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A beautiful, lush haven of culture. Known as the jewel of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an incredible mix of gorgeous scenery and cultural heritage. This stunning destination is a paradise of pristine sandy beaches, blue skies, crystal clear waters and 1,330 kilometres of beautiful coast. Visitors can explore eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 15 national parks and 500,000 acres of tea plantations.
In the hill country, travelers can wake up to misty mornings, get close to over 50 waterfalls and discover a huge variety of plants, animals and beautiful tropical flowers in botanical gardens. Sri Lanka’s local Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim populations welcome visitors with warmth and pride, eager to share their culture, excellent cuisine and passion for cricket.
Mosques, churches, temples, mansions, old Malaysian architecture, monasteries, towers, museums, jungles, rainforests
Culture and entertainment
Museums, traditional cultural shows and performing arts, puppet shows, clubs, bars
Activities and sports
Swimming, jet skiing, sailing, horseback riding, kayaking, cruises, zoos, parks, wellness centers and spas
January – Pongal, Thaipusam
April – Malaysia International Jewelry Festival
May – Kaamatan, Colors of Malaysia
November – Festival of Lights
Colonial architecture, ancient cities, Buddhist temples, tropical rainforests
Culture and entertainment
Music, traditional dance shows, irresistible cuisine, wildlife safari tours
Activities and sports
Cricket, fishing, hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing
Nawam Maha Perahera - elephant procession (February), Vesak Festival - Buddhist Festival (May)
Essential Sri Lanka Countryside
Sri Lanka is blessed with a myriad of attractions, sandy beaches, misty mountains covered with tea bushes, and wildlife reserves with a variety of bird life, elephants and leopards. Despite its small size, the ancient Ceylon treasures eight World Heritage sites, important samples of colonial architecture and great biodiversity that is reflected in its national parks.
Thanks to its tropical climate, with pleasant temperatures throughout the year, any time is good to travel to Sri Lanka, especially because the monsoon rains that affect the island are strong, but short.
It is a quiet country, with friendly people who welcome tourists. The tourism industry has expanded at a fast pace in the country, but even in the highest season, travelers will find monuments and beaches without tourists.
Just be aware that the combination of heat, dust, spicy flavors and long hours on the road can be overwhelming at times. However, Sri Lanka, also known as the tear drop of India, has everything for most types of travelers.
Sri Lanka has enchanted the world's imagination for centuries. Cleopatra and Sinbad were captivated by the beautiful jewels found there, and the Roman Caesars considered it significant enough to justify an exchange of ambassadors. The Portuguese and Dutch occupied parts of the island in the 16th and 17th centuries until the British seized it in 1796. They renamed it Ceylon and claimed it as a crown colony. Ceylon became independent in 1948.
In 1972, the national government renamed the island Sri Lanka, which means "Resplendent Land." The country's recent history has been anything but resplendent, however. The long-standing differences between the Sinhalese Buddhist government and the Tamil Hindu minority boiled over into civil war in the 1980s, as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (usually known as the L.T.T.E. or the Tamil Tigers) began an armed struggle for a Tamil homeland in the north and east. The war led to the intervention of troops from India (which failed and—some believe—resulted in the rebels' assassination of the president of India, Rajiv Gandhi). It also brought about a violent insurgency in the south and the assassination of many political leaders, including former President Premadasa in 1993.
The following year, Chandrika Bandaranayaka, whose mother and father had both been prime minister, was elected president on a platform promising to end the war. Peace negotiations failed, however, and the fighting continued until 2002, when a Norwegian-brokered cease-fire took effect. Although the country still suffers sporadic outbreaks of violence and peace negotiations have had their ups and downs, there's hope for a resolution to the long, tragic conflict.
Sadly, Sri Lanka's spirit was dampened by the massive tsunamis that struck Southeast Asia in December 2004. The giant waves caused widespread damage to the south and eastern coast of Sri Lanka, especially around the resort city of Galle. More than 35,000 people lost their lives, including at least 1,000 passengers on a train that was thrown from its tracks by the force of the wave.
In 2005, the foreign minister was killed by a suspected Tiger assassin, and a state of emergency was declared. During the following years, the civil war in Sri Lanka continued, until in May 2009, the Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers organization was defeated and its leader was killed.
In 2013, Permanent People's Tribunal unanimously ruled Sri Lanka guilty of the crime of genocide against the Tamil people. In 2015, the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena won the election.
In April 2019, several bomb attacks on three churches and five hotels killed more than 350 people in various cities in Sri Lanka, including Colombo. In November 2019, Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the presidential election. His successor, Ranil Wickremesinghe, was sworn in, in July of 2022.
The main attractions of Sri Lanka are beautiful scenery, spectacular flora and fauna, the Kandy perahera, shopping for gems, beaches, Hindu and Buddhist temples, safaris to wildlife sanctuaries, hiking, bird-watching, scuba diving and historical sites.
The island will appeal to adventurous travelers who love tropical climates, Asian culture, festivals and beaches. Do expect the frustrations and delays that sometimes occur when traveling in a developing country.
The only surviving Buddha relic in the world is one of his teeth, guarded in the Temple of the Buddha Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy.
During the Poya, a Buddhist holiday occurring at the end of every lunar month, most of the country shuts down. Large hotels function, but local shops, markets and restaurants are closed the night of the full moon, and the days before and afterward.
The 1957 Oscar-winner for best picture, Bridge on the River Kwai, was filmed in Sri Lanka.
A British company has been studying the venom of a poisonous spider from Sri Lanka in hopes that it may hold a cure for some types of cancer.
The traditional salutation is ayubowan (may you have a long life). Use it as a "hello" and a "good-bye."
One of the most curious fishing gear in Sri Lanka is that of fishermen climbing a stick stuck in the sea to catch fish with a kind of spear.
More than 700 graffitos of the Graffiti Wall in Sigiriya have been published. Pick up the two-volume set in town.
There are only about 7,000 wild elephants left in Sri Lanka. Many have died as more land has been cleared for sugarcane plantations.
The blue sapphire used in the engagement ring of Diana, the former Princess of Wales, came from the gem mines of Ratnapura in the island's southern interior.
If you want to take a photo with a statue of the Buddha, do it with great respect and never turn your back on it.
Vincent Vacations - Authorized Sri Lanka Vacation Planner
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