As more Palestinians turn to the East for their holiday planning, the golden lion of Sri Lanka has attracted more and more attention for those seeking the ultimate combination of tropical Pacific weather, enriching culture, and endless natural beauty, giving good reason as to why it is so often referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.
This teardrop-shaped island off the Indian subcontinent features no less than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and five major ethnic groups that have given Sri Lanka its varied cultural treasures.
The formidable mountain fortress of Sighiriya, the splendid Buddhist heritage of Polonnaruwa, the placid regal beauty of Kandy and the European colonial order of Gatte hint at the cultural legacy of eras of interaction and immersion into multiple cultures and faiths.
The rich wildlife of Sri Lanka’s numerous nature reserves and rainforests is now a significant tourist attraction, to say nothing of the thousands of kilometers of beaches, much of it undeveloped and readily available to visitors who are starting to arrive in ever-greater numbers as a new era of peace and stability brings in investors who see a bright future in this unique island.
The tourism market caters to both package tours that feature resort locations with Western amenities, and more adventurous programs for determined explorers. And yes, there are elephants – and yes, you can ride them at any number of nature reserves, with or without wearing the customary sarong of Sri Lankan culture.