Dude listening to music on the beach in Negombo, Sri Lanka

9 reasons to put Sri Lanka on your bucket list

Published: 17-06-2017

Regularly we publish a new article about Sri Lanka. About her amazing nature, National Park Udawalawe, most do’s in cultural capital Kandy, the most astonishing train rides we’ve ever had and about her wonderful, though curious, inhabitants. As if those are not enough to convince you to go there, I listed nine reasons why you should put Sri Lanka on your bucket list.

Versatile but not too big

Although Sri Lanka is very diverse, nature wise, it’s fairly easy to travel. If there is no train going, you can always take the bus which go every few minutes… from anywhere to anywhere. If you visit Sri Lanka for a few weeks in your holiday, you’ll be able to see a big portion of the country.

Little Adams Peak, Ella, Sri Lanka

Temples, mosks and churches

Sri Lanka is mainly a Buddhist country, but other religions, like Islam, Hinduism and Christianity, are also greatly represented. Negombo, near Colombo, is nicknamed ‘Rome of Sri Lanka’ because of its mainly Christian population and relatively large number of churches. Kandy on the other hand is famous for its Temple of the Tooth of Buddha. This pilgrimage is visited by Buddhists from all over the world.

Multireligious Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan cuisine

Although a lot of ingredients are sold on a Sri Lankan market, it almost always comes down to a few dishes of which dahl curry is the most famous. Especially in the larger towns small restaurants serve this dish among rice with fish, chicken or meat depending on the location you are. Another well known dish is kottu roti which is mainly a dish consistent of fried cut up roti, vegetables, egg and meat. Delicious! The lovely family of the guesthouse invited us to have Christmas diner at the guesthouse restaurant. Fresh lobster with fries? Yes please!

Lobster with fries for Christmas in Negombo, Sri Lanka

Very curious locals

Very often I get the question if I recommend traveling Sri Lanka alone as a women. I always say yes as I never felt in danger, uncomfortable yes, but that’s another story. Because white people are fairly uncommon in certain parts of Sri Lanka, you’re a real attraction in some places. You know the feeling of getting stared at or you’re staring at someone unconsciously in the supermarket? Upon making eye contact we look away as we feel it is indecent to stare. Well, Sri Lankans don’t have that. Don’t be surprised if you’re stared at by 30 people during your two hour bus ride. Don’t worry, they’re completely harmless. If someone speaks a little English and is bold enough to start the conversation, you’ll be asked a ton of different questions about you, your country, your salary, if you’re married, if you have children, and so on. At first it’s little awkward, but you’ll get used to it.

Children in Ella, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is cheap. Even compared to other Asian countries

After Nepal Sri Lanka is the cheapest country we’ve been to. Even though guesthouses are a little more pricey than in, for example, Thailand, cost of food, drinks and public transportation are lower making it cheaper. With a monthly budget of 1500 euros for two you don’t have to cut corners. But this is personal, ofcourse.

Sri Lankan rupees

Getting around is an adventure in and of itself

Although everything is pretty well connected via bus and train routes, traveling through Sri Lanka isn’t always easy; bus stations are chaos! Our tip is to ask a local right away because some stations require some foreknowledge. You might find bus 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7, but bus 4 is on the other side of the main building. That sort of thing. You have to know another thing about the buses in Sri Lanka; There are two bus companies which compete getting passengers, so they race to get to the next stop first. Some bus drivers will stop because he figures you’re not used to this insanity, but sometimes you just have to jump aboard. You’ll be helped by the passengers though:)

Bus stop on the way from Mirissa to Udawalawe, Sri Lanka

The best way is to travel by train in Sri Lanka. Be sure to get enough sleep before getting on the train because you’ll never forgive yourself for falling asleep during these spectacular rides! Oh, if you’re afraid of jumping our of trains, be sure to take a seat in the front or middle, as some trains are too long for the platform.

Sri Lanka National Park

That’s what the official name of Sri Lanka should be. Sri Lanka’s best known national parks are Yala, Udawalawe and Bundala. Supposedly you are even more likely to see a wild elephant at Udawalawe National Park than at a national park in Africa. Even if you don’t visit a national park, you’ll still see the most beautiful things nature has to offer and it’ll be for free!

Elephants in Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s coastline is also very impressive! In Sri Lanka waters there are a variety of turtles and whales, among which sperm whales, spinner dolphins and blue whales, which can be spotted on an organised tour. We didn’t do a tour, but during breakfast in Galle we saw a mother and a baby whale in the distance. It was pretty far away, but our neighbors, an English couple were kind enough to lend us their binoculars. Don’t forget to bring them if you go to Sri Lanka!

Monkeys in Udawalawe National Park, Sri Lanka

At Habraduwa Turtle Hatchery we were given the opportunity to set free two young turtles, which was an amazing experience!

Vast, white beaches you don’t ever want to leave

Like said above, Sri Lanka has an amazing coastline with snow white beaches which are truly beautiful. The immensely long coastline makes it a true holiday paradise. End your Sri Lankan adventure at one of the beaches Sri Lanka has to offer. Choices are plentiful!

Beach of Mirissa, Sri Lanka

 Amazing hiking trails

Don’t like lying on the beach? Sri Lanka has great hiking trails for you to enjoy. Although there are lots of well known hiking trails, the most famous are Ella Rock, Adam’s Peak and Sigiriya Rock. After sweating to get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view.

What are your favorite things about Sri Lanka? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Erick - When your partner has the travel virus it doesn't take long before you are infected as well. Traveling has become a big part of my life, just as Travelaar has. Web developer and translator for Travelaar.com and it's Dutch counterpart Travelaar.nl.

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