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WHERE IS SRI LANKA ?   It is situated on the south eastern part of Asia. Sri Lanka is surrounded on all sides by the Indian Ocean because it lies just in the center of the Indian  Ocean. To the South West part of Sri Lanka is the Bay of Bengal while it has the Arabian Sea on the South West as well. Sri Lanka is situated in  immense geographical proximity to India and is separated from India only by the narrow Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Sri Lanka is situated at a  distance of around 50 km from India.     WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL? Climatically, the best & driest seasons are from December to March on the West & South Coasts and in the hill country, and from May to September in  the East Coast. Sri Lanka is subject to two monsoons; the rainy season in the East Coast is the dry season in the South - West Coast & vice versa. This  means Sri Lanka is a year round destination, and there is always a 'suitable' season somewhere in the island.  Out of season travel has it's advantages, not only do the crowds go away, but many airfares & accommodation prices decrease as well, with many  special offers thrown in. On the coast the average temperature is about 27° C. The temperature rapidly falls with altitude. In Kandy (altitude 450m) the  average temperature is 20° C and in Nuwara Eliya (altitude 1890m) it's down to around 16°C.    IS SRI LANKA A SUITABLE DESTINATION FOR CHILDREN?   Parents will find Sri Lanka an extremely child-friendly country. People generally make a special effort to fuss over and entertain children: when it comes  to children of a foreign nationality the effort is doubled. Children are well catered for in restaurants, and HOTELS AND guest houses often have family  rooms. Baby food and nappies are available in supermarkets across the island, though baby bottles are harder to find. It is also wise to bring child  friendly mosquito repellent and sun cream since this is also very hard find in the capital. Some of the highlights for children are the Dehiwala Zoo in  Colombo, the numerous beaches, train journeys into the hill country, and the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela. If you want to allow your children to  play safely while you eat or shop in Colombo, there are play areas at Odel, Urban Kitchen and Cheers Pub, Cinnamon Grand. For dedicated play in the  capital there are PGMartin - Wonderworld facilities which offer all kinds of gaming.      CAN WE VISIT NATIONAL PARKS AND WHAT KIND OF ANIMALS CAN BE SEEN?   Sri Lanka’s 14 National Parks offers nature lovers a unique opportunity to see some of the country’s 91 mammals (16 endemic) - Elephant, Leopard,  Sloth Bear, Sambhur, Spotted Deer, Hog, Mouse, Barking-Deer, Wild Boar, Porcupine, Ant-Eater, Civet Cat, Loris, Giant Squirrel, and monkeys such as  the Macaque, purple-faced leaf Monkey and grey Langur.. The largest of the parks is Yala, where jeep safaris provide close encounters with Leopards  and also abundant bird-life. However the most suited destination for elephant watching is the Uda Walawe National Park.    IS IT POSSIBLE TO WITNESS TRADITIONAL FESTIVALS?   Every full moon day is a Buddhist public holiday which is also referred to as Poya. The most important of these is in May. This is Vesak Poya. A festival  that marks the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. Worth seeing are the illuminated Pandals (bamboo frameworks), hung with pictures depicting  events in the Buddha's life. Sri Lanka's most tourist-oriented traditional festival is the Kandy Esala Perahera, held in Kandy over 10 days between late  July to early August. A Perahera is a procession of drummers, dancers, whip-crackers, acrobats and robed elephants which generally occurs during the  night. A significant part of the festival is when the tusker of the Dalada Maligawa caries the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha for the people to venerate.  IS IT POSSIBLE TO OBTAIN AYURVEDIC TREATMENT?   Indeed, Ayurveda, the ancient traditional medicine system of Sri Lanka is practiced more widely than Western medicine. Many HOTELS OFFER  Ayurvedic treatment for guests and have experienced and qualified practitioners to advise you on how to improve your health with a mix of baths and  massages.     HOW CAN I STAY HEALTHY IN SRI LANKA?   With common sense precautions it is easy to stay healthy in Sri Lanka, which has good sanitation and health standards. Hospitals are generally good  and especially in the capital you can have almost any procedure, including cosmetic surgery. Please remember that a fever in Sri Lanka should always  be considered potentially serious and you should seek medical advice immediately. The first golden rule is never to drink tap water and to avoid ice and  juices in places where they don’t use bottled water. Secondly, make sure you keep yourself hydrated by drinking sufficient amounts of safe, clean  water, or king coconut juice which is a cheap, healthy alternative. Thirdly, be careful of the sun, especially from 10am to 3pm. Sitting in the shade with  sunscreen on will get you a healthy tan. Fourthly, even if you are a dog lover do not pet or play with stray dogs because it is possible they may have  rabies. Finally, and maybe most importantly, please ensure you have mosquito repellent with you at all times since prevention of mosquito borne  disease is certainly better than cure. At dawn and dusk, malarial mosquitoes will come out, while during the day dengue mosquitoes could strike, so it  is best to cover up with clothing or repellent when there are mosquitoes around.        WHAT ARE THE SITES NOT TO BE MISSED? Sri Lanka’s cultural depth is recognized by UNESCO, which has declared seven archaeological World Heritage Sites. The remains of the ancient cities of  Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa feature enormous dagabas (dome-shaped structures) and statues of the Buddha. Dambulla has an awesome stairway,  while Sigiriya is a rock fortress with the remains of a palace on the summit and sensual frescoes. These four World Heritage Sites are situated within a  compact area called the Cultural Triangle. In the hill country lies the royal capital of Kandy, home to the Dalada Maligawa, which houses the sacred  tooth relic of the Buddha. In contrast, experience the colonial heritage of the country by heading south to the mid-17th century Dutch fort at Galle.  The seventh World Heritage Site is an ecological example, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Similar sites include the Knuckles mountain range, Horton  Plains and World’s End, where the hill country comes to an abrupt end, dropping 2,000m to the coastal plains. Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak) is a holy  mountain climbed by pilgrims wanting to take in the beauty of its surroundings.     WHAT AQUATIC SPORTS ARE AVAILABLE?   The sea temperature around Sri Lanka remains at a constant 27° C, which makes the island an ideal location for Wind-Surfing, Water-Skiing, Jet-Skiing,  Surfing, Sailing, Scuba-Diving (includes Wreck-Diving), Snorkeling, Speed-Boating and Banana-Boating. In addition, there are plenty of freshwater  opportunities for sport in rivers and tanks (reservoirs). These are Kayaking, Canoeing and the most exciting of them all, White-Water Rafting.    WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS AVAILABLE?   Rice which is considered the staple food in Sri Lanka is usually consumed with curries (Eggplant, Potato, Green Banana, Chicken or fish) that range  from delicately-spiced to near-dynamite. There are also Hoppers (a Pancake-like snack), String Hoppers (steamed Rice Noodles) and Pittu (Flour and  Coconut mixture). Lamprais – Rice cooked with a variety of delectable dishes are prepared in plantain leaves - is a legacy of the Dutch.  Fresh Fish, Prawns, Crab, Squid and Crayfish are readily available. Desserts include Buffalo Curd topped with the sweetest Palm-Honey while a  Caramel-like Wattalapam is also considered as mouth watering. Tasty snacks which are otherwise known as short eats are excellent to take on trips  etc. Delectable fruits include the popular Mango, Pineapple, Banana and Papaya, and also the lesser-known Sapodilla, Mangosteen, Rambuttan, Wood  Apple, Custard Apple and Beli. Colombo has an impressive range of restaurants specializing in international cuisine. 
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