Pilgrims at Ruwanweliseya Dagoba, Anuradhapura
© Timothy Tye (28 August 2005)
(Sinhala: ශ්රී ලංකාව; Tamil: இலங்கை) is a country located almost at the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent. Dangling like an emerald pendant, it is a dazzlingly beautiful country blessed with an ancient history that stretches for over two thousand years. This endows Sri Lanka with a multitude of ancient ruins, many of which today receive recognition from Unesco as World Heritage Sites.
As I explored the ancient Sri Lankan cities, I cannot help being amazed at the engineering feats of the Sri Lankan people a thousand years ago. From the low, arid country, we proceed to the highlands, to the tea country. At Nuwara Eliya, we enjoyed the lovely scenery and cool climate. We also had the good fortune of staying at the Tea Factory, a 5-star hotel that was once a tea processing plant, and which won a Unesco award for heritage conservation.
Travel Tips of Major Tourist Cities in Sri Lanka
- Colombo Travel Tips (capital)
- Anuradhapura Travel Tips - Most famous ancient city.
- Kandy Travel Tips - Last major kingdom of Sri Lanka.
- Polonnaruwa Travel Tips - Second ancient capital of Sri Lanka.
- Sigiriya Travel Tips - Site of ancient palace complex.
Major Destinations in Sri Lanka
Ancient murals of Sigiriya
- Aukana Buddha
- Dambulla Cave Temple
- Galle Fort
- Mihintale - Sacred site where Buddhism was first introduced into Sri Lanka.
- Nuwara Eliya - Major tea plantation highlands.
- Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
- Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
(29 August, 2005)
From the highlands, we proceeded southwards, to the southernmost major city of Sri Lanka, Galle, where we visited another Unesco World Heritage Site, Galle Fort. Along the way, we stopped over to look at the devastation caused by the tsunami of December 2004.
In any write-ups about Sri Lanka, it would be glaring not to mention the internal conflict that plagues the nation. It is an issue that concerns most people as they contemplate a trip there - is it worth the risk? From my experience with Sri Lanka, although the internal conflict between the primarily Sinhalese government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam often dents Sri Lanka's image as a tourist destination, in actual fact, most of the tourist destinations are free from attacks. And quite safe too.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
(28 August, 2005)
Having said that, I have to caution you to be prepared for tight security in Sri Lanka, especially in Colombo. In the downtown area of Fort, for example, I was forbidden from taking photographs. I saw soldiers all over the Fort district. This is due to the military installation nearby. Therefore, one of Colombo's most prominent landmarks, the lighthouse Clock Tower, is out of bounds for photography. Also, I learned that many of the major hotels have been bombed before, including the one where we were staying during out Sri Lankan trip, the 5-star Galadari Hotel.
Fortunately, the rest of Sri Lanka, outside of the troubled north, is still very safe and open. Not only that, the people are generally friendly and gracious, and makes every visitor feel welcome. On this website, I want to show you most of the major tourist sites, including the ancient cities, highland getaways, Sri Lankan culture and forts.
View inside a pond at Kuttam Pokuna
(29 August, 2005)
Sri Lanka Travel Information
- Official Name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
- Capital: Colombo (710,000, metropolitan area: 2,500,000)
- Population of the Sri Lanka: 20,064,800; 74% Sinhalese, 18& Tamil, 7% Muslim of Arab and Indian Muslim descent
- Religions: Buddhist (70%), Islam (26%), Hindu, others
- Languages: Sinhala, Tamil, others
- Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee
- Time Zone: 6 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
- International Dialing Code: 94
- Electricity: 230-240V 50Hz; Most outlets use the three-pronged sockets. If travelling with a laptop, bring along a stabiliser in addition to adaptor, as power often fluctuates. (See details here: http://www.kropla.com/electric.htm)
- Driving: On the left side of the road.
- Size: 65,610 sq km (25,332 sq miles)
- Region: Asia
(30 August 2005)
Cities and Sights on the West Coast of Sri Lanka
Pilgrims encircling the Ruwanweliseya Dagoba
- Akurela Beach
- Ambagahapityia Welitara
- Galagoda Temple
- Galapata Vihara
- Gangatilaka Vihara
- Kachimalai Mosque
- Richmond Castle
- Sinharaja Rainforest
- Sri Janandarama Mahavihara
- Sri Pushparama Vihara
- Sunandaramaya Mahavihara
- Wilpattu National Park
Cities and Sights of the South Coast of Sri Lanka
- Bundala Bird Sanctuary
- Count de Maunay's Island
- Galle Cultural Museum
- Groote Kerk
- Hoo-aaniya Blowhole
- Kataluwa Temple
- Koggala Lake
- Kottuwa Rainforest
- Maha Vishnu Devala
- Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum
- Matara Fort
- Museum of Ancient Paintings
- National Maritime Museum
- Tangalla Bay
- Uda Walawe National Park
- Unawatuna Bay
- Wewurukannala Vihara
- Yala National Park
Cities and Sights of the Cultural Heart of Sri Lanka
- Nalanda Gedige
- Somawathie Dagoba
Cities and Sights on the East Coast of Sri Lanka
- Arugam Bay
- Fort Frederick
- Kalkudah Bay
- Koddiyar Bay
- Passekudah Bay
- Pigeon Island
- Swami Rock
(29 August, 2005)
How to enter Sri Lanka
The Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) located north of Colombo is the main gateway into Sri Lanka. It is the base for national flag carrier Sri Lankan Airlines. Upon arriving at the airport, you can catch a taxi or a three-wheeler to the city.
Sri Lanka Public Holidays
Sri Lanka observed plenty of public holidays. The three with a fixed date are:
- National Day: 4 February
- May Day: 1 May
- Christmas Day: 25 December
The following Muslim festive days are public holidays. They occur at different times of the year according to the Muslim calendar:
- Id-Ul-Fitr: Ramazan Festival Day
- Id-Ul-Allh: Hajji Festival Day
- Milad-Un-Nabi: Birthday of the Propher Muhammad
The following Buddhist and Tamil festive days are public holidays that vary from year to year, but observe specific seasonal period. Poya, or Full Moon Day, is a public holiday as well.
Staircase going up Satmahal Prasada
- Tamil Thai Pongal: January
- Durutu Poya: January
- Navan Poya: February
- Mahasivarathri: March
- Medin Poya: March
- Good Friday: March/April
- Eve of the Sinhala/Tamil New Year: April
- Sinhala/Tamil New Year: April
- Bak Poya: April
- Vesak Poya: May
- Day after Vesak Poya: May
- Poson Poya: June
- Esala Poya: July
- Nikini Poya: August
- Binara Poya: September
- Vap Poya: October
- Deepavali Poya: October/November
- Il Poya: November
- Unduvap Poya: December
(29 August, 2005)
History of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a long history that goes back to the dawn of time. The history of the Sinhala people began with the arrival of an Indian prince named Vijaya. On the island of Lanka (the ancient name for Sri Lanka), Vijaya discovered that it was already inhabited, by a people called Yaksha. He took as his wife the queen of the Yakshas. Later, Vijaya took another wife, a Pandyan princess from South India, and he also brought women from there to be wives of his followers. They were regarded as the earliest settlers of Lanka.
Buddhism was introduced to Lanka in the 3rd century BC. It came about when a Buddhist missionary, Bhikkhu Mahinda, who is the brother of the Buddhist Emperor Asoka of India, arrived in Lanka, and succeeded in converting the Sinhalese King Devanampiyatissa at Mihintale.
The base of Rankot Vihara
(29 August, 2005)
The first ancient capital of Lanka was the city of Anuradhapura. Next came Polonnaruwa. There were a succession of other cities that served as capital. Throughout history, there was repeated invasions by armies from South India, resulting in the shifting of the capital.
Colonial powers arrived in Sri Lanka in 1505, when the Portuguese landed. At that time there were three kingdoms on the island, namely Yarlpanam (Anglicised Jaffna) in the north, Kandy in the central hills and Kotte at the Western coast. In 1956, the Dutch defeated the Portuguese and became the second colonial power in Sri Lanka. As the Portuguese and Dutch were mainly interested in the spice trade, and so concentrated only on the coastal areas. The hilly region remained independent, allowing the Kingdom of Kandy to continue flourishing uninterrupted, until the arrival of the British.
The Indian Ocean at Galle
(2 September, 2005)
Great Britain replaced the Dutch in 1796 - at a time when the Netherlands were weakened by the Napoleon invasion back home. The coastal areas became a crown colony in 1802. The kingdom of Kandy fell in 1815, setting in motion the unification of the entire island under a single administration, which happened in 1818.
A struggle for independence started in the 1930s, and Sri Lanka won its independence in 1948, becoming a member of the British Commonwealth. Under British rule, it was known as Ceylon, a name that it held until 1972, when it changed its name to Sri Lanka. The name Sri Lanka, which has its origin in Sanskrit, means "venerable Lanka". Lanka is a name that has long been associated with the island since ancient times.
Seated Buddha statues, Dambulla Cave
(30 August, 2005)
Traveling somewhere? Get your hotel room at Agoda!
Latest Pages & Updates on this website
Have GPS Will Travel
Find out how having a GPS Navigator device will help you explore more precisely, without requiring an Internet connection, anywhere in Malaysia!Read About It !
Shop for a GPS !
Your Made-In-Penang guide to visit, discover and enjoy Malaysia and Singapore!
My mission with this website is to provide you the most detailed information of the places I've research, many accompanied with my own photographs. It's information I hope you'd find useful. It's not just about Penang
, but about other cities too, including Kuala Lumpur
, Johor Bahru
, Alor Setar
, Sungai Petani
and more. I have also written about major tourist destinations such as Langkawi
and Cameron Highlands
, as well as smaller destinations such as Kuala Sepetang
. So are all the states in Malaysia - Johor
, Negeri Sembilan
. And also Singapore
Visiting Penang? Consider a "Friend of Penang Travel Tips" hotel !
The Friends of Penang Travel Tips Hotels
are hotels that maintain a close working relationship with this website. So, I know these hotels better than the rest in Penang. If you're looking for a hotel room in Penang, you do well to consider them.
Mainstream Hotels with 100 guestrooms and above: Cititel Express
, Cititel Hotel Penang
, Copthorne Orchid Hotel
, Hotel Equatorial Penang
, Olive Tree Hotel
, Parkroyal Penang Resort
, Sunway Hotel Georgetown
and The Wembley
Small Hotels with less than 100 guestrooms: Le Dream Boutique Hotel
, Spices Boutique Residence
, Sweet Cili Hotel
My name is Timothy Tye
and Penang Travel Tips is my website - yay! I created this website to satisfy my own curiosity about the world around me, but I'm glad the information I've assembled can be helpful to others. As a Christian, my hope is that through this website, the sunshine of God's Good News
can beam into every corner of the world and connect with every living soul needing it. To get in touch with me, complete the contact form right here
. Thanks for visiting!
Social Media Presence
To interact with me, LIKE my Penang Travel Tips FB Page
and Places To Go FB Page
, and join any/all of my Facebook Pages and Groups including Penang Travel Tips FB Group
, Exploring Malaysia
, Big World Out There
, My Little Bookshelf
, Learn Penang Hokkien
, Penang Street Art
, Penang Hawker Food
, Penang Restaurant Food
, Masa Masak
, Penang Residential Properties
and Armchair Traveler
Even more sights to discover on Penang Travel Tips!
I try my best to provide you the latest and most accurate information. However, please bear in mind that details change all the time, often before I have the chance to update them. Therefore, I would always encourage you to phone in and re-verify the information. I do apologize if the information I provide to you turns out to be inaccurate or outdated, and I would be most grateful if you would could help to update me
should you discover the right information. Your feedback helps other users.
Using the information and photos on this website
You are allowed to print out any page of this website to carry with you on your travels, for your own personal use
. You may reference and link to any page of this website from your blog/website without seeking my permission. You are NOT ALLOWED to copy and paste, word-for-word, the information of this website into your own blog or website. Photos belonging to me (those captioned © Timothy Tye) may only be used with my permission. Photos belonging to other people bear licenses that have to be observed accordingly. Contact me
to seek permission or to ask a question.
Copyright © 2003-2016 Timothy Tye
. All Rights Reserved.