Sri Lanka or Ceylon is an enchanting tropical island in the Indian Ocean with golden, sandy beaches, exotic wildlife, rolling hills, tea plantations, colonial towns and friendly people. The traditional greeting, Ayu Bowan - "wishing you a long life" - is testament to this.
Distinctive Buddhist dagobas or stupas dot the plains and hills. Some of Asia's oldest legends and fables are set here and the island has a long history of contact with foreign merchants and powers. Buddhist, Tamil, Roman, Arab, Portuguese, Dutch and British influences can all be seen in Sri Lanka's fascinating cultural kaleidoscope.
Relatively small size belies its enormously varied landscape; from dense jungles - home to shy leopards and wild elephants - to empty golden beaches; from monasteries and temples peopled by saffron-clad monks to cool, misty mountains contoured with tea and dotted with the bright saris of pickers.
Choose from colonial history, the legacy of the Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa, Dambulla and Anuradhapura- which form the Cultural Triangle - the old capital of Kandy and the hill station of Nuwara Eliya. Sri Lankans are incredibly warm and friendly, and bright smiles are everywhere - don't be surprised if a stranger invites you home for tea or to a family meal - it's quite normal! One of the best things about holidays to Sri Lanka is that, due to its small size nothing is very far from anything else; it is possible to spend the morning in the hills watching the tea pickers, the afternoon at an ancient Buddhist temple and the evening eating seafood beside a romantic sandy beach.
Reasons for choosing Sri Lanka for your incentives and conferences
The Ancient Cities are a fascinating region, full of archaeology, history and natural beauty. During the golden age of the Sinhalese civilisation it was named Rajarata - the land of the kings. The first city to be built was Anuradhapura followed by the rock fortress at Sigiriya and the medieval Polonnaruwa. The cities were only reclaimed from the jungle in the past century and offer a direct insight into Sri Lanka's colorful past.
Colombo is the economic and political capital of Sri Lanka and is a big bustling city. If you get a chance to spend some time here, the Fort, Cinnamon Gardens and Pettah (an old and historically interesting district) are worth exploring.
Away from the heat of the coastal regions, the Hill Country contains some of Sri Lanka's most stunning scenery. From the rolling tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya to the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, the Hill Country is a land unto itself, pulsating with adventure and charm.
Sri Lanka's South Coast is the perfect location for finding some time to relax on the palm lined beaches of the Indian Ocean. From small fishing villages to the colonial port of Galle, the South Coast has much more to offer than just a beach destination.
Sri Lanka is famous for its idyllic beaches which stretch from the undeveloped eastern coast all the way around to the west near Colombo. The beaches and the accommodation vary from small intimate boutiques to luxurious resorts on private beaches and larger hotels in more bustling places.
If you love elephants then Sri Lanka is the place for you. The Millenium Elephant Foundation and Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage not far from Kandy give you the opportunity to visit young, elderly and sick elephants but also the chance to wash them and enjoy a ride on these magnificent creatures
No trip to Sri Lanka is complete without seeing some of its abundant wildlife. The best places to enjoy this are Uda Walawe, Yala, and Minneriya National Park. Here you can enjoy an exciting jeep safari which takes you close to wild elephants, crocodiles and even the illusive leopard
Sri Lanka rises up from the coast to the hills, a rolling landscape dotted with tea bushes, and interlaced with streams and waterfalls. The lush landscape and cool climate prove to be an ideal combination for tea and Sri Lanka has long been a pilgrimage site for tea planters and tourists looking for the perfect cuppa.
Temples and Festivals
Brightly painted elephants, fireworks, beating drums, and twirling dancers - Sri Lanka's festivals are as colourful and elaborate as the temples they centre on. The countryâ€™s largest festival, the Kandy Perahera revolves around the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth which is a must-see on any visit to Sri Lanka
Apart from above, Sri Lanka offers:
Excellent air connectivity
Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, has direct flights from most major European cities, as well as from Delhi, Cochin, Chennai and many other Indian cities. If you are considering a holiday to Sri Lanka then it works very well as a two-centre holiday with the Maldives or with destinations in India.
World class hotels offering limited state-of-the-art Conference venues
The past few years have seen numerous new hotels opening in Sri Lanka, with tea planters' bungalows, private beach villas and small boutique hotels providing comfortable character accommodation. Many historical buildings including gentlemen's clubs and private homes now take in guests, and a number of distinctive hotels and beach villas designed by Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka's most famous architect, offer elegant and luxurious options.
Tea, Spices and more