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Reasons 2-6 to Visit Sri Lanka

There are many more, such as scenery, ancient temples, beaches and elephants. But since I never get out of Colombo, these are what I like:

2. The curries. You _think_ you have had a good curry, but wait until you try a Sri Lankan Fish curry or Cucumber and Cashew curry. Sri Lankans make the best curries in the world, no doubt about it.

2. Clothes. Garments are a major export of Sri Lanka, many top brands are made there, such as Ralph Lauren, Cargo and others. You can get designer jeans/pants and shirts from around $12. Or local band names (almost certainly from the same factories and as well made) like Odel for half that.

3. Fine China. Noritake is made in Sri Lanka and you can buy direct from the factory showroom in Colombo. Absolutely beautiful designs on the finest porcelain and bone china. Nothing is pre-packaged, you can buy whole settings or piece by piece, then watch each piece being wrapped and packed ready for you to take back. Best I can make out, you pay about half the price you would if you bought from a department store.

4. Sapphires! If you can find the right place, you can get 4-5 carat flawless natural blue sapphires for under US$1,000 per carat. Rubies of the deepest colour under US$2,000 per carat. Other stones like aquamarine or citrine of exceptional size (like 10 carats +) and quality in the US$20-$40 range. Zams and Carimms have showrooms in the Colombo Hilton. Some of the pieces will just blow you away with their beauty. You CAN NOT even see stones like this in even the best jewelry shops here, and if you do they are going to cost you 5 times what you would pay in Colombo.

5. Cost. A hotel car with driver for the day will cost about $50. The most expensive hotel in Colombo is the Hilton - full 5 stars, rooms start from $155 per nigh including breakfast. Pay a bit more and get a room on the Executive floor, which has a butler for the floor. Pay around $300 for a room, and you will get a suite with your own butler, who will come with you when you go out (if you want), and make sure you get the best prices and the best deals, as well as direct you to the best sights and places to eat and shop.

So go to Sri Lanka and have a great time. And tip. Tipping isn't expected and you will get excellent service anywhere you go anyway, but if you tip it is genuinely appreciated and it will make the very nice time you will have just that much better. I usually tip around 100-200 rupees ($1-2) for valet or waiters, and 500-1000 rupees ($5-$10) if I have a driver for the half day/day. Doing that you can be sure you will be very, very well looked after, steered away from the tourist traps and see the absolute best Sri Lanka has to offer.

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