There are 8 UNESCO Heritage Sites that are must visits that includes famous ancient cities of Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Kandy with their historically valuable monuments such as the “Galviharaya” in Polonnaruwa, the ancient ruins and the world famous Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. The Rock Castle at Sigiriya and the Cave Temple at Dambulla are the other two must visit historical Heritage Sites. The Fort City of Galle built by the colonial occupants is another declared site which is world famous. One can visit many other temples, kovils, and churches that also resemble the rich history of Sri Lanka. Some examples are the Ambekka, Lankathilake, and Gadaladeniya, temples in Kandy. The historically famous churches such as Christ Church Warleig in Dickoya and St. Paul’s Church Kandy and also the prominent Hindu temples such as Koneswaram and Muneswaram are testaments of the influence of other religions in the country that is worth a visit.
If fauna and flora is your forte you have plenty to choose from. Ranked within the first 25 biodiversity hot spots and boasting of two natural forested areas declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Sinharaja Rain Forest and the Central Highlands, the island nation has an array of offerings. Ranging from breathtaking waterfalls such as Dunhinda and Ravana Ella in the misty hills to primary forests such as Knuckles, Sinharaja, and Horton Plains and lush mangroves in the western wetlands one is bound to be mesmerized by endless serenity. Inhabited with many endemic species of fauna & flora the country also offers irresistible excursions for an animal or a bird lover in the likes of observing elephants at Udawalawe & Bundala, leopards at Yala, the rarest Blue Whales & pods of Bottlenose dolphins off Mirissa and Kalpitiya to name a handful.
Being an island nation Sri Lanka is never short of sandy beaches and pristine seas that surround the pearl which resembles a golden yellow ribbon protecting it from the ocean. Getting a tropical tan is a part and parcel of the tour itinerary of any visitor to the country whilst the country also attracts guests who come only to flock the sandy beaches basking in the tropical sun at popular destinations such as Ahangama, Unawatuna, Mirissa, Negombo, and Nilaweli. Snorkeling, diving, wind & kite surfing, water skiing are some of the popular activities one can indulge in certain parts of coastal cities to add more flavor to a tour on the beautiful beaches. Also, the rich marine lives that flock the coast and the coral reefs have drawn many diving enthusiasts to the country annually.
If the need of the hour is an irresistible rush of adrenaline Sri Lanka offers many activities for the outdoor lover. Ranging from a series of land based activities to water and air based activities, it boasts of many exciting adventures. Popular land based adventures include cycling, mountain biking, trekking, hiking, nature trails & country walks, camping, photographing & filming, rock climbing etc. Snorkeling, diving, fishing, water skiing, surfing, white water rafting, kayaking & canoeing, whale and dolphin watching are the popular adventures of the inland waters and coastal belts. Seaplane & helicopter rides and hot air ballooning are also available if one desires to get a bird’s eye view of the island.
A feature becoming ever popular amongst visitors is indulging in a luxurious traditional Ayurvedic wellness program, meditation and spas that give you inner peace and tranquility whilst soothing your nerves off the tension. You have the choice of pampering yourself in the aromatic herbal spas or the practice of yoga and meditation in any of the resident ashrams in the country instructed by well experienced gurus if you desire to take a moment away from stressed out corporate & city life.
Sri Lanka has a blend of fast city lifestyle to slow sleepy fishing coastline all blended with the locals, authentic Sri Lankan cuisines and culture. One can experience the colorful spectra of life from a simple laidback humble village life enriched with tradition to the busy cosmopolitan life with many influences in bustling cities. A visit to a traditional village, a home garden, paddy cultivation and Chena is bound to let you experience the true life of an average simple villager as well as traditional cultivation practices of the farming community. A home stay experience in one of the cozy typical Sri Lankan homes is bound to let one experience and witness the true hospitality of Sri Lankans and enjoy a sumptuous authentic traditional Sri Lankan meal as well as getting the chance of preparing it with the host.
Embedded with the lush greenish cover of well pruned blankets of tea bushes, the hills of Sri Lanka resemble a paradise of greenery bathing in the thick mist and the clouds. The tea industry initiated by James Taylor with his first tea bush planted at Loolecondera Estate in Kandy boasts a history of tea plantations that stood for over 150 years equipped with some of the world famous tea factories and estates that produce infamous Ceylon Orthodox Black Tea to the most expensive Silver Tips of the world. A tour in one of the plantations and a factory is a walk down the historical avenues of one of the oldest value chains ever created in the world. One can also gain a lifetime experience staying in a traditional plantation bungalow if one desires to choose.
If one savors spending a bit of cash on memorabilia to modern day items Sri Lanka offers an array of shopping destinations. Popular amongst visitors are some of the modern shopping centers in the capital Colombo that offer a variety of clothing and accessories, specialist shopping centers offering the flavor of Sri Lanka ranging from ever famous Ceylon Tea and spices to traditional artifacts and colorful gems and stones. Shopping for handloom and handmade souvenirs of its cottage industry is another golden opportunity to promote fair trade.
Sri Lanka is becoming one of the popular Overseas Wedding & Honeymooning destinations with its famous reception centers and scenic gardens as well as hideout secretive getaways for couples. If one wishes to choose a traditional Sri Lankan wedding or a simple ceremony on the beach diverse locations are available for selection. The mystique hill country locations amidst the Tea Plantations or unique villas or bungalows basking in the thick fog, a hotel or a villa on the beach or a chalet in the thick jungle can offer you an intimate honeymoon hideout and seclusion.