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Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia that is located in the Indian Ocean, flanked by the Bay of Bengal on the northeast and the Arabian Sea on its northwest. Sri Lanka is also located on the southeast of India, separated by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The capital city of this beautiful island country is the Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte located at the suburb of Sri Lanka’s largest city, Colombo.
Sri Lanka’s history goes back as far as 125 thousand years ago, with the evidence of prehistoric human settlement. The country has documented history that spans over three thousand years thus it is not surprising that Sri Lanka has such a rich cultural heritage. Sri Lanka also happens to be the place where the first known Buddhist writing, the Pali Canon, was found. It is assumed that the writing is dated back in 29 BC, belonging to the Fourth Buddhist Council. Sri Lanka is located in the middle of the Ancient Silk Road and the modern Maritime Silk Road, thanks to its geographic location.
During the British colonial ruling of the country, it was known as Ceylon. The British ruling toppled in the early 20th century after the appearance of the national political movement. This movement had brought independence to the country in 1948. In 1972, it became a republic and adopted the name Sri Lanka to replace Ceylon. Recently, Sri Lanka had been in a civil war that lasted for almost 30 years, between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lankan military. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also known as the Tamil Tigers, wanted to create an independent Tamil state in the north and east of the island. The Tamil Tigers group was defeated by the Sri Lankan military in 2009, thus ending the civil war.
Colombo, Sri Lanka’s metropolis, is the largest city in the country. It is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka with a large harbour and strategic location along the East-West sea trade routes. Colombo became the capital when the country was under the British Empire in 1815 until 1948 when it gained its independence. However, the administrative functions were moved to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte and Colombo was left as the commercial capital. Sri Lanka is one of the countries in the world that has multiple capitals. Both of the legislative capital and the commercial capital are still located in the Colombo district, the former being in the suburb of Colombo. Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in the continent of Asia.
In 2017, it is estimated that Sri Lanka has a population of 22.4 million. The people of Sri Lanka is divided into four major ethnic groups; the Sinhalese, the Sri Lankan Tamils, the Sri Lankan Moors and the Indian Tamils. One of the main languages in Sri Lanka is the Sinhalese, as the Sinhalese people made up the largest ethnic group in the country. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka as Tamil speakers made up the second largest group of people in the country. The Sri Lankans do speak English as it is the main foreign language. These three languages are seen to be written together on road signs and such. Most people in Sri Lanka follow the teaching of Buddhism, followed by Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Though there are more Buddhist in the country, Hinduism is said to come first into Sri Lanka. Islam came to Sri Lanka in the 7th century, brought to the island by the Arab traders while Christianity reached the country via the Western colonist in the early 16th century.
Sri Lankan cuisines are something that every tourist must try. Their dishes have been influenced by many historical and cultural factors, evolving around the ethnic groups and neighbouring countries such as India, Indonesia and even the Netherlands. The staples in the Sri Lankan cuisines are usually rice, coconut and spices. Spices have been a part of Sri Lanka’s history as one of the biggest spice producers and traders over several centuries.
A ticket flight from Kuala Lumpur to the Bandaranaike International Colombo Airport, Sri Lanka starts from MYR 457. A Malaysian that is visiting Sri Lanka is required to apply for a tourist visa before travelling there. If not, an additional fee of USD 5 will be imposed when applying at the Bandaranaike International Airport on top of the USD 20 for the visa. The flight will take about three and a half hours to reach. This international airport in Sri Lanka is located in the suburb of Negombo, about 33 kilometres from the centre of Colombo. Travelling from the airport to the city centre will take about twenty minutes by car. There is also a coach service that operates every fifteen minutes from the airport to the city centre.
Regarding tourism, Sri Lanka offers a great deal of mesmerising natural beauties despite it being a small, island country. The country is rich in biodiversity and wildlife resources. The country is rated among the biodiversity hotspots in the world. 7% of the Sri Lankan’s land has been designated as national parks. Publics are welcome to observe and study the wildlife in the national parks. The national parks also have been the top tourist spots in the country. There are more than twenty national parks on the island, some with their own unique features. The Yala National Park located on the southeast of the island, is the most visited and second largest park in Sri Lanka, happens to be the highest concentration of leopards per square kilometres. The Minneriya Park in the northeast of the Colombo, has the largest wild Asian elephants gathering. National parks in Sri Lanka are a must-go for every nature lovers.
Apart from their beautiful parks, the country also has equally mesmerising beaches with almost 1.6 thousand kilometres of coastlines. Most of their coastlines have features such as bays, lagoons and sandbanks. Water-based recreational activities are famous along the coastlines, such as swimming, surfing snorkelling and boating. Some part of the beaches is also suitable for scuba diving and underwater photography. About ten beaches around Sri Lanka are famous among the locals and foreign tourists. One of the famous beaches here is Unawatuna.
Cultural tourism in Sri Lanka is perfect for history-enthusiast. The country is filled with museums and theatres. So far there are four national museums and another twenty-six archaeological museums scattered around the country. The museums are usually located in the major cities in Sri Lanka. The country also celebrates some festivals, as it is a multicultural country. These festivities include the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations, Christmas, and Ramadhan among others. For a foodie, Sri Lanka’s cuisines are something not to be missed when visiting the country. Thanks to the influences from multicultural people and surrounding countries, their cuisines are exceptional with flavours revolving around rice, coconuts and various type of spices. Sri Lanka is not only one of the largest producer of spices but also tea. Its tea history began when the British started to introduce tea to Ceylon. Pure Ceylon tea is considered one of the finished teas produced in the world.
Sri Lanka has many places with religious and historical significance that have been attracting tourists from all over the world. The Sri Pada mountain is said to be a sacred mountain for the major religions in Sri Lanka; Buddhist, Hindus, and even some of the Muslims and Christians.
This is a four-star hotel located in the middle of the metropolis, about 35 kilometres from the airport. It is one of the luxury hotels in the district, serving their guests with clean and comfortable rooms, great and friendly services, together with the awesome restaurant. It is perfect for foreigners to stay at the hotel has staffs that can understand and speak English. The rooms at the hotel start from MYR450 a night complete with complimentary Wi-Fi connection. The Cinnamon Red Colombo is also perfect for business travellers who are looking for a great place to stay while in the metropolis. The Cinnamon Red Colombo has a fitness centre and an outdoor pool. The hotel also offers tours of the metropolis.
Another great hotel located in the metropolis of Colombo. It is slightly further down, about forty-three kilometres from the international airport. The Anarva Mount Lavinia offers such an inexpensive rate for their room, starting from as low as MYR 260 for a night. This rate has included two breakfast services, together with free Wi-Fi connection. The hotel not only offers a great deal for their rooms, but they also have friendly staffs and impressive services. The food serves at their restaurant is said to be one of the best in town and the chefs are very accommodating to the guest's special dietary needs. The facilities at the hotel are great as they include a fitness centre, a spa, and also an infinity pool that is located on the rooftop.