Known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, with its picturesque white beaches, exotic wildlife, world-renowned tea, tropical rainforests and charming people, Sri Lanka will invigorate your senses with a myriad of experiences unique to this paradisiacal island.
Home to eight Unesco World Heritage Sites, as well as bustling markets, legendary temples and a long tradition of Ayurveda, Sri Lanka excites and enchants in equal measure. Whether you're searching for an authentic Ayurveda cure in a stunning setting, a whistle-stop tour of extraordinary ancient ruins, colonial fortresses and breathtaking palaces, or simple a relaxing break on the shores of a dazzling white beach, you can experience your dream holiday in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's rich and diverse culture is tightly entwined with the teachings of Ayurveda. Although Ayurveda originated in India, these practices quickly developed in Sri Lanka too, derived from the same Sanskrit texts. There is little difference between the ayurvedic teachings on the island of Sri Lanka and those of its larger neighbour India, however some of the herbs used vary from land to land. Unlike in India, where Ayurveda was repressed during the British Colonial Occupation, Sri Lanka has developed without interruption for more than two millennia. This long tradition of Ayurveda means that these ancient teachings are ingrained into Sri Lankan culture, with ayurvedic techniques being passed down through generations. In 1980, the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine was established to regulate practitioners and ensure a high quality of Ayurveda across Sri Lanka.
With over 270 ayurvedic hospitals in Sri Lanka and undergraduate, postgraduate and MD degrees in Ayurveda being offered at the Institute of Indigenous Medicine, by 2012 the number of registered practitioners of Ayurveda had reached over 20,000. Combining an intense education with a tradition dating back over two millennia, Ayurveda practitioners in Sri Lanka are amongst the best in the world.
When the sun goes down on Sri Lanka's coast, the sun’s reflection creates an illusion of rose-red waves gently washing up to the shore, filling you with a sense of deep calm. In general, the island nation is very relaxed and open. Visitors don'tt feel like outsiders, but rather like welcomed guests. The magnificent nature with its palm-fringed sandy beaches, mighty rocks and wide rice fields will complete your holiday in this paradise of relaxation.
Facts & Figures
Official name: śrī laṃkā/ ilaṅkai (Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon) Location: South Asia, located south of India on the Indian Ocean Area: 65.610 km² Capital city: Official: Sri Jayewardene Pura - Kotte, Unofficial: Colombo Population: 20.7 million Religious and ethnic groups: Buddhism as a state religion, 8% Muslims, 7% Hindus, 6% Christians / 73% Sinhalese, 18% Tamils, 7% Moors Language: Sinhala (official language), Tamil (official language), English (lingua franca) Geography: Flat to slightly hilly lowlands, mountains in the central south. Highest point: Pidurutalagala (2524m) Time zone: Indian Standard Time (UTC + 05:30) Political and economic: Unitarian presidential republic with parliamentary-democratic order, GDP: 69.2 billion (2015). Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee (1 € = 180 LKR)
Arrival and departure
The journey to Sri Lanka is carried out almost exclusively by air. By land, the journey is only possible travelling through to the south of India and from there, there are hardly any ferry connections to Sri Lanka.
Visa: Vaccinations: On site: Transport and travel is very different in Sri Lanka from Europe. Tuk-tuks, motorized tricycles, are best for shorter distances and in the city. For longer distances, the train or a bus is recommended, both of which do not reach excessively high speeds.
Climate and best time to travel
The climate is tropical and strongly influenced by the monsoon in Sri Lanka. Winter average temperature: 27°C (average minimum temperatures around 23°C in February) Summer average temperature: 28°C (maximum temperatures of around 32°C in April) Water temperature: 29°C in June
The best time to travel to the northeast is between April and September, while in the southwest, the best tours are between October and May.
The most beautiful holiday regions
Inland - Tea plantations and waterfalls West Coast - Palm Coves and Capital Colombo South Coast - Stilt fishermen and drop-out villages
Public holidays and celebrations
New Year (January 1), Tamil Thanksgiving (January 14), National Holiday (February 4), Mahashivratri (February 24), Sinhala and Tamil New Year (April 12), Good Friday (April 14), Labor Day (May 1), Vesakh (May 10), Fast Breaking (June 26), Sacrifice Festival (September 2), Festival of Lights (October 18), Prophet Muhammad's Birthday (December 1), Christmas (December 25).
DOs and DON'Ts
• Try Cricket. Whether you are playing it yourself or watching a game. The national sport of Sri Lankans is truly an experience. • Wear appropriate attire. If you are entering religious sites, cover your shoulders and legs and take off your shoes. Taking your shoes off should also be done in almost all Sri Lankan houses. • Use the right hand. Because the left in Sri Lanka is considered unclean, you should eat and interact with others using the right hand. • Bring mosquito repellent. Malaria and dengue fever are common in Sri Lanka and can even break out after you return. Wear long, bright clothes, especially in the evening and night. Use mosquito repellent and mosquito nets. DONT’s
• Don't disrespect their religion. Never step on portraits of the Buddha and if you are with a monk in a room, try not to sit higher than him. • Don't misconstrue conversation topics. Sri Lankans will ask you in the first interview for very personal things, such as your marital status, number of children and faith. This is not meant to be rude, but commonplace as well as signs of interest.
Can you drink the tap water? The Sri Lankan water should not be used as drinking water. Instead drink bottled water or boil the tap water thoroughly for a very long time. Do I need an adaptor? In Sri Lanka, they do not use the same sockets as in Europe, an adapter is therefore required. What about medical care? Medical care is considered sufficient in the cities. As this is often not the case in rural areas, a travel health insurance with medical evacuation transport is highly advised.
Top tips and discoveries
Adam's Peak Countless legends surround the mountain in the southwest of the country. Both Hindus and Buddhists as well as Jews, Christians and Muslims suspect the gigantic footprint as one of their most important religious figures. Whoever climbs the summit and casts a glance over the surrounding endless green landscapes, will quickly understand why the Adam's Peak was already considered a sacred place among the natives of the island.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage The daily bath of elephants in the nearby river is just one highlights of Pinnawela. Orphaned or injured animals have found a new home here for over the past 30 years. In a large outdoor enclosure, you can experience the pachyderms up close and not infrequently, their loud trumpets and the clumsy playfulness of the little ones is contagious.
Dambulla Who stands on the ridge, can hardly decide between the spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and rice fields or the cave temples behind. For over 2000 years, the rock massif has been used as a temple and has experienced various influences over time, which has given it its present, diverse splendour. In addition to the sheer construction work, the more than 100 statues of gods, some of which are up to 15 meters tall, strike visitors with awe. Also, the nearby rock fortress of Sigiriya offers an imposing sight and is well worth a visit.
Colombo Around 50km away, the vibrant city stretches along the west coast and is filled with many different attractions. From the hustle and bustle of old colonial buildings and tall towers to idyllic parks and long sandy beaches, Colombo has it all. Paying a visit to one of the bazaars is also a spectacular idea. Here you will experience a veritable potpourri of new and exotic sensory impressions.
Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the above text, SpaDreams cannot be held responsible for any out-of-date or inaccurate information.