Sri Lanka: ‘An intrepid traveler’s trifecta: rich culture, a plethora of flora and fauna, and pristine coastlines


Sri Lanka is being hailed as “South Asia’s symbol of rebirth”, an “intrepid traveler’s trifecta: rich culture and history, a plethora of flora and fauna and pristine coastlines”.

San Francisco Examiner freelance writer Julie L Kessler, also a Los Angeles-based attorney and author, takes a dry and lawyerly look at our recently-ended 30-year civil war.

She says: “If the Sinhalese and Tamils can break bread and move peacefully onward, then I share the optimism that Sri Lanka will … prosper while delighting travelers fortunate enough to experience the ‘Pearl of South Asia’ and its generous, hospitable people.”


She is inspired by Sri Lanka’s Romesh Gunesekera, who wrote: “A very special island that travelers from Sinbad to Marco Polo dreamed about. A place where the contours of the land itself forms a kind of sinewy poetry.”

And so to the capital Colombo, where the Shangri-La hotel in the northern Fort district “was pleasurable walking distance to the area’s main sites”.

She is particularly struck by the Old Dutch Hospital, with its restaurants and shops, the red-facade Cargill’s department, “once Colombo’s retail grand dame”, and the Grand Oriental Hotel, “where Anton Chekhov stayed among other notables”.


Thence to Wilpattu, one of our 12 national parks known for its leopards, sloth bears, and host of bird species, many of them endemic and a joy to see.

Then there’s the Cultural Triangle, “home to five UNESCO World Heritage sites filled with historical wonders. These allude to the region’s grandeur and refinement during its peak”.

Finally, the south coast.”Here swaying palms, white sands and an idyllic coastline beckoned. At Amanwella, 30 enormous, Balinese-style accommodations with an ocean-facing balcony, graced a secluded, blissful setting.”

Read more here.

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