Suggested Itineraries

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Explore Sri Lanka to the best with the help of the listed itineraries. Sri Lankan tourism’s itineraries had been prepared with the view of enabling visitors to explore almost all the attractions in the country and could be easily adjusted to fit in the itineraries of international and local travel agents. It is best to explore the itineraries prior to planning a holiday to know of the best and the cheapest options available to every type of tourists. Each itinerary consist a series of experiences and activities surrounding one attraction, the easily accessible from one location. The time span allocated for each tour is between seven to eleven days and can be easily re-scheduled to suite each and every requirement, while visitors are welcome to mix and match few itineraries to suit their taste.

Untamed Sri Lanka – Celebrating a Wilder Sri Lanka

Despite its small size Sri Lanka boasts of one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world. Nearly 16% of the animals and 23% of plants that are found in this small island are endemic to country.

Of the ninety-one species of mammals found in Sri Lanka Asian elephants, sloth bear, leopards, sambar and wild buffaloes engages the majority of the attention of wildlife enthusiast. Yet the rarest mammals of Sri Lanka are the red slender Loris, Toque Macaque, and Purple-faced Langur, who according to IUCN clarifications are endangered due to habitat loss.

Meanwhile the ocean around Sri Lanka is home to large families of cetaceans including the mighty blue whales, sperm whales and lively dolphins. Altogether 26 species of cetaceans rule the waters surrounding the country, making it one of the best locations for whale and dolphin watching.

Sri Lanka has one of the richest diversity of amphibians in the world, containing over 106 species of amphibians of over 90 of which are endemic. The country has long claimed to have the highest amphibian species density in the world with a85% of endemicity ratio in Amphibians, especially in the Sinharaja rainforest.

Despite the mighty elephants and rare amphibians found in the country birds are the glory of the Sri Lanka’s wildlife. Boasting nearly 433 bird species of which 233 are resident Sri Lanka holds 20 endemic species while another 80 species have developed distinct Sri Lankan races, compared to their cousins in Indian mainland.

This diversity of Lanka’s wildlife is celebrated and conserved at many wildlife sanctuaries found around the country. With a history of protection and compassion extended to all the living beings, Sri Lanka’s first animal sanctuary had been recorded as far as third century BC with the arrival of Arhant Mahinda in the country and the introduction of Buddhism.

Today there are five large national parks in the country including the Yala National Park, Kumana, Willpattu, Galoya and Udawalawa wildlife sanctuary. Among the smaller wildlife sanctuaries are the Maduru Oya, Bundala, Horton Plains and Wasgamuwa National Parks.

The Peradeniya Botanical Gardens in the central highlands of the countrycomprises a fine display of local and foreign flora of Sri Lanka including the rarest of palm and orchid varieties.

The Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala and AthAthuruSevana in Udawalawaprovide a refuge to many abandoned and injured elephants of various ages and sizes, making them one of the largest tamed elephant herds in the world.


Toque Macaque

Red Slender Loris


Heritage Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka with its nearly 3000 years of history holds some of world’s ancient cities including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Digamadulla. Remnants of these once glorious cities, their palaces, temples, monasteries, hospitals and theaters intricately carved and modeled out of stone lay abandoned amidst the soaring mountains.

Of all the ancient sites the most famed and most exquisite is the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. Sri Lanka’s third and the longest serving capital and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world is also one of the most sacred cities of World Buddhists. It was the capital of Sri Lanka from the Fourth Century BC up to the turn of the eleventh Century and was one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. However the city itself is much older than the Kingdom of Anuradhapura and according to archeological evidence could have originated as far as tenth century BC. Anuradhapura was abandoned due to the due to repeated South Indian Invasions and was eventually forgotten with time until it was rediscovered in the early 19 th century.

Polonnaruwa, the second most ancient kingdom of the country was first made the political center of the country in the ninth century BC. Irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed in Polonnaruwa kingdom, and still provide irrigation water to the farmers in and around Polonnaruwa. Yet the kingdom’s glory was short-lived and a South Indian invasion pushed the political centre towards the centre of the country by the eleventh century. Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, a testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers.

Digamadulla, the Eastern kingdom of Sri Lanka was the agricultural and spiritual capital of the country during the Anuradhapura kingdom. Ruled by a viceroy of the Anuradhapura king Digamadulla was a prosperous province with grand palace, monasteries and temples at every juncture. Having received lesser attention of archaeologists compared to Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa many a great creations of ancient Digamadulla had been lost to time, war and plunder while many more silently awaits in the midst of the forests covering the lands of Eastern Sri Lanka.


Some of the Sri Lankan Heritage

Pristine Sri Lanka

With nearly 1600 km of of palm fringed Coastline baked to perfection surrounding the country Sri Lanka is the ideal destination for beach bums worldwide. May it be windsurfing, kayaking, yachting, water skiing, scuba diving or jut lazing around for the perfect tan, Sri Lanka offers it all. The two weather systems of the monsoon winds makes Sri Lanka’s beach holiday a year round prospect. The north east winds make the south western coast sunny and the sea calm from November to March. The South West winds make the East Coast waters quiet with the constant sun shine happily in agreement.

The best of the Southern beaches include Tangalla, Beruwala, Mirissa, Bentota and Unawatuna with varying options including chic boutique hotels, glowing coral reefs, gentle sandbar sand undiscovered corners of paradise.

Beruwala is the first of the beaches to be met when travelling from Colombo. Famed for its tranquil bay with the palm shaded beach Beruwala offers excellent water sport facilities.

Benthota, the next in line is known for golden beaches dotted with luxury resorts and gentle seas, even during the rough seas. Tangalla is the rising star among the southern beaches is known for calm blue waters bordered with palm covered beaches. It is the dividing line between the tropical coves that dominate much of the south-west coast and the long, wave-lashed beaches that are found in the south-east corner of the island.

Mirissa is the beach resort for the lethargic, designed to be indulged at a slower pace watching the world pass by. It is also the best place for an ocean safari in search of blue whales and dolphins. Nights can be longer in Unawatuna, the most popular beach town in South. Many head to Unawatuna on Fridays for nonstop partying throughout the weekend yet this had not spoilt the tranquil charm in most parts. Snorkelling at the Buena Vista Reef is a thrill of a life time while boat rides to the jungle patched islands for glimpse of bird life is ideal for bird lovers.

Although Sri Lanka’s southern beaches has been long discovered by the world traveller the east coast is yet to be fully discovered. The most known among the Eastern beaches is the Arugam Bay, the high church of surfing enthusiasts’ in the region. Wildlife parks streaming with elephants, miles of lonely wide beaches and excellent views are the options available for non-surfers. Once a mere rumour, Uppuveli beach is open to the sun seekers after a three decade long civil war. The beach is quickly gaining fame as the best swimming and snorkelling location competing with the nearby Nilaveli beach and the coral gardens of the pigeon island.

On the Western corner of the country to the north of Colombo is the Negambo lagoon. Its beaches, an old favourite with local and foreign visitors and lagoon famed for lobster harvesting. The collection of resort hotels offering options of water sports competes with the urge of just sit and watches the fishing boats disappear in the horizon. Further north from Negombo is the Kalpitiya, sandwiched between the sea and the lagoon the beach is ideal for the lazing around yet the sea off Kalpitiya is the best location in the country to watch Blue whales, sperm whales and pilot whales and spinner dolphins, other species including Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin and Striped Dolphin.



Sri Lankan Beaches

Romantic Sri Lanka

The central highlands of Sri Lanka are filled with pictures of stirring mountains carpeted with lush green tea gardens, roaring waterfalls mingling with the clouds and landscapes shimmering in sunlight and disappearing under the rising mist.

Situated over 6000 feet above the sea level the changing faces of Sri Lanka’s great mountain ranges are best viewed at leisure and on foot. The temperature varies between 160 Celsius to 20Celsius providing an ideal climate for walking.

The most favorite and renowned hill-country location is Nuwara Eliya, The most important tea production hub of Sri Lanka, founded by Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile in 1846.The city’s mild climate lent itself to become the leisure capital of the country and was the prime sanctuary of the British civil servants and planters in colonial Ceylon. Nuwara Eliya, called Little England then, was also a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting,elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket.

Many of the buildings in the city hold architectural features from the colonial past such as the Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, Town Post Office and even new hotels have borrowed the colonial style. Many private homes still maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens, keeping true to the spirit of ‘Little England’.

Following closely behind is Bandarawela, a plantation town in the Badulla district. The city boasts of its fair share of waterfalls and buildings of colonial architecture including the Bandarawela Hotel, the Cargilles building, the Tennis club and Adisham Bungalow. Just eight km away fromBandarawela isElla, a sleepy village nestled in a valley gazing through Ella gap on plain nearly 1000 feet below.Ella is surrounded by hills and is perfect for walks through tea plantations to temples and waterfalls.

Another favorite hill station is Balangoda, with mountain ranges and views to beat Nuwara Eliya. Although not organized as a leisure city Balangoda and its surroundings offer one of the best views, treks and adventures in Sri Lanka. Just 15 km away from Balangoda is Belihuloyaa little hamlet with unspoiled views and opportunities for trekking, canoeing and bird watching.

Adam’s Peak or the Sri Padaya Peak, a 2,243 metres conical mountain located in the southern reaches of the Central Highlands, in the Ratnapura district is also a popular hill station especially for its religious significance. The 1.8 meter rock formation near the peak is long believed to be the sacred foot print of Lord Buddha by locals.

View from World’s End (Horton Plains)




Northern Sri Lanka

North of Sri Lanka is a world apart from the rest of country. The region had always been closer to southern India than to Colombo and was repeatedly settled and invaded by Tamil migrants from southern India and has retained a unique character and culture, one which owes as much to Hindu India as to Buddhist Sri Lanka.

The thirty year old war, which engulfed the area, had set the clock backwards in the Northern Peninsular, where LTTE terrorists and the Sri Lankan Army were engulfed in intense fighting until the war ended in 2009. The region is gradually emerging from its long years of isolation and fighting, and the painful process of rebuilding of shattered towns and villages, de-mining fields, restoring roads and returning refugees to their former homes is likely to continue for some time to come.

For the explorer, the north is Sri Lanka’s final frontier, and offers an opportunity to explore a region emerging from over twenty years of isolation and civil war.

Reaching Jaffna is now straightforward and requires no security checks or clearance, and although it still entails either a long road journey or a short flight, those who make the effort are amply rewarded.

Foremost of the attractions is the fascinating town of Jaffna, with its absorbing mixture of colonial charm and vibrant Tamil culture, while the Jaffna Peninsula and surrounding islands offer a string of remote temples, Hindu and Buddhist alike, beaches and more off-beat attractions.

Arriving in Jaffna can come as a culture to the uninitiated, and it is difficult to miss the profound Indian influence made obvious by the gradual switch from the singsong cadences of Sinhala to the quick-fire intonations of Tamil, as well as a listof other details like the Indian pop music which blares out of shops and cafés, and the hordes of kamikaze cyclists who fill the congested streets.

Yet the town has its own unique and complex identity shaped in true Sri Lankan fashion, by a wide cross-section of influences, including Muslim, Portuguese, Dutch, British and Sinhalese, with colourful temples set next to huge churches, and streets dotted with ancient Dutch and British residences.

The rural surroundings of the Jaffna town, and the source of much of its former prosperity, is the Jaffna Peninsula, a fertile arc of land criss-crossed with small country roads lined with endless walled gardens and smallholdings, growing a wide variety of crops including chillies, onions, bananas, jackfruit and grapes.

Further south, the vast track of thinly populated countryside known as Vanni, is little visited, even by locals, although the remote church at Madhu draws a steady stream of pilgrims while the war-torn town of Kilinochchi, former capital of the LTTE, provides a stark reminder of the destructions of the war.

To the west of Jaffna, a string of islands straggle out into the waters of the Palk Strait towards India. Two of them, Kayts and Karaitivu, almostjoin up with the mainland, to which they’re connected by causeways, as is Punkudutivu further west. Punkudutivu is the starting point for ferries to Nainativu, home to two important religious shrines, and the remote island of Delft.

Nallur Kandaswamy Temple in Jaffna

Nallur Festival in Jaffna


The Famous Jaffna Mangoes






















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