Sri Lanka Travel and Tourism
Sri Lanka Travel: Welcome to our little exotic Island Sri Lanka!
This blog post is about Sri Lanka Travel and Tourism. This post would help you to select the right “Srilanka tour package” or “Sri Lanka attractions” package properly.
Once again, we greet everyone with Ayubowan! (May you live long!)
The Summary of Sri Lanka Travel
Sri Lanka ranked top country for travel in 2019 by Lonely Planet.
Further Sri Lanka ranked ‘Best Island in the World’ by Travel + Leisure, a US-based travel magazine which has 4.8 million readers worldwide
Its Endless beaches, timeless ruins in ancient cities, welcoming people with smiles, oodles of elephants in nations parks, fun blue trains, famous tea and flavourful authentic local food make Sri Lanka irresistible for everyone.
It is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including several Buddhist and Hindu temples.
According to the World Tourism Organization, Sri Lanka has the advantage of having 49 sites classified as unique attractions, 91 as rare attractions, and 7 world heritage sites, and 6 of the 300 ancient monuments in the world
So Ayubowan and Welcome to our little exotic Island Sri Lanka
SO Sri Lanka Travel
Sri Lanka is located in the Indian Ocean, South of the Bay of Bengal and South-East of the Arabian Sea, separated from the Indian Sub-Continent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Straight.
Colombo is the Commercial Capital of Sri Lanka and Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte is the Legislative Capital.
In the past, Sri Lanka has been given many names, such as Thambapanni, Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Taprobane, Serendib and Ceylon to name a few.
It has a rich cultural heritage, dating back to over 2500 years ago.
With its great geographical location and deep harbours, it was of great strategic importance from the time of the Silk Route.
The current population of Sri Lanka is estimated to be close to 21 million (2018).
Sri Lanka has diverse landscapes such as beautiful sandy beaches, rainforests, plains and highlands and also the climate varies from one place to another.
Sri Lanka is a multicultural, multi-religious, multiethnic country and has a high literacy rate, more than 90 %, meaning, a lot of people speak good English
The Short not on History of Ceylon
In the year 1505-6, the Portuguese came to Sri Lanka by accident, but after 12 years established a trading settlement and they ended up staying till 1658.
Then came the Dutch in 1640 and stayed till 1796. Followed by the British who colonised the island from 1815 to 1948.
On 4th February 1948, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) gained independence from the British, celebrating 71 years of independence in 2019.
In 1972 Ceylon became a Republic and was named The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
The country was economically thriving until 1983, unfortunately, a civil war broke out and lasted for almost 3 decades. This really suppressed the growth of this beautiful Island.
However, soon after the war ended in 2009, the Island has declared a safe place to travel and the tourist industry started booming and still is.
Colombo Sri Lanka
The Commercial Capital of Sri Lanka.
On the Western Coast of the Island, it is the country’s biggest and most developed city. It has a natural harbour and due to this, it was an attraction to traders and conquerors such and the Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch and British.
It has a mix of old and new: colonial buildings alongside the high rise skyscrapers such as offices and hotels
The city of Colombo is a mix of land and water, The Beira Lake is one of the most distinctive landmarks in the city of Colombo.
The city also possesses a number of canals flowing through. The Kelani River meets the city on the North and North-East borders and flows to the sea from there. This area is known as Modera (river delta).
The city itself has a population of approx. 753,000 (2012), while the metropolitan area has a population of approx. 5.6 million.
Some of the attractions in Colombo are:
Town Hall :
Formally opened by the Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on 9th August 1928 during the British Rule.
It was first meant to be the official residence of the Mayor of Colombo and also to be the venue for State functions and Grand Balls.
However, after Independence in 1948, it serves as the Head Quarters of the Colombo Municipal Council and is nicknamed “The White House”, bearing resemblance to the US Capitol building.
Independence Memorial Square:
is located at Independence Square (Formally known as Torrington Square in the vicinity of Cinnamon Gardens.).
It was built in 1948 when Sri Lanka gained Independence from British Rule in 1948.
The design of the building is based on the Audience Hall of the Kingdom of Kandy.
At the head of the monument, you would see the statue of the first Sri Lankan Prime Minister of the Country: Rt Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake, known as the Father of the Nation.
Colombo National Museum:
The largest museum in the Island. It takes around 2 hours to complete exploring and is a great learning experience.
There is a great deal to learn about Sri Lankan history here.
You will see a magnificent collection of artefacts belonging to different eras of Sri Lanka.
The building itself is amazing! It is an old Colonial Building built-in 1877, and a year later the museum commenced its functioning.
Vihara Maha Devi Park (Victoria Park)
Is the oldest and largest park in Colombo, is 100 acres in extent.
The Park was named Victoria Park, during the British times, during the World War II the park was used by British Army and Australian 17th Brigade, and reopened to public in 1951.
Victoria Park was renamed Vihara Maha Devi Park on 18th July 1958, after a statue of Queen Vihara Maha Devi (mother of King Dutugemunu) was erected at the Park.
The other highlights of the park are the Large Buddha Statue and the large rectangular pond.
The park is landscaped with varieties of trees, flowers and small ponds. There are cycle tracks, jogging tracks, seating areas, summer huts, a suspension bridge and children’s play area.
Galle Face Green
A place in the heart of the commercial hub on the Western Coast of Colombo, where you could watch the sunset, relax, taste delicious street food and fly kites and play games.
It was initially a place for Dutch Military purposes, to form a cannon strategy line of fire against Portuguese.
In British times it was recreated for recreational purposes by Governor Sir Henry Ward. During that time it was far bigger than the 5 hectares it is today.
These are just a few of the attractions in Colombo!
A little town in the Uva Province of Sri Lanka in the Badulla district, it is approximately 205 kilometres from Colombo and is 3415 feet above sea level.
It is a hill country town, surrounded by Tea Plantations, Waterfalls, hills and viewpoints, you could see way down south from Ella gap on a clear day.
The air around you is fresh and unpolluted. In addition to the beauty of nature, there are other places of interest in Ella you need to visit. Such as:
Ella Rock – Enjoy the breathtaking view from the top, worth it! Although it is a bit difficult to climb.
Little Adam’s Peak – When you reach the top, sit and relax and enjoy the view of the valley below.
It takes around 20 to 30 minutes to reach the top from the foot of the mountain (depending on the pace you keep). Enjoy the 1-hour journey from Ella town to the foot of the mountain too. Its beauty is indescribable.
Nine Arch Bridge – The stone train bridge, built by the British, with its nine beautiful arches – is located between Ella and Demodara Railway Station.
This beautiful piece of architecture is hidden behind tea plantations. To get the best view of it, this journey should be done by train.
Ravana Ella – Is a beautiful waterfall about a 10-minute drive away from Ella Town.
The water gushes from a height of 82 feet from an oval-shaped rock. It is a 3 tiered cascading waterfall.
It is believed that an ancient queen was held in captivity in a cave by King Ravana of ancient Sri Lanka at the Ravana Ella falls.
Sri Lanka Travel : Negombo
Negombo is 37.5 kilometres away from Colombo and 6.15 kilometres away from the Bandaranaike International Airport of Katunayaka – Sri Lanka. This is the reason why most travellers like to commence or culminate their vacation in Negombo.
Negombo is known as little Rome with the vast number of Roman Catholic churches every block away. It has amazing Portuguese and Dutch architecture.
Famous for its long sandy beaches where you could relax all day or explore.
You could also take a ride along the Hamilton Canal, Originally used to draw out saltwater and also used by the Dutch mainly to transport cinnamon. Between the years 1802 to 1804, a new canal was created by the British to the east of the earlier one.
Negombo is also a place that has the largest and oldest fishing industry in Sri Lanka and you can watch fisherman sorting their haul at the “Lellama” Fishing Village, situated near the Old Dutch Gate.
St Mary’s Cathedral
One of the Largest and Oldest cathedrals in Sri Lanka and it is located in the heart of the town and is a very significant landmark.
This cathedral took a long time for construction, construction started in 1874 and was completed in 1924 (50 years). The style architecture is Neo-Classical and it has beautiful ceiling paintings of many saints and religious icons.
Its stained glass windows are beautiful and one of the main attractions is the ceiling paintings depicting the life of Christ and also Christ in the Shroud of Turin.
Is 14.5 kilometres long and connects Puttlam to Colombo running through Negombo. This Canal was used in ancient times and also during Dutch times when they tried to draw out the saltwater for paddy cultivation and also for transportation of Cinnamon.
In 1802 to 1804 another canal was built by the British, East of the Dutch Canal – this is the Hamilton canal to date, and is a maze of waterways.
You could enjoy a ride on in the canal and see the way the people on either bank get on with their day to day life.
The closest Tourist beach Destination from the Bandaranayke International Airport, Katunayake (7.9 kilometres). And the distance from Colombo to Negombo is 37.5 kilometres.
This makes it an ideal starting point for your tour.
Great golden sandy beach that stretches for miles. Nice to enjoy a dip, the water is so inviting that when you get in you never feel like getting out. In some areas, the water is almost still and clear making it like a pool.
The beach is dotted by hotels and restaurants of all sorts. While you are there enjoy viewing the fishermen at work and you would see many small boats a little away, adding charm and ambience.
A major city in the Central Province of Sri Lanka
Kandy is the last capital city of the era of ancient kings of Sri Lanka (Kings Era 543 BC to 1815). It lies in the Kandy Plateau surrounded by hills and is 1526 feet above sea level.
It is one of the sacred places of Buddhist worship in the world, and it was declared a UNESCO world heritage site 1988, mainly due to the Dalada Maligawa which houses the Tooth Relic of the Gautama Buddha.
Royal Botanical Gardens – Peradeniya
This 147 acre Garden is situated 5.5 kilometres West of Kandy, and was established in the 1800s although the groundwork began much earlier.
The park is famous for its tremendous collection of orchids and also its flora and fauna summing up to a collection of over 4000 species.
Out of all the trees, there are some significant, one being the Cannon Ball tree planted by King George V and Queen Mary of the United Kingdom in 1901. The fruit of this tree, resemble cannonballs.
The Kandy Lake was built in 1807 by the last King of Kandy – Sri Wikrama Rajasinghe.
It is also known as Sea of Milk. There are a number of species of birds found on the varieties of trees around the lake.
There are plenty of fish – But fishing is prohibited!
While you are there – enjoy a boat ride- it takes about 15 to 20 minutes only.
It is also known as the temple of the tooth.
This was formally the royal palace of the King of Kandy and also houses the Tooth Relic of the Gautama Buddha, handed down from generations of Kings.
People are expected to dress decently as respect.
Therefore no shorts or short skirts no Vest/Skinnies/Sleeveless, the body has to be well covered.
Also bring a pair of socks as you would otherwise have to walk barefooted.
Known as little England and is at an altitude of 6128 feet above seas level. It was founded by the British in 1846 and was used as a retreat for British Colonialist.
Even today you would see many buildings of the colonial era and even built-in modern days according to the same style of architecture.
The climate of Nuwara Eliya is subtropical and is the ideal climate for tea plantation, therefore you would see a number of tea plantations in and around Nuwara Eliya
Areas of interest are the Racecourse, Lake Gregory, Golf Course, Victoria Park, Hakgala gardens (16 kilometres away), Tea Plantations and Waterfalls.
Sigiriya: The Lion Rock Fortress
The Lion Rock Fortress!
Sigiriya is located 94 miles North of Colombo. King Kashyapa built a fortified city and palace there in the 5th Century.
After his death, it was used as a Buddhist Monastery until the 14th century.
Sigiriya was lost in the jungle until rediscovered in 1831 by a British Army major – named Forbes.
The climb of 1200 steps to and for is about 2 – 3 hours. The rock is located 200 meters above the surrounding plain.
The best time to climb the rock is from about 7 am to 4 p.m. So that you would be able to avoid the scorching sun, especially in the hotter months.
Sigiriya is famous for the ruins, frescos (bearing a likeness to the ones in Ajanta India) and never drying ancient pond.
Sigiriya was made a World Heritage site in 1982 and also considered by some as the 8th wonder of the world.
A large town situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka in the Matale District. It is thought to have been inhabited as early as 7th to 3rd Century BC.
This cave city provided refuge to King Valagamba in 1st Century BC.
In gratitude to the monks for refuge, he built them a monastery which the Golden Temple of Dambulla or the Cave temple. This rock is 160 metres above the surrounding plain.
The temple was built from 5 rock caves and is very well preserved up to date. There are many statues of the Gautama Buddha and also of kings and Hindu gods.
The marvellous paintings depicting the life of the Gautama Buddha have been retouched throughout the years, but everything else is in a very good condition.
Dambulla is the centre of vegetable distribution in the country, due to its location.
Sri Lanka Travel Galle Sri Lanka
A major city 119 kilometres South of Colombo.
Galle has a natural harbour and one of the most active ports in the country. It also provides facilities for yachting pleasure.
Galle is a walled city, fortified during colonial times. The well-kept fort and rampart could be seen and experienced even today.
In fact, it is the largest remaining fortification in Asia, fortified by a European nation.
When you enter Galle Fort you get the feeling that you have gone back in time to the 16th to 19th Century. Galle Fort is also called Dutch Fort or Ramparts of Galle.
The old town of Galle and its fortifications were classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
As for beaches, the beachfront of Galle is occupied by the Dutch Fort.
However, you get one of the loveliest beaches in Sri Lanka at Unawatuna, which is popular among foreigners.
Mirissa: Sri Lanka Beaches
It’s all about the Beach!
Mirissa is 150 kilometres Southeast of Colombo and possesses one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
There are many things to do there such as below
- Whale watching (November to March),
- Dining in great restaurants along the beach,
- Watching turtles coming to shore to hatch their eggs (Seasonal).
You could visit Parrot rock wading through the waters to get their (recommended during low tide). Don’t forget to watch the sunset from Coconut Tree Spot.
Or you could just sit and relax your mind and body.
Hope you enjoyed and now planning your next holiday in our beautiful paradise.