Sri Lanka ,previously known as Ceylon before 1972 (hey I was born in 72 !!!)

Sri Lanka's capital city of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte has a name bigger than the country itself. The only thing bigger is its heart, as this truly is a warm and welcoming place in the Indian Ocean.

Some 70 percent of its population is Buddhist, so you'll find some incredible temples scattered throughout its 25-thousand square miles. The Dambulla Cave Temples are extraordinary; and if you go to only one--make sure this is it.

You have to make sure you see Adam's Peak, a sacred pilgrimage place to four religions (Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and Muslims), that requires trekking some 4,800 steps.

Whew, good thing you can get a Ayurvedic Treatment afterwards. They're more relaxational than medicinal, but they're available almost anywhere.

Relaxing on the 1600km of coastline of Sri Lanka will work wonders, too. Swimming on the southern part of island, however, can be a bit dangerous.

Galle has one of the world's best beaches, and there's even an old Dutch fort here to visit.

Sri Lanka's wildlife is fantastic, so come see an Elephant Orphanage or one of the many National Parks and Sanctuaries with everything from leopards to deer, boars to monkeys. Yes, Sri Lanka has it all.

There are just about as many sporting activities in Sri Lanka as there are different animal species. You can hike, surf, paraglide, hangglide, snorkel and dive, as even shopping can be a sport.

With any luck, you'll find the perfect gifts of lace, Batik fabric, and silk to bring home. While you're here, enjoy a night of dancing, theater, or ballet. Cricket is a big sport; your choice if you want to watch or play.

Be careful, it gets hot here in Sri Lanka. The Yala Monsoons bring rain mostly between May to September, the Maha Monsoons hit from october to January--while it is cooler in the higher regions.

The highest point in Sri Lanka, by the way, lies at 2,524 meters (8,281ft).

Whatever the elevation, getting around Sri Lanka is quite easy. Ferries, metered taxis, chauffeur driven cars, express & regular trains, even motorized rickshaws are quick, efficient, and affordable.

Eating in Sri Lanka is an adventure. Spicy is a good word to describe the cuisine--but try some hoppers (a crumpet of sorts served with egg) if you aren't into the whole spicy thing. A Toddy is made with the sap of a palm tree, a drink that goes great with almost anything. Alcohol is served all over the island, just not during the holidays of Poya--which is on the full moon, if you're wondering.

You won't even notice its missing, since you'll be too busy at Sri Lanka's UNESCO sites, Rock Formations, and fishing villages. No need to be drunk on wine--you'll be tipsy from all its natural splendor.

Sri Lanka is a popular and good place to have your wedding on the beach.

Key places and Destinations to Backpack

Jaffna, Trincomalee, Uppuveli, Nilaveli, Kalkudah, Pasekudah, Batticaloa, Ampara, Arugam Bay, Buttala, Monaragala, The Hill Country (see our hill country tours), Colombo..

Related External Articles

Two Weeks in Sri Lanka