Sri Lanka: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

Adam's PeakDondra Head LighthouseFishermenSri Lanka MapTea FieldsUda Walave National Park

It is formerly known as Ceylon, and located in Southern Asia. Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean, south of India. It has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest. It is a land of ancient ruins and religious relics, palm-fringed beaches, colorful reefs, balmy rainforests and local legends. Being a diverse and a multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home of many religions, ethnic groups and languages. Altough the majority is Sinhalese, it is hom eto large groups of Sri Lankan, Indian Temils, Moors, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginall Vedda. Sri Lanka is also known as the the place where the evidence of pre-historic settlements dating back to at least 125,000. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage and it is also the place where the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pali Canon were found.

Tea is a popular drink in Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka is the third biggest tea producing country in the world. Tea was introduced to Sri Lanka by the British. Ceylon Tea is considered as some of the finest tea produced anywhere in the world.

Monsoon winds create the seasons in Sri Lanka. It is a tropical country, therefore rain is exptected  anytime of the year. Two major rainy seasons are North-East monsoon which is from October to January and South-West monsoon which is from May to July. The best time to visit Sri Lanka would be April and September because these two months offer the best odds for good weather countrywide. The popular cities of Sri Lanka are Colombo (the commercial capital of Sri Lanka), Hambantota (the main town in Hambantota District), Galle (a home for a Dutch fort, and a gathering point for travelers from the nearby beach resort villages), Kandy (the spiritual heart of the country, home to a tooth of the Buddha), Nuware Eliya (has the coolest climate in Sri Lanka and mountains covered with Tea plants), Anuradhapura (ruins of ancient capitals), Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura and Jaffna. 

Regions

Central Province

Dambulla Cave TempleKandy TempleNuwara EliyaSigiriyaTemple of the ToothWorld's End

The area holds highlands with a lot of tea plantations, waterfalls, valleys and streams. The highs mountain of Piduruthalagala and the famous Worlds End are located in Nuwara Eliya. The cities are Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Matale. Other destinations would be Sigiriya, Dambulla, Knuckles Mountain Range and Adam’s Peak

Northern Province

Nallur KandasamyCasuarina BeachKeerimalai PondNaga Pooshani TempleMannar Doric House

The area became an important tourist attraction after a 30 year civil war. On the other hand, some areas remain unsafe and have yet to be cleared of mines. The city in this area is Jaffna which is a former beach resort and Tamil Tiger capital, gutted by decades of civil war. Other cities are Kilinochchi and Mannar

North Central Province

Anuradhapura Great StupaAukana Buddha StatueHabaranaLovamahapayaMihintale TemplePolonnaruwa Heritage Site

The ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka which dated back over 2500 years. The area is rich in historical manners and is known as the cultural triangle. The cities of this region are Anuradhapura, Habarana and Polonnaruwa. Mihintale is also a small popular town. 

Eastern Province

Nilavali BeachSunset at Arugam BayPigeon IslandTrincomalee TempleThe Jungle Beach

The province holds the most beautiful beaches . There are many hotels and attractions in Trincomalee and Arugam Bay

North Western Province

Anantaya ResortChilaw BeachKali TempleSunset at ChilawKurunegala

The district of Kurunegala and Puttalam formulate Wayamba. Its capital is Kurunegala. The other main town in the area is Puttalam

Sabaragamuwa

KitulgalaPelmadulla - Kirindi EllaRatnapura - GemsMining in RatnapuraWater Rafting in Kitulgala

The region was created in 1889 and its capital is Ratnapura. The other major town is Kitulgala. The region is best known for gems.

Southern Province

Sunset at BentotaBentotaGalle BeachGalle by HelicopterFishermanGalle FortTangalle

South of Sri Lanka has many attractions to visit such as Galle city and many temples. There are also good parks for big game safaris including Yala and Udawalawe. The area is also popular for its beautiful beaches. The cities are Galle and Hambantota. Other destinations would be Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Matara, Unawatuna, and Tissamaharama

Uva

Badulla by TrainBadullaBuduruwagalaDunhinda FallsMaligawila Buddha Statue

The capital city of Uva Province is Badulla which is a romantic spot surrounded by tea plantations. Other cities are KataragamaElla, Haputale and many more. The main recommended sight is Dunhinda Falls with many others.

Western Province

Sunset at Beruwala BeachBeruwala BeachBeruwalaColomboNegombo

The area has the administrative capital and the largest city with some popular beach resorts. Main cities are Beruwala, Colombo, Kalutara, and Negombo

Getting Around

The most common option of transportation in Sri Lanka is a three-wheeler (Tri-shaw). It is also known as Tuk-Tuks from the noise of their horns. These operate like taxis and they are convenient and highly cost-efficient way to get around. Safety might be an issue because non of them have seat belts and they are open to the sides. Another option for transport is renting a car. Renting a car in Sri Lanka happens to be cheaper than three-wheelers, they are safer and they are recommended by most hotels. Next, it is possible to negotiate with Tour Operators and they will get a van and driver. Instead of using three-wheelers, taxis are also a better option to get around because they are safer and they happen to be cheaper. For the ones who want to get around on a budget, it is possible to find buses everywhere. Sometimes they can be crowded and uncomfortable but it costs about a dollar to get half-way across the island. Lastly, using train and planes are another options to get around. Sri Lanka has an extensive railway system and it serves most major towns in the island. Despite being slower than buses, trains are more comfortable and less expensive. It is also possible to take plane for domestic flights between several cities.