Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is one of the most famous Indian Ocean Islands. The Ceylon tea is well known all around the world. But Sri Lanka is not only interesting for the tea production, but also because of nice beaches, picturesque fishermen villages, and Buddhist or Hindus temples.
Country is suffering from long civil war between Tamil and Sinhala people. Tamils are originally Hindus while Sinhalese are Buddhists and the different religion often makes ill feelings. The island is in fact divided into two parts. North part is controlled by Tamils and the rest of the county is controlled by Sinhalese government located in Colombo. The east coast is also quite rough-and-tumble. In between of both territories is a military area and frequent fighting. The conflict makes the live quite uneasy for both the local people and tourists. Some parts of island are for security reasons time to time closed for public and then open again, so you have to check actual situation at place. Checkpoints at the roads are quite unpleasant and make your trip several fold longer. Despite of that, Sri Lanka is a beautiful island, with many spectacles.
Visiting Sri Lanka, you should not miss the famous teagardens and the tea manufactures. Tea has the specific position at Sri Lanka. It’s definitely the most important export product and makes the most working places in the island, mostly for women. Most of the Ceylon tea gardens are situated at elevations between 3,000 and 8,000 feet high around at the southwestern part of the island around Kandy. The tea bushes flush every seven or eight days and are picked all year round. Tea leaves are firstly dried, fermented and then prepared for export into traditional wooden boxes.
Another important export commodity is gemstone. Mines can be found around Ratnapura city at southern part of the island. Be prepared to many resellers, trying to sell the stones for big money.
Sri Lanka is also famous for its beautiful beaches. Southwest coast is rather touristic, favorite spot for all tourist agencies, full of hotels and touristic resorts. For individual travelers, there are many nicer places; one of them is Arugam Bay at the east coast. Arugam Bay is also one of the favorite surfers place both for beginners and advanced surfers. Up to the north at east coast there is nice Trincomalee city, surrounded by small fishermen villages and beautiful beaches.
Sri Lanka has an extensive history and traditions. The ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa are worth of visit. The remains of Buddhist temples from the time of Indian dynasty Chola are dated back to 11th century.
You should not miss mountain city Kandy, where you can visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth of Buddha. The city is surrounded by nice mountains. The landscape can be explored from special train with observation wagon. Another sacred place worth of visit is Adam’s peak. Try the sunrise trip. If you like spectacular landscape, you should not miss Horton Plains National Park in the central highlands where the mountain massif is shaved into a tabletop plateau more than 2000 m high, grown-over by rhododendron and areas of evergreen forest. One of the most interesting spots is World's End, a sheer cliff with a 1050 m drop.