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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Explore Sri Lanka - A Top Holiday Destination For any Budget

Sri Lanka has a whole host of options for the traveller, from lying on a picture postcard beach to scaling great rocks and seeking out ancient cities. There are impressive landscapes to take in, friendly Buddhist monks to talk to, and free-roaming monkeys to keep an eye on. In keeping with its range of sights and activities, it offers holidays for an array of budgets: five star hotels and spas for those looking for luxury, and cheap guest houses style accommodation among the locals for those wanting to experience an authentically Sri Lankan reality. 

Explore the City of Colombo

Colombo is a functioning city, often moving at a frenetic pace, with fascinating sectors to discover. The district of Fort is the historic centre and boasts a number of old colonial buildings, which look classical and attractive next to more modern structures. To the east of Fort is the bazaar district - a bustling sector full of market stalls and small shops selling a wide variety of goods which can provide the traveller with a genuinely Sri Lankan experience.
Typically, tourists only stay in Colombo for a couple of days before moving further along the coast, or travelling inland to visit the ancient cities, but if tours of ancient cultures or finding the ideal beach aren't foremost on the agenda, Colombo has a great deal to offer in the way of really seeing a different side to Sri Lanka, and is worth exploring, either on foot or by tuk tuk.
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Visit the Cultural Triangle

Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle is the name given to a selection of cultural and archeological sites which are markers of an ancient and rich civilisation. These are located at the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Kandy, the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa, the Cave Temples of Dambulla, and the famous 200 m outcrop of rock at Sigiriya - the Lion Rock.
See the Esala Perahera in Kandy
If you find yourself in Sri Lanka at the end of July and the beginning of August, you may be in time for theperahera - a grand parade with elaborate costumes and a long procession of elephants, held in the town of Kandy. The festival is Buddhist in origin and is thought to have begun in the 4th century A.D., when what is called the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was taken to Sri Lanka from India by Princess Hemamala.
Sri Lankan legend tells that when the Buddha was cremated, his left canine tooth was taken from the pyre and passed on to the king, to become a royal possession. The belief took hold that whoever held the Sacred Tooth Relic had the divine right to reign over that land. The legend has it that Sri Lanka was chosen as its home due to the Lord Buddha's declaration that his religion would be safe in this country for two and a half thousand years.

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Sri Lanka boasts a number of upmarket and unique hotels for the discerning globetrotter. Current trends show an increase in boutique hotels catering to wealthy tourists.
The perahera lasts for days and is counted as one of the world's more spectacular street festivals. Those wanting to see the perahera should claim their roadside spots early in the day and be prepared to sit there until the parade begins in the evening.

Traditional Kandy, Town of Temples

Kandy, where the monkeys are swinging from the trees, offers an utterly alternative experience to that of Colombo. A quieter, less industrial town, it is home to an abundance of temples and is more likely to capture the heart and eye of the traveller.

Sri Lanka's Beaches

It is generally agreed that the north east coast has the whitest sand to offer, but there are beautiful beaches to be found all around the island, and the south, in particular, has some picturesque stretches of coast to be stumbled upon.
Certain beaches are affiliated, or belong to, resorts or hotels, but it is also still possible to find a small, uninhabited beach simply by traveling along the coast and talking to the locals. Visitors can easily find themselves offered accommodation with a family who live next to the sea through something like a chance encounter at Colombo railway station. Although most of the locals are friendly, it is wise to exercise caution and a policy the more trustworthy with a room to let have is to carry books, filled with photographs and the handwritten testimonies of previous visitors.
One island-wide factor tourists must be aware of before booking any tickets is that Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons and the tourist season is considered to be the period between these rainy onslaughts. This is November to April - the driest season - in the hills and on the south west coast. For those aiming to visit the east coast, May to September is considered the best time as this is when it's dry. Which part of the island you visit will, eventually, probably depend on when you want to go but for those who are eager to explore Sri Lanka, there is the assurance that there will be an ideal part of the country for any time of year.

Read more at Suite101: Explore Sri Lanka - A Top Holiday Destination For any Budget http://sri-lanka-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/exploring-sri-lanka#ixzz0tiZ9VXTx


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