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Planning a trip to Sri Lanka

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I've just started planning a trip to Sri Lanka for later this year, so I have a few questions for anyone who's been there already:
1)When is the best time of the year to visit the island?
2)Any worthwhile places to visit while there? We'd like to book a nice hotel in a place from where it's easy to do some short trips. Or, do you think it would be worth it to stay in two different places (change hotels) so we could see as much as we could while there?
Our idea of a holiday is a nice/comfortable hotel, but also being able to do as much sightseeing as possible. We like to walk a lot and take hundreds of photographs.
3) Which part of the island is better to visit? Any good hotels there for you to suggest to us?
Any help you could give us will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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