Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

22 Oct 2008

The South Asian island has just the right mix of sun-drenched beaches, spirituality and five-star style

Referred to by a number of endearing nicknames – from the Teardrop of India to the Pearl of the Orient – Sri Lanka has a fond global following, with its charm appreciated by more that the 20 million people who call it home.

There’s no denying its beauty, with its white sandy beaches, palm trees, breathtaking waterfalls and vibrant wildlife – and it’s proximity, just a four-hour flight from Dubai, adds to Sri Lanka’s already ample charms.

But it’s the chilled-out vibe Sri Lanka offers that seals the deal for holidaymakers. The island can’t help but exude tranquility and relaxation. Ayurvedic yoga, of which Madonna and Tom Cruise are fans, is huge here and the island has a number of luxurious resorts dedicated to practicing Ayurveda, a ritual that focuses on a healthy body and healthy mind.

It’s not all about laying back and relaxing, though. You can add white water rafting, mountain biking and diving to your ‘to do’ list while you’re there, and you may even catch a glimpse of an elephant or leopard as you explore.

As with any good holiday spot, you can do Sri Lanka on either a shoestring or Manolo Blahnik budget. You can travel around the island by bus very cheaply, and bed down in the shared room of a guesthouse for as little as Dhs70-a-night. Or, if you’re feeling flush, you can always splash out by hiring your own driver, and checking in to the likes of the Taj Exotica in Bentota, where your terrace doors open out onto a view of the bay.

So, however you choose to visit Sri Lanka, the most important thing is that you visit ...

While you're there…

Centre yourself
Yoga is a staple of Sri Lankan culture, so what better place to try out your first lotus? There are plenty of yoga and meditation retreats to choose from, particularly in Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Tangalle.

Try your luck
Sri Lanka boasts plenty of fabulous clubs that will entertain you through to the small hours. The Galle Road in Colombo is said to give glitzy Las Vegas a run for its money.

Go on safari
Sri Lanka is home to around 240 different species, including butterflies, elephants, leopards and reptiles. So, book your seat on a jeep safari tour, ranging from one to full seven-day excursions.