Once known as Serendib, Sri Lanka still lives up to this name by being a paradise island. Visitors are instantly
embraced by the warmth of the country and swept away by the serenity Sri Lanka holidays provide. There are so many
who return to the island's warm shores to find rest and relaxation as they are pampered by the hospitable locals. Laze
around on the beach sampling the freshest seafood or feast your eyes upon unparalleled scenic beauty as you sip a
freshly brewed cup of Ceylon tea in the hill country.
Sri Lanka has so many experiences to offer and the bliss is that you can decide on the type of experience you want to
experience. Time comes to a standstill as you absorb yourself in the country's history, seaside, wildlife or trek through
the green plains in the up country region. Find your blissful moment in Sri Lanka. Come visit Sri Lanka, the wonder of
Shopping in Sri Lanka, means international designer labels are not the only items on that ever increasing shopping
list. Passion, quality and imaginative design, combined with more than a dash of marketing savvy, are the hallmarks of
locally manufactured merchandise, must haves on the gift list as you leave the paradise isle.
The best of fabrics, clothing, homewares, wood carvings and brasswork are made by artisans in their own homes or craft
centres, and are not mass produced for export and are one of a kind. The exquisite handicrafts of Sri Lanka, batik works,
lace creations and the stunning jewellery in both modern and traditional designs provide yet another reason to visit the
If you are looking for that inner calm, an eternal bliss brought from the freedom of the physical from the emotional, then
Sri Lanka is the ideal place to explore your mind through meditation.
Meditation is a fundamental means to control one's mind, freeing it of disruptive thoughts, a process that can only be
achieved through rigourous practice. In the land where the teachings of the Lord Buddha are largely practiced and
passed on, the methods and forms of meditation are freely shared at temples and meditation retreats. Special courses
on meditation are conducted at retreats that focus on Vipassana meditation through week-long or 10 day courses.
Colombo teems with restaurants that offer a spectrum of international gourmet and fusion cuisine. If the high-end
fine dining isn't what you are after then a number of deli's offer good and reasonably priced fare. For a feel of local
cuisine and roadside dining then, Colombo offers numerous roadside cafes that serve up the tantalising Kottu - a Sri
Lankan favourite - stringhoppers, hoppers, pittu and rotti.
From chic relaxing cocktail lounges, and modern international restaurants - to lively pubs, tapas bars and sports bars
boasting snooker tables and large-screen TV's, there's something for everyone.
With ever-popular karaoke bars, nightclubs showcasing new musical talent, and pulsating discos - the choice is endless.
And if you're feeling lucky, Colombo's five casinos offer roulette, baccarat, poker and blackjack - and a lot more besides.
Pink frangipani flowers float in terracotta bowls, their sweet fragrance a counterpoint to the earthy herbal notes of
the oil being gently massaged into your feet and body. As you lie on a neem wood table, with dried neem leaves hanging
from the ceiling to purify the air, you slip into that elusive state where body and mind are in complete harmony, the only
reminder of the outside world being the soft sigh of the Indian Ocean in the background.
One of the world's oldest forms of healing, Ayurveda - derived from the Sanskrit words for life (ayuh) and knowledge or
science (veda) - originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and soon spread to Sri Lanka, where Sinhalese kings
established Ayurveda treatment centres in the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.
In Ayurveda, a combination of herbs, diet, massage, hydrotherapy and oil treatment is used to treat everything from
stress to diabetes, migraine, asthma, arthritis and high blood pressure. Ayurveda specialists will tell you that this form
of treatment also helps boost the immune system, promotes a general sense of well-being and even helps delay the
With many in the West turning from medicine which treats only the body, towards a more holistic approach, Sri Lanka
has become destination for those seeking solace in the Ayurvedic principle of body, mind and soul.
Principles of Ayurveda
The basis of Ayurveda is the belief in a combination of five basic elements which form three types of energy or dosha
within the body: vatha (a combination of air and space); pitha (fire and water) and kappha (earth and water). Ayurvedic
practitioners believe that illness arises when these dosha are out of balance, and work to restore harmony.
Comprehensive treatment not only includes massage, herbal baths, oil treatment and a special diet, but also involves
meditation, yoga and music to help the mind and soul.
The pharmacopoeia of Ayurvedic preparations includes an amazing range of leaves, roots, bark, resin, spices and fruits,
with familiar ingredients such as black pepper, ginger, cinnamon bark and sesame oil joined by many more esoteric
items. There's everything from aloe to zedoary, with such exotica as black cumin, blue water lily and white poppy seed.
Ayurveda practices and resorts
There are around 6,500 registered Ayurveda practitioners in Sri Lanka, with around twice that number practicing
informally in the villages. Specialised Ayurveda resorts cater almost exclusively to visitors to Sri Lanka. They may opt for a minimal weekend stay, but are generally encouraged to stay up to two or three weeks to obtain the maximum
benefit from a combination of pure fresh air, a largely vegetarian diet, yoga, meditation and individually designed
In addition to a range of Ayurvedic treatments, Ayurvedic resorts offer yoga, meditation and lectures and the chance to
learn how to cook food according to Ayurvedic principles, as well as go on excursions to nearby places of interest.