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Sri Lanka - A view from our expert author
My favourite things in Sri Lanka conform to no particular pattern. I have been enraptured sitting in the moonlight in my garden watching the leaves of a palm tree quivering in the breeze and then been astonished to see that graceful movement emulated by dancers of a local ballet troupe performing of a five-star Colombo hotel.
‘Sri Lanka: a land like no other’. That was the slogan chosen by the Tourist Authority to promote it as a destination, and it could not be more apt. Whatever the visitor seeks on this lush, teardrop-shaped island can be found. Sri Lanka really is a country for everyone: from what the nature and history offer, to the standard of accommodation and food. Its diversity, with all parts of the country accessible to visitors, makes Sri Lanka unique as a tourist destination, with everything from snorkelling, surfing, sunny beaches and white-water rafting, to ancient ruins at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, the cosmopolitan capital Colombo and cool hill country tea-plantation stays. However, Sri Lanka is not just a contrast of the colonial and the quixotic, as national parks provide the visitor with the chance to see herds of wild elephant in their protected natural habitat.
The true charm of ‘tropical paradise’ though is that visitors don’t have to limit themselves to high-end beach hotels or slip downmarket to family-run guesthouses in the countryside – now they have a broad choice to stay and travel as they please. Make your own arrangements and tour the country independently, before it is overwhelmed.