Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka for the Independent Traveller

St Clair falls, the county's widest waterfall image
St Clair falls

Historians estimate that the rolling plains of this pear-shaped island located off the south-eastern tip of India have been inhabited since prehistoric times. Its climate is largely tropical, and its lush rain forests and nature preserves support wildly diverse species.

Sri Lanka offers Buddhist and Hindu temples, historical cities, archaeological ruins and plenty of natural wonders for exploration, but the siren song of its warm, sunny beaches is what calls out the loudest for many visitors. From resorts located just outside the capital city of Colombo through to Dickwella, a secluded stretch of beach located on the southern tip of the island, Sri Lanka is a beach bum's paradise, the turquoise depths of the Indian Ocean lapping at its shores.

A fisherman's outrigger under a stormy sky on Bentota Beach
Bentota Beach

Once they've had their fill of beach combing, tourists set out for Sigiriya, a fantastic archaeological site containing ancient palace ruins. The flat top of Sigiriya rock, a hardened magma plug, rises 180 metres into the sky. Be sure to make time to visit the elephant orphanage in nearby Pinnawela, a refuge for dozens of injured or abandoned elephants, where visitors enjoy watching dozens of baby elephants being bottle-fed and frolicking in the river.

Visitors to this delightful island indulge in scuba diving and other water sports, mountain climbing, beautiful cycling tours, breathtaking water cruises and spicy Indian-inspired cuisine dominated by vegetarian selections and scrumptious curries. This treasured holiday destination is a jewel of the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lankan flag Capital: Colombo
Language: Sinhala (official), Tamil
Time: GMT +6 hrs
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)

Sri Lanka