• Anuradhapura
  • Arugambay
  • Bentota
  • Colombo
  • Ella
  • Galle
  • Habarana
  • Hikkaduwa
  • Jaffna
  • Ella
  • Kataragama
  • Negombo
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Pasikudah
  • Polonnaruwa
  • Ratnapura
  • Trincomalee
  • Yala

Anuradhapura

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Which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site with its ancient ruins and monuments is a major historic attraction. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²). Remains of the monastic buildings are to be found everywhere in the shape of raised stone platforms, foundations and stone pillars. The most famous of these is the Brazen Palace erected by King Dutugamunu circa 164 BC. The pokunas (bathing-tanks or tanks for the supply of drinking water) can be found scattered throughout the surrounding jungle.

The city is home to the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi Bo-Tree, the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world. which is said to date back to the year 245 BC. It has grown from a cutting brought from Bodhgaya in India by the Princess Sangamitta, sister of Mahinda (who introduced the Buddha’s teachings to Sri Lanka) and has been tended by an uninterrupted succession of guardians for over 2000 years. The huge Sri Maha Bodhi, is thus central to Anuradhapura in both a spiritual and physical sense, and has connections to the very roots of the Sinhalese religion.. Thousands of devotees come to make offerings at weekends and particularly on poya (full-moon) days. April is a particularly busy month as pilgrims converge on the site for snana puja.

Arugambay

Arugam Bay is situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s southeast coast, located 320 km due east of Colombo. “Ullai” as Arugam Bay is locally known is a popular surfing and tourist destination. The beach here can be seen crowded with surfers from around the world in July to September period.

Arugam Bay can be accessed via an excellent short circuit at km 312 on the main A4 (the famous Colombo High Level Rd. – PottuVille), which ends up in the very middle of Arugam Bay itself. This picturesque drive bypasses dusty PottuVille and provides excellent elephant viewing in the nearby jungle and the surrounding lagoon. Monkeys too wander freely around the area.

Tourist accommodations lie along the beach to the south of Pottuvil. Arugam Bay (4 km) is also the gateway and the only road access to the Yala East National Park.

This area is known as Kumana and is the site of the Kumana Bird Sanctuary – internationally recognized as an important wetland habitat for both local and migratory wading birds. 255 species of birds have been recorded in the national park. During April–July months tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area. The Kumana National Park and Lahugala National Park have a lot in store for the wildlife enthusiasts. Lahugala Park is home to several large herds of elephants. During the dry season, these herds can be seen in late afternoon towards dusk grazing and bathing in one of the many large ‘watering holes’. As you approach Lahugala National Park, you may stumble across Magul Maha Viharaya (also known as Ruhunu Maha Viharaya), a hidden gem dating possibly as far back as the 2nd Century BC.

Bentota

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Bentota is located 64km south of Colombo and is the prime beach resort of the south-western coastal belt of Sri Lanka. South of the city of Colombo, the city of Kalutara with its fine beach is the gateway to south western and southern bay beaches. Kalutara is the next popular beach. The Beruwala Bay Beach that is just before reaching Aluthgama at the Bentota Bridge and Bentota Bay Beach just over the bridge is the most popular twin beaches in the coast.

The coast to the further south and onwards to the Deep South too is replete with lovely topical beaches. With an array of luxury hotels, facilities and amenities for the foreign tourists, Bentota provides the perfect location for extended holidays at the beach. River Bentara, the legendary river at Bentota flows into the Indian Ocean forming a lagoon at the last section of the river. River Bentara and lagoon set up the widest array of water sports among all the beach resorts of Sri Lanka: Jet-ski, windsurf, parasail or enjoy a romantic river safari.

Induruwa located immediately south of Bentota with its offshore reef is another safe swimming beach. Kosgoda Beach located 8km south of Induruwa beach is home to a community based turtle hatchery and turtle watching project set up by the Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) in association with Wildlife Department of Sri Lanka. There are only 7 species of marine turtles in existence and Sri Lanka is visited by five of them – the Green Turtle, the Leatherback, the Hawksbill, the Loggerhead and the Olive Ridley.

Colombo

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Colombo the official political and trade capital of Sri Lanka and the largest city in the island offers many attractions such as the national museum, the Pettah bazaar, historic buildings and architecturally rich churches and kovils, temples resounding to the sound of ‘bana’, and well laid out parks and recreation areas. All the famous shopping arcades are in and around the city, which allows one to have a tantalizing experience in Colombo as it has something to offer every visitor. As a hub of many ethnicities with people from all creeds working together, Colombo is indeed cosmopolitan.

As far back as the 5th century, Colombo served as a sea port for trade between Asia and the West. During the 8th century, Arab traders settled near the port and, in 1505, the Portuguese arrived. By the mid-17th century the Dutch had taken over, growing cinnamon in the area now known as Cinnamon Gardens, but it wasn’t until the British arrived that the town became a city. In 1815 Colombo was proclaimed the capital of Ceylon.

During the 1870s, the breakwaters were built and Fort was created by flooding surrounding wetlands. Colombo was peacefully handed over when Sri Lanka achieved independence in 1948. A new parliament was built in Sri Jayawardenepura-Kotte, an outer suburb of Colombo, in 1982.

The average temperature in Colombo is 28 ºC and the maximum temperature is 31 ºC. The temperature drops down to an average of 22 ºC between November and March. The humidity is very high in Colombo and rainfall fluctuates depending on the dry and wet seasons.

Ella

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Ella is a little village paradise in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. The town, is located in the foothills of Sri Lanka’s lush hill country, 200km east of Colombo.

This sleepy mountain village, with a magnificent view, is the perfect base for relaxing, whilst also offering lots of amazing walks through tea plantations to temples and waterfalls.

Ella with its perfect climate soothes your mind and makes your day to day anxieties feel a world away. Ella is also an excellent place to learn about the country’s storied history in the world of tea. Tea production took off in Sri Lanka in the late 1800s after disease devastated the country’s coffee plantations. The cool, emerald hill country turned out to have the perfect ecosystem for the popular beverage, and it was not long before Ceylon – Sri Lanka’s former name – became synonymous with high-quality tea. If you fancy climbing the peaks that are dotted around Ella, make sure you carry sun protection and plenty of water.

Galle

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Galle is a major city situated 119 km from Colombo on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in colonial times, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions.

Today, Galle has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The City is unique for its natural beauty, sandy stretches of beaches and carpeted hills of tea in close proximity. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers. Other prominent landmarks in Galle include the city’s natural harbor, the National Maritime Museum, St. Mary’s Cathedral founded by Jesuit priests, one of the main Shiva temples on the island, and Amangalla the historic luxury hotel.

On 26 December 2004 the city was devastated by the massive Boxing Day Tsunami. Thousands lost their lives in this city alone but the city has bounced back to life. The well known cricket grounds, the Galle International Stadium, was rebuilt after the tsunami. Test matches resumed there on December 18, 2007.

Rumassala in Unawatuna is a large mound-like hill, which forms the eastern protective barrier to the Galle harbour. Local tradition associates this hill with some events of the Ramayana. Galle is served by Sri Lanka Railways’ Coastal Line. Galle Railway Station is a major station on the line, and serves as the meeting point of the west-coast and south-coast segments of the line. The Southern Expressway, Sri Lanka’s first E Class highway also links the Sri Lankan capital Colombo with Galle.

Habarana

Habarana

Habarana is situated 176 km from Colombo in the heart of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and is part of the Anuradhapura District. Located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, Habarana is the centre point from which guests could explore the glorious past and the historical myths of Sri Lanka. Culture tourists as well as wildlife enthusiasts are bound to find this location a haven to escape to.

Habarana is closely located to the Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks which are the transit points to hundreds of Asian elephants and other wildlife during the dry season. The sacred city of Anuradhapura, cave temples in Dambulla and Sigiriya the rock fortress are just few of the sites worthy of the attention of a history buff.

As the legend goes Kasyapa, the fugitive prince having slain his father King Dhatusena, fled the Capital city Anuradhapura and went on to make one of the loveliest royal cities that ever graced the earth atop the Sigiriya Rock.

King Kasyapa ruled for 18 years from his glorious fortress in the late 5th century. Habarana is a popular tourist destination for safari lovers as it is the starting point for safaris in the nearby Habarana jungle and the Minneriya sanctuary which is heavily populated by elephants

Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa started its change from a small fishing village into one of Sri Lanka’s international holiday destinations. The beach of Hikkaduwa is situated 98 km from Colombo towards the south of Sri Lanka. Beautiful white sand beaches, colorful coral reefs and excellent surf are attracting people from all over the world. The coral sanctuary found on the coast of Hikkaduwa is a large shallow body of water enclosed by a reef, decorated with layers of multi colored corals; which is home to countless number of colorful fish.

The surfing in the Hikkaduwa region is quite well known and gets the best surf during its dry season, November to March.

Accommodation in Hikkaduwa ranges from small guesthouses and hotels to international hotel chains, providing for every taste and budget. Beach restaurants and bars, shops and nightclubs provide the background for a carefree stay. There are many shops selling Masks, Gems, Jewellery, Batik, Antiques and other treasures of Sri Lanka. Several Buddhist temples are in the area. Everything combines to add spice to life at Hikkaduwa.

Jaffna

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The north is a world away from the rest of Sri Lanka. Closer to southern India than to Colombo, the region was settled early on by Tamil migrants from southern India and has retained a unique character and culture, one which owes as much to Hindu India as to Buddhist Sri Lanka.

The city is surrounded by Jaffna Lagoon to its west and south, Kokkuvil and Thirunelveli to the north, and Nallur to the east. Jaffna features a tropical rainforest climate with no true dry season month. Jaffna has the highest average temperature in Sri Lanka – 83 °F (28 °C). The temperature is highest in the months of April/ – May and August/ – September. The temperature is coolest in December – January.

Jaffna is enriched with a unique culture with even the Tamil dialect being unique to the peninsular. Jaffna has suffered the ravages of war and is today mostly visited, particularly by locals, to review war ruins, to reflect and re-unite with the people of Jaffna. What would tempt a traveller most, apart from the stunning terrain, splendid scenery and cultural heritage is the exotic indigenous cuisine which is unique to Jaffna.

Ella

kandy

Kandy is the second largest city of Sri Lanka and is generally recognized as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Temple of Tooth Relic situated opposite to the lake gives a magical beauty to the city.

Kandy was the last kingdom (city) of the country. The easy-going capital of the Hill Country has plenty to offer by way of history, culture, forested hills and a touch of urban buzz. Only 115km inland from Colombo, climatically it is a world away due to its 500m altitude. Kandy is home to one of the largest botanical gardens in South East Asia- Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya. The spice gardens of Matale are in close proximity.

Kandy is popular holiday destination both because of its attractions and the clarity of the air and its verdant landscapes make it a pleasant escape from the heat of the coasts.

The best time for tourists to visit the city is inter monsoonal period.

Kataragama

Kataragama

Kataragama is one of most popular and most sacred pilgrimages sites of Sri Lanka. Like Adam’s Peak, it attracts Sinhalese Buddhists as well as Hindu Tamils. The religious site is visited by Muslims and Christian’s too. The town has the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya, a shrine dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as Kataragama-devio (Kataragama God). The annual procession held in July or August is the main event of the year with fire walkers and Kawadi dancers. Offering to the gods are made at 4.30am 10.30am and 6.30pm daily.

19km inland from Tissamaharama lies the small and remote town of Kataragama .

Located 5km from Kataragama is the small town of Sella Kataragama. The tree lined, well sheltered road make the drive pleasant. Sella Kataragama is the place where god Kataragama first met his first consort Valli Amma. Kataragama, 228 km ESE of Colombo, is in the Monaragala District of Uva province, Sri Lanka and adjoins the popular Yala National Park.

The town has a remarkable history dating back to the last centuries BCE. And houses the ancient and magnificent Kiri Vehera Buddhist stupa – 95 ft in height and with a circumference of 280 ft which probably dates back to the 3rd century BC.

Negombo

Negombo

Negombo is a major city in the Western Province of Sri Lanka, located on the west coast of the island approximately 37 km north of Colombo city and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon. It is one of the major commercial hubs in Sri Lanka with about of about 128,000 inhabitants in the city limits,

Negombo offers some of the better beaches on the west coast of Sri Lanka. With the airport just 7 km away from the city, Negombo has has become a prime tourist destination with its wide sandy beaches offering variety of resorts ranging from fine luxury to cheap home stay.

The Dutch canal flows in the heart of the city of Negombo. The Negombo lagoon is one of the most scenic landmark of Negombo. There are over 190 species of wildlife and plenty of birds in mangroves of Negombo.

Some quiet stretches of the beach are maintained by the tourist hotels, while others are always busy with fishermen and their equipment. Water-sports and diving are also popular among visitors, with a few well-preserved coral reefs and a 50-year-old shipwreck (Kudapaduwa) that serves as an artificial reef for many varieties of fish. “Mora Wala” and “Beach Park” of Local handicrafts, batiks and Jewellery boutiques on the beaches and sidewalks of the city offer plenty of browsing activity for tourists to spend their leisure hours.

Nuwara Eliya

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Nuwara Eliya is situated in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. . Its temperate climate gives the city a very different feel from other parts of the country and, this climate, along with the colonial architecture, has earned it the name ‘Little England’.

It is located at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and is considered to be the most important location for Tea production in Sri Lanka. The mountains near to Nuwara Eliya are adorned with many picturesque waterfalls including Dunhinda Falls, Diyaluma Falls, Baker’s Falls, St. Claire’s Falls, Ravana Ella, Bambarakanda Ella, Aberdeen Falls, Laxapana Falls, The Lovers Leap, and Bridal Falls. Horton’s Plains and World’s End Offer fascinating walks though this temperate mountain environment, with an 800m vertical drop to be found at World’s End.

The Victoria Park and Hakgala Gardens are one of the many attractions of the city . The beautifully landscaped Victoria Park at the centre of town comes alive with flowers around March to May, and August and September. It’s also home to quite a number of Hill Country bird species, including the Kashmir flycatcher, Indian pitta and grey tit.

Lake Gregory lies less than a mile from the centre of town and offers a splendid and peaceful environment for sightseeing and boating. Boats can be hired from the area. The whole district is today visited by native travelers, especially during the month of April, the season of flowers, pony races, go cart races and auto rallies.

Pasikudah

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Pasikudah is known to have one of the longest stretches of shallow coastline in the world. It is possible to walk more than a kilometer into the sea because the water is only a few inches deep and the current is relatively weak compared to the rest of Sri Lanka’s coasts. Pasikudah is easily accessible from Trincomalee and Batticaloa, both of which cities have star class accommodation.

Pasikudah is an ideal place for a family beach picnic fun on the beach and offers a peaceful and laidback seaside setting in which to just sit back relax and watch the world go lazily by. Also close by is the equally well known Kalkudah beach that is worth visiting.

The sea presents a vista of calm crystal clear water ideal for a sea bath, which together with the unspoilt beaches presents a memorable experience which visitors to our shores should try not to miss The nearby Nilaweli beach offers plenty of surfing and scuba diving opportunities.

Polonnaruwa

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Polonnaruwa is 216 km from Colombo and 122 km from Kurunegala.

Polonnaruwa today is a showcase of the great ancient Sri Lankan architecture dating back to 12th Century AD, which was interwoven with many Buddhist monasteries and monuments which were built by the King Parakramabahu. Later King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 AD ) from Kalinga dynasty also had contributed to the development of many buildings and monuments at Polonnaruwa.

The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The . city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers. The green environment, amazing ancient constructions, Parakrama Samudraya (a huge lake built in 1200), and attractive tourist hotels and hospitable people, attract numerous tourists.

In the “Polonnaruwa period” the irrigation system and rice cultivation flourished and, today it remains a mystery as to what ‘advanced technology’ allowed them to design magnificent irrigation systems and largest monuments, which showcases the talent of intelligent engineers of ancient Sri Lanka.

Ratnapura

The gem-mining centre of Sri Lanka is a major crossroad between the southern plains and the hill country to the east. Many of the prominent gem dealers in Sri Lanka operate from this town. You can arrange a visit to a traditional gem mining and cutting operations.

Scenery around the town is excellent and charming, particularly the route towards the hill country. There is a route to Sri Pada from Ratnapura.

About 30km from Ratnapura is the last remaining portion of rain forest of the country, the Sinharaja Forest. The forest has now been declared as a protected area and is a popular tourist destination for it’s eco value, bird watching, research and for curiosity. The forest is an eco-lovers’ paradise and is famous among scientists for the vast number of flora and fauna.

Excursions include Sinharaja Forest and Uda Walawe Wild Life Park. The surrounding area is a popular trekking destination and a good place for bird watching.

Udawalawa National Park is situated 70 km south of Ratnapura in the Dry Zone and comprises of grasslands and thorn scrubs and many valuable species of trees. Large herds of Elephant and Deer species – such as Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking deer and Langur, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo, Jackal are some of the prominent wild animals found in this Park along variety of avifauna.

Trincomalee

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Trincomalee is a major resort port city of Sri Lanka, located on the east coast of the island overlooking the Trincomalee Harbour. It is 113 miles south of Jaffna and 69 miles north of Batticaloa, and is home to major naval and air force bases at the Trincomalee Garrison. The city also has the largest Dutch fort on the island.

The harbour is renown for its large size and security. Unlike any other port in the Indian Ocean, it is accessible in all weathers to all craft. It has been described as the “finest harbour in the world” and by the British, as “the most valuable colonial possession on the globe, as giving to our Indian Empire a security which it had not enjoyed from elsewhere.”

Popular tourist destinations include its beaches at Uppuveli, Salli and Nilaveli, used for temple visits, surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching, and the Kanniya Hot Springs. The hot springs in Trincomalee is always a major tourist attraction. There are the seven hot springs of Kanniya on the way to Trincomalee. The seven springs are enclosed by a high wall, each of which is again enclosed and bound by smaller walls to make up wells. The use of the springs for bathing however is under strict control.

Yala

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Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo in the southeast region of the country.

Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. The western part of Yala (block one) is named as the area with the highest leopard population. February to June / July is the optimum time to visit when water tables are low and leopard, elephant and many smaller animals are competing for the same drinking supply.

You are likely also to see sloth bears, deer, wild boar, buffaloes, crocodiles and monkeys. Birds are in profusion – up to 130 species. The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilisations. Two important pilgrim sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are situated within the park.