Why travel to Sri Lanka
If local folklore is to be believed, Sri Lanka was the world’s prototypical tourist destination. Adam and Eve allegedly took refuge on the island after they were expelled from the Garden of Eden – exchanging one Paradise, one might say, for another.
Curling into the Indian Ocean like a tear drop from the tip of south India, the island known to the ancients as ‘Serendip’, and until 1972 as ‘Ceylon’, fits most people’s idea of what a tropical idyll should look like, complete with golden-sand beaches, coconut groves, and forested uplands sporting hats of fluffy cotton-wool clouds. Travellers from Sinbad to Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta sailed in search of its storied shores, driven by the lure of spices and gem stones.
Sand and surf provide the principal focus for today’s visitors, but a wealth of extraordinary sights lie only a morning’s drive inland. At the chilly heights of 2,000m/6,500ft, the misty slopes around Nuwara Eliya are scattered with British-era bungalows whose windows open on to vistas of neatly cropped tea plantations. Kandy is the centre of this verdant hill tract and the site of the Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka’s most revered Buddhist pilgrimage place.
Remains of much older capitals lie in the scrub-covered country further north. At Sigiriya, a plug of golden granite surges 183m out the plains, its flat top capped with the vestiges of ancient fortifications and palaces whose walls preserve frescoes of princesses and dancing girls – as gorgeous now as when they were painted 1600 years ago. Great white stupas rise from the paddy fields around Anuradhapura, where the Sinhalese kings erected their capital in the 3rd century BC. When it was destroyed by marauding Chola armies from India 700 years later, the city shifted to Polonnaruwa. All that’s left of this once resplendent garden city now are hulking brick ruins where you can ponder the sublime expressions on the faces of the giant Buddhas, exquisitely carved from slabs of rock.
Wildlife enthusiasts will find plenty of inspiration in the island’s national parks. Foremost among them is Yala, in the southeast, whose savannah and forests shelter populations of wild elephant and – the star attraction – elusive leopards.
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Sri Lanka In Style
16 days from £3245 per person
Experience the very best Sri Lanka has to offer on this leisurely tour that combines the main sights of the Cultural Triangle with a handful of less well-known locations amid the tea plantations of the interior. It includes a three-night beach break...
Sri Lankan Wildlife
12 days from £3895 per person
Leopard and elephant are Sri Lanka’s two signature species, and you’ll have ample opportunity to spot both on this two-week tour of the island, which has been specifically designed with wildlife and nature lovers in mind. The three most famous natio...
The Heart of Sri Lanka
9 days from £1195 per person
Experience the wonders of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle on this varied, nine-day group tour. Offering superb value for money, with world-class luxury accommodation throughout, it takes in the cream of the island’s historic monuments and scenery, and...
Emerald Isle - Sri Lanka
13 days from £1525 per person
Experience the very best Sri Lanka has to offer on this luxury group tour combining the principal sights of the Cultural Triangle with a handful of less well known locations amid the tea plantations of the interior. It includes stays in Kandy and th...
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At TransIndus we are committed to quality, and determined to ensure every one of our clients enjoys the best holiday possible. Having lived or worked, and travelled extensively in their specialist countries, our consultants are experts whose advice can be depended on. To make an enquiry, call us on 0208 566 3739
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