After spending three weeks in Sri Lanka, we left the country with many new impressions and experiences.
Sri Lanka had given us so many contrasting experiences, and the charismatic people we had met along the way had given us different insights into the country and its people.
It was interesting to see how this country has quickly risen from a long time of struggling and hardship, and is today really starting to take shape and create its own identity.
We often felt that the people we met were genuinely interested in us, and were happy to share a lot about themselves as well.
Children or adults, they were all easy to talk to and everyone always said hello, waiving from the car or street.
Being invited to a Sri Lankan family’s home was a great example of their open-ness and hospitality, but that wasn’t the only time we experienced this; on the buses and trains, on the streets and in hotels, the people were incredibly friendly and often greeted us with big smiles as soon as you made eye contact.
Many Sri Lankans were very positive about the future, something which you could tell not only in conversations but everywhere around you.
For example, hotels seemed to be built in a way where they could easily add new floors once business was prospering.
The portions in Sri Lanka are massive – sometimes when we ordered two meals, the waiter would tell us that one would be enough for both of us (some pretty honest people!), which turned out to be very true.
We were expecting the food to be similar to that of India, but found that the Sri Lankan cuisine had a very distinct style of its own.
If you ever travel to Sri Lanka, you have to try their street food! There are Roti (a type of pancake) in an endless variety, lots of pastries, and the very popular buffalo curd, which you will love or hate.
Sri Lankans also seem incredibly fond of their foul smelling “Wood Apple”, which surprisingly tastes delicious as a milkshake.
From postcard-perfect beaches with palm trees hanging over the waterfront of a milky turquoise ocean and colorful wooden fishing boats, to lush rain forest, countless of waterfalls and tea plantations – Sri Lanka has some of the most beautiful and diverse nature I’ve ever seen.
There is a little bit of everything for everyone when it comes to the nature in Sri Lanka, surfers and beach bums will love the beaches, hikers will love the mountains and views, and adventurous people will love the wild life and how easy it is to find “unexplored” and “off the beaten path” areas.
You can see a lot of it from the train window, but getting up close with the nature there is a very unique experience!
We were actually very surprised, and confused, about the cost of things in Sri Lanka – compared to other countries in South and South East Asia, Sri Lanka is not cheap – you simply get less for what you pay for.
Public transport was insanely cheap, but also incredibly difficult to use – trains often only went twice a day, and at the time we were there they were so overcrowded that even the ticket salesmen often advised us to take a taxi.
To see many of the places and attractions in an area you often need a driver, so hiring one for a week or the entire duration of your stay is actually a really good idea – but naturally, this will also cost you more.
The fees to temples and cultural sites, were often surprisingly high, which put us off a little since we weren’t prepared for that.
So, as a conclusion, Sri Lanka offers a lot to see and do, but to really be able to do it all and get the very most of the country when it comes to attractions, bring a bigger budget than to India and SEA.
Have you been to Sri Lanka? What are your impressions?