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Attractions

Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura, most sacred town of Sri Lanka, can be termed the birthplace of Sinhala civilisation. It was the capital of Sri Lanka continuously from the 5th century BC to AD 1017. When many parts of the world were emerging from the stone age, Anuradhapura had already become an advanced civilisation. Merchants of the city traded all round the world, people had sophisticated systems of man-made lakes and canals and structure of the town was well-planned. The place has been marked by Ptolemy in his first ever map. Famous monk travellers Fa Hien and Buddha Ghosha of the 5th century have also mentioned Anuradhapura in their relics, testifying on its glory.

Arugam Bay

Arugam is a small fishing village on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. The discovery of the bay by surfers has made Arugam Bay one of the sought after surfing spots in Sri Lanka tourism. The beautiful bay with its gorgeous sweeping sand with amazing swells and long consistent breaks is one of the top ten surfing destinations in the world. The spectacular view, the sugar sandy beaches and the surroundings tropical forests with choice wild life gives it an ambience that falls a little short of being extravagantly exotic. This makes it a perfect place to unwind and allow the sea to seduce you in to snorkeling, swimming and surfing with a sigh of satisfaction that you planned your holiday well. 

The surfers will find three points on the stretch of beach that attracts surfers from around the world from April to October. Pottuvil Point which is an hour and a half away by a cab or a tuk tuk is considered by seasoned surfers to be out of a dream of. It is a deserted stretch of sandy beach strewn with huge boulders at the edge.

Arugam Point is the main break at Arugam Bay and attracts the most number of surfers during the surfing season. Crocodile Rock is the third and the last of the three. An added attraction here is the possibility of your sighting crocodile, water buffalo, elephant, peacock, eagle or kingfishers that frequent the lagoon.

This surfer’s paradise has side walk cafes that serve delicious rice and curry and accommodation ranging from luxury holiday resorts to cheap Sri Lanka holidays.Any Sri Lanka Tailor made holiday which includes Arugam Bay is a sure experience, be it for surfing or relaxation.

Ambewela

Ambewela is a small town or a hill station in Nuwera Eliya. It’s also a well-known dairy company. The climatic conditions in Ambewela make it a suitable location for dairy farming. This area is also sometimes called the ‘Little New Zealand’.

Ambewela farms are made up of two farms, Ambewela Farm and New Zealand Farm. Because of the perfect climate in the hill country, it boasts its superior breed of cattle, modern technology and top quality pastures where cattle graze freely. The farms have purebred cattle from Ayreshire and New Zealand. In order to maintain the quality of milk from the cows, the farm management takes great care to provide them with a balanced diet and sterilized water. They are also given excellent healthcare on a 24-hour basis. The largest grasslands of Sri Lanka are also a part of the Ambewela farms. In addition to the cattle, it has rabbits, pigs and goats.

Bentota

Bentota is the prime beach resort of the south-western and southern coastal belts 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 are 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.

Calm seas during the season from November to April make Bentota Beach ideal for snorkeling, diving, sailing, wind surfing, water-skiing, and deep-sea fishing on a traditional outrigger canoe.

Being one of the oldest established beach resorts in Sri Lanka, Bentota is famous for its professional tourist infrastructure. The many 5* hotels are often built in fantastic locations and even if you don't stay there, you will not grudge dropping in for a tea and enjoying the scenery. Bentota while offering 5* comforts also offers many affordable mid-range and budget places along the river and along the wide stretch of beaches.

Bentota is a well sought after destination especially by families. Safe swimming conditions combined with fun water sport and exciting excursions provide a marvellous and an ideal background for a relaxed holiday in Sri Lanka.

Colombo

Sri Lanka's capital upto recent times, Colombo, is a fascinating city, not only for a comfortable blend of east and west, but also for a cosy mixture of the past and present. It is still the commercial centre of the country. Situated 34 km. from the International Airport, Colombo has been a flourishing seaport for centuries. Today the bustle of the harbour mingles with the activity of its busy commercial, banking and shopping areas. The original trading settlers - the Portuguese, Dutch and the British have all left in their wake churches and monuments, names and religions,

costumes and food and smatterings of their languages which have been absorbed into the speech of the Sri Lankans. Colombo, with its population of over half a million is divided into fifteen zones.

Colombo, the island's largest city, is noisy, frenetic - and just a little crazy. Thankfully, the breakdowns, snarled traffic and power cuts are received with a shrug and a smile. `No problem' might be the national motto; it's certainly the one phrase everyone knows and can say. While the city holds less obvious interest than many other parts of the island, it's still a colourful enough place and worth a visit to see what makes Sri Lanka tick.

Dambulla

Twelve miles from Sigiriya is Dambulla, a vast isolated rock mass 500 ft. high and a mile round the base. Here is found the famous rock-temple dating to the first century BC. The view from the top of this rock is breathtaking 350 ft. above are a series of five caves turned into shrines. In the first cave is recumbent image of the Buddha 47 ft. long, cut out of the rock. There are images of deities associated with Buddhism. Dambulla is a unique and important historical site because of the amalgamation of the material from many eras.

Dambadeniya

Dambadeniya is a ruined ancient city situated in the North Western Province, Sri Lanka on the Kurunegala - Negombo road. It served as the capital of Sri Lanka in the mid 13th century. Much of Dambadeniya still lies buried on a huge fortified rock.

Horton plains

The most famous place of foreigners in Sri Lanka is Horton plains. Horton plains are at Nuwaraeliya, Badulla and Rathnapura districts. There are two main entrances to this plain. Those are Pattipola entrance via Nuwaraeliya and Ambewela or Ohiya entrance via Welimada or Bandarawela. Large Savannah plains, Waterfalls, High pure water, Forests and several natural and high eco diversity areas are available to visit at Horton Plains. Horton Plains is controlled by Wild life department of Sri Lanka. Hoton plains are invented by Mr. Horton who was animal hunter in British governing period. Earlier this place is identified as ‘Maha Eliya’. Eliya means Plains and Maha means Big. In this case real meaning of this name is a Large Plain. This area is high more than 2300m above from sea level.

Kandy

Kandy is a major city in SriLanka, located in the Central Province Sri Lanka. It is the second largest city in the country after the capital Colombo. Kandy was the last royal capital of Sri Lanka and a major tourist destination. Famous for the Temple of the Tooth and many other temples the city could be called the cultural capital of the island. Kandy is a good transit point to the cultural triangle to the north or hill country to the south. The city is also a good source of souvenirs or to experience many cultural performances at it's various hotels in the city.

Galle

The port of Galle, thought by some to be the Biblical city of Tarshish, splendidly illustrates the solidity of the Dutch presence in Sri Lanka. The 36-hectare (89 acre) Dutch Fort, built in 1663, has withstood the ravages of time. Its massive ramparts surround the promontory that forms the older part of Galle, and shelters within its walls sturdy Dutch houses, museums and churches. This area has a quiet, relaxed atmosphere that seems almost detached from the flow of history. The New Oriental Hotel, built for Dutch governors in 1684, is a colonial gem with a wonderfully atmospheric bar. Nearby is a tiny sliver of a beach suitable for a dip, though most travellers prefer to head along the coast to the fine beaches at Unuwatuna, Weligama and Tangalla. Plenty of public and private buses run up and down the 107km (66mi) stretch between Colombo and Galle, as well as any number of daily express trains.

The port of Galle, thought by some to be the Biblical city of Tarshish, splendidly illustrates the solidity of the Dutch presence in Sri Lanka. The 36-hectare (89 acre) Dutch Fort, built in 1663, has withstood the ravages of time. Its massive ramparts surround the promontory that forms the older part of Galle, and shelters within its walls sturdy Dutch houses, museums and churches. This area has a quiet, relaxed atmosphere that seems almost detached from the flow of history. The New Oriental Hotel, built for Dutch governors in 1684, is a colonial gem with a wonderfully atmospheric bar. 

Nearby is a tiny sliver of a beach suitable for a dip, though most travellers prefer to head along the coast to the fine beaches at Unuwatuna, Weligama and Tangalla. Plenty of public and private buses run up and down the 107km (66mi) stretch between Colombo and Galle, as well as any number of daily express

Hambantota

Hambantota is located at a distance of 240km (150 miles) from Colombo. Hambantota, situated on the southeast corner of Sri Lanka's coastline, is a well-sheltered fishing port with much history attached to it. Hambantota is also renowned for its rich, creamy curd, which is made from the buffalo milk.

Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa is the island's most developed beach resort. It has a range of accommodation, good restaurants and pleasant cafe-lined beaches. There's good snorkelling at an attractive and easily accessible coral sanctuary, scuba diving at a number of wrecks in the bay, tours by glass-bottomed boats and pretty good surfing. It's a relaxed place, similar to many Asian beach resorts popular with Western travellers. There are also plenty of handicraft shops catering to tourist whims, a Buddhist temple, a nearby lake with abundant birdlife.

Induruwa

Induruwa is a small fishing village stretching along a small creek. The sandy beaches are ideal for long walks, sun bathing and swimming.

The nearby sweet water lagoons and the Maadu river with their amazing flora and fauna are making Induruwa also attractive for ECO tourists and bird watchers.

Kalutara

Kalutara is a coastal town some 35 km south of Colombo. It was the spice trade that made Kalutara famous a few centuries ago. The town is most famous for its mangosteens, which are in season from May to July, and sold at the roadside in inviting purple-black heaps. In addition, some of Sri Lanka's finest basket ware can be found at Kalutara's Basket Hall. Intricate and beautiful geometrical patterns are used, and the colours are bold.

Kalpitiya

Kalpitiya is a settlement of traditional fishing families sitting in comfort on the water’s edge of the Puttalam lagoon. The lagoon, with a water surface area of about 32,750ha – is one of the largest lagoons in Sri Lanka.

The scenic attractions includes the Kalaoya estuary (one of Sri Lanka’s largest mangrove habitats), the Meeoya estuary, the Dutch Bay and the Portugal Bay. Kalpitiya and the surrounding little islands have mangroves, sea grass beds and extensive coral reefs. The combination makes it a heaven to be enjoyed in a long Sri Lanka vacation of swimming, snorkeling watching whales and dolphins. The brilliant sunset across the azure seas constantly listening to the hush of nature makes it an exclusive Sri Lanka honey moon holiday. The air conditioned chalets that are hidden away in the estuary can be a Tailor Made Sri Lanka package of exquisite ecstasy.

The coastal ecosystems provide vital services for human well-being. They support livelihoods, protect the community from extreme weather. Nature has shaped the cultural and spiritual values of the inhabitants of this peninsular rhapsody of nature. Fourteen wholesome islands and glistening copper coloured beaches await you. The other delight that will enthrall you is the 300 sq.km. marine sanctuary and the abundant marine life. 

The Alankuda Beach is a Sri Lanka luxury that you must experience in a Sri Lanka vacation. It is indeed a Sri Lanka exclusive of a discrete dalliance with Dolphins and Whales during October to May. 

The grand enticement of the ocean is watching whales and dolphins. The other pleasures that you could indulge in abundance are snorkeling over the spectacular coral formations, deep-sea fishing, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, kite and wind surfing.

Kitulgala

Kitulgala is a small town perched on the hills that slope down to the gushing waters of the Kelani River. The road that snakes its way up the central hill country bifurcates the little town that is one with the myriad charms of its surroundings.It is directly accessible from Kandy, Nuwara-Eliya, Ratnapura and Colombo. discovery of fossils connected to pre-historic man in nearby Beli Lena caves and the filming of “Bridge over River Kwai” where David Lean chose the river nearby to narrate the cruelty of modern man makes Kithulgala a place to see in any of Sri Lanka holiday deals. Known to be the largest cave in Sri Lanka, the excavations at Beli Lena have unearthed skeletal remains of the pre-historic “Balangoda man” (Homo sapiens Balangodensis) believed to be more than 32,000 years old.

White Water Rafting is what attracts the seekers of adventure. The river at its scenic middle section consists of 10 level two, and level three rapids. They are separated by a quietly flowing patch of the river. The higher part is more of a challenge that is recommended to the more experienced. 

It is a picturesque little riddle of a town and village that you can unravel at leisure enjoying every moment of this Eden Resort in Sri Lanka.

A Sri Lanka tour has many such places where you can unwind by bike or hike, Kitulgala being one such place.

Kurunegala

Kurunegala was Sri Lankas capital for half a century during the regain of King Buwanekabahu II (1293-1302) housed the Tooth relic in Dambadeniya Temple. The Ethugala Climb, Dambadeniya, Arankale Forest, Ridi Vihara, Old Railway Station are attractions. The beautiful royal citadels in Kurunagala you can visit are Panduwasnuwara, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa that has remains fortresses, temples, shrines, monasteries and hermitages.

Matara

Matara, situated on the south coast of Sri Lanka, is an old fort town built on the banks of the Nilwala Ganga, literally the Blue River. This district is well known to mineralogists as a prime location of zircon, a comparatively soft stone that has a brilliance and fire approximating that of a diamond. The star shaped fort here is an unusual and a unique structure. There are several beautiful and less crowded beaches along the coast between Galle and Matara and the closest to the town is at Polhena. Another attraction is a 25m high colourful Buddha statue built at Veherahena Temple. The temple is about 2 km from the town centre and about 1 Km inland from Pallimulla on the main road.

Weligama

Weligama is a popular tourist destination and hosts several boutique hotels. The name Weligama itself, in Sinhala, means `Sandy Village' which is a direct reference to the sandy bay beach. The loveliest stretch of the bay beach is round the island of Taprobane. Most often dozens of traditional colorful outrigger boats are seen pulled up following the night fishing expeditions.

Weligama beach is famous for its stilt fishermen. In chest-deep water on the beach, just few meters off-shore, are the stilt fishermen perched on a cross bar- one on one- of a single pole planted into the sea-bed. These fishermen, the poorest of the poor, spend hours with their lines cast out to the sea to catch small fish.

Negombo

The major beach resort in the West Coast is Negombo. The wide sandy beaches and the safe sea are the major attractions of Negombo, a traditional fishing town. Besides the beach, the fish market is worth visiting where busy trading of a variety of fish including prawns, crabs and seer takes place in the mornings when the fishing crafts return to the shore with their catch. The most popular fishing craft is the outrigger canoe called oruwa dug out from a huge log and is seen in large numbers in the Negombo lagoon.

Sigiriya

The spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya is an impregnable fortress, a monastic retreat, and a rock art gallery. Built in the 5th century AD to fend of a feared invasion, it is situated atop a 200m (656ft) high rock, and at the height of its glory must have been akin to a European chateau plonked on top of Ayers Rock. There are water gardens, 5th century rock paintings of well endowed damsels, a 1000-year-old graffiti wall recording visitors impressions of the pin-ups, a couple of enormous stone lion paws and tremendous views.

To get to Sigiriya from Colombo, hop on a bus that stops at Dambulla, and from there catch any of the hourly buses going to the rock fortress, a total of 191km (118mi).

Polonnaruwa

Sri Lanka's medieval capital (11th - 12th Century AD) is a well-preserved city of ancient dagobas, moonstones, beautiful parks, massive buildings and stunningly beautiful statues. Polonnaruwa, is situated in north-central Sri Lanka (Ceylon), near the Mahaweli River. It is an ancient Ceylonese capital that was long deserted but has been revived in modern times. The city, beautifully situated on a lake, was once the most splendid city of Sri Lanka. The Sea of Parakrama - a vast 12th century man-made reservoir dominates the city. Although it is nearly 1000 years old, it is much younger than Anuradhapura, and in much better repair. Moreover, the monuments here are located in a more compact area, and their development is easier to follow.

Pinnawela

Pinnawela is a beautiful village on the banks of a river near Kegalle, a town that is between Colombo the commercial capital and Kandy the cultural capital. The pictorial village the world’s only elephant orphanage that cares for the largest elephant herd in captivity. It shelters many baby elephants, as well as a blind elephant and one crippled. The Sri Lankan species Elephas Maximus Maximus is the largest of the Asiatic elephant genus, and has patches with no skin color on its ears, face, trunk and belly. They are the darkest of all Asiatic elephants. Seeing this large herd of these behemoths is a great experience you can have on a Sri Lanka trip. In February 2011, the Elephant Orphanage of Pinnawela recorded the birth of the 55th baby elephant in its 40 year existence.

The count stood at 86 with the latest addition. The orphanage was founded in 1972 at the Wilpattu National Park, and was relocated in 1976 in to a 10 hectare coconut plantation on the banks of the Mahaoya River. The herd visits the river twice a day, the sight of the herd frolicking in the river deemed as a ‘must see’ for visitors.

The breeding program in the Orphanage was started in 1982. The breeding commenced with two males and three females. The male and female pair named Vijaya and Kumari has produced three calves at intervals of five and four years.

The Orphanage also produces paper made of elephant dung. The process is industrially feasible and commercially viable. The Elephant dung Paper is branded as “Pachyderm.” It provides an income to the villagers who are conservation enthusiasts fully integrated to the elephant orphanage that is the nucleus of a thriving village economy, all a part of a Holiday in Sri Lanka.

Pasikudah

The world famous Pasikudah beach in Batticaloa district along the east coast is a location attractive to both local and international holidaymakers. With its wide sandy beach and a reef protected sea it is an ideal place for children, wind surfers and water skiers.

The village itself is away from busy town life making it a popular beach retreat. Boat trips are readily available for viewing the coral reef and the sea is surprisingly shallow and calm for a long distance within making it a safe place of enjoyment especially for children.

Rathnapura

Roughly 100km (64 miles) southeast of Colombo on the outskirts of the hill country, Rathnapura is known as Sri Lanka's gemstone capital. It is the centre of a number of richly watered valleys between adam's peak and Sinharaja forest Reserve. The climate here is wet and humid. rathnapura was the traditional start of the toughest pilgrimages up to Adam's Peak, and this is reputed to be the best place for views of the sacred mountain.

Trincomalee

Trincomalee is a natural deep-water harbor, on the north-east coast of Sri Lanka. On the east side of the town of Trincomalee, on a cliff known as Swami Rock stands one of the oldest Kovils (Hindu temple) in Sri Lanka. The present day Tirukonesvaram Kovil was rebuilt on the site of the Dakshana Kailayam (temple of 100 pillars) - that was destroyed by the Portugese in the 17th century. The restoration work was completed in the 1960's, and it is a "must see" site, for the visitors to Trincomalee. Friday evening Puja (offerings) services are specially colorful.

Nuwara Eliya

Once the favourite hill station of the British, Nuwara Eliya still retains the vestiges of Empire: a blend of Tudor and Georgian architecture, gabled roofs, immaculate lawns with rose bushes and moss-covered gravestones. Soak up the quaint atmosphere by visiting the Hill Club - by jove, there's a golf course, tennis courts, even copies of Country Life here - or visit the botanic gardens and tea plantations in the surrounding hills.

Buses going to Nuwara Eliya leave Colombo almost hourly, and from Kandy with regular frequency. You can catch a train although you'll need to get off at Nanu Oya and catch a connecting bus, or taxi, to Nuwara Eliya itself as it does not have a train station of its own.

Jaffna

Jaffna city and seaport, northern Sri Lanka, capital of Northern Province, on a peninsula. The city is the trading center for the surrounding region in which coconuts, rice, and tobacco are grown.