The Timeless Appeal of Sri Lanka
In recent years, visitors have flocked to this tiny teardrop-shaped island that emerged from the ashes of protracted civil war, often as part of extended explorations of neighbouring India or idyllic Maldives next door. Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka might be small but it has more sights than you can shake a stick at, from elephants and endless beaches to time-worn temples and tea. Read on to discover the many treasures this tropical nation has to offer.
Centuries of History
Human settlement in Sri Lanka dates back some 34,000 years, and you’ll find the entire island littered with impressive archaeological remains such as the ancient ruins at Anuradhapura, the iconic Sigiriya rock fortress and sacred shrines of Kandy. Dutch, Portuguese and British colonial overlords left their mark too, especially in the highlands and Colombo. Today, many former tea planters’ residences and heritage city mansions have become enchanting boutique hotels, providing modern luxury with all the charm of a bygone era for the discerning traveller.
Thanks to the many civilisations that played a role in Sri Lanka’s history, local cuisine brims with enticing dishes from Arab-influenced flatbreads to Dutch-inspired lamprais –rice, meat and vegetables slow cooked in fragrant banana leaf. Elegant plantation bungalows on lush country estates proffer respite from bustling city life, along with old-fashioned colonial-style cooking and traditional high tea served on fine china, often with homemade scones, lashings of jam and clotted cream.
Unbeknownst to many, the country boasts a wealth of national parks. Leopard-rich Yala is a popular destination where visitors enjoy game drives seeking out Sri Lanka’s handsome big cats, resplendent peacocks and plethora of monkeys. Also worth a visit is lesser known Gal Oya, where boat safaris on the scenic lake are taken in search of the reserve’s renowned swimming elephants and prolific birdlife. The nation’s coral reefs are relatively unspoilt, and provide excellent opportunities for snorkelling, diving, dolphin and whale-watching.
We offer a fine selection of character-filled hotels, relaxing beach resorts and secluded jungle lodges across the country. Contact our Sri Lanka specialists on 1300 363 302.