The big island Sri Lanka southeast of the southern tip of India is now a safe and very interesting destination for tourists.
Sri Lanka is the most famous country of tea production under the name Ceylon tea. Ceylon was the name of Sri Lanka before the independence from British government.
The former social unrest between the majority of Sri Lankan inhabitants and a minority of Tamiles, the Tamile Tigers, has been settled and the majority of people on Sri Lanka has all the time been living peacefully side by side independent of their cultural origin.
After a 2 ½ weeks trip to Sri Lanka with a round trip to some of the most famous tourist destinations of Sri Lanka and a week at the coast at Unawatuna, south of Galle my wife and I can highly recommend this beautiful island in the Indian Ocean.
The national carrier Sri Lankan Air brought us safe and with very good comfort and service from Europe to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, and back again. With very friendly staff and a caring atmosphere the long flight wasn’t too demanding.
Sri Lanka offer a smiling and very kind population, often with as much interest in us as we tourist in them.
The scenery is very attractive due to the varied landscape and differences in climate and soil conditions. Especially the many national parks are of great attraction to tourists as well as locals.
Do I need to mention that the elephants in Sri Lanka are a chapter for themselves? In the national parks and nearest surroundings elephants are still plenty and easy to observe. It is the elephant species the Indian elephant that has its natural distribution in Sri Lanka.
Unlike its bigger African relative the African elephant, the Indian elephant has much smaller ears and the tip of the trunk has only one ‘lip’, not two as the African elephant.
Besides the wild and free elephants of Sri Lanka elephants have been used as working elephants for thousands of years, and still have a prominent place in Sri Lankans’ lives.
As a tourist you can visit many facilities for ‘visitors meeting the elephants’ and get a ride on elephant back in the neighbour of the place or observe other interactions with elephants.
Sri Lanka is rich on cultural highlights, including a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the old and charming town with fortress of Galle:
Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
“Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese; Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia”
Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
“Polonnaruwa was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas, the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.”
Ancient City of Sigiriya
The ruins of the capital built by the parricidal King Kassapa I (477–95) lie on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 370 m high (the ‘Lion’s Rock’, which dominates the jungle from all sides). A series of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provide access to the site.
Golden Temple of Dambulla
A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 m2 ) are of particular importance, as are the 157 statues.
Sacred City of Kandy
This sacred Buddhist site, popularly known as the city of Senkadagalapura, was the last capital of the Sinhala kings whose patronage enabled the Dinahala culture to flourish for more than 2,500 years until the occupation of Sri Lanka by the British in 1815. It is also the site of the Temple of the Tooth Relic (the sacred tooth of the Buddha), which is a famous pilgrimage site.
Among the national parks and sanctuaries we visited:
Udawalawe National Park
See here for a list of national parks in Sri Lanka.
Bird list of Sri Lanka:
Deforestation in Sri Lanka