Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt. Few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of65, 610 kilometres lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometres of coastline - much of it pristine beach - 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years. This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. Discover refreshingly Sri Lanka!
The traditional way of life is still very much an integral part of the Sri Lankan society. Artisans, musicians and craftsmen offer life-long commitments to carry on the skills of the traditional Sri Lankan communities whilst religions especially Buddhism and Hinduism reinforce the basic precepts that are the very essence of Sri Lankan life. And yet Sri Lanka’s essence is also that of a myriad of influences of three colonial rulers. The Portuguese, Dutch and the British interacted with Arab, Chinese and Malay merchants – a combination that is amply reflected throughout the country by way of customs, cuisine and architecture.
A single line of footprints crosses the golden sand towards the Indian Ocean, which spills softly onto the beach. Beyond the stretch of calm, indigo-blue sea, a line of breaking waves marks the coral reef where recreational divers discover vividly coloured tropical fish and living corals. Sri Lanka offers over 1,300 kilometres of idyllic sandy beaches. With its year-round summer and two different weather systems, whatever the time of year, there’s always a beach with sunshine and a choice of calm seas or steady surf depending on what you feel like. There’s a beach for all tastes, budgets and seasons in the lovely island of Sri Lanka.
Closely following the Buddhist tradition of conservation that dates back over 2,000 years, Sri Lanka features no fewer than nine national parks and seven bird sanctuaries. Among the 12, 259 endangered species listed by the World Conservation Union, 43 can be found in the island’s national parks. Sri Lanka though small in size is one of the few places on earth where the world’s largest land and sea mammals can be seen in a day. Home to the inimitable Asian Elephant, Sri Lanka’s southern Ocean waters are the playground to the giants of the sea- the docile Blue Whales.
Sri Lanka is a land of celebration. The many ethnicities and the pervasive acceptance of each other’s traditions and religion mean that Sri Lanka is a land of continual festivities. From magnificent pereheras (processions) to religious ceremonies, cultural festivities and harvest festivals, the list of things to see and do is endless.
(Original information sourced from Sri Lanka Tourism Dept)