Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has long attracted visitors to it's shores. Arab traders, who came to trade for cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla more than five centuries ago, called the place ‘Serendib’ – from which comes ‘serendipity’, the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries.

Modern travellers tend to view Sri Lanka in the same way. It may be a small island, but it offers a staggering variety of lovely landscapes, intriguing cuisines, colourful festivals, colonial history and indigenous culture. From the tropical beaches of the coast the land rises to the cool 2,500-metre central massif. The warm, friendly people that inhabit this fertile land are the inheritors of an ancient heritage – civilisations that built the rock fortress of Sigiriya, the palaces of Anuradhapura and Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth have flourished here for nearly three millenniums.

The gateway to the island is Colombo. For centuries a thriving spice port it was taken by the Portuguese in the early 16th century, by the Dutch in the mid 17th and finally by the British some 200 years ago. Today, their architectural imprint – churches with ornate Iberian façades, massive Dutch forts and assorted examples of British colonial style blend satisfactorily with the city’s modern development.