Sri Lanka offers the inquisitive traveler much to see and do: great natural beauty, a treasure trove of cultural artifacts and architectural masterpieces to explore and a diverse and eclectic cuisine to partake in all in a lush, beautiful island setting. This small island nation packs a dazzling array of sights and attractions within its modest boundaries and Gulf Air’s 5 weekly flights to the commercial capital and largest city in Sri Lanka, Colombo, provide easy access to “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean.”
Colombo is home to one of the world’s busiest seaports and boasts many attractions, including the Shri Ponnambalawaneswaram Kovil, one of the city’s most important Hindu temples, and the Gangaramaya Temple and museum, one of the city’s most famous and iconic Buddhist centers. You need only venture a few minutes from the center of Colombo to find the bustling Pettah Market, the city’s biggest market space.
Adventurous travelers keen to explore beyond the capital can take one of many available tours (which can be booked on gulfair.com) to obtain further insights into Sri Lanka’s history and culture and see its captivating natural beauty. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the country’s 800 miles of coastline and golden beaches, its 15 national parks, jungles and abundant wildlife. That’s not all, with no fewer than 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Dambulla Cave Temple and the Sigiriya Rock Fortress there’s much of historical and cultural interest to be discovered. Below is just a sampling of what Sri Lanka has to offer:
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first Sinhalese capital. Built in the 3rd century BC, it contains many ancient palaces, temples and Buddhist monuments.
Mihintale, a mountain peak that is seen as the birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhism. Here you will find many monasteries, religious caves and a sequence of beautiful shrines.
Sigiriya, a citadel constructed in 471AD that is perched on the summit of the immense Lion Rock. Although a challenging climb, those that reach the summit can enjoy a breathtaking view from atop.
Minneriya National Park, home to more than 300 Asian elephants.
Kandy, the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka – this city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, crossing an area of tropical tea plantations. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and is much visited by tourists wanting to experience Sri Lanka’s famous tea plantations, witness a manufacturing process that has remained unchanged for a hundred years or more, and sample an incredible range of brews.
Cuisine: For Gulf Air’s Falcon Gold travellers who enjoyed meals prepared for them by the airline’s renowned Sky Chefs onboard their flight to Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital affords a unique opportunity to feast on a rich, melting-pot cuisine, influenced by its geography and delivering an abundance of flavors. Don’t forget to try:
Kottu roti: the ultimate Sri Lankan street food, kottu roti is a stir-fry featuring pieces of roti (bread) mixed together with finely shredded vegetables or pieces of meat, soya sauce, spices, ginger and garlic.
Lamprais: Originating from a Dutch word that translates as ‘a packet of food’, this is a dish usually made by the Burgher community, who are descendants of colonial Europeans. It consists of boiled eggs, eggplant, frikkadels (Dutch-style beef balls), mixed meats (soya for vegetarians) and sambol. Infused with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and rice the mix is served wrapped in a banana leaf.
Egg hoppers with sambol (appa): Hoppers are the Sri Lankan version of thin pancakes with crispy edges. These crepe-like bowls are made from fermented rice flour, coconut milk, coconut water and a little sugar. Traditionally, hoppers were cooked at home over coconut-shell embers.
Gulf Air’s five weekly flights between Bahrain and Colombo operate as below:
*all times are local
For more information on Gulf Air’s five weekly flights to/from Bandaranaike International Airport you can visit Gulf Air’s one-stop-shop website gulfair.com that also offers a suite of additional online services such as hotel bookings, car rental, travel insurance and the Gulf Air Tours service that gives passengers access to a variety of travel add-ons such as sightseeing tours, museum passes, tours, excursions and local activities throughout Sri Lanka.
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