This coast of long white beaches, great surf and mangrove lagoons has been largely off the tourist routes during civil unrest. Now is the time to visit – no crowds and a particularly warm welcome by local people wanting to re-establish tourism. May to September is the time to go for the weather, activities and general up keep of the beach cleanliness. Trincomalee and the Cultural Triangle can easily be combined to offer a wide range of holiday interests.
Located 98 km south of Colombo, Hikkaduwa is one of the most popular beach resorts of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's only marine sanctuary is located here. It is an ideal place for nature lovers with its abundant corals and tropical fishes. Hikkaduwa has something to offer to everyone-coral for snorkelers, waves for surfers and white pristine beaches for those who want to relax and enjoy Sun and sand.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests ecoregion, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve's name translates as Kingdom of the Lion.
The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are about 3 elephants and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The commonest larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Langur. An interesting phenomenon is that birds tend to move in mixed feeding flocks, invariably led by the fearless Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and the noisy Orange-billed Babbler. Of Sri Lanka's 26 endemic birds, the 20 rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie. Reptiles include the endemic Green pit viper and Hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic Common Birdwing butterfly and the inevitable leeches.