Asia

Sri Lanka

vital statistics
  • Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo
  • 20 million
  • Sinhalese and Tamil
  • Sri Lankan rupee
about Sri Lanka

Plonked in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern tip of India, the tropical idyll of Sri Lanka is an island of surprises. Most of its terrain is covered in every shade of jungle green imaginable and a batch of mountains south of the centre rises to more than 2500 metres.

With a colonial history, the rustic and crumbling architecture lends an air of mystique to most towns – the capital Colombo and the town of Galle with its fortifications, in particular, are magnets for the international bohemian set attracted by the yesteryear atmosphere.

Away from the urban areas it’s all about jungle exploration, safaris and tranquil boating journeys. Go searching for elephants and leopards in Yala National Park on the south coast before heading to the southernmost part of the island and the town of Mirissa, famed for its excellent whale watching.

Throughout the country, festivals, from the huge Esala Perahera held in Kandy mid-year to Deepavali celebrations in October and November, are a highlight of colour and energy. And then there’s the cricket... You almost hope Sri Lanka wins just for the spectacle of the celebrations. Almost.

Explore Sri Lanka By

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA

You can fly from Melbourne direct to Colombo, a huge, cosmopolitan...

You can fly from Melbourne direct to Colombo, a huge, cosmopolitan metropolis, on your way...

TANGALLE, SRI LANKA

Perched on a cliff top on Sri Lanka’s south coast, Anantara Peace Haven...

Perched on a cliff top on Sri Lanka’s south coast, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle lives...

POTTUVIL POINT, SRI LANKA

Moments from the white sands and blue barrels of Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka’s...

Moments from the white sands and blue barrels of Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka’s latest...

YALA NATIONAL PARK

Hidden deep within the jungle of Sri Lanka's Yala National Park is probably...

Hidden deep within the jungle of Sri Lanka's Yala National Park is probably the last place...

ANAMADUWA, SRI LANKA

You may be sleeping in a hut made from mud, but the Mudhouse isn’t your...

You may be sleeping in a hut made from mud, but the Mudhouse isn’t your typical...

BENTOTA, SRI LANKA

Once in the hands of the Dutch, the British and the Portuguese, it's not hard...

Once in the hands of the Dutch, the British and the Portuguese, it's not hard to see why...

BUTTALA, SRI LANKA

Dumbo would be proud to know that one of the world’s most unusual...

Dumbo would be proud to know that one of the world’s most unusual eco-hotels takes his...

KANDY, SRI LANKA

Strip everything away and the mind begins to clear. That’s the thinking...

Strip everything away and the mind begins to clear. That’s the thinking behind Sri...