The very essence of Sri Lanka is the desire to commune and celebrate. This culture of this island reflects its vast diversity, which melds so beautifully for religious or cultural holidays. In between celebrations, pristine coastlines and vast wilds offer their colours, tastes, and mindful peace to all visitors.
The walled city of Galle is a living UNESCO World Heritage Site. Periods of Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonialism have shaped eye-catching architecture, art, and religious structures that dot the scenery. The best way to explore is by foot along the laneways, ducking in and out of boutiques, cafes, and galleries. Outside of the city lies the peaceful shores of Unawatuna Bay. The Bay is protected by a reef, inviting swimmers and snorkelers to come explore. In between Colombo and Galle, and then beyond, the entire South and West Coasts of Sri Lanka are dotted with stunning beaches, coastal roads, and colonial villages.
Colombo isn't the geographical centre of Sri Lanka, but it is the heart of the island. It is the most populated city, and the largest, with architecture that showcases the island's Arab, Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences, along with its native aesthetics. The city's multiethnic fabric is woven with street markets and bazaars, grandiose parks, eye-catching buildings of worship - of many denominations - skyscrapers, the Galle Face Green, and museums and galleries. All of this bustling energy is encapsulated by pristine beaches of the island's western coast.
A combined nature reserve divided into five blocks makes up the massive, astounding Yala National Park located in the southeast side of the island. This incredible expanse is home to 44 varieties of mammals, including elephants, sloths, peacocks, and leopards, and 215 species of bird. Visitors are welcome to visit on their own or join a safari day tour, or even stay overnight at one of the park's campsites. Explore the lagoons, forests, and plains that make up this swathe of living, breathing wonder.
A city famous for its annual festival - the Kandy Esala Perahera - can be sure to delight all year round. As vibrant and entertaining as Kandy is, it is made all the more interesting by its air of mystery, as mist coats the hills of the surrounds. Daytimes spent walking around the Kandy Lake and Royal Botanical Gardens or visiting the renowned temples are balanced by the exciting nightlife. Beyond Kandy, Sri Lanka's Hill Country ebbs and flows, dotted with tea plantations, mountain hikes, and landscapes that look like they were painted in a storybook.
Sri Lankan rupee
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