So I came to Sri Lanka on a March 18th, curious and excited; as soon as I exited the plane the tropical and humid air did get to me I must admit (as somebody from a very cold and dry place. So I set out to discover the land, its people and the mist of allure that it radiated.
Sri Lanka is a South-East Asian country located ever so majestically in the Indian Ocean. In the recent years Sri Lanka has become famous for having spectacular places to visit. And I can assure you it is not only the reason; the extraordinary hospitality of the people is something very rare, especially in today’s time. People genuinely want to know how you are doing and what you think about their country. I think this is one reason Sri Lanka is a good tourist spot.
The land is known as “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” and for a reason of course. Personally I have not seen rude people shouting, or arguing or doing something off to others, which I think seemed to be the trend to most places I’ve been.
The People of Sri Lanka are really friendly and socially engaging and approachable. And they genuinely love to hear your opinion about their country. Don’t be surprised if you run into people asking you where you are from and what your purpose of visit to Sri Lanka is. Rest easy, it is not an interrogation. Initially this seems a bit scary because of the communication and language barrier and takes some getting used to. They will even come up to you asking for a photograph with them.
They are also really helpful people. This one time, I stopped on the road as I had forgotten something and I must have seemed distraught and this stranger stopped to look at me and asked “is everything all right?”
I think I have also been lucky enough to witness their enormous dedication and hard work in completing a task. It really is something to behold. Their team work and their inter-personal relationship is something unparalleled.
Food is mostly rice and mixture of other dishes, mostly accompanied by coconut oil or products. To be honest it does take some time to get your stomach used to it. Even as a regular rice consumer I did have a hard time chewing and swallowing the food here. The spices Sri Lanka people use are innumerable and of various types: chilli, nuts, leaves and tree barks etc.
People regularly eat rice with milk, coconut, fish (m a l l u) and vegetables. It is a really good and balanced diet. Something I used to eat when I had just gotten here was the various kinds of pancake. What they called “egg rolls”, they mash-up potato and other vegetables and ingredients and put them in the rolled dough and fry it. This is best enjoyed with tea, a popular beverage in Sri Lanka. Most people consume tea with a cream and sugar. Plain tea is not very common in the food places and restaurants of Sri Lanka, it is usually consumed with sugar.
But there are international cuisines available all over the country if you prefer something else
Sri Lanka is in the Indian Ocean and there are some beaches to go see in the country. Sri Lanka people are natural swimmers, fishermen, surfers and sailors. Unfortunately my knowledge of the beaches in Sri Lanka is limited to the West to South of Lanka; I haven’t been to even one beach in the East of Sri Lanka.
My recommendations are: N e g o m b o, H i k a d u w a, Galle Fort, U n a w a t u n a (Jungle Beach), Mount L a v a n i a. Trains routes to these places are active, so travelling to these places are cheap and fast
Temples Sri Lanka has innumerable temples and places with sanctity or a story of its own. Whether small or big, popular or hidden: you will find a lot of these places throughout Sri Lanka, a lot. Today there are many people following different religions so this country is largely religious. And these places mean a lot to their people.
Japanese Peace Pagoda down south in Galle is a spectacular place. It is a stupa with 4 small statues of Lord Buddha at 4 different places on the head with some scriptures of Buddhism sculpted into the underlying stone. You do have to go up hill but it provides a great view of the waters of Galle. The place is accessible by vehicular transport, so don’t worry if you don’t like walking. And just a couple of hundred meters from that place you can go to Jungle Forest, a beach really close to nature and virtually untouched by humans due to low number of visitors. The privacy is only made more beautiful by the light blue waters and sky, just perfect for photography.
K o n e s w a r a m Temple (originated= 17th century) is another must-visit. The temple displays the rich and vast heritage of the Hindu culture. You have to travel east to see this though. Assuming most visitors will check in at Colombo, it is a journey across the country.
Sri D a l a d a M a l i g a w a temple in Kandy is your next stop. It is only couple of hours from the Colombo (depending on your choice of transport). It has the Buddha’s scared tooth relics and is what makes the temple really scared among the Buddhists.
If you travel to the heart of the country you will find a massive rock nearly 200 meters high. The history behind this place is that King K a s y a p a selected this place as his new capital. He built his palace on the rock and on about half the length of the rock he built a gateway in the form of a lion.
These are some of the reasons why you should book a plane ticket to Sri Lanka. Perfect for your next vacation spot. Happy travelling.