Sri Lanka

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In 1966, the Government decided to develop tourism in a planned and a systematic manner, after identifying the need to set up an institutional framework. The Ceylon Tourist Board (created by the Ceylon Tourist Board Act No. 10 of 1966) and the Ceylon Hotels Corporation (created by Ceylon Hotels Corporation Act of 1966) were set up duly.

Created to promote rapid economic development, through the development of foreign tourism, the Ceylon Tourist Board (CTB) was a statutory body that allowed greater freedom in decision making and flexibility in financial management.

The legislation also covered the establishment of a national holiday resort company, which planned various types of accommodation and resort areas. Moreover it included the setting up of an authority under the Tourist Board to manage and administer each resort. The Act conferred powers for the Protection of Highways and Places of Scenic Beauty and vested authority in the Ceylon Tourist Board for the Registration and Classification of Tourist Hotels and all other tourist services including travel agencies. The Tourist Development Act of 1968 provided the Ceylon Tourist Board with the statutory authority to develop tourism on a planned and controlled basis

In October 2007 the Tourism Act No 38 of 2005 came into effect. With the circulation of the new Tourism act, the Sri Lanka Tourist Board Act No 10 of 1966, which was in effect for the past 41 years, was replaced.

In terms of the provisions contained in the new act, the Tourism Development Fund was legally constituted, with 2 main sources remitting finances to the fund. By way of 1/3 of the Airport Tax collections and 1% of the Turnover of all Sri Lanka Tourist Board registered establishments. The Act provided for the setting up of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Promotions Bureau, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and Sri Lanka Institute of Hotel Management, thereby replacing the Sri Lanka Tourist Board.

Additional Information
Capital Colombo
Timezone Asia/Colombo
Total States 9
Airport City Ratmalana International Airport,Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka, Bandaranaike International Airport,Katunayake, Sri Lanka, Jaffna International Airport,, Mattala Rajapaksa de Hambantota Airport,Mattala, Sri Lanka, Batticaloa Airport
Ruling Type Government
Offical Languages Sinhala , Tamil, English,
National Animal Lion
Food Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry), Kottu (also, kottu roti), Kukul mas curry (chicken curry)
Seasons Autumn  : Sep - Nov
Summer : Jun - Aug
Winter     : Dec - Feb
Sprint      : Mar - May


1 ) Colombo
Popular - Beach     Location - Colombo, -Western, -Sri Lanka

Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, has a long history as a port on ancient east-west trade routes, ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. That heritage is reflected in its its architecture, mixing colonial buildings with high-rises and shopping malls. The imposing Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, borders sprawling Viharamahadevi Park and its giant Buddha.

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2 ) Bentota
Popular - Beach     Location - Bentota, -Southern, -Sri Lanka

Bentota is a resort town on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast. Its long Bentota Beach stretches north, where it becomes a sandy strip known as Paradise Island, parallel to Bentota Lagoon. Coral-rich dive sites include Canoe Rock. On Bentota River, centuries-old Galapota Temple has a large Buddha statue. Southeast is Lunuganga, the estate and gardens of architect Geoffrey Bawa. Northeast is his brother Bevis's Brief Garden.

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3 ) Kandy
Popular - Lake     Location - Kandy, -Central, -Sri Lanka

Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It's set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city's heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine, celebrated with the grand Esala Perahera annual procession.

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4 ) Negombo Division
Popular - Beach     Location - Negombo Division, -Western, -Sri Lanka

Although it does not have much in the way of sights, Negombo is a pleasant beach town that is the perfect place to head if you want to just chill out on golden sands.

In the past, Negombo was fought over by the British, Dutch and Portuguese, who wanted to control its cinnamon plantations. The old quarter is still home to a colonial-era fort and Dutch canal.

Lying just to the north of Colombo, the city has lots of restaurants, bars and accommodation options. Its tropical climate is ideal for lounging on the beach.

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5 ) Nuwara Eliya
Popular - Hills     Location - Nuwara Eliya, -Central, -Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns, and shelters monkeys and blue magpies. Nearby Seetha Amman Temple, a colorful Hindu shrine, is decorated with religious figures. Densely forested Galway's Land National Park is a sanctuary for endemic and migratory bird species, including bulbuls and flycatchers.

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6 ) Trincomalee
Popular - Temple / Church / Mosque     Location - Trincomalee, -Eastern Province, -Sri Lanka

Trincomalee is a port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. Set on a peninsula, Fort Frederick was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century. Within its grounds, the grand Koneswaram Temple stands on Swami Rock cliff, a popular vantage point for blue-whale watching. The holy complex contains ornate shrines and a massive statue of Shiva. Nearby Gokanna Temple has panoramic views over the city and the coastline.

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7 ) Hikkaduwa
Popular - Beach     Location - Hikkaduwa, -Southern, -Sri Lanka

Located just to the north-west of Galle, Hikkaduwa’s glorious beaches make it a popular tourist destination, and there are loads of excellent scuba diving and surfing spots to boot.

While Hikkaduwa has become a little touristy in recent years, it has still managed to retain much of its charm. Watching the sun go down over the ocean will never get old.

The town has a peaceful, laidback vibe about it. A visit to the national marine park with all of its brightly-colored corals is a must.

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8 ) Galle
Popular - Old Mosque     Location - Galle, -Southern, -Sri Lanka

Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It’s known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, encircle car-free streets with architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Notable buildings include the 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church. Galle Lighthouse stands on the fort’s southeast tip

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9 ) Ella
Popular - Food     Location - Ella, -Uva, -Sri Lanka

Located in a beautiful setting with forest-covered hills, sweeping valleys, and picturesque tea plantations, Ella is a lovely place to spend time and is one of the most popular Hill Country villages.

Due to its recent surge in popularity, most of Ella’s hotels, bars and restaurants are now aimed at tourists. It can be quite hard to find the authentic side to the town, although it is certainly there if you look hard enough.

In any case, the surrounding countryside and stunning scenery are what most people come for; make sure to hike to some of the nearby waterfalls and temples, as well as to the top of Ella Rock for incredible views of Hill Country.

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10 ) Anuradhapura
Popular - Architecture     Location - Anuradhapura, -North Central, -Sri Lanka

First settled around 900 BC, Anuradhapura is home to some of the most impressive ruins in the country. As such, there are a wealth of amazing archaeological sites for you to explore.

In addition to the fabulous array of palaces, temples and ancient buildings, the city itself is a laidback place, with a couple of local markets to check out. The Archaeology Museum is well worth a visit to see its interesting collection of local artifacts.

The former capital of the Sinhalese is also home to one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites in the form of the Bodhi Tree Temple. It is still in use, and some colorful festivals take place here during the year.

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11 ) Tangalla Division
Popular - Beach     Location - Tangalla Division, -Southern, -Sri Lanka

With its beautiful beaches, sweeping bays, and laidback way of life, it comes as no surprise that Tangalle is one of the most popular places to visit along the southern coast.

The small town has many nice beachside bars and restaurants, while its expansive and plentiful beaches are the main reason that people visit. Due to its closed reef, there are some great spots at which to go scuba diving.

Just a short journey away, you can find the impressive cave temple of Mulkirigala, which has some beautiful wall paintings. Many people use Tangalle as a gateway to the secluded villages that lie along the coast

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12 ) Dambulla
Popular - Caves     Location - Dambulla, -Central, -Sri Lanka

Located in the interior of Sri Lanka, Dambulla is famous for its incredible cave temple complex which is full of beautiful statues of Buddha, as well as fantastic wall paintings.

While the complex certainly is impressive and worth a visit, it is in stark contrast to Dambulla, a chaotic, traffic-filled place.

In addition to the cave temples, the nearby Ibbankatuwa burial site is the only other sight on offer; it has some interesting tombs for you to explore.

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13 ) Tissamaharama
Popular - National Park     Location - Tissamaharama, -Southern, -Sri Lanka

Known by locals as Tissa, this former capital of Sri Lanka’s ancient kings is a peaceful and pretty city that is often used as a gateway to the nearby national parks.

Scenically located on the shores of the artificial Lake Tissa Wewa – which was impressively constructed in the third century BC – Tissa’s highlight is the white stupa of Yatala Vehera – itself built around 2300 years ago.

While the city is a pleasant place to spend some time, its main attractions are the Yala and Bundala National parks, which are full of wildlife and lovely scenery. The famous pilgrimage site of Kataragama is also not far away.

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1 ) Gangaramaya Temple
Activity Duration - 6am – 10pm     Activity Category - Temple / Mosque / Church

The ceilings and walls contain pictures and miniature paintings that explain stories from Buddhism religion. In the main sanctorum, a huge Buddha statue exudes a brilliant sense of calmness in the devotees. Built in a mix of various architectural styles including India, Burmese, Thai and Chinese, this temple also houses a museum.

Gangaramaya Temple is not only one of the most beautiful but also one of the most iconic Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. It is more than a century since this temple was constructed; however even today, the temple doesn’t stop to surprise tourists and devotees. The pathways and doors that lead into the main sanctum sanctorum contain intricately carved sculptures that are simply breath-taking.

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2 ) Galle Face Green
Activity Category - Beach

Galle Face is a 5 ha (12 acres) ocean-side urban park, which stretches for 500 m (1,600 ft) along the coast, in the heart of Colombo, the financial and business capital of Sri Lanka. The promenade was initially laid out in 1859 by Governor Sir Henry George Ward, although the original Galle Face Green extended over a much larger area than is seen today. The Galle Face Green was initially used for horse racing and as a golf course, but was also used for cricket, polo, football, tennis and rugby.

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3 ) Colombo National Museum
Activity Duration - 9am – 5pm     Activity Category - Museum

National Museum of Colombo, also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is one of two museums in Colombo. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It is maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government. The museum holds contains a collections of much importance to Sri Lanka such as the regalia of the country, including the throne and crown of the Kandyan monarchs as well as many other exhibits telling the story of ancient Sri Lanka.

A large 9th-century stone Buddha greets you with an enigmatic smile as you enter Sri Lanka’s premier cultural institution, which gets better (in small increments) each year. In galleries dating back as far as 1877, you’ll encounter all manner of art, carvings and statuary from Sri Lanka’s ancient past, as well as swords, guns and other paraphernalia from the colonial period. There are 19th-century reproductions of English paintings of Sri Lanka and a collection of antique demon masks.

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4 ) Gem Museum
Activity Duration - 9 am to 5 pm     Activity Category - Museum

The Gems Mart at the Gems Museum consists of 82 stores on three floors, and sells high-quality raw and finished gem products, offering rubies, sapphires, pearls, jade .

Myanmar Gems Museum, in Yangon, Myanmar, is a museum dedicated to precious Burmese gem stones. The museum is located on the third floor of a four-story building, located near Kaba Aye Pagoda.



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5 ) Independence Square
Activity Duration - 11:00 am - 07:00 pm     Activity Category - Historical Place

Independence square is a majestic building and now is one of the well known landmark of sri lanka that was made as a sign iof victory after the independence of sri lanka in 1948.It has an area of about 0.9859 hectares, there is an independence memorial hall that has a capacity if seating 224 members inside it.It is a place where you can enjoy sitting in the park,have plenty of local and multi cuisine food stuffs, and rooms for exersice.It is well known for its extraordinary architecture that is inspired by the Kandayan kingdom's hall and attracts large number of tourists from various countries every year.People often prefer to visit the place at evening as it looks lively there are various paintings in the hall that depicts the various events that were held in sri lanka in ancient times.The square consist of a Independence museum that was opened in 2008,the independence memorial hall, walkers cafe and the arcade.People gather at this place to celebrate events and festivals.In the museum you will come across the stone busts of the people who fought for the independence of sri lanka.In the exercise space you will see people doing cycling, skating, jogging you can also enjoy the gym facilities without paying a single penny.The shopping complex over there offers a huge range of brands and you can also pamper yourself in posh places like Kaema Sutra, Tsukiji uoichi and T-Lounge.It has become a picnic spot and is liked by all the age group.

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6 ) Leisure World Water Park
Activity Duration - 9am – 5pm     Activity Category - Theme Park

Leisure World Water Park in Colombo, with the amazing rides and water sports there. Experience the butterflies in your stomach as the rollercoaster rides rise high and feel the thrill as they drop down and take you straight into the waters. Beat the heat in the cool and refreshing waters as you indulge in swimming or water volleyball at this park. After a long day’s amusement, feed your hungry tummy at the superb eatery here, with some scrumptious fast food and refreshing beverages. Relax by the waters in the evening before you leave the amusement park with a book in hand, if you are an avid reader. Else, just enjoy the appealing ambiance at dusk and lose yourself in the hues of the sunset. Walk out of this park with a rejuvenated body and a happy soul. Witness the satisfaction and joy on your children’s face, as you take them home, contented and spirited.

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7 ) Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project
Activity Duration - 8:30am – 6:30pm     Activity Category - Attraction

The Kosgoda Turtle Care centre is a great place to learn and love nature while also having fun. It is hands-on and family friendly and therefore should definitely be visited on your holiday to Sri Lanka.

The Turtle Care Centre at Kosgoda beach is one of 18 turtle hatcheries along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The centre is located in the South Western coastal village of Kosgoda and was establised in 1981. It is also very popular as all five species of turtles that visit Sri Lanka nest in Kosgoda. This is not so with many of the other hatcheries around the island whose beaches host only some of the species.

The centre functions mainly as a hatchery and makes huge efforts to increase the rate of hatching, and survival of baby turtles in their very initial stages. However the Care centre also works on sick or injured adults; treating them and releasing them back into the ocean. They also run volunteer programs and awareness programs for local and international visitors.

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8 ) Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa)
Activity Duration - 5:30am – 8pm     Activity Category - Temple / Mosque / Church

Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple.After the parinirvana of Gautama Buddha, the tooth relic was preserved in Kalinga and smuggled to the island by Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha on the instructions of her father King Guhasiva. They landed in the island in Lankapattana during the reign of Sirimeghavanna of Anuradhapura (301-328) and handed over the tooth relic. Bhikkhus of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily worship in the inner chamber of the temple. Rituals are performed three times daily: at dawn, at noon and in the evenings. On Wednesdays there is a symbolic bathing of the relic with an herbal preparation made from scented water and fragrant flowers called Nanumura Mangallaya. This holy water is believed to contain healing powers and is distributed among those present.

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9 ) World Buddhist Museum
Activity Duration - 8am – 7pm     Activity Category - Museum

International Buddhist Museum or The World Buddhism Museum is housed inside the former high court building and holds an extensive study of Buddhism spanning the entire Asian continent. Find separate chambers dedicated to almost sixteen countries from Maldives to China and so on. Among the major artifacts showcased in this museum are the recreated versions of the famous temples of Buddhism starting from Java’s splendid Borobudur to the iconic Angkor Wat. Besides, the religious repository features copious amount of relics, effigies of Buddha gifted by countries like Japan and Laos, beautiful paintings and other works of art illustrating the practice of Buddhism across the globe. One major interesting aspect about the Buddha images held at this museum shows several changes in the facial features of Buddha that have been incorporated to go with the ethnicities of different countries worshipping him. Explore the wide array of religious objects on display ranging from unusual musical instruments to ancient scrolls that make for an enthralling tour of the museum.

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10 ) Maha Vishnu Temple (Maha Vishnu Devalaya)
Activity Duration - 5am to 7pm     Activity Category - Temple / Mosque / Church

Maha Vishnu Devalaya is one of the four sacred devalayas associated with the Temple of Tooth. The devalaya is dedicated to the Hindu God – Lord Vishnu. Devotees from all over the world cove over to the temple to offer their prayers to the deity. Join in the prayers and chanting at this sacred shrine of Lord Vishnu.


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11 ) Natha Devale
Activity Category - Temple / Mosque / Church

The Nàtha Devàla is located on the terrace, in front of the Palace complex of Kandy. It is said to have been in existence even before the Tooth Relic was brought to Kandy.The oldest extant structure in Kandy, it is said to have been built by King Vikramabahu III in the 14th century. The history of the worship of God Natha is not clear. The name 'Natha' literally means ‘no form’ and ‘no shape’, and is therefore generally associated with Lord Maitreya, the next Buddha.                             

In the days of the Kingdom of Kandy, this shrine is said have played an important role in the establishment of the royalty. The king was given his royal name at this shrine. The Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, being worshiped as a curer of diseases, the tradition of distributing herbal preparations on New Year day was conducted here until recent times. Hence, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is also associated with the Natha Devale, Kandy. In the annual procession, the Natha Devale procession takes the pride of place among the Devale processions and follows just behind the Dalada Perahara.

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12 ) Alagalla Mountain Range
Activity Category - Mountains

Alagalla Mountain Range is situated at the boundaries of the Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces in Sri Lanka. Along with the surrounding Bathalegala also known as Bible Rock, Uthuwankanda), Devanagala ,Ambuluwawa ,Knuckles Mountain Range and Hanthana  Mountain Range, Alagalla mountain has served as a natural defense location for nearly five centuries (1505–1948) against the Portuguese, Dutch and English invasions aimed at the Kandyan Kingdom.

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13 ) Gregory Lake
Activity Category - Attraction

Lake Gregory is a local reservoir situated in the city of Nuwara Eliya. It is a popular place for tourists to visit and enjoy some recreational activities. The lake was named after Sir William Gregory, in 1873, during the British era. Tourists can roam around the lake with the help of boats available for hire. This lake acts as the perfect picnic spot and tourists can also explore the lake by hiring bicycles. The best time to visit this lake is during April.

Lakes are always known to be the perfect getaway for some peaceful time. The Gregory Lake is one such popular spot in Nuwara Eliya. Thronged by tourists wanting to appreciate nature, this lake is perfect for picnics, strolls, and even bicycle rides. The Gregory Lake is situated in the heart of the city and was built by Sir William Gregory between 1872 - 1877. The lake has many recreational activities for the tourists, including boat rides around the lake. It is one of the most popular spots among tourists who visit Nuwara Eliya, and its calm and peaceful atmosphere is a testament to it.

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14 ) Galle Lighthouse
Activity Category - Tower

A lighthouse is a tower, building, or framework designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire and used as an aid to navigation and to pilots at sea or on inland waterways.

Lighthouses are used to mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals and reefs, and safe entries to harbours and can also assist in aerial navigation. Once widely used, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and replacement by modern electronic navigational aids.

Visiting and photographing lighthouses are popular hobbies as is collecting ceramic replicas. Some lighthouses are popular travel destinations in their own right, and the buildings maintained as tourist attractions.

According to the ARLHS there are 25 lighthouses in Sri Lanka. Out them there are 14 active lighthouses. While most of these lighthouses are under the control of Ports Authority while others are under the control of the Sri Lanka Navy.

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1 ) Sinhala & Tamil New Year

Festival Month - April

The Sinhala & Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka (Aluth Avurudda අලුත් අවුරුද්ද or Puthandu புத்தாண்டு) celebrates the end the harvesting season. The dawn of the New Year is based on the sun’s astrological movement from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries), bringing to an end the harvesting season. This festival is celebrated in the month of April and at this time the sun is directly above the island.

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2 ) Vesak Poya

Festival Month - May

Visiting the Temple is an important part of the Vesak Poya day activities of every Buddhist family. Young and old alike offer flowers and light oil lamps, with many observing sil all day. Buddhists in Sri Lanka spend the Vesak Poya day engaged in meditation and meritorious deeds, as it is considered appropriate to make a special effort to assist those in need and bring happiness to others during one’s lifetime.

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3 ) Kandy Esala Poya Perahera

Festival Month - July

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