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Lanka: Here too much of everything is a good thing

''Natural beauty, great shopping & awesome food. What's more... Lanka is great on the pocket, too.''

Places that you could visit in Lanka : A trip to Sri Lanka can be divided into two parts - the east and the west though with a size barely larger than some Indian states, one can easily cover the entire nation on a single trip. Colombo, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Kandy lie in the west and Trincomalee and Arugam Bay in the east. You can also throw in the splendid UNESCO heritage site in the north, Anuradhapuram, and trust us you won't regret it!

Travel time from India : Less than 4 hours if you are going from Delhi. If you plan to halt in Chennai, it will be even shorter. Travelling across certain cities within India can take you more time.

Why go the distance : Lanka’s natural beauty, shopping and food. Once you land, you will be engulfed in an undeniable holiday mood. And if that's not enough, Sri Lanka is great on the pocket too!!!

Peak season : December to March. The summer months are not bad either. If you have kids and are waiting for their summer vacations to begin, you can plan a trip between May and June too. July-August are festive months there. So if you want be a part of that festive frenzy, go ahead and plan a trip.

Travel tips : You must carry a mosquito repellent all across Lanka. Malaria and dengue are health risks there. Besides, through a mosquito bite, you can also get fever that can last 3-4 days. It’s also advisable to apply ointments preventing mosquito bites. If you are travelling in the hilly areas like Kandy, you may need a light stole or jacket during the evenings. For the beaches, don’t forget to carry sunscreen lotions. Haggle as much as you can wherever you go, while taking a cab or going for a massage. Tuk tuks and autorickshaws are readily available there. If you want to venture out for long, you should go in for a cab instead of changing autos. Sri Lanka is a safe country for women. However, one must exercise caution when venturing out at night in the worn torn north east.

Shopping : Colombo is the place to be in. Check House of Fashions for finished garments. Odel in Sri Lanka is a must visit, you get everything from homewares, designer-label clothing and sportswear to banana soap. If you are looking for souvenirs, check out the various branches of Laksala and don't forget to pick up masks and bags and bags of tea!

The trip : You can land in Colombo and straight away head to Kandy with a slight diversion to Pinnawala elephant orphanage. Calling Pinnawala an experience does injustice to the place and its tusked inhabitants. Watch hordes of elephants of all ages, bathe, eat and play amongst one of the most picturesque landscape you'll lay your eyes on. About 4 hrs drive from Colombo (if there are no scheduled cricket matches), Kandy, will bring you physical and spiritual respite. Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, a Buddhist holy place or just stroll along the lake for a few moments of peace to take back with you. Next day you can drive down to Bentota which is 3 hrs away or simply take a train. Bentota is known for its water sports but dont let the adventurist in you take away from the must visit sites in Bentota. A trip to the turtle hatchery and we say you'll thank us forever. Also, the river boat safaris are a must as they take you to uncharted mangroves. Go in for a cruise that lasts longer than an hour and see the merging of the riverlets with the massive Indian Ocean. A few hours drive further south will bring you to the old world charm of Galle city. Visit the Old Town, the light house, besides enjoying the beauty of the sea and the sand. If you are interested in archaeological reserves and heritage, Galle Dutch Fort is a ‘must see'. 8hrs to the east and you will hit Arugam Bay, one of the world's best surfing destinations . From Arugam one can drive to Trincomalee for whale watching tours during the monsoon months of July- September. Trinco also prides itself of its beautiful white sandy beaches and spectacular diving spots. An hour's drive away is the ancient city of Anuradhapuram which is bound to enthrall you. A UNESCO world heritage site, it is home to budhha's sacred place. Finally, you could end the trip with Colombo which is three hours away. Colombo's traffic sense will pleasantly surprise you especially if you are travelling from India. Don't forget to take back all the shopping bags and picture perfect moments, home with you.

Source / Review By : Shruti Choudhury

Shruti is a former journo of The Economic Times

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