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Monkey Business
Sri Lanka
Together with elephants, monkeys are an integral part to Sri Lanka's wildlife. The baboon-like toque macaque are usually found in groups of 20-30, and are not adverse to human contact. They can be quite forward, so watch out for your belongings.
Sri Lanka: Monkey



Fort
Galle
First built by the Portuguese, and then modified by the Dutch, the Galle Fort is the city's most prominent landmark. The British also left their mark on the Fort, most noticeably through the construction of the clock tower.
Galle: Portuguese Dutch Fort

Galle Road
Colombo
Running through the length of city, Galle Road is Colombo's main artery. If you don't mind the ever-present noise and commotion of buses, tuk-tuks and cars, it's a good place to do some shopping and experience the chaos of the city.
Colombo: Galle Road

Travel
Sri Lanka Tourism
Official site
Sri Lanka Tourism
Government site
Sri Lanka News
Online edition

Asia | S. Asia | Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Serendipity Now

For a country of its size, Sri Lanka packs an astonishing range of attractions. The Arab name for the island has even given English the word serendipity. It's a mixture of stunning natural beaty, a wide variety of wildlife (even one of the world's top whale-watching destinations) and ancient historical landmarks, topped of with world class beaches. Now that the internal problems seem to have been resolved, Sri Lanka's tourism industry is in for a boost.
Mirissa: Beach

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Kandy: Kandy Lake and Temple of the Tooth Kandy: Buddha's Tooth

It is said that parts of Buddha's remains were rescued from the fire of his cremation, including one of his teeth. Eventually, it was smuggled into Sri Lanka in the hair of an Orissan princess. After being captured several times, and moved around by its various possesors, it finally arrived in Kandy in 1592. It is now housed in the Temple of the Teeth, situated on the north side of Kandy Lake. There are doubts regarding the authenticity of the tooth, however the Sri Lankans hold it in high regard and show up in large numbers to show their devotion.

Mirissa: Whale Watching

Over the years, numerous sightings of whales off of the coast of Sri Lanka has indicated it being a possible whale-watching destination. However, it was the British marine biologist Dr. Charles Anderson who pinpointed the best place to look for whales, namely around Dondra Head (near Mirissa on the southernmost tip of the island. This has jettisoned Sri Lanka into one of the two or three best whale-watching destinations in the world, and on a good day it's possible to get near encounters with sperm and blue whales.
Mirissa: Blue whale near Dondra Head

Pinnawala: Elephant Orphanage Pinnawala: Elephant Orphanage

Dating back to 1975, Pinnawala is home to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. From its humble beginnings with five elephants, it now houses over 80 elephants. The elephants range from babies to the almost 80 year old (and blind) Raja. One of its other famous residents include the three-legged Sama, which has the misfortune of once having stepped on a landmine. The orphanage is located just off the main road between Colombo and Kandy, just 40 kilometers west of Kandy.

Unawatuna: The Beach

Though opinions differ on it's splendidness, the beach village of Unawatuna has emerged as the most popular destination for independent travelers. One feature which has contributed to this, in addition to the idyllic setting of the half-moon shaped bay and soft sands, is the calm waters ensured by a series of rocks 150 meters offshore. New guesthouses and restaurants continue to appear on and near the beach, which has taken away some of the sleepiness of the village. Though it still remains lively at the same time as offering visitors everything one could expect from a tropical beach.
Unawatuna: Beach

Colombo: Galle Face Green Colombo: Galle Face Green

One of the more pleasant experiences in Colombo is a sunset stroll along the seafront promenade of Galle Face Green, feeling a gentle breeze from the Indian Ocean. It's one of the few open public spaces in the city, and for a city that was long under siege from the internal conflicts its a welcome place for the cities inhabitants to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. On Saturdays and Sundays it fills up with families on picknicks and food vendors, and the sky hosts a large number of kites.



Train
Sri Lanka
The trains in Sri Lanka date back to the British, and not much has changed about them since then. A ride through the hills from Kandy or along the coast to Galle, is definitly one of the highlights of any trip to Sri Lanka. It's also a good way to meet the locals.
Sri Lanka: Kandy to Colombo train

Facts
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Capital
Colombo
Largest city
Colombo
Population
20,238,000 (2009)
Area
65,610 km²
Official language(s)
Sinhala, Tamil
Government
Democratic Socialist Republic

History
Sri Lanka
500 BC: Arrival of first Sinhalese from North India.
260 BC: Buddhism introduced.
161-137 BC: First Sri Lankan kingdom, with capital in Anuradhapura.
1505: Arrival of Portuguese, later Dutch and then British.
1948:Gains independence from British.
1972:Name changes from Ceylon to Sri Lanka.
1983:Civil war breaks out between Tamils and Sinhalese.

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