Destinations

Sri Lanka's most popular destinations, summarized.

 

 

Colombo

Colombo (English: /kəˈlʌmboʊ/; Sinhalese: කොළඹ Kolamba, pronounced [ˈkəlɐmbɞ]; Tamil: கொழும்பு, translit. Koḻumpu) is the commercial capital[3] and largest city of Sri Lanka. According to the Brookings Institution, Colombo metropolitan area has a population of 5.6 million, and 752,993 in the city proper. It is the financial centre of the island and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to the Greater Colombo area which includes Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. Colombo is often referred to as the capital since Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is within the urban area of, and a suburb of, Colombo. It is also the administrative capital of Western Province, Sri Lanka and the district capital of Colombo District. Colombo is a busy and vibrant place with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins. It was the legislative capital of Sri Lanka until 1982.

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Kandy

The Sri Dalada Maligawa or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a temple in the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. It was built within the royal palace complex which houses the tooth relic of the Buddha, a tooth, which is venerated by Buddhists. The relic has played an important role in the local politics since ancient times, it’s believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country, which caused the ancient kings to protect it with great effort. Kandy was the capital of the Sinhalese Kings from 1592 to 1815, fortified by the terrain of the mountains and the difficult approach. The city is a world heritage site declared by UNESCO, in part due to the temple.
Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily ritual worship in the inner chamber of the temple, in annual rotation.

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Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya (Sinhalese: නුවර එළිය [nuwərə ɛlijə]; Tamil: நுவரேலியா) is a city in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka. Its name means “city on the plain (table land)” or “city of light”. The city is the administrative capital of Nuwara Eliya District, with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and is considered to be the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. The city is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya is known for its temperate, cool climate — the coolest area in Sri Lanka.

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Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura (Sinhalese: අනුරාධපුරය; Tamil: அனுராதபுரம்) is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was the third capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata, following the kingdoms of Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara.
The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the centre of Theravada Buddhismfor many centuries. The city lies 205 km (127 mi) north of the current capital Colombo in the North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

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Yala

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park(block 1) and Kumana National Park or ‘Yala East’ for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.

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Udawalawe

Udawalawe is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephants, which are relatively easy to see in its open habitats. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawe reservoir, with a herd of about 250 believed to be permanently resident. The Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home was established in 1995 for the purpose of looking after abandoned elephant calves within the park.

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Kumana

Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka is renowned for its avifauna, particularly its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. The park is 391 kilometres (243 mi) southeast of Colombo on Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast. Kumana is contiguous with Yala National Park. Kumana was formerly known as Yala East National Park, but changed to its present name in 5 September 2006.
The park was closed from 1985 to March 2003 because of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) attacks. It was also affected by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
Kumbukkan Oya forms the southern boundary of the national park. Some 20 lagoons and tanks support the extensive birdlife of the national park. The lagoons are shallow with depths less than 2 metres (6.6 ft). Kumana villu is subject to occasional inundationwith seawater. The elevation of the area ranges from sea level to 90 metres (300 ft). The mean annual temperature is 27.30 °C (81.14 °F) and the area receives 1,300 millimetres (51.18 in) of annual rainfall.

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Pinnawala

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of Kegalletown in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawala has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 39 males and 49 females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala.
The orphanage was founded to care and protect the many orphaned unweaned wild elephants found wandering in and near the forests of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).

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Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka located in the Southern Province, about 17 km north-west of Galle and 98 km south of Colombo.

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Galle

Galle (Sinhalese: ගාල්ල; Tamil: காலி) is a major city in Sri Lanka, situated on the southwestern tip, 119 km from Colombo. Galle is the administrative capital of Southern Province, Sri Lanka and is the district capital of Galle District.
Galle was known as Gimhathiththa (although Ibn Batuta in the 14th century refers to it as Qali) before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by the Portuguese in South and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between Portuguese architectural styles and native traditions. The city was extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

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Trincomalee

Trincomalee (English: /ˌtrɪŋkoʊməˈliː/; Tamil: திருகோணமலை Tirukōṇamalai; Sinhalese: ත්‍රිකුණාමළය Trikuṇāmalaya) also known as Gokanna,[1] is the administrative headquarters of the Trincomalee District and major resort port city of Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Located on the east coast of the island overlooking the Trincomalee Harbour, 113 miles south of Jaffna and 69 miles north of Batticaloa, Trincomalee has been one of the main centres of Sri Lankan Tamil language speaking culture on the island for over two millennia. With a population of 99,135,[2] the city is built on a peninsula of the same name, which divides its inner and outer harbours. People from Trincomalee are known as Trincomalians and the local authority is Trincomalee Urban Council. Trincomalee city is home to the famous Koneswaram temple alluded to in its historic Tamil name Thirukonamalai and is home to other historical monuments such as the Bhadrakali Amman Temple, Trincomalee, the Trincomalee Hindu Cultural Hall and, opened in 1897, the Trincomalee Hindu College. Trincomalee is also the site of the Trincomalee railway station and an ancient ferry service to Jaffna and the south side of the harbour at Muttur.

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Koggala

Koggala is a small coastal town, situated at the edge of a lagoon on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in Galle District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka, governed by an Urban Council. Koggala is bounded on one side by a reef, and on the other by a large lake, Koggala Lake, into which the numerous tributaries of the Koggala Oya drain. It is approximately 139 kilometres (86 mi) south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 3 metres (9.8 ft) above the sea level.

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Mirissa

Mirissa (Sinhalese: මිරිස්ස) is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in the Matara District of the Southern Province. It is approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 4 metres (13 ft) above the sea level. Mirissa’s beach and night life make it a popular tourist destination. It is also a fishing port and one of the island’s main whale and dolphin watching locations.Mirissa is the largest fishing port on the south coast and is known for its tuna, mullet, snapper and butterfish. In 1980 the first tourist accommodation was built however it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that tourism to the town started to dramatically increase.

Attractions
Mirissa beach
Whale Watching
Sri Sunandarama Temple

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Negombo

Negombo is a major city in Sri Lanka, on the west coast of the island and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, in Western Province, Sri Lanka. It is the largest city in Gampaha district and it is the is the fourth largest city in the country after the capital Colombo, Kandy and Jaffna. It is the second largest city in the Western province after Colombo. Negombo is also the administrative capital of the Negombo Division. It is one of the major commercial hubs in Sri Lanka with about 128,000 inhabitants within city limits.

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Kalutara

Kalutara or Kalutota is a large town in Kalutara District, Western Province, Sri Lanka. It is also the third largest urban area in Western Province after Colombo and Negombo. Kalutara is a scenic resort town.

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Bentota

Bentota is a coastal town in Sri Lanka, located in the Galle District of the Southern Province, governed by an Urban Council. It is approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi) south of Colombo and 56 kilometres (35 mi) north of Galle. Bentota is situated on the southern bank of the Bentota River mouth, at an elevation of 3 metres (9.8 ft) above the sea level. The name of the town is derived from a mythical story which claims a demon named ‘Bem’ ruled the tota or river bank.

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Unawatuna

Bentota is a coastal town in Sri Lanka, located in the Galle District of the Southern Province, governed by an Urban Council. It is approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi) south of Colombo and 56 kilometres (35 mi) north of Galle. Bentota is situated on the southern bank of the Bentota River mouth, at an elevation of 3 metres (9.8 ft) above the sea level. The name of the town is derived from a mythical story which claims a demon named ‘Bem’ ruled the tota or river bank.

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Nine Arches Bridge

The Nine Arches Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in Sri Lanka and is one of the best examples of British railway constructions when Ceylon was yet a colony of the British Empire

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Ravana Ella

The Ravana Falls is a popular sightseeing attraction in Sri Lanka. It currently ranks as one of the widest falls in the country.

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