Stilt Fishing – during WWII, there was an extreme shortage of food and the number of fishing spots was diminished. A few industrious fishermen solved the problem by building stilts so that they could walk out into the water to fish for their families. This is the only place on the earth to promote this kind of fishing.
Red Mosque of Pettah– the mosque was built in 1909 for the Pettah Muslim community near the Pettah Market. The red and white stripes set it apart from any other in the Asian world.
Temple of the Tooth and Royal Palace of Kandyan Kingdom – when you’re through seeing Buddhist temples, you’ll want to make a stop in Kandy, at the Temple of the Tooth which houses the tooth of Buddha.
Galle National Museum – in the Southern Coastal region, this museum displays archaeological and anthropological objects— including traditional masks used in rituals, ancient woodcarvings of the local tribe people and arms, weapons and porcelain objects used by the Dutch when they were in Sri Lanka.
Lion Rock Temple of Dambulla – this is for those who are able to make a long climb to the top of the mountain. The Lion Rock is built by a king and includes gardens, outbuilding, waterscapes and worth the climb if you can make it.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – all donations go to caring for these orphan baby elephants – about 100 in all – just outside of Kandy. If you stay at the Elephant Bay Hotel – mostly with huts but there are some real rooms available if you reserve them early enough – you can actually watch the babies play in the river and roll around on the sand during their breaks. If interested, you can enquire about adopting one until grown.
Yala National Park –Atraditionally styled safari through the park in open-air vans allows you to watch wildlife of Sri Lanka in their natural habitats. The Amur Leopard –found in Sri Lanka – usually doesn’t come out until 6 or 7 p.m. so you might miss them. They too are an endangered species; adoption is a way that tourists can help the zoo take care of them.
The two main cities where you will find shops and stores galore are in Colombo and Kandy. There are some scattered markets and shops in rural areas, stands on the roads to tourist locations are sometimes seen but any big shopping trips should be concentrated in the two cities at this time.
Sleeping and Eating
Several of the most reliably luxury accommodations are run by Uga Escapes Properties and by Aman Resorts. Another company, Dilmah, offers excellent rooms in the hill areas where mostly tea plantations are located. The company also has accommodation located on the southern coastal region.
There are a scattered number of individually-owned lodgings that are more rustic in rural regions where fewer tourists have found their way. Your best bet is to choose a travel agency that knows which places are available at the time of your tour, which have just opened and may not be known yet and which have had tourist complaints in the past six months.
For Sri Lankans, the regular meal comprises a large serving of rice with twelve – count them, 12 – side dishes of egg, spicy fish and pepper stew, vegetables, meat and always cooked with red chili peppers.
Dishes that westerners really should try are String Hoppers (freshly made rice noodles), Roti (coconut flatbread) Sambol (hot red peppers and vegetables of any kind that are served cool). Curries are another favorite in Sri Lanka and are worthy of tasting since each region has its own and all differ from Indian Curries.
A Country Too Big For One Trip
It is written:
“When the lord of gods heard the words of the Buddha, he, from respect, handed over the guardianship of Lanka to the god who is in color like the lotus. ”
from Mahavansa – The Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka
Because of the various monsoon times according to region, it is best to make more than one trip to the island of Sri Lanka – the “blessed lotus” island.