Panorama of the tea plantations at sunrise with reflection in the lake.Adam’s peak – conical mountain on the horizon at right side. Sri Lanka
One of the driving elements of any overseas incentive, be it business or pleasure, is budget!
But that word always hangs like a bad odour over any discussion regarding a destination. The impression being that if the budget is not out of this world, the destination won’t be either. This doesn’t always have to be true.
There are hundreds of undiscovered travel gems out there, just waiting to be discovered, offering value for money and a unique experience without breaking the bank. Sri Lanka is just such a jewel!
This beautiful island, south-east of India.
Nestled in the warm Indian Ocean boasts a documented history of over 3000 years, some of the world’s best beaches, a “Natural Wonder of the World”, wildlife, breath-taking scenery, brilliant festivals and a pretty good cricket team!
Silhouettes of the traditional stilt fishermen at sunset near Galle in Sri Lanka
A 15-hour flight via Dubai, will bring you to the capital, Colombo. This hustling busy city that mixes old with new, can be a little overwhelming at first. Everything just feels brighter and louder, it’s as though you have stepped through Alice’s looking glass. It’s all a little surreal – modern skyscrapers tower over colonial styled buildings, and sprawling street markets, piled high with exotic fruits and colourful silks, vie for attention with the diverse places of worship. Galleries, museums, temples, mosques and churches, cluster around each other and the lovely Viharamahadevi Park, as the voices of a half a dozen languages call out to passers-by for their attention.
And that’s just the beginning!
Being an island, world class beaches abound, with 1600 km of pristine white sand, offering visitors water sports of all varieties, with world class surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, yachting, water skiing, scuba diving, or just lazing around on the sand under an umbrella.
Sigiriya the Lion rock in Sri Lanka
Regardless of the time of year, sun-seekers will find what they are looking for!
But if you think this country is just about sea and sand, you are missing out, big time! With sacred Buddhist temples, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, historical places carved out of stone – tearing yourself away from the beach, is hardly a chore.
The Golden Temple in Dambulla Sri Lanka – a UNESCO heritage site.
A visit to the central highlands of the island brings exploring visitors to the mountains with their breath taking waterfalls, and expansive tea plantations. These give way to forests, offering giant statues of Buddha and abandoned palaces, to white pagodas and ocean like reservoirs, and finally to the softer landscape dotted with colourful Hindu temples and sari-clad ladies.
Indigenous Sri Lankan Tea Picker Picking Leaves
Humans are not the only group to call Sri Lanka home, this tiny island boasts one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world and is included among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. Asian elephants, sloth bears, leopards, sambars and wild buffaloes, along with the some 433 bird species, are what most visitors focus on seeing, along with the highly endangered red slender Loris, Toque Macaque, and Purple-faced Langur.
The seas around the island also teem with life, making it one of the best locations for whale and dolphin watching.
Sri lankan rice and curry dish
However it is the people that really make this island the jewel that it is. The spice-addicted, cricket loving, tea drinking population, are famed for their friendliness of mind and spirit.
“Ayubowan” – Salutation wishing the recipient a long life, typically as a greeting or a goodbye.
Greet visitors as they pass, with hands pressed together, a salutation wishing the recipient a long life, something that is needed to appreciate and absorb this “curry pot” of experiences.
Like the ingredients of their national dish, each element is a tasty morsel of its own, but once combined, offers an experience that is hard to ignore, and harder not to just gorge yourself on! So go on, take a bite!
Colombo Beira Lake, Skyline And Modern Skyscrapers. Beira Lake Is A Large Lake In The Heart Of The City Of Colombo That Surrounded By Many Large Businesses In The City
Offers an experience that is hard to ignore, and harder not to just gorge yourself on! So go on, take a bite!
Robyn Ireton – Tourvest IME