The new sixth edition of Bradt's Sri Lanka is the longest and by far the most comprehensive guidebook ever published to this alluring island nation, and now includes a brand new, detailed, full-colour wildlife section. Freshly researched and completely rewritten by Philip Briggs, one of the world's most experienced and highly-regarded guidebook writers, the new Bradt guide incorporates detailed coverage of every aspect of this diverse and compact land, from the idyllic tropical coastline to the misty forests of hill country.
Not only does the book provide in-depth sections on all major beach resorts, archaeological reserves, historic towns and national parks, but it also introduces adventurous travellers to a host of intriguing lesser-known sites, along with many emergent destinations inaccessible for decades prior to the end of the civil war in 2009. Extensive hotel and restaurant listings, covering everything from exclusive boutique hotels to shoestring homestays, have been compiled from scratch rather than updated from historical information, with each entry having been cherry-picked by the author based on his personal inspection of hundreds upon hundreds of properties countrywide.
More than 70 newly-drawn maps cover all towns and resorts of note, as well as the main national parks and their surrounds. Sri Lanka has enjoyed a high level of political stability and safety since the civil war ended in May 2009, encouraging a tourist boom in the south, and the gradual opening of the north and east to independent travel. Beach holidays are an all-year attraction, while a host of fantastic Buddhist-affiliated UNESCO World Heritage Sites ranges from the massive dagobas of Anuradhapura, built in pre-Christian times on a scale to rival the Egyptian pyramids, to the exquisitely painted cave temples of Dambulla.
Wildlife-viewing opportunities abound, and this guide provides unparalleled, illustrated advice on making the most of these. Asia's densest wild elephant and leopard populations are protected in the island's extensive network of national parks, and there's also fine offshore whale and dolphin-watching, and a bird checklist of 430 species including more than 30 endemics.
PART 1 GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information
At a glance, Geography & geology, Climate, Natural history & conservation, History, Archaeology*, Government & politics, Economy, People & culture (inc Religion, Language, Education), Art & architecture*
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Highlights, Suggested itineraries, Tour operators, Red tape, Embassies, Getting there and away, Health, Safety, Women travellers, Gay & lesbian travellers, Travelling with kids, What to take, Money, Budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating & drinking, Public holidays & festivals, Shopping, Arts & entertainment, Photography, Media & communications, Cultural etiquette, Travelling positively
PART 2 THE GUIDE
Section 1 Colombo and surrounds
Chapter 3 Colombo
Colombo History, Getting there, Getting around, Tourist information, Orientation, What to see, Where to stay, Where to eat, Entertainment & nightlife, Shopping, Sports & activities, Other practicalities
Chapter 4 Around Colombo
Negombo, The coast from Negombo to Chilaw, Kalpitya Peninsula, Inland towards Kandy or Kurunegala , Kurunegala & surrounds
Section 2 The Cultural Triangle & far north
Chapter 5 Dambulla, Sigiriya & surrounds
Dambulla, Sigiriya, Habarana, Other historical Sites, Minneriya and Kuadalla National Parks
Chapter 6 Polonnaruwa & surrounds
Polonnaruwa, Historic sites around Polonnaruwa
Chapter 7 Anuradhapura & surrounds
Anuradhapura, Historical Sites around Anuradhapura, Wilpattu National Park
Chapter 8 The Far North
Mannar Island, Jaffna town, Jaffna Peninsula
Section 3 Hill Country
Chapter 9 Kandy & the northern hill country
Kandy, Around Kandy, Mihayangala & Vedda Country
Chapter 10 Nuwara Eliya, Ella & the southeast hill country
Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Ella & surrounds, Bandarawela, Hapatule, Horton Plains NP
Chapter 11 Southwest Hill Country
Hatton, Dalhousie & Adam's Peak, Kitulgala, Ratnapura, Singharaja Forest Reserve
Section 4 The coastal resorts & southern safari circuit
Chapter 12 East Coast Resorts
Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Arugam Bay
Chapter 13 The southern safari circuit
Tissamahala, Kataragama, Other gateway towns (Hambantota, Kirinda, Badulla, Ampara), Bundala National Park, Yala National Park, Kumana National Park, Lahugala National Park, Gal Oya National Park, Uda Walawe National Park
Chapter 14 The coast from Tangalle to Galle
Chapter 15 Galle
Chapter 16 The coast from Galle to Colombo
Philip Briggs is one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable guidebook writers having been researching and writing guides for Bradt and other well-known publishers for over 30 years. For many years his focus was on Africa but recently he has turned his attention to both South America and Asia, authoring the Bradt guide to Suriname and now Bradt's Sri Lanka. Of Sri Lanka, Philip says: 'Sri Lanka is a fantastic all-rounder. Most people know about the sumptuous palm-lined beaches that line the island's tropical coastline. But this small Asian country has so much more to offer, from ancient Sinhalese capitals to the tea plantations of the Highlands where hills roll down towards lush dense rainforests teeming with plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. A network of national parks supports Asia's densest populations of elephant and leopard, while the forest reserves are home to 33 endemic bird species, and the offshore waters host blue whales, spinner dolphins, giant marine turtles and coral gardens swirling with colourful reef fish. Add to that a genuinely hospitable culture where English is widely spoken, a distinctive cuisine dominated by curries and seafood, and an ever-growing choice of accommodation to suit all budgets, and this safe and easy-to-get-around island nation easily ranks as one of the world's most approachable and diverse travel destinations.
Reviews of previous editions:
"An engaging written companion with practical information of the sort only a resident could impart."
– Book magazine for librarians
"The definitive gazetteer to the island"
– Chris Haslam, Wanderlust
– Daily Telegraph