Kandy is the last capital of Sri Lanka. Its history brings to mind images of riches, marching elephants and much pomp and pageantry. Kandy is situated amongst a hilly terrain and all eyes are drawn to the center of the city, where the Kandy Lake forms a charming feature. Kandy is one of the eight UNESCO World heritage sites in Sri Lanka. It was the last home to the Kandyan Kings in the 19th century and a fountain for much of the music, arts, crafts and culture in the country.
Sigiriya is one of the most marvelous creations of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka. This stunning palace is considered by many to be the 8th Wonder of the World. It is an isolated rock mountain which rises majestically from the surrounding green plains to about 200 meters in height. King Kashyapa transformed the natural landform into a masterpiece of urban planning, architecture, engineering, technology, gardening and art. The remains of the ancient regal palace offer an insight to the developed technology, heritage and majestic lifestyle of the kings of Sri Lanka whilst presenting a stunning view of the encompassing landscape.
The Kingdom of Anuradhapura lasted one thousand and five hundred years from 380BC. This city is home to many of the earliest and grandest monuments in all of Sri Lanka. You will experience some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagobas of Sri Lanka, as well as remnants of palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo – tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha achieved enlightenment.
Polonnaruwa became the capital of Sri Lanka subsequent to the decline of Anuradapura. It remains as witness to the Sinhala Buddhist civilization reaching great heights. The vast irrigation network with reservoirs that look like inland seas, sustained prolific rice cultivation during the rule of the great King Parakramabahu (1153-1186 AD). Sri Lanka came to be known as the granary of the orient. The main attractions are the conserved ruins of glorious royal palaces and the spectacular rock carvings of the Lord Buddha.
Located in the southern region of the country, Galle is encircled by the glorious coast line and enjoys a variety of landscapes from beaches to marsh lands to dry plains and hills. To add to the natural beauty, Galle has great history too. The history goes back to King Solomon’s time. It is believed that Galle is the ancient seaport ‘Tarshish’ from which King Solomon drew his ivory and other valuables. It has always been a prominent Sri Lankan seaport, even prior to the western rule of the country. The Portuguese established a settlement here which they surrendered to the Dutch in 1640. The Dutch took over Galle and built the existing fort that hosts countless visitors within its grand walls.
The emerald green waters and the golden beaches enhance the beauty of Bentota, a gift of Mother Nature. Bentota is and has been a paradise for tourists for a long time. You can enjoy dining experiences and lodgings by the sparkling waters of the Bentota River. An enjoyable and educational boat trip through mangroves and islands of the Bentota River is a must. The golden beach in the purple dusk is an artistic image that will long remain with you. Swimming, windsurfing and jet skiing can all be enjoyed at Bentota, famous for its clean and calm beaches.
The waters off the coast of Mirissa offer a once in a life time opportunity for visitors as a major hotspot for whale and dolphin spotting. The main port for watching whales and dolphins is Dondra point because it is located closely to the migration path of the mighty Blue Whale. The season for sighting these marine mammals is during the months of November to April. The glorious beaches and wonderful dining and nightlife opportunities makes Mirissa a tourist haven.
Arugam Bay is listed as one the top ten surf points in the world. Situated on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay receives the Antarctic winter swells that hit Indonesia’ s southern shores in the middle of the year. The best time of the year for surf is between May and November when the predominant wind is offshore for at least the first half of the day. Arugam Bay is a surfers dream destination, catering for watersports fans and wildlife aficionados with a wide range of affordable hotels and guesthouses.
Sri Lanka has a wealth of historical and cultural sights. Dambulla is part of the cultural triangle declared by UNESCO. It is linked by main road to Sigiriya and Kandy. There are over 80 caves in the surrounding area many of which have been used by monks as meditation locations. Dambulla’s Buddhist Caves are a major attraction spread over five caves. Each contains magnificent statues and intricate and very beautiful ceiling and wall paintings. Since its founding in by King Walagamb in ancient times, many improvements and additions have been carried out to the sculptures and painting. The caves and temple are a perfect location to view the evolution of the ancient Sri Lankan arts.
All four major religions claim Adam‘s Peak as a holy mountain. Buddhists call the mountain Siri Pada (The sacred footprint) and believe the Lord Buddha has visited the mountain and set his sacred footprint upon it. Hindus say it is Lord Shiva’s and Muslims believe that it is the place where Adam first set foot on earth. Catholics believe St. Thomas, the Christian apostle who preached in south India also visited. The pilgrimage season is from December to April. The sunrise seen from the top of Siri Pada is an unforgettable sight and the journey an exhilarating experience.
Negombo is situated by the shores of a lagoon of the same name. It was once a trading port for the colonial Portuguese and Dutch and is an ideal place for those who want quick access to and from the Airport. Negombo is a beautiful beach resort on the western coast of Sri Lanka, just a short drive north of Colombo. You can relax on beautiful beaches, view incredible sunsets and enjoy western and Sri Lankan food.
Yala National Park is the most visited and the second largest National Park in Sri Lanka. It consists of five conservation areas, two of which are now open to the public. Situated in the southeast region of the country, it offers a huge variety of plants and animal species as well as having the special reputation as being home to one of the highest leopard populations in the world.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 with five orphan elephants at Pinnawala, Rambukkana. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is located in Kegalla District, around two and half hours drive from Colombo. It has been established to ensure Sri Lanka’s elephant population is well protected and nurtured. Your visit aids the maintenance and rehabilitation of orphan elephants and is a photographer’s delight!
Nuwara Eliya, otherwise known as "Little England" is a quaint town located in Sri Lanka’s beautifully lush hill country. During the British Colonial Period, Nuwara Eliya was a favorite holiday retreat for the members of British society. Visiting one of the many tea factories perched high on the hills surrounding Nuwara Eliya to sample exquisite ‘Ceylon’ tea is definitely a must.