For a dose of culture, head down the coast from Colombo to the historic city of Galle, whose weighty walls protected Galle Fort from the Boxing Day tsunami of 2006 when many places weren’t. Do as the locals do and stroll around the old ramparts at sunset.
The sensational food
Eating Sri Lankan style is one of life’s pleasures. Start your day with pittu (rice mixed with grated coconut and then steamed in a bamboo mould) and hoppers (bowl shaped pancakes). Lunch and dinners, meanwhile, is all about rice and cur-ry. Searching for a sugar hit? Wattalapam (coconut milk, jaggery, cashew nuts, eggs and spices) is where it’s at.
And, of course, you can’t leave Sri Lanka without visiting the picturesque hill capital of Kandy, steeped as it is in centuries of tradition: this was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings during the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Make time to check out the Temple of the Tooth which houses the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha.
Get up close with elephants
For encounters of the elephant kind, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (www.nationalzoo.gov.lk/elephantorphanage/) which houses more than 90 aban-doned and wounded elephants, won’t disappoint. Time your visit to coincide with bathing time when all the elephants are taken to the river close by.
Indulge in ayurveda
During your spell in Sri Lanka, make time to try Ayurveda - an ancient system of medicine that uses herbs and oils to heal. Under Ayurvedic principles, all body types are organised into three doshas - take a bow vata (air), pitta (fire) and kapha (earth and water) - which need to be in balance in order to enjoy optimum health
For more information on Sri Lanka, please visit www.srilankatourism.org
Words by Kaye Holland