Why Sri Lanka
Among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world, this tear-drop shaped island lies just off the southern tip of India. Golden sandy beaches, blue waters and warm tropical climate make Sri Lanka a year-round destination. With beautiful scenery, rich cultural heritage, ancient cities dating back millennia, outstanding wildlife viewing and fabulous cuisine, this unspoiled and hospitable island has come to be known as the “pearl of the Indian Ocean.” No wonder is it on the New York Times list of the top 25 destinations for 2015!
Where to Go
Colonial Sri Lanka – Controlled since the 16th century by the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British prior to gaining full independence in 1948, the influences of colonial powers remain visible. A top experience is strolling the narrow streets of the 17th-century UNESCO Dutch fort in Galle.
Perfect Beaches – Sri Lanka is blessed by hundreds of miles of palm-fringed Indian Ocean beaches where you can kick back and really unwind.
Kandy – Home of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Buddha’s tooth), the old royal capital of Kandy, is cultural and artistic haven and UNESCO World Heritage Site. A great time to visit this lovely lake city is in July/August during Kandy’s renowned Esala Perahera festival.
Hill Towns and Tea Plantations – Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka has been synonymous with quality tea cultivation for centuries. Visit the cool misty verdant hills and tea plantations in the heart of the country, a landscape punctuated by dramatic waterfalls.
Ancient Kingdoms – Visit some of the world’s major architectural sites and principal Buddhist shrines from the Great Sri Lankan Civilization dating back to the 4th century. Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are impressive and beautiful archeological sites. Nearby is towering Sigiriya Rock, considered by some to be the eighth wonder of the world. The Dambulla Cave Temples date back to the 1st century and house a collection of exquisite Buddhas and painted frescos.
National Parks – Wildlife is protected in beautiful parks and reserves throughout the country. Yala National Park has one of the highest densities of leopard in the world. In Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks experience the “Gathering of Elephants,” ranked among the world’s top wildlife viewing spectacles. Sri Lanka is one of the best places on earth to watch blue and sperm whales.
When to Go
Sri Lanka truly can claim being a year-round destination. However, you’ll likely encounter some rain in the southwest May through September and on the north and eastern coasts between October and January. It is cool in the highlands and warmer on the coasts.