Ok, so before we start: obviously you shouldn’t go to Sri Lanka right now, because you’re probably at work or something, and your boss probably wouldn’t appreciate you getting up and jumping on the next plane to Colombo.
When we initially booked our flights to Sri Lanka, I felt a mix of excitement and a little bit of trepidation about what was to follow. It wasn’t that I was nervous about visiting Sri Lanka – far from it. I just had no idea what it was going to be like. Was it going to be a mini India? Or a completely different world of its own?
I’m pleased to say that Sri Lanka has surpassed every expectation I had for my visit. I’m extremely happy I chose to come to the country – and here are five reasons you should too.
1. The food is great
Ok, so this is perhaps ever so slightly predictable as I seem to rave about the food no matter where I visit, but in Sri Lanka the cuisine really is second to none! I have to admit that I’m a huge curry fan, and the fact that curry is not only accepted but actually encouraged as a breakfast dish here just consolidates it as one of the best cuisines I’ve ever had! And there was me thinking curry is only a hangover breakfast…
It’s not just the curries though. Rotis, daal, kottu and thosais amongst many other dishes really cater to the needs of any fan of Eastern food! What’s more; it’s extremely affordable, which brings me on to my next point…
2. It’s super cheap
Again, you probably knew this was coming but Sri Lanka really is crazy cheap! It’s actually got to the point where any meal over 300 rupees (around £1.50) is starting to appear expensive in my mind!
It isn’t just the food that’s cheap either. There isn’t much of a hostel culture in Sri Lanka (yet), which is fine as I’ve had enough of dorms recently! As a result, we’ve been taking a private double room each with an en-suite bathroom which has very, very rarely exceeded £15 a night. You can’t even get a Travelodge for that back home!
Getting around is also extremely affordable. Our bus ride from Ella to Arugam Bay, which involved three buses and took about seven/eight hours ended up costing us less than 500 rupees – just over two quid! If you fancy splashing out, a first class seat on a train will rarely cost much more than 1000 rupees (about £5).
3. The locals are lovely
This came as no surprise to me, as one of the things I read in many places before coming here is that Sri Lankan people are some of the friendliest many travellers have encountered. I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve been stopped in the street, asked how we are, where we are from and – of course – what we think of the latest cricket headlines!
The locals here appear to be genuinely flattered that you have taken the time to visit and appreciate their country and go out of their way to ensure you have a pleasant stay. It’s great to see people take such pride in their country and more often than not, saying that it is a very beautiful place (which it is!) will be met with a huge smile and a “thank you”.
4. It’s a beautiful country
As I just mentioned, some of the scenery in Sri Lanka is absolutely breathtaking and is up there with some of the best I’ve ever seen.
In just two weeks here I’ve been lucky enough to see a stunning sunset at Colombo’s Galle Face Green, hike to the World’s End at Horton Plains and climb up to Ella Rock. There’s only so much that I can write, so I’ll let the photos tell you how stunning it really is here.
5. It won’t be like this forever
Arguably the most important reason for visiting now and not in 10 years time is that, as is sadly the case with many up and coming countries on the tourist map, Sri Lanka is unlikely to remain as untouched as it is for very long. Indeed, there are already a number of huge hotels being built on the front at Galle Face Green in Colomob – including a Shangri La complex. All this is great for the economy, but not so great for the purist traveller.
The knock on effects of an increased flow of tourists will no doubt see the country become a little more expensive, a little less untouched and I’d wage a bet that if I was to return in ten years time it would be a very different place indeed.
All I can say is go now – you really won’t regret it.