Sri Lanka's most famous foreign resident, science fiction writer, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, once wrote that it was 'a small universe; it contains as many variations of culture, scenery and climate as some countries a dozen times its size'.
A holiday in the palm-fringed isle of Sri Lanka takes the traveller to one of Asia’s richest treasure troves made up of both natural and man-made wonders. A tour across this engaging country introduces many elements of culture and nature. For centuries adventurers have flocked to its shores enticed by reports of rare species, precious stones and magnificent temples. Seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites are spread across this lush tropical landscape encapsulating over 2,500 years of history. With vast plantations of tea and spices, floristically rich forests, stunning beaches, important archaeological sites and amazing bird and animal life, it truly is a magically varied place.
There is a mix of Portuguese, Dutch, British colonial and indigenous cultures evidenced everywhere from its architecture through to its fabulous food. In the coastal town of Galle, the Dutch presence is still visible, especially in its well preserved Dutch 'Star' fort and its Reformed Church hosting the gravestones of Dutch invaders. Galle is also home to the beautiful Unawatuna Bay, where the sea is reef protected.
From the sacred city of Anuradhapura and the cave temples of Dambulla to the magnificent temples of Kandy, each is a spiritually inspiring ancient wonder. Holy sites imbued with timeless spirituality, colourful processions, colonial influences, tea cultivation and cricket all mingle with ocean breezes which rise up toward the lush mountainous interior, home to ancient temples and tranquil hill stations.
With something magical for everyone, Sri Lanka certainly earns the title 'Pearl of the Orient' given to it by Sir Winston Churchill.