Sri Lanka – the land of stunning landscapes, incredibly friendly folk and, of course, the heady mix of colourful cultures – is a beguiling tourist destination in Asia. But the tropical paradise island has only recently cropped on travellers’ and vacationers’ radars following the end of the Civil War. Now, Sri Lanka is in the throes of a massive change and hordes of tourists are heading this way every year.
Have a trip planned out in Sri Lanka? Check out our tips to help first-time visitors enjoy and experience the charm and allure of Sri Lanka.
Tourism is still developing so prepare to go slow
Sri Lanka’s tourist boom is happening right now and though infrastructure is greatly improving, some areas outside the tourism realm are not exactly tourist-ready. Although transport options are ample, getting around the country may feel a bit frustrating at times. The roads are often unpaved and narrow, save the main road in town. The hill country, in particular, is notorious for its engine-testing inclines and tightly winding roads.
Still, for those true explorers, this is all part of the appeal of Sri Lanka and it’s always rewarding to experience a place before it goes (too) big.
When in Sri Lanka, food should be a main focus
Man, don’t we Sri Lankans love our food! Egg hoppers, fresh fish curry, Kottu Rotti – don’t even get us started! The fact is that Sri Lankan food is delicious so make the most of it while you’re here. Those familiar with Asia will be familiar with the number of street food serving mouth-watering Sri Lankan fare but some of the best food can be found in the kitchens of small guesthouses.
Remember to treat yourself
By western standards, Sri Lanka is still a cheap tourist destination, so if you’re looking to pamper yourself, there are a myriad of new luxury hotels and resorts you can try. International names have already set up base on the island, but keep you eye out on the plethora of budget boutique hotels like this one dotted around the country to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Plan your Sri Lankan vacation around the seasons
While the monsoon rains might not dampen your zeal to explore, remember that experiences can vary a lot depending on the season. So, if for instance you’re looking to climb the Adam’s Peak, then do so during the pilgrimage season that is from December to May. It’s still possible to climb the Peak outside of these months, but the string of little tea shops that line the path will be closed and you’ll hike the summit with only a handful of tourists instead of the thousands of local devotees without the magical atmosphere and the camaraderie among the climbers.
Sri Lanka might be famous for its beaches, undulating hillsides and mysterious ruins but the island is also jam-packed with adrenaline pumping activities. So why not try hiking up the stunning Knuckles Mountain Range, surfing in Arugam Bay or white-water rafting in Kitulgala?
So there you have it. A holiday in Sri Lanka is all about relaxing and unwinding, not to mention mingling with the locals (we are some of the friendliest folk in the planet!) and embracing the island life. For those looking for the ideal tropical getaway without burning a hole in their pockets, it doesn’t get better than Sri Lanka.