Colmbo , A wondrous port city that braved colonisation and ethnic conflicts with grace and now stands with a poise to grow. The colonial charm of temples, monasteries and bungalows coexists with skyscrapers, malls, tuk-tuks (auto rickshaws) and flavours of a city on ocean banks. Stroll along Pettah Market miles away from the affluent world of Cinnamon Gardens and haggle over merchandise

Sight Seeing
Ancient yet modern, Colombo is more than just Sri Lanka's capital city. Visit the 17th century Colombo Dutch Museum for an incredible insight into the early Dutch trade in the city. The 100 year old red and blue-striped Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque in Pettah, is a bizarre sight amidst the main bazaar. The old St Peter's Church at Wolfendahl Street & Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara are frequented by Christians and Buddhists respectively.
The only surviving for in Colombo, the Colombo fort serves as a prison today. The Presidential Secretariat, the 17th century Grand Oriental Hotel and the Lighthouse Clock Tower are sights you cannot miss. The National Museum has a good collection of reproduced 19th century English paintings of Sri Lanka and antique cultural masks.
If you're a peace-hunter, The Dehiwala Zoo, affluent and verdant Cinnamon Gardens, and Viharamahadevu Park, which is Colombo's biggest park, are some places where your search will end.

Things to Do
Some of the best diving sites in Asia are located just a bit off Colombo's coast, and are popular among those who want to explore forgotten underwater shipwrecks. If you are diving off the West Coast, take a look at an exhilarating WWII plane at the seabed! Nearby Mount Lavinia and Nilaveli are excellent spots for everything that breathes sun and sand. Nilaveli is the hub for water sports, so head here if you want to try water skiing, fishing or snorkelling.

Fairs & Events
The Duruthu Perahera is the grandest of all festivals celebrated in Colombo. The parade of costumed dancers, elephants and ornate elephants are simply too spectacular a sight. The Hindu Vel Festival where devotees observe ritualistic practises in devotion to Lord Murugan and the Mayurapathy Chariot Festival are celebrated with zest among the Hindu community. Other important festivals are the Tamil and Sinhala New Year, Vesak, Deepavali and Independence Day.

Shopping
Colombo is a great place to buy antiques, wooden furniture, tea and handicrafts. If you are looking to buy clothing, there are many stores that sell European and American brands for throwaway prices! Paradise Road is the best outlet where you can find good bargains. They are known for good antiques and home decor as well. Beverley Street is the best bet for fashionistas.
For those who are looking to buy gems like cat's eye, sapphire and moonstone, it is best not to buy it as an investment unless you are knowledgeable about gems. The Sri Lankan Gem and Jewellery Exchange in Colombo has a gem-testing laboratory for use but be aware that you are not led into buying anything you are sceptical about. Buy ceramic drinking gourds, batik or ceremonial masks. They make exceptional keepsakes. To get a good pack of Ceylonese tea, try the Tea Tang or Miesna Tea stores at the Colombo airport. You will not be disappointed. A tip before buying the tea in bulk - ask for a tasting.
The Sri Lankan capital is a rhapsody of melting-pot culture, devout war and ageless progress; and one can never find which of these came first....


Located in South of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital city, Bentota, is one of the best coastal spots in the world. Charming fishing villages, a rustic countryside and an elegant line of world class resorts, much of Bentota's history is forgotten.
The local populace, however, treasures the rich heritage sites like the 12th century Galapata Vihara and the Wanawasa Raja Maha Viharaya Buddhist temples, and a number of monasteries that in a strange way strike a chord with the region's history.

Sight Seeing
Bentota beach is beautifully divided into North beach and South beach. North beach is fairly quiet although it is frequented by a lot of tourists, while the attractive South beach glistens with resorts, white sands and swaying palms. The Wanawasa Raja Maha Viharaya, a Buddhist temple is an odd combination of colourful paintings and statues at the eastern end of the Island. The imitation of Adam's Peak is a sight to see here.
Head to the popular Bentota beach to soak in some sun and revel in the view of the aquamarine ocean. Flanked by the Indian Ocean and the gushing Bentota River and a sprinkling of plush resorts, Bentota beach is one of the most popular haunts on the Island.
Bustling winds make for perfect weather for you to enjoy surfing, jet skiing and scuba diving. The Canoe Rock is an easy dive that is suited for divers of all ages, and preferred among those who visit here. South Reef is another rocky outcrop that makes for a fascinating underwater exploratory.

Things to do
Water sports are the most popular activities in Bentota. Bentota beach is ideal for everything ranging from jet skiing and wakeboarding to surfing and diving. Dive sites like the Canoe Rock and South Reef give an insight into the depths of Bentota's crystal blue waters. Surfing is excellent along the East coast, near Trincomalee and Aragum Bay. Cruising along the Bentota River is another popular activity during the day. Baby crocodiles are a common sight along Bentota beach. The Hundirangala dive site is an excellent spot for night dives. One of the curious activities here is paddling on a glass boat to view the corals beneath.

Shopping
Bentota has few shops along the beachfront and some in the villages. Handicrafts are usually the most sought-after items in Bentota. The Galle Road, Ambalangoda, is lined with the island's best antique dealers and you can find Dutch period furniture, porcelain and brass lamps here. Bargaining is the key to get good deals on anything you buy. The Ariyapala Mask Museum in Ambalangoda, which is owned by the famous mask carver family, the Wijesooriya preserves century-old carving and mask painting techniques. The mask collection here is decorative, and ridden with meanings. Dudley Silva has excellent Sri Lankan Batiks.
The Bentota Bazaar in the village is a good place to buy beach wear, souvenirs and curios.



Kandy is a popular summer destination and caters to people with a wide range of interests, and wildlife is but one of the many things you can explore. Home to a Buddha's tooth relic, this city is unique. A World Heritage Site, it is one of Sri Lanka's most bewitching cities with ancient temples like Dalada Maligawa, Gadaladeniya Temple and Embekke Temple that sit by Kandy Lake and are surrounded by hills.

Do not miss the procession of the elephants from Pinnawala Elephant's Orphanage to the nearby river for their daily bath. People stand up on the raised sidewalk to let the elephants pass for their bath. It is amusing to watch the elephants run eagerly for a bath. Just another one of the pleasant surprises that Kandy loves to throw your way!

Sight Seeing
In Kandy Chants from the temples and commercial activities at the City Centre and Main Market, greet you.. Make a beeline to Dalada Maligawa, significant for the Buddha tooth that lies under a golden canopy. It is shown to the public once in six years and at other times, it lies hidden in a casket. The 14th century temple trinity-Gadaladeniya Temple, Embekke Temple and Lanka Tilaka Temple - are examples of Indo-Lankan fusion architecture. The stone carvings, murals, paintings and sculptures that adorn the temple walls are a sight to behold. It is common to see the unusual flowers of the cannonball trees.

Shopping
Kandy is essentially a market town. Take home a few curios or ethnic trinkets after a good haggle. There are brass sculptures of Buddha and Hindu gods. Among spices, vanilla spice is in demand. There are lots of vendors outside the temple complex near the Kandy Lake. The entire town seems to be full of street sellers selling snacks, books on Buddhism, ice candies, tea, T-shirts with mythological figures, and paintings of Kandyan landscapes.

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