And deservedly so: there are very few places in the world where you can experience such a variety of countryside and climates: hot sandy beaches, cool hillside terrains, lush rainforests and elephant-filled national parks are just some of the reasons why Sri Lanka is known as the "pearl of the Indian Ocean".While the country's north remains under re-construction after the war and thus out of bounds to travellers, there are still plenty of peaceful areas that are perfectly safe: from white-water rafting in Kitulgala to tea and temples in Kandy, wildlife safaris in Yala to surfing on the south coast: there is a place and pursuit to suit everyone on this beautiful island.
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Once lured by jewels and spices, travellers now head to Sri Lanka for sunshine and palm-fringed beaches.
But this 'small' island is much more than a beach destination;you can travel through the beautiful green interior taking in ancient sights, stay on a colonial tea plantation, immerse yourself in the Buddhist spirituality at temples and shrines scattered throughout the country, or visit historic coastal towns such as Galle.
The historic coastal town of Galle is full of character.
A baby elephant has been dramatically rescued after apparently falling into an uncovered drain in Sri Lanka.
The footage shows the calf completely stuck in the drain while seeming to cry out in distress.
Port workers and wildlife officials managed to break open a bigger space in the drain then drag out the elephant by its feet and trunk.After being pulled to the surface, the elephant was loaded onto a vehicle and taken to be treated for a suspected broken leg.The calf reportedly fell into the drain in the southern port city of Hambantotoa.Elephants are known to roam freely in the region and have even been reported to attack cars.The victim of a 20-year civil war and the 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka has suffered a dramatic drop-off in tourism over recent years.But thanks to peace being declared in early 2009 and the reconstruction of areas devastated by tsunami flooding, the country is once again appearing on the to-do lists of many an intrepid traveller.