Badulla marks the southeast extremity of the Hill Country and is a transport gateway to the east coast. It is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest towns, occupied briefly by the Portuguese, who torched it upon leaving. For the British it was an important social centre, but beyond the pretty gardens and clock tower, any vestiges of a past – including a racecourse and cricket club – are lost in Badulla’s typical Sri Lankan bustle. The railway through the Hill Country from Colombo terminates here. In British times, it was an important hub for transporting plantation products to Colombo.