For a small island, Sri Lanka has many nicknames: Serendib, Ceylon, Teardrop of India, Resplendent Isle, Island of Dharma, Pearl of the Orient. This colorful collection reveals its richness and beauty, and the intensity of the affection it evokes in its visitors. Head for the rolling hills to escape the heat of the plains in the cool of tea plantations. The entire island is teeming with bird life, and exotics like elephants and leopards are not uncommon. To top it all off, the people are friendly, the food is delicious and costs are low. Marco Polo considered Sri Lanka the finest island of its size in all the world, and after exploring the country's fabled delights visitors will agree. The coastal stretch south of Colombo offers palm-lined sandy expanses as far as the eye can see. Try the Kandyan dances, a procession of elephants or the masked devil dances. Find enough ancient and inspiring architecture in the cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to satisfy the inner archaeologist.