Sri Lanka
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01. Beach & Relax Stays

Sri Lanka is a tropical island found in the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The country is endowed with over a thousand miles of beautiful golden beaches that are fringed with coconut palms making it the ideal destination for a beach holiday. A large percentage of luxurious resorts and villas as well as budget hotels are located along the coastal areas to offer tourists some of the best beach holidays in Sri Lanka. The main attraction for tourists and locals are undoubtedly the beaches but some places like Galle on the South coast consists of historical heritage which is an added advantage to a sun and sand holiday. The drive along the west and south-west coast also offers interesting stopovers such as batik factories or turtle hatcheries, or activities like paying homage at a local temple, sampling local fruits from roadside vendors and getting first-hand knowledge on the art of toddy making.

Popular Activities

I. A BOAT TRIP IN MADU RIVER

Take a magical speed-boat ride down the beautiful Madu River, a wetland estuary spreading over 900 hectares of which 770 hectares is covered with water and inhabited with 64 islands. The boat ride is a wonderful way to take a closer look at this complex wetland ecosystem; a world heritage site protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands being one of the last wetlands in Sri Lanka to contain a pristine mangrove forest.

Journey past massive mangrove forests, glide under the canopy of the forest tunnels as they curve playfully towards the watercourse. Take in the unique biodiversity of the Madu River and its surrounding islands that boasts of hundreds of birds, plants, fish and animals.

II. COOK AND DINE IN GALLE

Galle situated in the south of Sri Lanka is known for its gourmet dishes, some exclusive to the region. Learning to cook here means you get the opportunity to experience traditional authentic Sri Lankan dishes at its best. Visit the market and learn how to choose fresh and succulent foodstuff, especially seafood. Back home learn the process of producing mouth-watering cuisine, which you can enjoy and relish. Remember to put down on paper (in case you may forget) so that you may try it back home.

III. TURTLE STUDY AND CONSERVATION EXPERIENCE

Marine turtles represent an ancient and distinctive component of the world’s biological diversity. It is believed that they first appeared more than 100 million years ago (TUCN, 1995). There are seven species of marine turtles living in the world representing two families,The seven species include green turtle (Chelonia mydas), loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbrica1a\ olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivaced) Kemp’s ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), flatback turtle (Natator depressus) and leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). There is an eighth species, the black turtle or east pacific green turtle (Chelonia agasszii) recognized.

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02. Aurveda & Yoga

Ayurveda has been practiced for many centuries in Sri Lanka and is known to be a traditional mixture of Sinhala medicine, Ayurveda and Siddha systems of India, Unani medicine of Greece through the Arabs, and most importantly, the Desheeya Chikitsa, (the indigenous medicine of Sri Lanka). Over the past decades Sri Lanka developed its own Ayurvedic system based on a series of prescriptions handed down from generation to generation over a period of 3,000 years. The ancient kings, who were also prominent physicians, continued its survival and longevity.

“Ayurveda” is not only a form of medication – it is a complete way of life known to generations of Sri Lankans. It is a placid and effective method of treating the root causes of illness in both mind and body.

The health conscious today are constantly examining for effective alternatives to the escalating costs and side effects that result from the use of modern medicine. Thus the efficiency of Ayurveda is known as nature’s way to good health and has been proved by 3,000 years of successful therapeutic care for many illnesses.

Travelers can now experience therapeutic Ayurveda treatment through the best of Sri Lankan ayurvedic physicians. Treatments vary from massages, oral medications and therapy to suit each and every symptoms of discomfort.

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03. Meditation and Yoga

Meditation is a documented factor of many religions, and has been practiced for centuries. It involves the exercise of psychological discipline in order to transcend from the automatic, “thinking” mind into a deeper state of relaxation or consciousness, which entails focusing on one single point of reference.
In Sri Lanka meditation is popular, particularly amongst the Buddhist devotees. Buddhist meditation aids in transforming the mind and soul. Sri Lanka has many devoted meditation centers located in various parts across the island.

Meditation is known to assist with a more productive, satisfying, healthy and comfortable life. Scientific studies reveal that relaxation, concentration and maintenance of a self-observing attitude aid alter metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and brain chemistry. The wisdom that develops through meditation brings a happiness that surpasses all others.

Yoga is an immense collection of spiritual techniques and practices aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit to achieve a state of enlightenment or oneness with the universe. The different paths of yoga emphasize different approaches and techniques, but ultimately lead to the same goal of unification and enlightenment.

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04. Adventures & Sports

I. Adventure & Eco Tourism

Sri Lanka’s variety of mini climates, not only gives it a wealth of fauna and flora but also rugged terrain, high peaks, deep chasms, mountain gaps, high water falls and snaking rivers all ideal for eco, nature-adventures trekking trails for the enthusiast. If its hiking/trekking trails or adventure you are interested in, Sri Lanka’s mist covered central mountains in Ella offers marvellous opportunities. Trek through the nature of Horton plains, an environment characterized by forest patches, grasslands along with steep mountain passes, Trekking trails to Adams peak (Sri Pada) ascent the holy mountain to witness the mystic shadow of the peak across the lowland plains, or if you are in Kandy the knuckles range wilderness area which will take your breath away literally speaks of adventure and nature.

If you prefer two wheels to walking, but aren’t keen to take on uphill climbs many low land trails are available which will take you through mosaics of lush green paddy fields, rubber plantations and coconut groves. For those who seek more of a challenge, the hill country locations such as knuckles range offer steep trails which are recommend to only the more experienced cyclist.

Blessed with a wealth of lagoons, rivers, swamps most with interconnected canals offer the canoe/kayaking enthusiast endless opportunities to relax while enjoying nature, for the more adventurous or the ones who find canoeing too tame for their taste, why not go on a white water rafting adventure in Kitulgala ? This part of the river is speckled with rapids from class 1 to 3.5 during the rainy season and with the exception of the very smallest kids, everyone can enjoy a ride of their life adorned with life jackets and other safety gear

II. Adventure Water Sports Activities

One of the advantages of being an island is that you have water all around you and sandy beaches to match, where one can enjoy surfing in Hikkaduwa, Jet Ski riding, boogie boarding in Bentota, kite surfing in Kalpitiya all year around in many locations around the island. If the surf is not right in one place you simply move to the next place and Sri Lanka being small, one can get to the next best destination of your choice without much hassle and carry on with the your preferred above water activity.

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05. Caving

This captivating activity is relatively new to Sri Lanka and is rather an unusual experienced not to be missed. Sri Lanka is dotted with many caves from the Ritigala mountains in the north to the central hills and the southern hillocks of the South. The most famous being Batatotalena at sudugala, attributed to the “Balangoda man” a prehistoric man whose skeletal remains were uncovered inside this cave, Belilena in Kithulgala and aptly named “Wavulpone” because of the large community of bats living inside with some records indicating a figure as high as hundred thousand

The word speleology, describes the exploration, surveying, mapping and photographing of caves, used by the scientific community. These caves are home to a great variety of creatures that are nocturnal in their habits and most of the recently discovered species are from caves which have been around for at least 500 million years, and abound with stalactites and stalagmites, formations of conical calcium deposits sometimes as tall as a child.

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06. Visit Cultural Traingle

VISITING CULTURAL TRIANGLE OF SRI LANKA (KANDY – DAMBULLA – SIGIRIYA / ANURADHAPURA – POLONNARUWA)

A history that is strewn with ancient legend, age old statues of undefined age dot the north central plains of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is synonymous with Buddhism and the north central plains are dotted with many Buddhist temples, sculptures, stupas and many ancient monasteries, some are over two thousand years old. An ancient civilization thrived, first in the ancient capital of Anuradhapura for over a thousand years then due to invasions from South India capital was moved to Polonnaruwa, under the guidance and influence of Buddhism. Many monolithic rock formations that dot the north central plains have been transformed into places of worship by the expert ancient sculptors, inspired by Buddhist way of life.

Gone are the days of glory, today most of these monoliths stand silent and deserted emitting the glory of times of yore, today life around them moves at a slow pace through the heat of the day and the air is still except for sound of insects and occasional sound of a bird or a monkey. Ideal time to visit these monuments are in the morning or evening when the sun dawns upon them to lighting up these ancient wonders, a word of caution while photographing Buddhist temples and status, are never to pose with them or turn your back to them.

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07. Hot air Ballooning

HOT AIR BALLOON TOURS IN SRI LANKA

A great way to experience the exhilaration of flight with a bird’s eye view of the area below, a silent ride through the sky, an excursion that has caught on fast with locals and tourist alike is hot air ballooning, drifting gently over the cultural triangle, or a wildlife park in a hot air balloon will be unforgettable, actually nothing beats a hot air balloon excursion across the central plains in our opinion. Hot air ballooning tours are available from the north central plains of the island and be carried away under blue skies and over the landscape dotted with many little man-made lakes, one might even spot an elephant near these tanks, ancient monuments, propose to your fiancée in a hot air balloon, celebrate your birthday in a hot air balloon, exchange vows and get married in the air in a hot air balloon! Functioning from Dambulla, the service is available From December to March.

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08. Under Water Activities

DIVING & SNOREKLING TOURS IN SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka being an island nation, and the fact that it lies in a central location as far as the ancient trade routes were concerned, is littered so to speak of wrecks from many different era’s. The tireless wonderers of lands of the ancient, Ibn Battuta and Fa-Hsien have recorded their arrivals to the island via ship. The oldest of such known wreck is from “Godawaya” (close to current sea port Hambantota), a wooden ship dated to be over 2,000 years old by way of potsherds and intact pots found on site, an important transit trading port in ancient silk route where silk, spices and handicrafts were exchanged between the East and West.

The Southern port of call for many ancient ships, the Galle harbour has over 75 such recorded wrecks, out of which 25 are well recorded over the years by sports divers. Some of the famous ones are The Avondster (1659) a British ship captured by the Dutch and modified, wrecked while at anchor in Galle Harbour, The VOC Hercules (1661) lost when the anchor rope broke while getting ready to set sail, in a sudden gale, from Galle harbour, the “Silver Junk” which is situated in Great Basses (1792) off the coast of Hambantota, The “Bottle wreck” which sits opposite “Silver Junk” is believed to be of an European origin, laden with soda and lemonade bottles (hence the name “Bottle Wreck”) made in Sri Lanka under the Great Basses light house in crystal clear waters, the Chinese navigators of the 15th century identifies them as the “Iron pincer Island”, as these two off shore coral reefs has caused many a shipwreck on silk route bound vessels.

The Eastern sea board is also strewn with ship wrecks from many era’s, the most famous lies off the coast of Batticaloa in the form of “HMS Herms”. The world’s first purpose built aircraft carrier which was built during WWI, was attacked and sunk by several Japanese dive bombers off the coast of Batticaloa, also sinking her escorting destroyer in the same raid. Now she lies off the coast of Batticaloa doing the exact opposite of what she was designed to do, giving life to marine life and coral a solid surface to grow on.

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09. Wild Life Safari

Wildlife and Safari in Sri Lanka

Considering a Sri Lankan wildlife safari adventure tour? Consult our team of travel experts who will help you plan your trip on a budget, or take you on a luxury safari if so required. You’ll certainly get to see all the wildlife and tropical birds you’ve never dreamed of seeing – including of course the famous but elusive Leopard, while at the same time taking in our natural brilliance of Sri Lanka, fauna and flora under clear skies.

There are so many thrilling wildlife safaris you could choose from, and you’ll find that most are suitable for families. You’ll see a lot of elephants and birds, be able to take lots of photographs, as well as experience our unique ever smiling mix of people and cultures. You’ll simply have a great time here!

A wide range of National Parks, nature reserves and safari lodges and camps have been established throughout Sri Lanka, covering vast areas of bio-diverse terrain, all the way from Willpattu National Park in the north of the country, down to Yala National Park in the south with many others in between. Plenty of wildlife for you to see and lots to do, and no, not about hunting that was done away with about a century ago, after the Sri Lankan elephant population were decimated by big western game hunters. You’re out there to enjoy, get close to and photograph Sri Lankan wildlife and birds in their natural environment. On your Sri Lankan safari Tour you’ll also tour through some outstanding scenery.

Travelling into the jungles of Sri Lanka with camps set deep within the national parks is yet an undiscovered treasure, whether you select to stay and observe wildlife in your camp under a tree reading a book and sipping a drink of your choice waiting for them to appear, or taking a short walk to the best spots within the area under the guidance of our experts. Tented Safari camping in Sri Lanka is an ideal way to savour the splendour of the island from one of the many spots available for such wildlife safari camps. The game reserves of Sri Lanka are best savoured from such a camp than trudging up and down from a hotel! You may select a tour from a wide range of tours or enjoy one tailor made just for you. Observing nature and its diversity is best done in our opinion in one such camps, whether its fauna, flora, bird watching or even interacting with the local indigenous people “Veddha’s”.

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10. Destination Weddings/Honeymoon in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has always been an ideal destination for an exotic wedding ceremony and honeymoon, and currently it enjoys the third spot on most popular destination for weddings and honeymoons in the world. The back drop of your wedding can be selected from, hot-air balloons drifting silently through the air, a jungle setting, on a wide sandy beach with an elephant, on a riverboat cruising along a river, little private island, a tea plantation, to a private ceremony in an old church in the hill country. Talk to us to arrange an unforgettable wedding to suit your requirements, whether you want an exotic or traditional Sri Lankan style wedding.

The couple must be over the legal age of 18 as in most western countries on the day of ceremony, and the following must be carried if you wish to be married in Sri Lanka, the original birth certificate along with a photocopy, passport and copy, an affidavit confirming the marital status of couple prior to marriage, if widowed the death certificate of the former spouse, or if names has been changed prior to wedding legal proof of change, or if either party is divorced a court decree proving lawful termination of previous marriage must be presented prior to the wedding ceremony. Once the ceremony is completed and a certificate will be provided by the registrar in Sinhala language with a certified copy in English.

Attire must be selected wisely as Sri Lanka is a tropical country, and choosing cumbersome traditional European or Western wear would have you wanting to cool off in the pool rather than grace the ceremony with your presence. We suggest that you select light silk or cotton dress for ladies and linen or cotton suits for the gentleman.

HONEYMOONERS

An heaven for honeymooners be it a fine beach resort where you could have a fine dining experience in a candlelit dinner under millions of stars. Or be it a complete hideaway with your lover in remote jungle. Or be a it a Honeymoon safari with Elephants in Yala or udawalawe.

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11. Whale & Dolphin Watching

Whale and Dolphin Watching  in Sri Lanka

The BBC documentary titled “Ocean Giants” featuring the mesmeric world of Whales and Dolphins, and the scientist’s effort to shed light on their habits and why they grow so large were filmed around Sri Lanka and according to them 30 Blue Whales were sighted in a single day!

There is a 95% chance of spotting Blue Whales and great chances of Sperm Whales spottingas as their migration path from Africa to Australia is just off Dondra Point. We are able to arrange Whale Watching Trips off Mirissa in a fully insured trawler boat which will last for 3 hours. There is a good chance of spotting Spinner Dolphins off Mirissa.

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12. Trail Tea estate.

Tea Estate Trails  in Sri Lanka  – Tea Planters Experience

The story of tea in Sri Lanka starts with the Scotish planter James Taylor in 1866 in “Loolecondara” estate in Galaha the remnants of his cottage and tea bushes are still preserved as a permanent memento to the man credited for introducing tea to Sri Lanka , he died aged 57 and was buried in Kandy cemetery, in the country he came to love as a planter. Today, almost one hundred and fifty years after James Taylor, Sri Lanka’s central hills from Hatton, Dickoya, Bogawanthalawa, to Nuwara Eliya and every small town in higher elevations have their ground covered in a carpet of premium quality Sri Lankan tea.

All the estates which were under British companies till the early 1970’s and have a character of their own, in other words they are little communities of their own with the Superintendent as the head. Visiting & spending time here with your loved ones will certainly bring nostalgic memories of a glorious past of your ancestor who lived here. Take a walk on one of the tea trails that criss-cross these estates, watch the dusky maidens at work plucking tea buds and gathering them in rattan basket hung behind them. A few tea factories in this area will be happy to have visitors, a tour through the work will give an insight of how tea is made from fermentation, curling, drying, sieving, to grading and packaging, some might even give you a tutoring on blending and tea tasting.

During this time many churches were built by the British, most famous ones being, Warleigh in Dikoya built by the Englishman William Scot and a walk through the cemetery will be evocative of your countryman at rest in this distant corner of the Empire, Adisham monastery off Haputale of the Sylvestrine congregation, a suborder of the Benedictine fraternity, according to records there are only 18 such places in the world.

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13. Sailing & Cruises in Sri Lanka

A great way to enjoy the tropics, set sail from Sri Lanka’s East or south coast on luxury Catamaran in the manner of a Greek tycoon holidaying in Monaco!

Sri Lanka provides perfect atmosphere for sailing all year round: sunny weather, good winds and beautiful landscapes. From October until May Mirissa and Beruwela are the places to be. From June until September Trincomalee and Pasikudah are the perfect spots for sailing.

Best of Lanka facilitates coastal cruises, sailing boat rental, and private sail boat charters.

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14. Visit Veddhas

Sri Lanka’s Aborigines’, or the Veddha’s meaning “people of the forest” of Sri Lanka has a history much older than prince Vijaya’s landing in 5th century BC and the origins of the Sinhala race. Archaeological evidence suggest that modern Veddha’s Neolithic ancestors inhabited this island as far back as 10,000 BC with. Once roaming the Great Plains’ of the north central region to the central mountains, today the remaining Veddha population are confined to Dambana which is close to Maduru oya sanctuary.

They are essentially hunter gatherer forest dwellers without much change in their life style from Stone Age to modern times. The language used by them is an ancient dialect of Sinhala, staple diet being venison, Veddha’s are allowed to hunt legally to sustain themselves within certain areas, are also expert fisherman. Veddha’s also collect bee’s honey and exchange it with the locals for axe blades and cloth.

Today, the Veddha’s are more modernised as far as at least the cloths are concerned and perfect way to observe Veddha is to organise a camp close to or within a reservation and Veddha’s will be more than glad to show you their ways of life, with an axe hanging from their shoulders and a bow slung behind them, gives you the impression nothing much has changed since the dawn of time for these proud warriors of the forest.

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15. Trekking & Hiking

For the keen hiker, there is a plethora of opportunities awaiting in Sri Lanka ‘s diverse and luscious hill country. The beautiful area of Haputale and Diyatalawa, located in the hill country of Sri Lanka , provides a base from which to try out a wide variety of hiking and trekking tours through jungle, across tea estates and up mountains. The river and numerous waterfalls in Sri Lanka are another key attraction that allows hikers and trekkers to enjoy a refreshing dip en-route !

In the same area the Horton Plains National Park offers some excellent hikes in an unusual environment, characterised by forest patches, grasslands and some high-altitude vegetation. Highlights include the dramatic 880 metre drop at World’s End and the beautiful Baker’s Falls.

When climbing the infamous Adam’s Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, its best to begin your ascent at night in order to arrive at the top in time for a magical sunrise when the mystical shadow of the peak is perfectly cast across the clouds. It is one of those truly unique moments that will live on in your memory long after the aches and pains from the hiking have gone!

The attractive area of Bandarawela, in Sri Lanka’s mountainous terrain and the nearby town of Ella are renowned for their many walks, including Little Adam’s Peak, Ella Rock and the Namunukula Mountain Range.

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16. Travel by the train Experience

The very first steam trains were running in Sri Lanka to bring Tea, the greatest commercial export of the colonial Ceylon, to Colombo. Major Thomas Skinner was instrumental in setting trains up and he describes in his book “Fifty years in Ceylon” how he had to convince the British colonial government to spend approximately GBP 800,000/- to set up the network of railway lines, bridges/aqueducts, for Trains, today it stands as one of the most scenic journeys to be done on rail in the world.

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17. Discover the Rural Village Lifestyle

AUTHENTIC VILLAGE WALK

Take a real village walk through the rustic rural community of Sigiriya and Habarana accompanied by an expert guide. It’s not merely a walk only but an authentic encounter with the local village folk; experiencing their lifestyles, their culture and their hospitality. By authentic we mean it’s a true village scenario, not one set up as a tourist attraction. Since both villages are predominantly agriculture based, there is ample opportunity to experience conventional rice fields, vegetable farming, cultivation of native yams and other crops, poultry keeping, bee keeping and much more. It’s a pure interaction with the sons of the soil who laboure with the good earth to earn a living. For those with a knack for adventure, try climbing the makeshift “tree house” from where the villagers keep watch and drive-away the wild animals during the night. You will be warmly welcomed to see and even have some hands-on experience of what it’s like to be one with nature’s bounty.

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18. Cooking Experience with Locals

Indulge in typical Sri Lankan cooking lessons that promise an authentic experience as well as a delicious meal. There is a wide menu to choose from in keeping with the mood and the moment. Get hands-on experience with an experienced and knowledgeable instructor and master finer points that help preserve the nutritive value and authentic taste, making it not only enjoyable meal but also a wholesome one.

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