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8 places that are no longer off-limits to travelers

By: Josh Lew on Aug. 9, 2013, 4:24 p.m.
The Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Photo: mckaysavage/Flickr

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is probably the most accessible destination on our list. The area still drew tourists during the 25-year-long conflict between the government and the separatist movement popularly known as the Tamil Tigers. Though much of the fighting was concentrated in remote areas, bombings and terror attacks were not unheard of. However, after a decisive military victory in 2009, Sri Lanka is now completely at peace and tourists can access the entire country without being afraid of getting caught in the crossfire. (There are still landmine problems in some areas, however). 

Sri Lanka is probably best known for its legendary beaches. Those located in the south and west of the island are ideal for water sports (or just lazing on the uncrowded sands enjoying the tropical idyll), while the eastern coast draws windsurfers, kite surfers and sailors. Ancient cities like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa feature crumbling ruins that have been touched little since ancient times. Sri Lanka's Buddhist majority, unique cultural influences, and colorful colonial history make it a very different place from neighboring India (with which it is unfairly grouped in many tourists' minds).