A leading contender for the most beautiful country on earth, the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka is a land of diversity. With rainforests that contain biodiversity that rivals the Amazon and vast swathes of unspoiled golden coastline that has recovered well from the 2004 Tsunami, there are plenty of sights to behold in a country that comprises Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Click info tab for more.
Irrespective of their religion, the locals are welcoming and justifiably proud of their country and all it has to offer: the cheap, spicy and underrated cuisine, the stunning array of wildlife best experienced in national parks such as Yala (known for its elephants, leopards and crocodiles), and first and foremost the national cricket team. If you want a safe topic with which to start a conversation with a local, whether you are watching whales in Mirissa or visiting the beautiful ancient temples in Anuradhapura, you really can't go too far wrong with cricket.
While the security risk has eased significantly in recent years, ongoing unrest in certain areas has generally kept tourists away. However, the advantage of this is that the country has not suffered from the rampant over-development of India and Thailand and retains a charm that may not last once the tourist hordes descend en masse, as they surely will. In many ways there has never been a better time to go thanks to the very cheap hotel rates on offer, and your safety can be ensured by sticking to certain areas.
For the golfer, there are plenty of options. The flat land on which the Royal Colombo Golf Course is set is enlivened by numerous water features and, at the 6th, the unusual sight of the Kelani Valley train which runs across the fairway; at the Victoria Golf & Country Club in Kandy you can wander down fairways lined by majestic Mara Rain Trees in the shadow of the spectacular Knuckes mountian range, and the exclusive Water's Edge Golf Club even offers a links style experience, thankfully without the weather of Scotland.