A single line of footprints crosses the golden sand towards the Indian Ocean, which spills softly onto the beach. Beyond the stretch of calm, indigo-blue sea, a line of breaking waves marks the coral reef where recreational divers discover vividly coloured tropical fish and living corals.
Sri Lanka offers over 1,300 kilometres of idyllic sandy beaches. With its year-round summer and two different weather systems, whatever the time of year, there’s always a beach with sunshine and a choice of calm seas or steady surf depending on what you feel like. There’s a beach for all tastes, budgets and seasons in the lovely island of Sri Lanka.
Much of Sri Lanka’s countryside seem like paintings come to life. In the misty highlands, the rolling hillsides are covered in carpets of green and cotton wool skies add romance to the quaint colonial towns. As you wander along the coastline, ruby-red sunrises and crimson sunsets beckon you, whilst fishermen crouch in patience on stilts borne above brilliant blue bays for unfathomable periods of time.
Botanical gardens are heavy with the heady fragrance of Frangipani, Hibiscus and thousands of other tropical floras. Pomegranate and Mangoes shine like jewels in orchards while golden sheaves of paddy encrust miles of terraced fields.
Closely following the Buddhist tradition of conservation that dates back over 2,000 years, Sri Lanka features no fewer than nine national parks and seven bird sanctuaries. Among the 12, 259 endangered species listed by the World Conservation Union, 43 can be found in the island’s national parks.
Sri Lanka though small in size is one of the few places on earth where the world’s largest land and sea mammals can be seen in a day. Home to the inimitable Asian Elephant, Sri Lanka’s southern Ocean waters are the playground to the giants of the sea- the docile Blue Whales.
The adventure seeker is spoilt for choice in Sri Lanka. The thrills on offer are endless and range along the spectrum – from an enjoyable day of golf or cricket to the adrenaline rush of wave riding or paragliding. The waterfalls in the hill country provide ample kayaking and canoeing opportunities whilst the great Mahaweli River – Sri Lanka’s longest – provide ample rapids for those seeking the adrenaline rush of white water rafting. Camping and trekking in the Central Highlands is of the most earthy,
real experiences for those who are looking to go back to nature. Backpacking and cycling are great ways to discover this mysterious island and allow for travellers to feel, taste and hear Sri Lanka, untainted. Hot Air Ballooning above Sigiriya or over the cultural triangle gives an ethereal perspective to the kingdoms of yore.
Sri Lanka is a land of celebration. The many ethnicities and the pervasive acceptance of each other’s traditions and religion mean that Sri Lanka is a land of continual festivities.
From magnificent pereheras (processions) to religious ceremonies, cultural festivities and harvest festivals, the list of things to see and do is endless.
Sri Lanka is steeped in heritage. With a history that dates back over 2,000 years, Sri Lanka is home to some of the best preserved Asian monuments and showcases no fewer than 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, all remarkably preserved to surpass more well-known world class attractions.
To this day Sri Lanka’s centuries old heritage lives on, in the culture and the way of life of the Sri Lankan people. The rich tapestry of cultural practice, beliefs and the traditional way of life renews and revives this Island nation’s historic ties, creating an oasis of cultural richness in the modern day.
The traditional way of life is still very much an integral part of the Sri Lankan society. Artisans, musicians and craftsmen offer life-long commitments to carry on the skills of the traditional Sri Lankan communities whilst religions especially Buddhism and Hinduism reinforce the basic precepts that are the very essence of Sri Lankan life.
And yet Sri Lanka’s essence is also that of a myriad of influences of three colonial rulers. The Portuguese, Dutch and the British interacted with Arab, Chinese and Malay merchants – a combination that is amply reflected throughout the country by way of customs, cuisine and architecture.
Sri Lanka wasn’t called Serendib by coincidence. As the Persians scoured the seas in search of Oriental treasures, they happened upon a mystical island in the Indian Ocean. This island, a land of great treasures and surprises was named Serendib.
Latterly, in modern day English the term Serendipity denotes the property of making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated. Today, Sri Lanka is no different. It is a land of serendipity, one where as you search for one moment of bliss you discover a thousand more.