A land of ancient ruins, religious temples, beautiful palm-fringed beaches, colourful reefs and luscious rainforests together make up the island country - Sri Lanka. This Southern Asian nation, in the Indian Ocean, is a relaxing holiday retreat and at the same is a delightful destination for those who are interested in culture, traditions, history and heritage.
Beach-a-holics can kick-start the trip by heading out to the innumerable beaches housed in Sri Lanka. There are several gorgeous palm-shaded beaches and Negombo is one of the very best. Other popular vacation resort town includes Beruwela, Bentota, Mount Lavinia Negombo and Hikkaduwa. Unawatuna near Galle apparently is said to be among the top 15 beaches in the planet. Divers will be happy to learn that Bentota is one of the leading locations in the nation for diving and snorkeling. Get pulled into the fascinating underwater universe with the colourful coral reefs, aquatic creatures, sea caves, abandoned shipwrecks and so forth.
Wild-life lovers would be delighted to explore the Yala National Park, on the southeastern coast. It houses the world's highest density of leopards, as well as other species - from elephants to birds. Another incredible place to catch a glimpse of the leopards is the Wilpattu National Park. Those who are interested in spotting whales ought to stop over at Mirissa, a tropical beach resort. Today, it is one of the best places in the planet to view the biggest mammal. People often witness sperm whales, dolphins, flying fish and sometimes even mammals.
Sri Lanka is to Buddhism as India is to Hinduism. Do plan to explore Kandy as well, a gorgeous town. Today, it is a location where old-age rituals, arts, crafts and customs are well-respected and preserved. One of the highlights of Kandy is the beautiful UNESCO-listed Temple of the Tooth shields the holy tooth relic of the Buddha. Take a trip to Polonnaruwa and view the massive reclining Buddha. This ancient capital is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, respected for its residuals of royal palaces, temples and stupas.
Embrace the city life displayed in the largest city of Sri Lanka - Colombo. Upon landing in the city, the metropolis initially seems to be a jigsaw-puzzle of crowded streets, urban office blocks and mind-numbing traffic jam. But dig deeper you will find a beautiful megalopolis proud of it's impressive heritage, imposing colonial structures and ancient historical monuments. Those who love to explore the deep heritage and history of a nation ought to explore the ancient Anuradhapura and learn more the incredible civilization that ruled the ancient capital thousands of years ago.
When it comes to shopping, be on the look-out for items such as handicrafts and curios of silver, brass, bone, ceramics, wood and terracotta, cane baskets, straw hats, reed and coir mats, spices and the island's excellent tea. Batik fabric, lace and lacquerware are extremely popular buys as well. As for cuisine, do sample some of their local delicacies such as Appam (Bowl-shaped rice-flour and coconut milk pancakes, often served with a soft-baked egg on top) or Roti (Sri Lankan flatbread, often made with coconut, which accompanies most meals).
The stay options in Sri Lanka are abundant with the best luxury hotels, rental apartments and cheap accommodations available for the tourists to decide which kind to opt for depending on their budget and taste.
Sri Lanka experiences tropical climate and comprises of distinct wet and dry seasons. The best time to visit would be between December and March, if you're going to be touring the highlands or the west and south coast. But if you're visiting the east coast, the ideal period would be between May and September.