Whether you are a surfer, food lover, culture vulture or just looking to add another country to your itinerary, Sri Lanka is an exotic island destination with plenty of attractions to enjoy. Discover fantastic beaches, an abundance of wild animals, delicious cuisine and absorbing historical and cultural sites, 8 of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Geographically small in size, the island is easily traversed and features more than 300 spectacular waterfalls. More adventurous types may try cycling around much of the country along its winding backroads – a highlight of many Sri Lanka tours.
In the north, discover the fort temple and ancient ruins of Sigirya and the second oldest city in Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa. Further south is the Golden Temple of Dambulla. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Uda Walawe National Reserve, renowned for its concerted conservation efforts, will appeal to animal lovers. The Central Highlands rank top of the list for spectacular scenery in many a Sri Lanka Travel Guide.
Sri Lanka's warm waters boast an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius all year round, making it an ideal place to enjoy some sun, sand and surf. There are plenty of great surf locations, especially on the southern beaches, and the most popular spots include Hikkadua and Arugam Bay. Much of Sri Lanka's coastline is quiet and is yet to be discovered by tourists.
Located near the southern tip of India, flights to Sri Lanka from Chennai to Colombo are a little over an hour's duration. The bustling capital Colombo is home to several mosques and temples, including The Gangaramaya Temple, as well as the National Museum and Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, where Gautama Buddha is reputed to have visited.
Visit the popular Dehiwala Zoo in the city or one of the beautiful beaches beneath the shadow of Mount Lavinia. Many visitors take a ride on a tuk tuk or travel via the slow and regal train network to some of the smaller regional towns on the island.
Take time for tea - Sri Lankan style
Enjoy delicious cuisine, world famous tea and some outstanding shopping in Sri Lanka. Fine handicrafts abound, as do shopping centres boasting designer wear at reduced prices. Sri Lanka hotels offer the usual standards in luxury accomodation.
Enjoy the view from Kandy's Amaya Hills, the convenience of the Global Towers Hotel in Colombo or the tranquility and privacy of boutique Saman Villas. Alternatively, escape to the beach on a budget at the Bentota Mermaid Beach Cottages.
Sri Lanka may be off the beaten travel path but it's fast becoming one of the world's best known not-so-secret travel destinations.