Best Tour Operators in Sri Lanka

Tour Operators Sri Lanka
best tour operators sri lanka
best tour operators sri lanka

       History    |    Attractions    |    National  Parks    |    Urban Culture    |       General Information
History

Sri Lanka's official name is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

The history of Sri Lanka goes back to the pre-historic times with a recorded history of over 2000 years. Recent excavations show that even during the Neolithic Age in Sri Lanka, there were food-gatherers and rice cultivators. Very little is known of this period and documented history began with the arrival of the settlers from North India. They introduced the use of agriculture through a rudimentary system of irrigation. They also introduced the art of government. Of the ancient settlements, Anuradhapura grew into a powerful kingdom under the rule of Pandukabhaya. According to traditional history, he is accepted as the founder of Anuradhapura.

During the region of King Devanampiya Tissa, a descendant of Pandukabhaya, Buddhism was introduced in 247 B.C. by Arahat Mahinda, the son of Emperor Asoka of India. This is an important event in Sri Lankan history as it made the country predominantly Buddhist influencing its way of life and culture.

In the mid 2nd century B.C. a large part of North Sri Lanka came under the rule of an invader from South India. From the beginning of the Christian era and up to the end of the 4th century A.D. Sri Lanka was governed by an unbroken dynasty called Lambakarna, which paid great attention to the development of irrigation. A great king of this dynasty was King Mahasen (3rd century A.D.) who started the construction of large 'tanks' (reservoirs) which in turn fed smaller reservoirs. Another great 'tank' builder was Dhatusena, who was put to death by his son Kasyapa, who made Sigiriya a royal city with his fortress capital on the summit of the rock.

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Attractions
• Negambo

Population: 140,000
Distance from Colombo: 35 km
A characteristic fishing town north of Colombo, it is a mere 6 km from the international airport.  Set amid lush groves of coconut palms, it breathes the spirit of the sea.  Negombo is a gourmet's paradise with seafood in plenty.  Old world fishing craft, like the outrigger canoe and the catamaran, bring seer, skipjack, herring and mullet, pomfret and amber jack, while lobster and prawn are caught in the lagoon.


• Mount Lavinia

Distance from Colombo: 12 km
South of Colombo, Mount Lavinia is an immediate city suburb, and the beach was one of the better known, even in colonial times.  It lies alongside a wind-swept headland jutting into the waters of the Indian Ocean.  The Governor's House, built in 1805 by Sir Thomas Maitland, now forms part of the Mount Lavinia Hotel.


• Beruwela

Population: 136,000
Distance from Colombo: 55 km
South of Colombo, Berula marks the beginning of a 130 km-stretch of beaches, where resort development has made immense strides in recent years.  Good bathing in the bay all year round. Beruwela Tour Operators Sri Lanka

 


• Bentota

Population: 48,000
Distance from Colombo: 64 km
South of Colombo, the Bentota Resort Complex is a romantic rendezvous of river and sea with several resort hotels. Bentota Tour Operator Sri Lanka


• Hikkaduwa

Population: 97,000
Distance from Colombo: 99 km
South of Colombo, Hikkaduwa is the place for underwater delights.  It is the site of the famed coral gardens - hire a glass-bottomed boat, or goggles and flippers. Hikkaduwa Tour Operators in Sri Lanka


• Galle

Population: 97,000
Distance from Colombo: 116 km
South of Colombo, Galle is the most important southern town.  It has an old-world charm.  Believed to be the "Tarshish of the Bible", its natural harbor was a famous fort in days gone by.  Galle is famous for its Dutch fort, lace making, ebony carving and gem polishing. 

 



National Park
• Yala National Park

Situated 309 km south of Colombo, Yala is approximately 1,259 km in extent and is located in the south eastern corner of the island.  Its northern boundaries border the Lahugala Elephant Sanctuary and it has the added bonus of a scenic ocean frontage.

The terrain is varied - flat plains alternating with rocky outcrops.  The vegetation ranges from open parkland to dense jungle.  Water holes, small lakes, lagoons and streams provide water for the animals and birds.  The specialty here is the large number of elephants.

 



• Udawalawa National Park

Situated 170 km southeast of Colombo, the Uda Walawe National Park is approximately 30,821 hectares in extent.  This park - which lies within the Ratnapura and Monaragala Districts - acts as the catchment to the Uda Walawe Reservoir and is located in the Dry Zone.  It comprises grasslands, thorn scrubs, and many valuable species of trees.

 


• Horton Plains

Horton Plains National Park is the only nations park situation in the hill country.  It falls within the Nuwara Eliya district -200 km away from Colombo.  The panoramic beauty of the hill country is witnessed within the park.  Endemic slender loris and endemic purple monkeys are among the animal species that can be seens.

 


• Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park is the latest addition to Sri Lanka's national parks and is situated 260 km from Colombo.  All species of waterbirds reside in the country and migrant birds inhabit this Park.

 

• Gal Oya National Park

Situated at Inginiyagala, the Gal Oya National Park is 314 km from Colombo.  It is most renowned for its elephant population.

 

• Wasgamuwa National Park

Situated approximately 200 km away from Colombo, the Wasgamuwa National Park lies within the Polonnaruwa and Matale Districts.  It has the Mahaweli and Amban Rivers at its eastern and western borders.  A tropical, evergreen forest predominates its environment.

 

• Bird Sanctuaries

The sanctuaries at Kumana, 312 km from Colombo, Wirawila 261 km, Bundala 259 km, and Kalametiya 224 km, are all lagoon locations in Sri Lanka's extreme south eastern coast.  The coastal sanctuaries are exotically picturesque with combinations of lagoon, swamp, river, jungle, lake and plain.  Large flocks can be found here of both resident and migrant aquatic birds.

 

• National Zoological Gardens

Situated 11 km from the Fort, the zoo has a fine collection of animals, birds, reptiles and fish from all over the world.  The aquarium is the only one of its kind in Asia and displays over 500 varieties of aquatic life.  Also walk through Aviary, Reptilium, and Butterfly Park.

 

Urban Culture
• Colombo

Population: 700,000
Colombo is a fascinating city, not only for its comfortable blend of East and West, but also for its cozy mixture of the past and present.  It is the commercial capital of the country, and is only 34 kilometers from the international airport.

Attractions: Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, churches, the old parliament building, the zoo, museums, and art galleries.

 

• Kandy

Population: 147,000
Distance from Colombo: 116 km
Sri Lanka's hill capital is, perhaps, its most beautiful town.  It is 488 meters above sea level, and next to Colombo, is Sri Lanka's most visited place.  The focal point of the town is the golden-roofed Dalada Mailgawa, where the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is enshrined.  The highlight of the year is the Esala Perahera, when a replica of the relic casket is taken in procession, accompanied by exotically costumed dancers, drummers and some 100 elephants during ten glittering nights in July/August.  There are numerous shrines and temples in and around Kandy, where you will see rare paintings, frescoes, and stone carvings.

Don't miss the Peradeniya Gardens, with its amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers.  Kandy is an exciting place for shopping, with souvenirs in wood, copper, silver, brass, ebony, and bronze.  Ceramics, lacquer work, handlooms, batiks, jewellery and rush and reed-ware can also be purchased.

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• Nuwara Eliya

Population: 103,000
Distance from Colombo: 180 km
Set in the heart of tea-country, this beautiful town is where the British succeeded in created an English countryside, with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne.  Well-kept lawns with hedges, and Anglican church, and the famous golf course and beautiful parks give the place an air of nostalgia.  Situated 1,890 meters above sea level, the air is cool and fresh - a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of Colombo.

Close of Nuwara Eliya is Horton Plains, Sri Lanka's highest and most isolated plateau.  Nature lovers will revel in this wide, patna-grass covered plain, the haunt of many wild, yet harmless, animals and the home of many species of birds.  Bridle paths will takey ou to the precipice known as World's End - a sheer drop of 1,050 meters.  Acres and acres of tea with its lush green foliage extend miles across the hills, and no visit to the hill country is complete without a visit to a tea estate, and the chance to purchase some of the worlds finest flavored tea.

 

• Ratnapura

Population: 109,000
Distance from Colombo: 101 km
Sri Lanka's "City of Gems" and the center of its gemming industry.  Gems include sapphire, ruby, cat's eye, alexandrite, topaz, amethyst, aquamarine, tourmaline, garnet and zircon.  Visits to gem mines can be arranged thorugh travel agents.  Gem collections can be seen at the National Museum, Ratnapura, and a number of private museums.

 

• Anuradhapura

Population: 99,000
Distance from Colombo: 206 km
Sri Lanka's first capital is situated in the dry zone.  It is one of Sri Lanka's premier ancient cities.

Attractions:  The sacred Bo Tree, many temples, Brazen Palace, Samadhi Buddha, Kuttam Pokuna, and Mihintale (12 km from Anuradhapura) - a rock dotted with sphrines and dweelings - a grand stairway of 1,840 steps made of granite slabs, leads to a summit with a splendid view of the countryside.

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• Polonnaruwa

Population: 106,000
Distance from Colombo: 216 km
The island's medieval capital rose to fame after Anuradhapura's decline.  The largest of its many man-made reservoirs, the Parakrama Samudra is larger than the Colombo harbor.

Attractions: Ruins of the king's council chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, the Royal Pavilion, the Vatadage Relic House (which is lavished with moonstones, guardstones, and a sculptured railing), Kiri Vehera, and Gal Vihare

 

• Sigiriya

Distance from Colombo: 169 km
This rock fortress was a royal citadel for more than 18 years.  In a sheltered pocket, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes.  The summit of the rock, with a area of nearly one hectare, was the site of the old palace - the outer wall of which was built on the very brink of the precipice.  The UNESCO-sponsored Central Cultural Fund has restored Sigiriya's 5th century Water Gardens to its former glory.

 

• Dambulla

Distance from Colombo: 148 km
Like Sigiriya, Damulla is a vast isolated rock mass, which houses a rock temple (formerly caves).  Some of its frescoes are over 2,000 years old - and there is a colossal figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the rock, some 14 meters long.

 

General Infomation
• Location

Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is an independent Island-nation. It is one of the largest islands in the India Ocean and lies approximately 20 miles to the South East of the Southern-most tip of India. The narrow Palk Strait divides Sri Lanka form India. 25,332 square miles in extent it is approximately the same size as West Virginia in the USA.

Sri Lanka is a teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean just below the Southern tip of India, and lying North of the equator. See Detailed Map of Sri Lanka

 

• Climate

Sri Lanka enjoys a tropical climate. There are no seasonal variations. The bi-annual monsoon rains provide the only seasons. Colombo and the South West experience rain from April to May and September to October. The East coast gets its share of rainfall from November to January. Being closer to the equator, the temperature is high throughout the year. The average temperature in Colombo is 27 degrees centigrade (80 degrees Fahrenheit). This is accompanied by high levels of humidity. However, in the different parts of the island, the temperature and the climate vary according to the terrain. The higher you go, the cooler it gets. In the mountainous regions of Nuwara Eliya, the temperature averages 16 degrees centigrade (61 degrees Fahrenheit).

 

• History

The chronicled history of Sri Lanka dates back to over 2,500 years. It had established trade and cultural links with many ancient civilizations. Throughout history, it has been known by different names. To the Greeks it was Taprobane, to the Arabs it was Serendib, to the Portuguese it was Ceilao, to the Dutch it was Zeylan, and to the British it was Ceylon. Sri Lanka was the ancient name meaning "The Resplendent Isle".

 

• People & Language

The population number approximately 19 million. This multi-ethnic population comprises:

  • Sinhalese - 72%
  • Tamils - 19%
  • Muslims - 8%
  • Burghers (descendants of Dutch and Portuguese) - 1%
Religion

The four major religions are:

  • Buddhism - followed by 69% of the population
  • Hinduism - followed by 13% of the population
  • Christianity - followed by 7% of the population
Languages

The most commonly-spoken languages in Sri Lanka are Sinhala, Tamil and English.

 

• Currency

The Sri Lankan Rupee (Rs.) is divided into 100 cents. The coins and notes fall into the following denominations:

Coins: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, 1 Rupee, 2 Rupees, 5 Rupees, 10 Rupees
Notes: 10 Rupees, 20 Rupees, 50 Rupees, 100 Rupees, 500 Rupees, 1,000 Rupees, 2,000 Rupees
* Please note that 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents and 10 cents coins are barely in circulation today.