World’s most renowned travel guide book and website publisher ‘The Lonely Planet’ has named Sri Lanka as the number one destination in the world to visit in 2013.
Dubbed Serendib, the origin of the word serendipity by seafaring Arab traders centuries ago, Sri Lanka has been anything but serene in recent decades. South Asia’s most compact country have remained off limits to even the most intrepid traveller. Investment is again fuelling the tourist industry and visitor numbers are steadily increasing. Prices are affordable. Sri Lanka is emerging as one of the planet’s best-value destinations.
The travel guide book highlights the emerging new popular places to visit in Sri Lanka including the newly opened up East coast and less travelled paths in the western coast as well: North of the capital Colombo, on Sri Lanka’s west coast, Kalpitiya and the Puttalam lagoon are eco-tourism hotspots with bird watching and kayaking. Near Dondra Head, on the south coast, mighty blue whales are regular visitors from January to April while land-based wildlife thrills include the leopards and elephants of Yala National Park, and the more rugged and remote Wilpattu National Park, open once more after being closed for more than two decades.
Being famous for pristine sandy beaches from the begining, the Lonely Planet remarks that the total experience in Sri Lanka is truly a life changing experience for any traveller: “The gloriously arcing beaches of the nation’s east coast are now challenging traditional southern favourites. Arugam Bay’s sandy crescent is one of Asia’s best surf spots and further north, Uppuveli and Nilaveli near Trincomalee stretch for several pristine kilometers. Explore the glorious labyrinth of Galle’s 17th-century Dutch fort. In past centuries, the UNESCO listed colonial town was a prosperous hub of global trade and now boutique hotels and an emerging arts scene instil a cosmopolitan allure. Further north, you can discover Sri Lanka’s imposing ancient cities, emerging from a verdant landscape.
All around the country, tuck into great-value local cuisine including grilled seafood, spicy kottu (roti chopped and mixed with vegetables) and multi-course mini banquets of different curries at family run guesthouses. Indian and Thai cooking may be world-renowned, but Sri Lanka’s time in the global gourmet spotlight can’t be far away.” The country is becoming easier to reach due to cheap fares from regional hub Bangkok said Lonely Planet.
The annual Lonely Planet lists are compiled based on unbiased views of the staff, writers and travel community. Spokesman Adam Bennett said that the choices are not based on where travellers are already going but rather are “our pick of where we believe travellers really should consider visiting in 2013.” He said that destinations make the list for a variety of reasons, including special events, recent developments or buzz, or that the destination is up-and-coming and worth visiting before the crowds get too big.
This achievement is certainly a boost for the tourism industry of Sri Lanka which keeps on breaking its own records through out the past years and strategically targeting 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016.
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