TRAVELS

TRAVELS

An introduction to the PARADISE Isle

love to talk about Sri Lanka. It has been a favoured destination of travellers for millennia. Ptolemy the cartographer from Alexandria, drew a map of Sri Lanka, two millennia ago, for which he used tales from other travellers. Subsequently, there were travellers like Fa Xian from China and Ibn Battuta from Tangier, who waxed eloquent about the beauty and the riches of this country. Today, we have over two million visitors coming to Sri Lanka.  Colombo airport is rapidly getting congested and there are plans to build a second runway and a second terminal.

From Colombo you could head to the South, where the beaches are still extensive – miles and miles of golden sand, waving palms and gentle waves caressing the shore. The beaches are well-known throughout the world. No wonder Lonely Planet lists Sri Lanka as the top destination for 2019. Then, of course, we the BBC which listed Sri Lankan cuisine as the most favoured food trend in the world.

Today, there are many five-star and six-star hotels available for the traveller. There are other establishments also, but the five-star and six-star hotels in Sri Lanka are legendary. One of them, the Mount Lavinia Hotel, is probably over 200 years old. The Galle Face Hotel has a similar history. There are many modern hotels also. Then of course, we have, in addition to the beaches, the green highlands, covered by tea, where the very air carries the fragrance of tea. It is again, a place where you will find some exclusive residences, boutique hotels and other places where visitors could stay.

From there you go to Kandy, the last citadel of the Sinhalese. Kandy is unique, a relatively small town, with a lake in the middle, and enormous amounts of history and traditional culture. Many visitors prefer to go to Kandy first, because of its legendary past.

From Kandy you would go further north to the Cultural Triangle, where you have places like Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. Anuradhapura was the first capital of the Sinhalese and remained the capital for over 1,200 years. The ruins that one finds all over Anuradhapura are just mind-boggling, including some of the biggest stupas in the world – stupas being relic chambers of the Buddha. The Buddha’s relics were enshrined in these massive stupas. There were other remnants of a glorious past in Anuradhapura. Polonnaruwa has similarly impressive ruins, but it is a mediaeval city.

I would love to see you coming to Sri Lanka and experiencing it for yourself. It is a place you will not regret visiting. In fact, you will go back with memories that will last a lifetime. You may want to come again to this place.

Palitha Kohona

Managing Director

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