If you're interested in learning more about the Island's cultural heritage, there are several Museums and Local art galleries in Colombo that tell Sri Lanka's tales far better than anyone. The Colombo National Museum, Sri Lanka's finest museum, is a grand colonial building that houses many of the island's historical treasures, such as 4000 archaic palm leaf manuscripts, rock sculptures from ancient cities and royal weapons of Sri Lankan kings. The Natural History Museum and the Dutch Period Museum are also great places to visit if you want to get a complete look at Sri Lanka's historical background.
Sri Lanka's religious diversity can be seen immediately as you drive through Colombo, with its colourful mosques and hindu temples, opulent Buddhists temples, and grand Churches. Many of these religious places welcome tourists who are interested in exploring their places of worship.
If its shopping you're interested in, there are several local department stores that promise great bargains, Odel, House of Fashion and Dilly's are a few of the stores that you must visit while you're in Colombo. Precious stones and jewellery are also a must on your shopping list as Sri Lanka offers great prices on gems, silver and gold. And to buy souvenirs to remember your trip to paradise, Colombo has great hand-made leather products, brass-ware and local crafts that can be found at Paradise Road, Barefoot Gallery, Lakmedura and several other souvenir stores around Colombo.
Colombo is also known to really come alive after dark as Sri Lankan's love to party on any given night of the week. Onyx, H20, Tabu and Clancy's are just a few of the places where you can sip drinks and dance alongside Colombo's young people.
Colombo is an exotic city filled with hidden treasures, it is also a great place to rub shoulders with Sri Lanka's friendly people and to learn more about the island's religious and cultural heritage
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Its beauty, agreeable climate and air of tranquillity have all encouraged its development as the true religious and cultural heart of Sri Lanka. There is much to see in this unique city, with architectural monuments that remain testament to a once resplendent civilisation.
A grand man-made lake lies in the centre of the city, and is a favourite sight for many of the visiting tourists. The famous Temple of the Tooth is said to be the home of Sri Lanka's most important religious relic, the sacred tooth of Buddha
Another great place to visit while in Kandy is the Kandyan Arts and Cultural Centre. The centre puts on a show with graceful cultural dancers, drummers and even fire walking! You can even take a walk through the exotic lawns of the Peradiniya Botanical Gardens, and visit the Orchid House or the huge Jaryan Fig Tree and see several rare botanical species.
Kandy is at its best in late July/ August for Esala Perahera, a 10 day festival reputed to be one of the most spectacular festivals in all Asia. You will see vibrant processions with dancers, fire throwers, numerous elephants dressed in richly embroidered silks, and men dressed in royal clothes similar to those worn by Kandy's great Kings.
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Galle, famous for its lace, is filled with priceless crafts and antique treasures like jewellery, ceramics, and Dutch period furniture and brass work. The little city of Galle is a fascinating stop, not just for historians, but for anyone interested in learning more about Sri Lanka's historical experience.
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Nuwara Eliya's tradition has remained unchanged as it is still known to be a retreat for the island's elite. During its 'season' in April, the little town comes alive as Sri Lanka's high society flocks there for the horse and motor races, grand dances and exclusive golf tournaments.
Visiting one of the many tea factories perched high on the hills surrounding Nuwara Eliya is definitely a must. It is here that the best of Sri Lanka's teas - the fragrant and delicately flavoured "high grown" - flourish.
Nuwara Eliya's Galway Bird Sanctuary is a 27 acre park where you can catch a glimpse of a great variety of rare and tropical birds, an unbeatable spot for nature-lovers. The Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Victoria Gardens and Horton Plains are also great places to visit if you want to take in Nuwara Eliya's unique landscape and carefully maintained flower gardens.
"World's End" is another popular site in Nuwara Eliya. It is a terrifying precipice, that drops vertically for about 1,000 feet (328 meters) and falls away almost as steeply for another 4,000 feet (1,312 meters).
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With so many great hotels within walking distance of each other, you never have to eat at the same place twice. A short walk along the beach will take you through at least 5 beautiful hotels, and the seafood is fresh and delicious at every one of them. The night life is also quite lively during tourist season, and you will be able to meet many people from all over the world and swap stories of your travels.
Visiting the colourful and friendly local beach community will be a treat, you will find that a surprising number of the locals have picked up German and other languages from the tourists frequenting Bentota. So you might be able to get local tips on what to see and do in Bentota.
The beaches are also home to Sri Lanka's famous Giant Sea Turtles and you can visit the nearby hatchery at Kosgoda. The hatchery has prepared protected beds of sand for the eggs, laid annually and large tanks to view the young before they are returned to the sea.
The South West is also well known for its Ayurvedic centres. The age-old eastern form of spa rejuvenation treatment, with the use of herbal medicine to de-stress, detox and relax the body. We will be happy to recommend hotels that focus on Ayurvedic treatments and programs.
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