Things to Do
Sri Lanka is blessed with 10 world heritage sites named as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla, Kandy, Knuckles, Horton Plains, Sri Pada (Adams Peak), Sinharaja rain forest and Galle Dutch fort.
A Nation with 2500 years of well chronicled history in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Yapahuwa, and Kandy …, provides ample of evidence of proud past and the marvels of ancient engineering.
Ancient Kings build hundreds of lakes as water reservoirs contemplating self-sufficiency in Agriculture. Take a walk on the bank of a lake in an evening it will be a different experience altogether.
Sri Lanka is a Happy Island – a land with smiling people. Everywhere, there is the color and fragrance of tropical vegetation. Whether you are bargain hunting in the Pettah bazaar of Colombo, marveling at the ancient cities, sipping of World’s best cup of Tea in the hill country, soaking up the sun on some near deserted Beach or strolling in the country side, you will find that people are always friendly and outgoing.
Although, predominantly Sinhalese, Sri Lanka also has other Ethnic Groups – Tamils, Moors, Malays,Burghers and descendants of Dutch, Portuguese and British as well as a small aboriginal community of Veddas. Over the centuries they have learnt to respect their cultural differences and are justly proud of their past.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful, colourful, mixture of religions, cultures, races and geography – the tropical meeting place of old and new. In a world in which peace and leisure is becoming more sought after and ever harder to find, Sri Lanka remains a true paradise on earth. On the scale of the world map, Sri Lanka previously known as Ceylon, Serendib, Taprobane appears to hang like a tiny tear drop over the Indian Ocean. In reality though, this isle is certainly no drop in the ocean. Now it is now known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and is a republic and a unitary state which is governed by a presidential system with its official seat of government in Sri Jayewardenepura - Kotte, the capital.
The island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean, to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal. It lies between latitudes 5° and 10°N, and longitudes 79° and 82°E. Sri Lanka is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. According to Hindu mythology, a land bridge to the Indian mainland, known as Rama's Bridge, was constructed during the time of Rama by the Vanara architect Nala. Often referred to as Adam's Bridge, it now amounts to only a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level.
The climate of Sri Lanka can be described as tropical and warm. Its position between 5 and 10 north latitude endows the country with a warm climate moderated by ocean winds and considerable moisture. The mean temperature ranges from about 16 °C (60.8 °F) in the Central Highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of approximately 33 °C (91.4 °F) in other low-altitude areas. The average yearly temperature ranges from 28 °C (82.4 °F) to nearly 31 °C (87.8 °F). Day and night temperatures may vary by 4 °C (7.20 °F) to 7 °C (12.60 °F).During the coldest days of January, many people wear coats and sweaters in the highlands and elsewhere.
Every year on or about 13th of April Sinhala and Tamil people celebrate the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year Festival, and Muslims celebrate Ramadan. EsalaPerahera is the grand festival Happening in July or August in Kandy as a unique symbol of Sri Lanka. It is very popular with elegant costumes, consisting of dances and richly decorated elephants, fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandian dances and various other cultural dances and events as well.
Sri Lanka has a wealth of fresh vegetables, fruits and excellent sea food. It also produces the best Tea in the world. Restaurants offer plenty of variety in cuisine and include Sri Lankan, Continental, Europian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese, German food.
What to Wear In Sri Lanka
Jeans are very popular especially with younger people.
Our advice though, would be to pack lightweight clothes in natural fabrics; cotton, linen and silk. Particularly for people who are used to much cooler temperatures and have to acclimatize, if you have plans to visit the hill country, you may want to pack a warmer jumper or shawl, as temperatures do drop on the high ground.
Keep your swimwear just for the beach or pool and cover up when walking around. Public nudity - and that includes females being topless - is not only unacceptable, but illegal.
In Sri Lanka over 70% of the population is Buddhist, so if you are visiting any of the Buddhist temples ensure that your body - including your shoulders below knee level - is covered. If you are visiting Buddhist and Hindu shrines, then footwear and hats should also be removed.
If you are here on business, then opt for a dress or skirt and blouse, as business suits are hardly ever worn. Men, however will be expected to wear a tie.
Plane - Domestic airport of Colombo is located at Ratamalana just 20 minutes drive to the south from the main city of Colombo. You can travel to any part of the inland destinations by plane/helicopter.
Train - Trains are the cheapest and perhaps the best way to see Sri Lanka. Most Sri Lankan cities and towns are connected by the Sri Lanka Railways.
Ship - it is possible to organize a ship for your special journeys, conference, official & private meetings, weddings in the Sea etc..
Bus - Sri Lanka has an extensive network of roads reaching to all parts of the island. There are Air-conditioned and normal bus services available to provide facilities for travelers.
Taxi - One can avail taxis in any of the towns. However, the three-wheelers ( Tuk-Tuks) are available to meet your requirement .
Car rentals - You can hire a vehicle ( Car or Van) for moving around the country. Several car rental shops are available in Colombo to choose from with or without driver too.
Kataragama is a place frequented by adherents of all religions in Sri Lanka and this city now declared a sacred city.The annual procession held in the months of July-August is the main pageant and is as colourful as any other pageant in the country.It has, as the concluding event, the performance of fire walking by the devotees. Kavadi dancing is another attraction in the pageant. There are devotees who perform this dance to fulfil vows even on other occasions.
Early in the morning, it's very interesting to visit the local fish market. It is absolutely authentic: all natural, not a tourist spot but that's why a really local experience (provided that you can endure walking on bloody-muddy ground and the smell.
Boating in the Muthurajawela Marsh
About 15km south of Negombo lays a large tract of land set aside partly for wildlife, partly for humans and industry. The marsh is in the part set aside for wildlife; it’s mostly a huge, shallow lake with inlets and islands. It links the river and the sea, making the water brackish and the birdlife abundant. Up the river a bit are mangrove forests, home to monkeys and estuary crocodiles. You can only get around by boat.
You can take a 2-3 hour wildlife-viewing boat tour (complete with animal spotter) from the Muthurajawela Visitor Centre, located down a stretch of Dutch Canal. Their boats carry about 12 people, and have louder-than-optimal motors. Also at the centre is a tiny “museum,” and an interesting, if unfocused, video introduction to the area. I went with a guide, which may have increased the cost (Rs2000). The admission price goes to supporting the conservation efforts.
Negombo situated by the shores of a lagoon by the same name once has been a trading port for Portuguese and Dutch and is a ideal place for those who want quick access to and from the airport. Attractions in the city are the old Dutch fort gate built in 1672 now a part of the prison, the Dutch Canal which was then a supply route to the Dutch administration, old churches and fishing villagers. The 100km long canal running through the town is still being used and is an attraction for those who want to see the country from a different perspective.
There is nice big temple call Angurukaamulla in Negombo. There is a giant Buddha statue and some of very old paintings and murals. Speciality of this temple is, you can see some information of all the kings in Sri Lanka. It’sworth visit if you will go in Negombo.
St. Mary's Church
It is one of biggest Cathedral in Negombo and Sri Lanka. You must visit there. Have a look on nice architecture and some kind of paintings.