Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Description Sri Lanka

07-05-2020 1.799 Views


At the evocation of Sri Lanka, this remote island of the Spice Road, formerly known as Ceylon, images emerge immediately: green shades of rice fields and spice gardens, sheep foaming at the edge of the beaches planted with coconut trees, green, rolling tea plantations on the side of mountains, mysterious ancient cities engulfed by the jungle, fervent crowds of Sri Lankan temples, hieratic serenity of the statues of Buddha …

Add cinnamon, precious stones, rare woods, the remnants of the British Empire, elephants, tropical moiurs and the freshness of mountainous areas, as well as the frescoes of the seductive ladies of Sigiriya. and it is immediately the Sinhala enchantment that emerges from its magic box…

Of course, the terrible images of the civil war and then of the 2004 tsunami do not disappear overnight. But for Sri Lankans and travellers alike, the page is turned. An air of renewal now blows all over the island until reaching the peninsula of Jaffna, so exotic Tamil culture.

With these invaluable testimonies of the splendour that has passed today, freed from their vegetal gangue, the phoenix Sri Lanka is finally reborn from its ashes. Sri Lankans have regained a smile and are welcoming visitors from around the world with incredible warmth.
 

Have a nice trip to Sri Lanka !

Great tour of Sri Lanka

Visit everything to return without regret!
Opportunity to discover Sri Lankan culture through religion, spices, tea and gardens Visit many original monuments: temples with an exciting history, cities with a rich architectural heritage. Discovery of Sri Lankan wildlife and incredible landscapes.
  • Sri Lanka
  • 16 Days 15 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

SRI LANKA AS YOU WISH

Culture shines like a lighthouse in the dark
Opportunity to discover Sri Lankan culture (tea, cinnamon, religion ...) Visit of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Discovery of Sigiriya Fortress, truly emblematic monument of Sri Lanka Incredible scenery, rest days at the beach
  • Sri Lanka
  • 9 Days 8 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

SRI LANKA, THE PEARL OF THE INDIAN OCEAN

Sri Lanka did not steal its nickname of "Pearl of the Indian Ocean"!
Opportunity to discover Sri Lankan culture through its religion, spices, tea, gardens. Visit many original monuments: temples with fascinating history, cities with a rich architectural heritage Discovery of Sri Lankan wildlife and incredible landscapes.
  • Sri Lanka
  • 11 Days 10 Nights
  • Adventure

Paradise on earth

The azure ocean as you have never seen it
Opportunity to discover Sri Lankan culture through its religion, spices, tea, gardens. Visit many original monuments: temples with fascinating history, cities with a rich architectural heritage. Discovery of Sri Lankan fauna and its incredible landscapes.
  • Sri Lanka
  • 7 Days 6 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

SRI LANKA TO MALDIVES

A beautiful final touch
Opportunity to discover Sri Lankan culture through its religion, spices, tea, gardens. Visit many original monuments: temples with fascinating history, cities with a rich architectural heritage. Discovery of Sri Lankan fauna and its incredible landscapes.
  • Sri Lanka
  • 11 Days 10 Nights
  • Classic & cultural

The authentic Sri Lanka

Authenticity, the only thing you need
Opportunity to discover Sri Lankan culture through its religion, spices, tea, gardens. Visit many original monuments: temples with fascinating history, cities with a rich architectural heritage. Discovery of Sri Lankan fauna: turtles, elephants, leopards, birds ... Incredible landscapes
  • Sri Lanka
  • 10 Days 9 Nights
  • Classic & cultural
Culture
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POPULATION :
 

  • Sinhala (75%)
  • Tamil (15%) in the North (Indigenous or southern Indian)
  • Moorish (7%) on the coast (former Arab traders. Name given in reference to the Moors of Andalusia)
RELIGION :
  • Theravada Buddhism (70%).
  • Hinduism (12%) among Tamils.
  • Sunni Islam (8%) among Moors.
  • Catholic Christianity (6%) related to colonization.
CUSTOMS :
  • Religion is very important in Sri Lanka, especially for Buddhists. Sri Lanka is dotted with holy places, temples and ruins (for example, the city of Anuradhapura is a high place of pilgrimage).
  • You should never turn your back on a statue of Buddha.
  • Never point a finger at a statue of Buddha.
  • As Sri Lankans are very modest, try to dress accordingly. In holy places: no shoes or headgear, leg and shoulder covered. There is also a color code depending on the religion: white for Buddhism and black for Hinduism each representing purity.
  • Like the Indians, the Sri Lankans are nodding to make a statement. Indeed, unlike us, swinging his head from right to left means “yes”.
SOME IMPORTANT FESTIVITIES :
 
  • Poya is the name given to the full moon day in Sri Lanka and more globally in Southeast Asia. In the Buddhist religion, this day corresponds to an event of Buddha’s life. A Poya Day, or “Moon Festival”, is a Sri Lankan holiday that takes place every full moon, about once a month. We can then attend the closing of the shops and banks since prayer at the temple is recommended. In addition, Buddhism strongly encourages people to neither eat meat nor drink alcohol. We then make moon cakes based on lotus seeds and eggs that we will offer. Each Poya is unique and is commemorated for a specific reason.
  • Among Buddhists, the first full moon of the new year, following the lunar calendar, is named Vesak Poya, the most important of all lunar festivals, celebrating the birthday of Buddha. It is on this day that Buddha was born, on this day that Buddha found enlightenment and also on this day that he died. It is therefore a religious festival coupled with a festival, called festival of lights. Thus, you will have the opportunity to see the city decorated with many paper lanterns, the temples are full of faithful and food is distributed to passers-by.
  • The Perahero Poya or “Tooth Feast” is a unique religious feast in Kandy, the religious capital of Sri Lanka. Indeed, the city where the «tooth» of Buddha is located sets up, every year between July and August a procession of elephants as well as dancers through the city, at night, And that, every evening for 10 days. The aim is to pay homage to the relic and the Buddha.
  • Shivaratri is a Hindu religious feast in honor of the marriage between the god of destruction Shiva and Parvati. It consists of prayer, meditation, fasting, singing and dancing in honor of the god. During this feast, it is necessary to be able to show virtues such as honesty or temperance, to forgive and not to hurt others. With a little luck, you can watch one of the statues being soaked in milk and honey before being painted red, representing purity.
  • As Vesak is the festival of lights among Buddhists, Diwali is in the Hindu world. Thus, this religious feast observed between September and October according to the Christian calendar celebrates the victory of Rama over Ravana: «The victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, of knowledge over ignorance». It is a very popular Hindu festival that is celebrated all over the country and lasts 5 days during which we will light candles, decorate the houses with lights and garlands, fire fireworks as well as offer gifts. The faithful practice cleansing rituals, while members of other denominations are also invited to participate in the festivities.
THE FOOD :

Sri Lankans eat mostly rice and curry. It’s not just chicken. Indeed, it can very well be made with fish, vegetables or fruit.

The Sri Lankan cuisine is known to be the most spicy in the world due to the high use of peppers. But luckily for travellers, the peppers are always “separate”, so they can be avoided.

Sri Lanka is also known as the country of origin for so-called “real” cinnamon and is the largest exporter.

He is also the 4th tea producer in the world. It is therefore possible to walk and admire beautiful green tea fields on the hillsides.

Here are some Sri Lankan specialties :

  • Mets : : rice and curry very often accompanied by sambals (pepper condiment).
  • Roti: traditional flat bread made from wheat flour.
  • Kottu Roti: mix of sautéed vegetables and bread (roti). You can add eggs, meat or even cheese.
  • Appa: crepe of fermented rice flour and coconut milk with spices. Variants can be found with eggs or milk.
  • Kiribath: rice cooked in salted coconut milk. More often prepared for special occasions such as birthdays or religious holidays.
  • Lamprais: rice, fricadelles (meatball), meat and eggplant curry and chilli, all in a banana leaf and baked. This dish comes from the influence of European settlers. It is more often prepared for large meals because of its rather long preparation time.
  • Kool: seafood broth such as crab, fish, cuttlefish, shrimp or crayfish. Then add beans, cassava and spinach.
  • Kokis: Fried cake made with rice flour and coconut milk.
  • Kiri Toffee: caramel made of condensed milk sweetened with cinnamon.
  • Kalu Dodol: caramel made from coconut milk, rice flour and sugar.
  • Pushnambu: cake made with wheat flour, coconut milk and cinnamon.
  • Faluda: mix of rose syrup, basil seed, milk, ice and pieces of jelly.
  • Toddy: alcohol based on palm sap.
Before leaving
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PASSPORT & VISA
 
In order to visit Sri Lanka, you need a valid passport. It must be valid for this 6 months after the date of return.
Regarding VISA, the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) is mandatory and must be obtained before boarding via the following website: www.eta.gov.lk, in order to avoid any waiting at the airport.
Once the request is made, the registration is done directly on the passport number. You will obtain a 30-day authorization on Sri Lankan territory. The cost of this authorization is 35 USD.
Before leaving, we advise you to photocopy all important documents such as passports, airline tickets, driving licenses ... This can be very useful in case of loss of documents.


HEALTH and VACCINES
 
In terms of health, no vaccine is required to visit Sri Lanka, however, it should be up to date in conventional vaccinations (such as: diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid, polio, meningitis, fever typhoid, hepatitis).
However, it is strongly recommended to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A, typhoid fever if the stay is of long duration but also Encephalitis if you intend to travel in rural areas.
Do not hesitate to provide a small pharmacy kit with some basic products, it will be very useful in case of first aid.
Also remember to take protective measures against mosquito bites.
Namely: The most common reported infection is hepatitis A which can be transmitted through food but also by water. Hepatitis B is spread by blood and saliva. The most common health problems among travelers are digestive problems and diarrhea, which can be treated by avoiding spicy dishes and drinking plenty of water.

 
CLIMATE
 
The climate in Sri Lanka is tropical, hot and humid during monsoon periods. The rest of the year, it is hot and dry.
The average temperature varies between 20 and 35 degrees, Sri Lanka is characterized by 3 seasons that you have to know in order to adapt your trip. There is a dry season as well as monsoons, one big and one small. The rains are determined by the latter:
 
The big monsoon that corresponds to that of the Southwest it lasts on average 4 months, from May to August.
The little monsoon that takes place from October to January in the North-East of the country.
The dry season runs from December to March where rains are scarce and this is the best time to visit the country.
So, when it rains on the West Coast, prefer to orient your trip to the East Coast and vice versa.


INSURANCE
 
All travelers are required to take out an insurance policy for their trip before participating in our tours. It is strongly recommended that you take out insurance and bring the copy with you. The country lacks infrastructure outside major cities, repatriation or medical transportation can be complicated and very expensive.

 
MONEY
 
Be sure to ask your bank about the use of your credit card and the fees for using it. Travel options exist, so consider traveling at no extra cost.

 
ELECTRICITY
 
The electric current is 220 volts and the plugs are identical to the French plugs before European standardization but some hotels use British plugs, we still recommend you to bring an adapter with you.
 
On the spot
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NATIONAL CURRENCY
 
The currency used in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan rupee.
It is important to know that it is impossible to change the Sri Lankan currency outside the country. To do this, it is necessary to change money when arriving on the spot.
You can change your currency in exchange offices located in major cities, at airports, or in banks.
You also have the option of withdrawing money from distributors.
Some traders accept dollars but we advise you to pay in Sri Lankan foreign currency, which will be more profitable for you.
Namely: distributors are present in major cities so think about having the necessary money before leaving.
The current exchange rate is: 1 USD = 181.43 LKR

 
PHONE 
 
To call Sri Lanka from France, dial 00 94 + number of the correspondent (without the 0).
To call France from Sri Lanka, dial 00 33 + number of the correspondent (without the 0).
A practical and economical solution, if you want to use your mobile phone during your stay in Sri Lanka, is to buy a local prepaid SIM card, it will cost you less and you will always have news of your loved ones.

 
INTERNET
 
You will find an internet connection very easily in cybercafés, airports, shops, hotels and restaurants.
In contrast, in the countryside, the connection is a little more restricted, but almost all hotels have their own Internet connection, so it is always possible to stay connected during your trip.

 
THE WATER 
 
Be very careful about the water you drink. Never drink tap water, always drink bottled water and check that it is properly capped. It is necessary to be vigilant also with the ice cubes, to consume exclusively cubic ice cubes or with a form of cylindrical hole in the middle.

 
TRANSPORT ON SITE
 
Once there, you can choose between different modes of transport:
 
The car: all the vehicles used for our tours are modern and air-conditioned vehicles, which range from the classic car to the bus for 45 people.
The train: The Sri Lankan railway covers about 1,500 kilometers. There, the train is an excellent means of transport to discover sumptuous landscapes. The train journey in the center of the country from Kandy to Ella is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.

 
A FEW USEFUL VOCABULARY WORDS
 
The languages spoken in Sri Lanka are Sinhalese (spoken by about 75% of the population) as well as Tamil (spoken by 25% of the population). Learning these languages is difficult, however we present you some words of vocabulary:
 
In Sinhalese:
  • Hello: Ayubowan
  • Good evening: Suba rathiyak way va
  • My name: Magae nama
  • I do not understand: Mata thayrennay nehe
  • Sorry: Samaāva
  • Thank you very much: Bohoma istout
  • Goodbye: Ayubowan
  • Yes / No: Ovou / Néhé
  • How much does it cost ? : Eekka keeyada?
In Tamil:
  • Hello: Halō
  • My name: Eṉ peyar
  • I do not understand: Eṉakku puriyavillai
  • Sorry: Maṉṉippu
  • Thank you very much: Mikavum naṉṟi
  • Goodbye: Kuṭpai
  • Yes / No: Ām / Illai
  • How much does it cost ? : Evvaḷavu celavākum?
 

Attractions
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Between ruins steeped in the history of ancient extinct civilizations, idyllic beaches and the warm welcome of Sri Lankans, Sri Lanka is a complete destination that will make you discover its treasures. You will also discover the face of a country still very attached to religion, with for example the visit of the Temple of Kandy, or that of Dambulla. More known for its beaches as far as the eye can see, the island peninsula is more than a pearl of the ocean. Your trip to Sri Lanka will be marked by this diversity of things to discover, it is certain that you will come back with plenty of memories !

THE ATTRACTIONS

Kandy

Adam’s Peak

Sigiriya « The Lion Rock »

Dambulla

Galle

Anuradhapura

Polonnaruwa

Yala Nature Reserve

Uda Walawe National Park

Sinharaja

The tea fields

Horton Plains

Discovery in train

Bentota

Jaffna

Tangalle

KANDY

Kandy was the capital of the Kingdom of Kandy. It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Located 500 metres above sea level in a lush valley, it is considered the religious capital of Sri Lanka and a sacred place in Buddhism.

In fact, it houses an important relic: the tooth of Buddha in the temple of the same name. It also has one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world: Peradeniya, known for its many orchids, spices and medicinal plants. In short, a destination not to be missed!

ADAM’S PEAK

The mountain rises to more than 2,200 metres, located in the southwest of the island within the district of Ratnapura, called Adam’s Peak, is known for the presence of a rocky cavity, at its summit, similar to a footprint. According to the Buddhists, this would be Buddha’s. While for the Hindus, this would be proof of the passage of one of the gods of the Triumvirate on earth: Shiva or Vishnu. Finally, according to the Muslims, this would be the footprint of Adam (hence the name of the mountain) when he fell from the Gardens of Eden. Every year this mountain attracts many pilgrims and hikers who are reaching its ascent. Once at the top you can admire, as a reward, a breathtaking landscape!

SIGIRIYA “THE LION ROCK”

Sigiriya or «Lion Rock», located in the center of the country, is the site of an old royal palace built on a rock culminating at nearly 370 meters height.

It was towards the end of the 5th century that Kassapa, an illegitimate son who had fomented a coup against his father, made this place the capital. Indeed, the height of the walls as well as the thick surrounding jungle gives birth to a natural fortress, perfect to protect itself. He built canals to carry water to the top of the rock, feeding the king’s pool and the noble baths. Gardens and ponds bloom rapidly in the surrounding area, at the same time as imposing walls. You can also discover the fresco of the Ladies of Sigiriya, an important archaeological trace, the only representation of female figures from medieval times in Sri Lanka. Incredible view of the surrounding jungle, do not forget that you will have to climb quite a lot of stairs before arriving to the summit !

It is a very important archaeological site of Sri Lanka and which also gives the opportunity to observe a wonderful view at its top. This site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

DAMBULLA

Located in the centre of Sri Lanka, north of the city of Kandy, Dambulla contains more than 150 Buddha statues and 2100 m² of wall painting.

The city is known as a holy place appreciated by monks for meditation and prayer. Its many temples are carved in the cliff or built in the caves of the wide underground complex of the region. Among the 24 temples, only 5 can be visited by tourists. There is also the Golden Temple of the Buddha. An excavation site and ancient wall paintings have demonstrated the presence of indigenous people in the area, long before the arrival of Indians or Buddhism.

GALLE

Galle, located on the south-west coast of the island, is known for being the largest European fortress in Asia.

In fact, at first colonized by the Portuguese towards the 16th century who made it their trade port, it is really towards the 18th century, under Dutch domination, that the city is developed with several bastions and canals to make it a real jewel of the Dutch East India Company that will allow the supply of cinnamon to Europe. It will then come under English domination towards the 16th century where its development will continue within the British Raj. You can thus admire many European constructions like its lighthouse or its Dutch Reformed church. In addition, local culture, especially food, has a strong European influence, particularly from Portugal.

ANURADHAPURA

Anuradhapura is the ancient capital of a kingdom that existed from 380 BCE in the 11th century AD. It was founded by King Devanampiya Tissa and was therefore inhabited for nearly 2400 years. This city, with an area of 7,179 km2, is located in the province of Central-North.

It is now surrounded by monasteries and is considered a holy place in Theravada Buddhism. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the Sri Lankan civil war between the Sinhala Buddhists and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Lam, an organization fighting for the creation of an independent state, it served as a base for the Sinhalese.

POLONNARUWA

Polonnaruwa, located not far from Dambulla in the centre of Sri Lanka, was the capital of the eponymous kingdom that succeeded Anuradhapra. Following the invasion of the Chola dynasty in the Kingdom of Anuradhapura, King Vijayabahu I chose to move the capital there. The city stretches over 120 hectares and is known for its magnificent ruins, religious remains, royal monuments and population from Macaque to Toque.

YALA NATURE RESERVE

Yala Nature Reserve is located in the Uva region of southern Sri Lanka, which is the second most populated. It is one of the largest reserves in the country and one of the first to be created.

It attracts a lot of people every year and is home to many animal species: Sri Lankan elephants, monkeys, swamp and marine crocodiles, snakes like the Indian cobra or Russel’s viper, buffalo, but also, the famous and majestic leopard of Sri Lanka! In total, the reserve is home to 44 mammal species and more than 210 bird species that you will be able to observe and hear singing.

UDA WALAWE NATIONAL PARK

This national park is located in the south of the country, in the province of Sabaragamuwa, close to that of Uva. In this reserve you can see elephants in their natural environment, it is probably the best place to observe them. The park is also home to deer, crocodile, coyote, buffalo and several dozen bird species, including near the Walawe River. A well-deserved break amidst Sri Lankan flora and fauna!

SINHARAJA

This forest reserve is a very humid rainforest in the south, in the province of Sabaragumuwa and has an area of about 60.90 km2. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989. Despite its dense vegetation, it is possible to come across animal species such as leopards, monkeys, reptiles such as vipers and many endemic bird species.

THE TEA FIELDS

As Sri Lanka is the fourth largest tea exporter in the world, it is worth visiting and discovering its magnificent fields. You can enjoy a magnificent landscape of plantations and vegetation as far as the eye can see. The best known are those located in the center of the country in the mountainous regions between the cities of Kandy and Ella. With 2,000 hectares of fields at an altitude of about 2,000 metres, this is a must-see stop when visiting the country!

HORTON PLAINS

Not far from Nuwara Elya, south of Kandy, is a park called Horton Plains. Located in the highlands of the country, about 2200 meters above sea level, this protected park is known for its magnificent hikes to enjoy the landscapes and flora. The highlight of this park is called World’s End. This place is one of the points of interest of the park, the others being waterfalls, temples and a botanical garden. Indeed, the path stops to give way to emptiness. A cliff 700 meters high, located on a tip of the plateau, where you can see the southern part of the island.

DISCOVERY IN TRAIN

In the recent years, the government has been working to build or renovate railway lines. In addition to the “infrastructure” aspect, Sri Lankan trains take full advantage of the country’s beautiful green landscapes. Thus, a train trip became a «must» during a trip there. Something to do and you will not regret! We recommend two routes: Kandy-Badulla (the most beautiful train ride in the world, according to the Backpacker) and Colombo in Galle to enjoy the beaches.

BENTOTA

Located on the east coast of Sri Lanka, about 60 Km from Colombo the capital of the country, this seaside resort includes several nautical activities such as scuba diving that allows to observe the sumptuous seabed of the country, Jet Ski, canoe, paddle, surf... Or simply farniente, you can enjoy this moment to rest on the wonderful white Sri Lankan sandy beaches.

In addition to these nautical activities, you can visit the temple of Galapota, a Buddhist temple that was destroyed in the sixteenth century and subsequently rebuilt or the market of Aluthgama to taste the local flavors.

We also recommend taking a walk along the Bentota Ganga River to admire a slew of bleach and discover beautiful flora and fauna.

JAFFNA

Jaffna is the second largest city in the country. It is located in the north of Sri Lanka where the people are mostly Tamil, of Hindu faith.

You can visit the most famous religious monument in Jaffna, Nallur Kandaswamy, who calls himself Kovil in Tamil. It is a temple that is dedicated to the Hindu god of war, Murugan who is according to legend, the son of Shiva and Passover. If you come during the holidays between July and August, you will meet many faithful who have come to worship the latter.

The Jaffna library is also a unmissable place of the city, It was burned in 1981 by Sinhalese, burning irreplaceable Tamil books and manuscripts and stirring up already strong tensions. Some consider this to be the triggering event of the civil war. Rebuilt identically, the library can now be visited. The civil war has kept Jaffna away from modernization. Here we find a typical Sri Lankan city where cars are scarce. The city is famous for its varieties of mangoes as tasty as each other but also its many bazaars.

TANGALLE

The city of Tangalle, located at the southern tip of Sri Lanka, is particularly famous for its idyllic beaches, still relatively preserved from mass tourism. Indeed, in recent years, the Sri Lankan beaches have piqued the interest of travelers, revealing many jewels of nature to the rest of the world.

With a rocky coast and strong waves, it is a paradise for surfers, as well as a place where turtles come to give birth. Tangalle and its surroundings have many beautiful beaches and you will be spoilt for choice! Sublime landscapes and a dense fauna to admire up close will always be awaiting you there!

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