Once known as Serendib, Sri Lanka still lives up to this name by being a paradise island. Visitors are instantly embraced by the warmth of the country and swept away by the serenity Sri Lanka holidays provide.



Shopping in Sri Lanka, means international designer labels are not the only items on that ever increasing shopping list. Passion, quality and imaginative design, combined with more than a dash of marketing savvy, are the hallmarks of locally manufactured merchandise, must haves on the gift list as you leave the paradise isle.

The best of fabrics, clothing, homewares, wood carvings and brasswork are made by artisans in their own homes or craft centres, and are not mass produced for export and are one of a kind. The exquisite handicrafts of Sri Lanka, batik works, lace creations and the stunning jewellery in both modern and traditional designs provide yet another reason to visit the enchanted isle.


If you are looking for that inner calm, an eternal bliss brought from the freedom of the physical from the emotional, then Sri Lanka is the ideal place to explore your mind through meditation.

Meditation is a fundamental means to control one's mind, freeing it of disruptive thoughts, a process that can only be achieved through rigourous practice. In the land where the teachings of the Lord Buddha are largely practiced and passed on, the methods and forms of meditation are freely shared at temples and meditation retreats. Special courses on meditation are conducted at retreats that focus on Vipassana meditation through week-long or 10 day courses.



Pink frangipani flowers float in terracotta bowls, their sweet fragrance a counterpoint to the earthy herbal notes of the oil being gently massaged into your feet and body. As you lie on a neem wood table, with dried neem leaves hanging from the ceiling to purify the air, you slip into that elusive state where body and mind are in complete harmony, the only reminder of the outside world being the soft sigh of the Indian Ocean in the background.

One of the world's oldest forms of healing, Ayurveda - derived from the Sanskrit words for life (ayuh) and knowledge or science (veda) - originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and soon spread to Sri Lanka, where Sinhalese kings established Ayurveda treatment centres in the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

In Ayurveda, a combination of herbs, diet, massage, hydrotherapy and oil treatment is used to treat everything from stress to diabetes, migraine, asthma, arthritis and high blood pressure. Ayurveda specialists will tell you that this form of treatment also helps boost the immune system, promotes a general sense of well-being and even helps delay the ageing process.

With many in the West turning from medicine which treats only the body, towards a more holistic approach, Sri Lanka has become destination for those seeking solace in the Ayurvedic principle of body, mind and soul.