanka. Thanks to a river running through it, Yala National Park is divided into two sections. Because the river makes crossing to the other side difficult, Yala is really treated as two separate parks. But that doesn’t change the fantastic offerings! Encompassing a range of diverse ecosystems, the park has an impressive variety of wildlife, including sloth bears, leopards and lots of colorful birds. Enjoy a 4x4 jeep ride searching for leopards hanging on trees or whispering through the bushes, crocodiles patrolling the river or wild elephants drinking water and playing around under the evening sunset.
Despite the fact that it is a small city on the south coast of Sri Lanka, Mirissa is a popular tourist destination for beach vacations, nightlife, surfing, whale and dolphin watching in Sri Lanka. The clean and calm coastline in Mirissa allows the visitors to relax and enjoy the surroundings without any interruptions. If you are into water sports, go ahead and hire a board from a shop at the beach and start hitting the waves. Otherwise, if you are into snorkelling, Mirissa beach is the right place. In addition, from November to April is the ideal period for spotting Blue whales and dolphins. As the sun goes down, the happy hour begins with night and beach parties. Pop into a seafood restaurant beside the beach for various tasty dishes and drinks and enjoy the atmosphere with music and entertainment.
Sigiriya Lion Rock is an ancient rock fortress located near the town of Dambulla. King Kasyapa (477 – 495 BC) built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colorful frescoes. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE and it is one of the best-preserved examples of ancient civilization. Sigiriya refuses to reveal its secrets easily; in fact you have to climb a series of vertiginous staircases to reach the top. On the way you’ll pass quite remarkable frescoes and a pair of colossal lion paws carved into the bedrock. Today Sigiriya is world-famous not only for the ruins of the palace on the summit, but also for the extensive assemblage of buildings, gardens, ponds, pathways, ramparts and moats set in a square module 2750 meters from east to west and 925 meters from north to south. On the east side of the rock there is a man-made rainwater reservoir which not only irrigates the agricultural district, but also feeds the pools, ponds and fountains of Sigiriya. This is one of the best examples of amazing technology in Sri Lankan history.
Anuradhapura is one of the sacred and primordial capitals of Sri Lanka, well-known for its best-preserved ruins of ancient civilization. Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya or the sacred Bo Tree, Abhayagiri viharaya, Isurumuniya, Jetavanaramaya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, and Tissa Wawa (a reservoir) are some of the sightseeing areas in Anuradhapura. The ancient city of Anuradhapura is a vitally important and must-visit tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. The fascinating ancient ruins that can be found here are dated back to the middle of the 5th century B.C. Today Anuradhapura is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is replete with renovated monuments, restored edifices, preserved ruins and historical sites where the archaeological excavations are still being continued. The major attractions of Anuradhapura can be visited in a single day.
The capital city of Colombo has an interesting history running back to the ﬁfth century. Even in ancient times, this was an important port city in the East-West sea trade. Nowadays, it has become a bustling modern town with a unique atmosphere. Being the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo offers many places and things to do. Wander around the streets, visit the National Museum, relax at the Independence Square, eat street food at the Galle Face Green with the sea breeze, enjoy some shopping or chill out at nightclubs throughout your journey in Colombo.
Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka is the best place in Asia to see herds of Asian elephants. Udawalawe National Park is situated in the middle of Sri Lanka's dry-zone, which is one of the most famous homes for Asian elephants. As a dry zone park, it couldn't have been located in a better setting.
The Park was set up in the year 1972 to protect the catchment area of the man-made rainwater reservoir located at the south end of the River Walwe. At the same time, the reserve was designated to provide sanctuary to wild elephants.
Bentota is known as the prime beach resort of the south-western coastal belts of Sri Lanka. It is an ideal location for a perfect beach holiday with the sun and sand. Bentota is a delightful sandy beach that was a well-kept secret in the past, but now more restaurants and pubs are opening up to visitors. It is also characterized by white sands and coconut palms growing right from the edge of the sea as if in imitation of a postcard of the perfect tropical beach. In the morning, you could grab a towel to relax on the beach and to sunbathe while enjoying a cocktail or a chill beer under the shade of a beach umbrella, the perfect way to chill out and enjoy the Sri Lankan coast.
With an array of luxury resorts, facilities and amenities for the foreign tourists, Bentota provides the perfect location for extended holidays by the beach. Furthermore, for the lovers of water sports, Bentota, in addition to its pristine palm fringed beaches, brings in more pleasures nowhere else to be found. Calm seas during the season from November to April make Bentota Beach ideal for snorkelling, diving, sailing, wind surfing, water-skiing and deep-sea.
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