Discovering Sri Lanka
Often referred to as the “teardrop of India” because of its distinct land formation, Sri Lanka is quickly becoming a hot travel destination this year. The island country is located in the Indian Ocean, off the southern coast of India. Relax on exquisite white sand beaches, explore Sri Lanka’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, or sample some of the country’s robust coffee blends. The possibilities are endless. Right now, Sri Lanka is affordable and, for the most part, still unaffected by crowds of tourists. It is a great destination to head to if you’ve already visited India (or even if you haven’t) or you just want to explore a new part of Southeast Asia.
The capital of Sri Lanka is Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte and the largest city is Colombo. Sri Lanka’s official language is Sinhala, while Tamil is also commonly spoken. In many beach and tourist areas, you will often find people who speak English. Sri Lanka has a tropical climate and you can expect rain almost anytime during the year. The best time to visit is between December and March on the west coast and between April and September on the east coast. This is when each region is driest.
If you’re interested in cultural highlights, you’re in luck because Sri Lanka’s history dates back over 2,000 years. Visit many of the ancient Buddhist temples, the ancient city of Sigiriya, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, or the sacred city of Anuradhapura. There are botanical gardens, spice gardens, tea estates, and zoological gardens to visit. If you enjoy history, the Colombo National Museum was established in 1877 by Sir William Henry Gregory and has collections dating back to the pre-historic period. There are also many places in Sri Lanka to go bird watching, diving, camping, and trekking. If it’s an adrenaline rush you’re seeking, you’ll also be able to go wave riding, paragliding, or hot air ballooning.
Another huge part of Sri Lankan culture is the country’s food. Closely related to South Indian cuisine, Sri Lankan food is often very spicy, but you can sometimes request milder options when ordering. A staple food is rice and curry. Most meals are very cheap, usually costing around one dollar. Even at the most expensive restaurants, you probably won’t pay more than ten dollars for a meal.
Kottu Roti is another popular dish, consisting of chopped roti (a type of bread made from stoneground flour), vegetables, and a choice of meat. It is unique to Sri Lanka and can be easily found fresh at many street vendors. It is also proper to eat with only your right hand in Sri Lanka and tap water is not safe to drink in the country. So, who’s ready to go on a Southeast Asian adventure? If you’ve been to Sri Lanka before, what are some of your travel trips?