Sri Lanka's sandy beaches, sunny weather, and remarkably affordable accommodation will draw you in. The Sinhalese are a warm and welcoming people that are proud of their cultural heritage and enthusiastic about sharing it with you. With this combination of hospitality and inexpensive travel, Sri Lanka is an absolute delight to journey through. A train ride through Sri Lanka's Hill Country from Colombo is a great way to start discovering the country's picturesque landscapes. Along the way, stop off at Ella or Badulla for a quick swim under the waterfalls, or head straight to Kandy's cool garden resorts for an afternoon tea.
This small country has six UNESCO World Heritage Sites which include the magnificent Lion's Rock at Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, and Anuradhapura. For nature lovers, Sri Lanka's elephant orphanage is extremely touristy but still worth a visit to see massive herds of elephants bathing in their backyard river. For a more rugged landscape, hike through the dense jungles in the North or Adam's Peak in central Sri Lanka. Arugam Bay has the finest of Sri Lanka's surfing, but visit from April to October to catch the best waves.
Sri Lankan food rests on a firm base of rice and curry, and although there are many similarities to South Indian food, Sri Lankans are more liberal with chilies so take a little bite to test the level of spice before you dig in. Alcoholic drinks are widely available, but for a truly refreshing drink try the fresh tender coconut water that is widely and cheaply available.
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Katunayake (CMB), near Colombo is the country's only international airport. Direct flights from Canada to Colombo are scarce and extremely expensive so most passengers will have to fly to a hub airport in Europe, Asia, or the Middle East and then connect to a Colombo-bound flight. Airlines that offer cheap flights to Sri Lanka from major Canadian airports include Cathay Pacific, Sri Lankan Airlines, Air Canada, American Airlines, Jet Airways, and British Airways.
Sri Lanka's weather is varied from the northeast to the southwest, with two distinct wet and dry periods. In the northeast, monsoons last from October to January while in the southwest, they last from May to end-July. On the coast, the average temperature year-round is 27°C while in the central hill stations it is a cool 16-20°C.
The best time to visit Sri Lanka depends on which part of the country you want to go to. It is dry in the North and East from April to September while on the western coast and hill station areas it is dry from December to March. However, the latter period is when most tourists visit Sri Lanka and July and August are also peak periods in Kandy due to the Temple of the Tooth festival which lasts for over 10 days. For cheaper fares and fewer tourists, visit Sri Lanka during the months of September, October, November, and April. During this time, there is always a sunny spot on some Sri Lankan beach or the other, and you'll probably have it all to yourself.