View Map

Overview

The marketing agents got it right when they nicknamed Sri Lanka the “pearl of the Indian Ocean.” With verdant forests, white sand beaches, fascinating wildlife and laid back locals, the island formerly known as Ceylon does seem to have all the ingredients for a tropical paradise. Most fly-in visitors skip right through the busy capital Colombo and push on to the gorgeous south coast beaches around Galle. Surf hounds will find some sweet spots farther along at Arugum Bay while nearby Yala National Park is the place to go for spotting wildlife. The interior roads twist majestically upcountry to the ancient capital of Kandy and its famed Temple ...

The marketing agents got it right when they nicknamed Sri Lanka the “pearl of the Indian Ocean.” With verdant forests, white sand beaches, fascinating wildlife and laid back locals, the island formerly known as Ceylon does seem to have all the ingredients for a tropical paradise. Most fly-in visitors skip right through the busy capital Colombo and push on to the gorgeous south coast beaches around Galle. Surf hounds will find some sweet spots farther along at Arugum Bay while nearby Yala National Park is the place to go for spotting wildlife. The interior roads twist majestically upcountry to the ancient capital of Kandy and its famed Temple of the Tooth. Visiting the cool highlands also brings relief from the heat of the plain and provides some spectacular panoramas from Adam’s Peak and World’s End. The legacies of Sri Lanka’s glorious past lie in the Ancient Cities region, with a veritable trove of ruined temples and archaeological sites around Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. Sri Lanka’s reputation as a war zone has kept its travel industry barely above water. But intrepid travelers will find travel on the island easy and safe, so long as they stay away from the rebel-held areas in the north and east.

Michael Kohn
About the Expert

Michael Kohn is the author of Lonely Planet guides to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

view full overview

Michael Kohn for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is an island nation in South Asia, located about 31 kilometers off the southern coast of India.
  • Language: Sinhala, Tamil
  • Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall