One thing’s for sure, wherever you go in Sri Lanka, you will be met with smiling faces, gentle humour and a proud desire to showcase this serene country at its best. The island may well have had its troubles in the past but its people are ready and waiting to welcome tourists and they do so with open arms, states Get Surrey of the UK in a report published yesterday (15).
Resurgent Sri Lanka is particularly evident in the capital city. Alongside the colonial-era buildings and street markets, new hotels, shops, bars, and restaurants are popping up but far from making the place look gaudy, they seem to blend well with the traditional Sri Lankan way of life.
“Since the end of the conflict in May 2009 faith in the country as a safe tourist spot has gradually been restored. One sure sign of this is that British Airways reinstated flights to the tropical island in May, after a 15-year absence”, the writer said.
And the Sri Lankans are putting a lot of effort to ensure they can cope with the new influx of tourists, with money being poured into building hotels, restaurants and roads.
Soon an express way taking cars from the airport to the centre of Colombo will be complete, cutting the journey time to 20 minutes, the writer Rebecca Younger further said.
It’s also home to another of the island’s big attractions – The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, where the animals are brought down from the 25-acre park they live in, to the river to bathe twice a day at 10am and 2pm, she explains.
The Get Surrey writer advises travelers that they can also take a tour of the factory where they turn the elephant dung into paper to make gifts to raise additional funds for the orphanage.
This area is where you will find the magnificent rock fortress at Sigiriya. Built by King Kashyapa more than 1,500 years ago it consists of a central rock about 2,000ft high and vast landscaped gardens.
The long climb to the top is well worth it but even if you don’t make it to the top (the summit is 1,200 steps up) there are stunning frescoes halfway up.
However, if you want a more bustling centre to base your excursions from, then Kandy is the place to be.
It sits at the southernmost point of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle and is home to one of the country's most famous attractions, Dalada Maligawa – the Temple of the Tooth Relic.
Cultural shows are performed daily in Kandy, giving visitors an insight into Sri Lanka’s heritage.
Sri Lanka has a host of stunning coastal hideaways to choose from. One such location is Bentota on the south west coast.