Sri Lanka is known as the jewel of the Indian Ocean or the pearl of Asia, due to the teardrop shape of the island, located at the foot of the Indian subcontinent. Historically known as Ceylon, it is a paradise island boasting seven world heritage sites, miles and miles of golden sandy beaches, wildlife and game parks, and mountainous tea plantations.
A must see for any trip is the rock fortress of Sigiriya. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is located approximately 170km away from Colombo and is also known as Lion Rock because of the huge lion that used to stand at the entrance to the Palace.
The site dates to the reign of King Kasyapa (477-495 AD), who chose this site as his new capital. He decorated the walls with frescoes and built an impressive palace right on top of the rock column, accessible only through the mouth of an enormous carved lion. Standing atop a column of rock 200m tall, the views are stunning for those that brave the 2000+ steps to get to the top.